Saturday, February 25, 2012

Heroic Rabbi Beaten, Imprisoned in Backward, Anti-Semitic Poland and Ukraine

Photo by Brendan Hoffman. Source: New York Times.



Menachem Youlus is a peaceful, learned, heroic rabbi and Torah scribe. Rabbi Youlus "exudes honesty and integrity," as one of his supporters and major donors, a lawyer, told the Washington Post. Along with Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Nobel laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, Rabbi Youlus is a recipient of the Olender Peacemaker Award.

Rabbi Youlus rescues Torah scrolls from Eastern European countries like Poland and Ukraine – what PBS, America's public television station, called "dangerous places." In these backward, anti-Semitic regions, "Torahs are hidden in walls, buried in the ground, piled in basements of monasteries." Former Nazis and still hidden Jews populate Eastern Europe. Jewish sacred items are put to profane use by Eastern Europe's many anti-Semites.

"In Ukraine, [Rabbi Youlus] bought [a Torah scroll] from a former Nazi sergeant who said he confiscated it from a man entering Auschwitz. Youlus discovered another being sold in pieces to artists who were using the sacred parchment as canvas. Some he smuggled out of then-Communist countries, two panels at a time, in the lining of luggage." Rabbi Youlus has been beaten and imprisoned and "threatened with jail in Siberia."

His "expeditions," as he calls his trips to Eastern Europe, in distant, exotic lands, among the primitive Bohunks, are fraught with peril. Rabbi Youlus has been called "The Jewish Indiana Jones." "'He's an intrepid Jewish 007,' said Rabbi Moshe D. Shualy, ritual director for Chizuk Amuno, a Baltimore synagogue that has two of Youlus's rescued Torahs. 'He puts himself in such impossible situations to find, retrieve and resurrect these scrolls.'" Rabbi Youlus has gone into $170,000 worth of debt to finance his work.

In Ukraine, as reported in the Washington Post, Rabbi Youlus was swindled by a typically crafty and venal Bohunk peasant who used Jewish gravestones to build – what else – a pigsty. In Oswiecim, Poland, Youlus discovered that the town priest was secretly Jewish and had secret information about hidden Torah scrolls, as described below by the Philadelphia Jewish Voice:

Rabbi Youlus "took out an ad in the local [Oswiecim] newspaper and asked if anyone had panels of a Torah from before the war. The next day he received a call from a priest who said he had four panels. The panels were an exact match in pagination, style and content. Obviously they were originally from the Torah he had found buried in the cemetery. Rabbi Youlus learned that the Priest was born a Jew – named Zeev – and was sent to Auschwitz.

Before the Torah had been buried in the Oswiecim cemetery these four panels had been removed and smuggled through Auscwitz (sic) by four different people. As each person who had a panel was about to die they passed along the panels. Eventually the four panels made it into the hands of Zeev who guarded them as a Priest for over 60 years. Rabbi Youlus lovingly restored the Torah and made it kosher once again." This very Torah scroll would be used by the March of the Living on its annual, controversial marches through Poland. "And every other year it will be taken by 10,000 students as they march through Auschwitz on March of the Living."

Rabbi Menachem Youlus' work is so important that it has been featured on numerous Jewish-themed websites, in the New York Times and the Washington Post, and on PBS, America's prestigious public broadcasting television station. Rabbi Youlus has been honored in synagogue ceremonies. Video of one such ceremony is visible on the PBS "Religion and Ethics Newsweekly" website. It was televised nationally in the United States.

From the Washington Post, "with great fanfare, the Torah from Auschwitz was dedicated in New York on Holocaust Remembrance Day 2008. Months later, on the Jewish New Year, the congregation again took the Torah down from its imposing two-tiered ark. In his sermon, Rabbi Rubinstein repeated the story of the Torah's wondrous rescue from the killing fields of Oswiecim [Please note the use here of the name of the Polish town – Oswiecim – rather than the name of the German, Nazi concentration camp – Auschwitz.] Reflecting back on that homily, he says: 'Remember, this was two days after the market dropped 700 points, and I was trying to talk about retrenching, not financial retrenching, [but] what are the things that are the anchors of our lives.'"

