Just another WordPress.com site

Latest

Crime(a) and injustice

I admit I am politicore. Sometimes I just let my emotions take over my International relations degree. Sometimes I let historical injustices to skew my point of view.

But at least I admit this. Politics would never happen without emotions behind them. 90% of the wars would never be waged if it was up to rational decision (and this point was actually stressed in strategic studies and theories on war and peace. Better take away then ranges and codenames of ICBMs, I think).

So I am not rational about Crimea, I don’t even wanna be rational when it comes to superpower imperialism. So let me call Putin Voldemort (because they really are lookalikes). But even when I look at it rationally… annexation is not okay. 97% referendum results are usually fake… and this is very scary times and I never been grateful enough for the NATO membership that might save my country, New Europe… but who knows. It never paid to count on alliances. But there. I am being bitter over history again.

But emotionally… Crimea saved my life. Literally. I was at a low point when I went to Ukraine back then in 2012. It was not my first time in the country, but I ventured more into it. Teaching English near Kharkiv and fulfilling my political nerd dreams about going down to Yalta (despite being faded and carrying scars of time, Yalta is still fabulous) and visiting infamous Livadia, visiting and enjoying formerly forbidden Sevastopol (ditto Yalta) and going down the submarine silos of Balaclava… basking in the sunlight, enjoying the exchange rate, adoring the locals for their humility, their perseverance, their kindness (and their fashion style)… it all clicked right. It were all the good omens I needed to go on at the moment. Crimea mighta stole part of my soul, but so did other places. No words can express my gratitude to the peninsula.

So to see the lovely sunlit peninsula “ruined” (and ruined it will be at least in certain aspects… it will certainly be different and I am not sure if Russian rule can make a good difference anywhere). It makes me angry. Makes me sad. Makes me feel like something very dear to be was taken away from me.

I love Russian people, the everyday folks, but as Leonard Cohen said: I love the country, but i can’t stand the scene. I am afraid I might not get visa anyways. And as much as I want to be panslavist, because it feels as right stance, it seems so hard to do right now.

I know it’s not black and white. I know. I never said that about any situation. But this is just fucking sad. I am afraid post-cold war era is definitely over. Fukuyama was so very wrong. I am afraid this will be the same shit, all over. With Twitter and Facebook.

And as much as I love to pretend to be a strong slavic bitch, right now the history seems too much to handle.

There war not far from here….

warning: I am not trying to inform wholesomely on the Ukraine crisis. I am just reporting my thoughts about the whole thing at this moment.

 

I have been along with the rest of world nervously following the trouble in Ukraine. Spinning from what seemed to be business as usually in bitter aftermath of Orange revolution of protests against status quo, no matter what it was. It never been good. But at least you could more or less protest it. I been to Maidan personally few times… and seen few of these protests, back then innocent. But somehow it spun into situation resembling civil war, a coup, a power vacuum…. and an occupation of lovely Crimea.

Russia acting as typical bully, hoping to get away with it, threatening (the now denied ultimatum), to most absurd “it’s not our army” claims. Putin is certainly very nervous (and makes me wonder what it took for Russian revolutionary happenings to fizzle out the way they did). Putin tried to defend this occupation on humanitarian basis. Threatened threateningly. World threatens but rather carefully. After all, nobody is going to start WWIII… even over Crimea. After all Crimea these days doesn’t matter as much as it did back then. On the other side… I could see it as a good omen that somebody actually cares, talks, offers tangible help… and money.

It’s so absurd, so scary and unbeliavable that I cannot predict where this is gonna go. I pray each night for lovely penninsula and for things being alright. Not for the countries. But for the people. They deserve a break from the bad that history brings. Lovely harbour of Sevastopol deserves to be a site of beauty for once… rather than strategic point and a battlefield.

The paranoid part of me is for once glad my country is member of NATO… even if we “burn money on trying to appear that we matter” or are “trying to play with the big kids”. Paranoid me listens to planes flying over my place with bit of fear.  But rationally, I know WE will be okay. Not so sure about Ukraine.

Glitter and White Phosphorus

I wear glitter when I go out
I wear glitter as my shield
Glitter is the mask that hides
all the secrets I won’t yield

I put on pretty to hide what’s inside
I talk dark, cause it makes me feel brave
don’t own nothing, don’t own this night
just glitter mask and one soul to save

I always go out like it’s the last time
I make amends in case I shall not return
Love and peace, please remember me
among the stars I shall burn

What does today bring for us?
In glitter and white phoshorus…

ruins, debris or star dust
nobody will care for us

I got glitter in my blood
makes me eyes shine, like bright stars
Lipstick and kohl are my sole weapons
I wear glitter to hide my scars

Sometimes I call on other souls
when laying awake in the night
There must more of us out there
there must a way to make it right

And maybe there’s some hope for us
we’re glitter and white phosphorus

air pollution smells like star dust
but nobody would die for us

Beauty from times gone makes me hopeful
but the pretty streets, they do not speak
History is my place to go to
Without it, I would feel so weak

I wear glitter and talk cynical
It’s my iron curtain, my barbed wire
And if I act cold, it’s just how I protect myself
When I see the world on fire

We don’t know what is right for us
my eyes burn like white phosphorus

As the whole world crumbles to dust
Of glitter and white phosphorus

Aside

I sometimes cry, I sometimes pray
does that make me pitiful?
Maybe I should starve myself
would that make me beautiful?Maybe I should dress more trendy
and not think of the history
maybe I should be like others
maybe I should stop being me

Maybe I should change who I am
to fit in this city
wear shoes and life that don’t fit
would that make me pretty?