As the Washington Post put it, "The stories Youlus has told over the years resonate so powerfully because they meld this centerpiece of the Jewish religion with the cataclysm of the Holocaust, providing a reassuring sense of continuity and hope. As survivors, Youlus's Torahs are brought out for Holocaust Remembrance Day, they're used to teach lessons in religious schools, and for many people, such as Robert Kushner, they have become part of a deeply personal family narrative. Youlus says in a video on the Save-a-Torah Web site: 'Every single Torah that I rescued has a story.'"

The Rabbi's "fundraising video describes Youlus's rescue operation in dramatic fashion. While a violin plays a mournful tune, supporters give testimonials. The screen flashes archival photos of concentration camp barracks and piles of desecrated Torah scrolls. The message is clear: Make a donation so Youlus can parachute in, rescue these fragile survivors and breathe new life into the ancient text known as the Tree of Life."

Note the phrase: "Youlus can parachute in." into what kind of geography does one "parachute in"? One "parachutes in" to chaotic danger zones in which more conventional transportation is not possible. Into what does Rabbi Youlus parachute? Into a scene of concentration camps and desecrated Jewish ritual objects, also known as Eastern Europe. In this Bieganski worldview, that is all that Eastern Europe is.

Shouldn't Eastern European countries be troubled by the removal of cultural items like Torah scrolls? No, says Save-a-Torah's president, investment banker Rick Zitelman of Rockville, Maryland.

"These Torahs do not belong to the people / organizations / museums / churches that hold them. They belonged to synagogues or Jewish communities or families that were destroyed or killed during the Holocaust … These stolen Torahs are no different than art that was stolen from Jews by the Nazis and others, and is now being returned to its rightful owners."

"Many state museums and archives in Eastern Europe – including some in former monasteries – do hold hundreds of scrolls. And half a dozen major Jewish organizations, backed by the U.S. State Department, have been pressing governments in the region to return them to Jewish hands in an orderly fashion.

Wesley Fisher, director of research for the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, is working on the issue. He acknowledges that the slow pace of negotiations 'leads many people to think, 'Well, they should just be taken.' 'But he says he believes the Jewish people should not 'repeat theft,' and with the revival of Jewish life in the region, it's 'not a matter for individuals to decide in cowboy-like fashion' who should have these scrolls. Such decisions should be made in consultation with local communities, he says. Fisher adds: 'I'm not aware that Save-a-Torah is actually trying to deal with Torahs that are held in government hands in the countries of Eastern Europe.'"

Rabbi Youlus' supporters include billionaire David Rubenstein, 60, co-founder and managing director of the Carlyle Group and "Leila Gal Berner – a historian who has taught at leading universities – [who] stands by Youlus even after being informed of [conflicting] facts and of Youlus's denial. In an e-mail, she skirts the question of what the scribe told her about the Torah's origins. "I believe that Rabbi Youlus is an honest man who is doing holy work," she says. "I believe that he must navigate complicated territory in order to find and rescue the Torah scrolls he finds." "For Gal Berner, rescuing a scroll like hers means 'that community didn't die when Hitler tried to kill it.'"

***

Now for the truth. Rabbi Menachem Youlus is a liar and a con artist who defrauded donors for his own personal gain. He may have stolen as much as one million dollars.

Rabbi Youlus never went to Eastern Europe. The only overseas trip he had ever taken was a two-week visit to Israel.

None of the Torahs Rabbi Youlus sold were, in fact, from Eastern Europe at all.

When confronted with the truth of what Youlus was doing, many continued to support him.

Rabbi Shoshana Hantman said, "'I hope you've read 'To Kill a Mockingbird.' At the end, a truth is concealed for the better good of the community … If there is any deception going on ... also think about what he's done that's good." She wrestles with what she has heard. "Destroying this man, if he is guilty of what you suspect, may very well be in service of the truth but in disservice of a greater truth," Hantman says. What, for Hantman, is the greater truth? "The Jewish reverence for the past, for heritage and for those who suffered and died because of the Nazis."

"Perhaps, as sociologist Samuel Heilman says: 'There's a sensitivity because of Holocaust denial. If you say some stories aren't true, you may have to say that all stories are not true. So best not to touch on a sensitive topic.' Heilman – who has written numerous books about Jewish communities and is a professor at City University of New York – suggests that some American Jews feel guilty: 'They didn't manage to rescue the people, so they rescue the Torahs.' Clark University professor Deborah Dwork, co-author of a history of Auschwitz, has her own theory: 'The loss was so devastating that we crave tales of survival.'"

More defenses of Rabbi Youlus can be found at vosizneias site 47758 and The Jewish Channel's article "Leading Open Orthodox Rabbi Defends Alleged Fraudster."

***

The saga of Rabbi Youlus invokes many dark themes: gullibility, betrayal, pathological liars and those who enable them. Compounding all this is Youlus' shameless exploitation of the Holocaust. In turn, neo-Nazi websites exploit the Rabbi Youlus story for their own sick, nefarious ends: smearing all Jews and Holocaust denial.

***

This blog post will not address any of these themes. Rather, this blog post's main idea is already obvious to anyone who has read "Bieganski": The Bieganski, Brute Polak stereotype is such a given, such a constant, in American and Western culture that it played an essential role facilitating Rabbi Youlus' lucrative scam.

The pinnacle, the crème-de-la-crème, of American university scholars, and attorneys, and financiers, and journalists, and television personalities, and religious leaders, are so imbued with, so steeped through, so marinated in the Bieganski stereotype, Bieganski is so firmly nestled in their limbic systems and the marrow of their bones, Bieganski is so much the canonical text, the bread and butter, of the Ivory Tower and television and film and scholarly publications and the mainstream press, that when a pathological con artist like Youlus, through whom they should have seen as if he were a pane of glass, comes along to sell them a bridge, they buy it, because it fits into their stereotypical view of Eastern Europe as a land populated by still-living Nazis and crafty, venal peasants who build their pigsties out of Jewish gravestones and Catholic priests who hide their true, Jewish identity for sixty years under counterfeit cassocks and concentration camps and border guards who threaten heroic rabbis with exile to Siberia.

Those who believe in and promote the racist and revisionist Bieganski stereotype call the shots on all fronts in American and Western culture. Those who challenge Bieganski are not hired and are demonized and silenced.

And Polonia, Poles and other Bohunks do not do one thing about this abysmal state of affairs, and they aren't going to begin to do anything about this until they address the crisis in Polonian leadership, organization, and vision, described here.

Hey, folks, If you're not going to do anything about the Bieganski stereotype, I'm going to use it. 

22 comments:

  1. A brave posting Danusha. Thanks.

    What is the point in "rescuing" Torahs if you don't read them?

    For example: “There are six things that Jehovah does hate; yes, seven are things detestable to his soul: lofty eyes, a false tongue, and hands that are shedding innocent blood, a heart fabricating hurtful schemes, feet that are in a hurry to run to badness, a false witness that launches forth lies, and anyone sending forth contentions among brothers.”—Proverbs 6:16-19.

    God has taken the trouble and the time to tell us that he hates a false tongue and a false witness, and he has had his word preserved for us down to this day.

    What to do about it while waiting for Jehovah to bring the current system of things on the earth to an end? First and foremostly is surely to do what He asks. Be no part of the world, be truthful ourselves, don't try to cause trouble for others, and get on with the Christian preaching work.

    It is a warning to be so careful about believing what we are told. And, at the moment, it seems we are being told that we must - must, must, must - Shock and Awe the Iranian people.

    Would we like others to believe and act on what they are told about us by these American media outlets?

    I wouldn't. So even the most basic application of The Golden Rule tells me to continue trying to do good to all (no matter what America may be saying about them), to speak about others in a positive and upbuilding way; and I certainly hope and pray to carry on with the Christian preaching work as long as I can walk about.

    Might try to snail/email some of those responsible for the above, but its a matter of time. We are coming into the Memorial Season - the yearly Memorial of Jesus' death - which is a busy time for the congregations world wide.

    Thanks again for publishing this Danusha. To me it is a red flag warning about the current system of things on the earth. How can we doubt that it all lies in the power of the one who is called "the father of the lie"? It makes me want even more to be "no part" of it.

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  2. sue thank you for reading and commenting

    took forever to type that up with one finger

    sue u mention courage

    yes it does take courage to tell the truth

    i think that that may be why official polonia has not supported bieganski

    alex storozynski of the kosciuszko foundation keeps insisting that the only problem is the phrase "polish concentration camps" in the national press, and that the solution is for polonians to sign a petition

    both assertions are false, of course

    that phrase is not the problem & telling polonians that their work begins and ends w/ signing the kosciuszko foundation petition is not the solution

    maybe official polonia is, simply, afraid, willing to let others do the risky work on stereotyping, and just waiting to see when it will be safe to join in

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  3. You seem to think that you have not landed an academic post because of your ethnicity. But let's be frank about something, Dr. Goska: you have a PhD in folklore--not the most highly marketable field, especially in the United States, where 68 percent (that's 68 percent) of all academics are adjuncts. Three of my closest friends, all of whom are academics who have published far more than you have and in more prestigious journals (and I mean no disrespect), are all toiling as benefits-less adjuncts at third-tier colleges.

    For more on this, check out a book called "In the Basement of the Ivory Tower."

    Molly

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  4. in response to the above post, three things.

    1.) why not show the courage to post under a real first and last name?

    in another post you demanded that jan peczkis be blacklisted from posting -- a very totalitarian request. if you are going to go around attempting to silence others, shouldn't you at least show the tiny amount of courage and integrity it takes to post under a real name?

    2.) your comment about the prestige of the journals in which i have published is factually incorrect. i have published, or will shortly publish, in the top journals in the fields in which i work, including polin, journal of popular culture, and the journal of american folklore.

    you can't even get your basic facts straight.


    3.) please don't even attempt this straw man tactic on my blog. i have never, not once, not ever, said that ethnicity alone is responsible for hiring and firing in academia today.

    your post is bogus because you are arguing against something i never said.

    many factors play into academic hiring and firing, as i have always stated whenever i have talked about academia.

    i've always said that the market is flooded with under employed phds right now, that my age plays a role, that good people wait a long time for a tenure track job.

    it is also demonstrably true that ethnicity plays a significant role in academic hiring and firing today. no sane, integral person could even begin to argue otherwise and your attempt to argue otherwise is utterly without merit.

    there has been so much ink spilled -- or bandwidth filled -- on this issue that one would have to be willfully blind to miss it.

    one need only do a google search of "academic hiring ethnicity" to turn up an avalanche of opinion pieces, scholarly articles, blog posts and discussions.

    mary grabar wrote a courageous and excellent piece entitled "yes obama we are bitter" about the price low status white ethnics pay in academia.

    just recently a concerned blog reader sent me a lengthy scholarly article on the fate of working class white ethnics in academia. the picture the article painted was not pretty. and, of course, there is the radford and espinshade study that spells out how elite campuses discriminate against poor, white christians.

    what is needed is for some national organization -- like the kosciuszko foundation -- to address this matter, and for polonians to make it part of their activism.

    whoever you are, anonymous poster ashamed to attach a real name to your own words, please don't waste my time with any more bogus posts. sign a real, verifiable first and last name, speak the truth, get your facts straight, and stop issuing your totalitarian demands for blacklisting.

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  5. Very nice article Dr. Goska.

    Amazing how anything, incredible minutiae, who was mad at Putin, etc., conceivably useful to Slavophobia is given wide circulation by the academy and the media, but I still don't know who are the speculators who are pumping up gas prices. Took a long time to talk about Bernie Madoff, and the time span of that coverage was very brief, considering the implications. The tenor of Madoff coverage just gives the sense that that story is over and buried, but some stories get to go on forever.

    I would be interested in the citation of the article you were sent - "a concerned blog reader sent me a lengthy scholarly article on the fate of working class white ethnics in academia.". If it is pre-press, maybe when it comes out?

    While it is true that many people are adjuncts, it is also true that the screen for who gets to be non adjunct is biased. There are many ways it happens, most of them informal, and so are invisible, and thus not talked about much. But one would not expect the perps to talk about it really. I've seen it multiple times.

    One of the prevalent mechanisms is creating a hostile work climate, so that those selected (selekcja) go somewhere else, leaving positions open for those for whom they were already reserved.

    Some spoiled coddled upper class types drops on you the usual crap they grew up with, sharing their opinions -- sometimes consciously as a goad -- on matters not pertinent to the work at hand. You offer a corrective from another perspective. Their class and ethnic countrymen and kinsmen (sometimes literally kinsmen) pile on, or turn up the deep freeze. You get isolated, and shunted to the third tier, after that, for not affirming their, and their mothers', unduly high opinion of themselves. "Did you happen to notice that bad things have been happening to you?" a quote from the connected.

    Amazing at how poor the academy is at writing about itself, and its own process. Not an accident.

    I saw an interesting article about how the U of Michigan was sued for the largest judgment to date for academic discrimination, by a gal whose work apparently was misappropriated, as I recall. Think her name was Flynn? You might be interested in googling that one. Can't recall the others' names, or some of the other details, offhand.

    You usually see this kind of stuff more when one group controls the top positions in academic departments and other academic positions. You also see it, and this is a sign of it, when particular groups achieve critical mass in a branch of academia. Then they cover for each other.

    Sorry for the pseudonym, but I really don't need any more target acquisition for the benefit of the Slavophobes.

    Nemo

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  6. You know, the need of these people to feel that something was somehow, could be somehow, salvaged is very poignant, and understandable. And while an obsession with books and writing can be abused as a surrogate activity for acting effectively in the world, it is also true that the "revenge of the mortal hand" - szymborska - a written testament, is all we have.

    Religious hucksters, often selling various forms of fire insurance, repeatedly abuse the fears and hopes of humanity. Televangelism comes to mind.

    IB Singer, in his Magician of Lublin, describes how a fellow who was an abuser and manipulator, I think it was in the entertainment/magic fields (sounds like the media again) easily morphed into being a religious racketeer in the end, having others serve him, and his needs, the antithesis of Buber's thou.

    Nemo

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  7. the question becomes, what can be done?

    concerned polonians must decide to affect hiring, coursework, student acceptance, book purchase, and syllabi choices in schools and on campuses.

    we must affect our representation. we must demand hiring of professors who have demonstrated competence at fair representation.

    these might not be ethnic poles. in fact i know few ethnically polish faculty in america who have demonstrated any concern about the bieganski stereotype. again, it is controversial, and they risk career backlash not to mention personal taint with the brute image. so they play it safe.

    look at norman davies, a world class scholar who has done much for polonia, and who is not polish.

    and look at what happened to him at stanford. did polonia help retain this vital voice in the american academy? no. we lost him.

    african americans have shown the way. every concerned polonian must watch "eyes on the prize." others have organized for change; we can, as well.

    we are simply not doing the necessary work.

    afaik, no one else in polonia is even talking about making campus representation an agenda item. polonians don't seem to realize that this is a sine qua non. that all the facebook pages and petition signing in the world mean nothing without campus activism

    we organized before, of course -- during the labor movement.

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    1. I recall administrators making a presentation about the elite subCollege of a large university. -- they listing representation stats about a zillion gender/minority flavors. I had asked how many of their students were first generation college. They acted like I had asked something trivial and inappropriate.

      I think it is not at all safe at universities for Slavs to exhibit interest in their own experience, while for others it is regarded as normal and empowering.

      Because the Bieganski stereotype is more readily applied to males, and because the women's movement can provide some cover (attacks there risking collateral damage), it is particularly unsafe, and suspect, for male Slavs to take an interest in their own experience, much less voice it. it is actually safer for other groups to take an interest in the matter, with all the potential for co-opting that goes with that.

      So I am not surprised at the silence of ethnically Slavic faculty.

      Nemo

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  8. "I would be interested in the citation of the article you were sent - "a concerned blog reader sent me a lengthy scholarly article on the fate of working class white ethnics in academia.". If it is pre-press, maybe when it comes out?"

    i just tried to find it, unsuccessfully, because i really do have a broken arm and digging through my pile of papers was not successful

    it is published

    i just wrote to the friend who sent it 2 me and asked resend

    will update when and if i can

    meanwhile please google working class graduate school and find a treasure trove of published articles, heartbreaking anecdotes, etc

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  9. found article

    social class and belonging

    ostrove et al

    jornal of higher ed

    82:6 nov dec 2011

    748-774

    rough conclusion: working class, regardless of skin color or gender, feel less belonging in grad school and therefore are less likely to become profs on elite campuses

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    1. Thank you for this. Because so few people plan to, try to, go to grad school, the Slavophobe hostility of higher education is very invisible, and this is where the important cuts are - who gets to shape the agenda of higher education, gets connected to economic and professional opportunities, who gets to really recoup on their educational investment.

      Undergrads think it's equal opportunity, mostly because they are at the stage of shelling out, rather than taking in (finally) some bucks. They can even leave with this illusion, not knowing the invisible doors that opened for some of them.

      And of course, paying tuition, they do have the equal opportunity to support the educational establishment. Inculcated with the agendas of others, and believing equal opportunity, they will be recruited always to walk in others' parades, and will do so, thinking they are taking part in building an equal opportunity world. Dupes.

      Thus the Slavophobia is quite invisible to many, which is very much part of the problem.

      Nemo

      Delete
  10. Norman Finkelstein would be most amused by this as it seems another confirmation of his theory about the Holocaust Industry. Of course Youlus didn't exploit Jewish suffering to extort money from governments, businesses and institutions, he used the entirely understandable desire to commemorate and recover a lost world to run a scam.

    What's revealing is how many people/organisations of standing actually subscribe to the idea that an ethnic group has the absolute right to all products, possessions, relics and mementoes of that same group. While we can recognise the justice of such an approach when it relates to indigenous peoples whose artefacts and skeletons were skeletons taken to museums as objects of ethnographic study, it's not as easy to see that in the case of religious groups making such claims on behalf of their co-religionists who had lived in a modern nation state. The case of Bruno Szulc's wall art that was quite illegally lifted in Ukraine and spirited away to Israel.

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  11. A number of points:

    1. The Holocaust Industry is very topical. The reason why the rabbi encountered hostility, and even violence, was because the locals questioned his motives for coming. This, in turn, owes to the Holocaust Industry and its representatives coming to Poland to evaluate the extent of past Jewish properties in order to return with demands for financial compensation.

    2. The re-use of gravestones as sidewalks was primarily done by the Nazis.

    3. The disrespect to unused cultural objects is not limited to Jewish objects. For instance, the Soviets had converted the beautiful Polish Lyczakow Cemetery in Lwow (Lviv) into a garbage dump.

    4. By asserting that Jewish objects in Poland belong not to Poland but to Jews elsewhere, these critics are tacitly validating the Endek premise that Poland's Jews were more of a separate nation on Polish soil than an integral part of Poland.

    5. As per Bruno Szulc, not only Polish gentiles but also Polish Jews objected to the removal of the materials to Yad Vashem. To read my review of this item, please click on my name.

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  12. Talk about yo double standard, check this out.

    http://news.yahoo.com/penn-judge-muslims-allowed-attack-people-insulting-mohammad-210000330.html

    Nemo

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  13. If the article above is right the rabbinical gentleman in question never visited either Poland or the Ukraine. He has never been there, and neither, apparently, have any of the "rescued" Torahs. This all seems to have taken place in the virtual world that is the Current Official History of WW2 - the world in which the Evil Axis Powers of Poland, Poland and Poland steal the River Danube in order to drown poor old Bambi's mum in it. And manage to beat up someone they have never actually met...

    On the plus side, what a red flag warning we have about how careful we have to be about believing what we are told, most especially when it is designed to get us to hate and despise others, as this clearly is.

    At the moment it seems that "the world" is telling me I must hate the Iranian people and that they must be attacked - and Shocked and Awed I suppose.

    This is a powerful reminder to me to just ignore that and go on doing good to any Iranian people I might come across - and to speak positively and upbuildingly about them should the occasion to do so arise.

    That way, I will be striving to stay "no part" of the world.

    I don't think we should criticise each other over this. Its very difficult to deal with, and no group put in this position - of being "it" - would find it easy.

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  14. Polonia? It's hard to shake it awake. I think too many of us think if we just ignore the insults they will go away. It comes from fear. I did six poetry reading recently in chicago. 4 were before non Polish audiences, 2 were before audiences of first and second generation Polish American college students. The first audiences were emotionally involved, listened to my stories of the terrible things that happened to the Poles in WWII. The Polish audience sat silently, was unresponsive, didn't ask questions. They weren't bored--they seemed frightened. Of what?

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    1. I suspect that the silence is in part related to not wanting to be like, give credence to, the various cultures which are expert at screaming, whining, bellyaching, etc. usually to cadge extra cash or freebies for themselves and/or their favorite charity -- usually in the name of "rights" of some sort. And I suspect that many Polonians find that such a style and identity for themselves to be repugnant and repulsive. The fact that they showed up means they care.

      It may be that they do not have much practice at such things, and what might one say to horror? And in Amerika, positive expression of Slavic identity is almost always suspect. Other groups are freedom fighters, or progressives. We are nationalists. You know the game.

      Nemo

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    2. there is a line from the poem "Invictus" - fairly famous - "I have not winced or cried aloud. Under the bludgeonings . . . "

      It might not be unresponsiveness per se, and one wonders how many of these have their own variations of such stories. Adding to it orally just feels bad, and adding to it in writing is almost pointless -- witness Dr. Goska's problems with publishers, and with public libraries and her Bieganski.

      Nemo

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    3. I think that you, Dr. Guzlowski, are correct about the "frightened" part. Poles have never tended to be expressive. When I was a child, my mother told me to never complain or criticize anything in America because, she said, an American may say, "You are foreigners. If you do not like it, you can leave."

      To docile attitude of Poles contrasts to other groups that come to America with a diametrically-opposite attitude, trying to get Americans to conform to THEM instead of conforming to Americans. They exhibit a "We demand this, we demand that" mindset, if not verbalization.

      Delete
  15. i'm sorry 2 read of the polonian audiences' responses, but not surprised. exactly the same exp at this end but i must say -- my very best audience was in markowa, poland, as a previous blog post attests

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  16. Yes I've had good Polish audiences too-- but older audiences and more Polish than Polish american

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  17. Hello John the Poet, Is this because what has happened, is happening, is so terrible that its very hard to deal with and hard to see what to do about it. People can't take on "the world". It was only - is only - constant studying of the Inspired Scriptures - both Hebrew and Christian Greek - that enables me to cope with it all - and to understand the why of it. They set everything straight if we will listen to them. But without that, would I just rather not know? Its possible. So I never want to blame anyone who does feel that way, just wish that they would study the Bible. But thanks again for continuing to get our true story out there. Even if audiences seem unresponsive, they may not be at all.

    ReplyDelete

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