TV tells me to by myself
by becoming one of them
The news channels says, that we are doomed
we had a hope, but that was then

People tell my eyes look dreamy
… that’s cause they seen many foreign places
I wandered around way too much
I hope that I left some traces

I remind myself that I am lucky
I survived so far, so maybe it’s not that bad
I got my memories and maybe my future
so why on the earth I feel so sad?

Should I toss my morals
for your adoration?
Should I damn my soul
to save my nation?

As I lay awake in the night
what to do with this life?
I can as well die for something
no way I am getting out alive…………

Just because we can doesn’t mean we should

“You cannot look at wars from moral perspective”, I have been told, some time ago, when submitting my first draft of my diploma thesis. Might not been the greatest one, but it was straight from the heart. And brain.

Silly me trying to look at Kosovo and Libya this way. Maybe I should try to look at it scientifically, two rogues, one country, whoever allies NATO wins, that equals a mess squared. Maybe I can try to look at it as a realist (humans are evil and want power… though as somebody who visited Kosovo I cannot ever understand why all the genocidal wars… even though the landscape is nice, most of meaning of the land is in narratives and mythologies and it’s emotional. Sorry, Mr. Morgenthau). I could be a neo-realist and think we wage wars because of anarchistic structure…but how does this explain civil wars? I doubt that Libyans and Kosovars fought just because they could. I really do. I could try to look at it as marxist… but to be honest, the only way I find sufficient is post-modernism…. and it doesn’t tell us much.

Dehumanizing things that involve living breathing human beings does not make a good science. Admitting we know a little and we cannot predict how things will go… is not a weakness and does not make one unwise.

We sometimes talk of might making right and how awful things are done for greater good. Of course. I admit as much. Sometimes you need to do the right thing, in other cases, you need to do the wrong thing for the right reason. But when it comes to determining right and wrong… it depends. Just because landmines between North and South Korea are least awful of awful scenarios, does not mean it’s okay to plant landmines all around, just because you want that piece of territory them fuckers have. Just because allies carpet bombed Dressden and won WWII (and let’s be honest, one can argue even about strategic value of this act) doesn’t mean it is okay to do so. Just because…

Yes, I am moral relativist, but that does not mean I don’t have no morals. I don’t wanna be a “let me help you” destructive idiot, so I often admit that I know a little. I just wish other would do it too.

In politics or normal everyday life… sometimes you don’t know what is best for others. Sometimes you do bad things and it’s alright because it ended well, but that does not mean you can do bad things all time.

Thinking of humans as statistics does not make you enlightened and wise. Soviets were that way, progressive new humans. “there is enough humans in the world”…. But one human can mean a world to their friends, family and lovers. That one human killed in battle of how-the-hell-you-spell-its-name could have been the next big thing. WWI once seemed all just and right and war to end wars and we all know how that ended.

I wish we could do away with language of collateral damage, of thinking of world in terms of “awful things happen… oopps!”. Realism is just another perception of reality and it doesn’t mean you perceive the reality correctly. “Truth” is after all bound in time and space. Often it’s just collective delusion. A delusion accepted by majority. Something that next generations will learn about and ask their teachers “what the hell were the fools thinking?” And it will be hard to explain and grasp. Maybe when we are all old, we will have time to understand our thinking of younger days as well. Maybe we should think of “how would we explain this to our progressive grandchildren” when we make major political decisions. But maybe even that wouldn’t help. One gets caught in the moment and current paradigms. Accepting “we don’t know it all” and “there is not one way” could might save us a lot of mess. But it is something that is not a mainstream philosophy. You cannot run in election under “Others might be right, too”.

They say truth will set one free. But I think that accepting that truth is a very relative thing and that our “truth” is more of “what we know at this moment and how we perceive the said information” may be the true answer. Problem with post-modernism is that you cannot prove or push the paradigm, because if you do, you will disprove it. But maybe we could give it a shot, since all other ideologies seemed to have failed us so far, don’t you think?

International relations in a four line stanza

Francis proclaimed end of the history
when we torn down the walls
samuel opposed, said Muslims will clash with us
and burn down our malls

(yes, I needed to spend numerous years in academia to come up with this).

Sevastopol… the good, the bad, the pretty and the formerly classified

P1180143

Sevastopol is perfect place for many things. You may have heard about the pretty beaches. About the sights. And the clubs with cheap vodka and pretty girls. But if you are nerd for the things political and studied history of Cold war… it’s place perfect for you. Sevastopol is like Cold War wikileak. Not that you learn that much and you probably knew it before… but it’s the excitement of getting behind the curtain of formerly strictly secret. And the landscape is pretty too. And the food is good and cheap. And so is the vodka.

Sevastopol itself was a closed city during the Cold War times. And it still has plenty of military no-go-zones, marked in pink on map. There’s Russian Black Sea fleet docking in the bay and you can go see them when you pay for a “progulka” – a boat ride. I paid three euro after some hassling about the price. Boat driver managed to make several phonecalls and spoke in fast Russian about what we can see. Russian girl on the boat told me in low voice that what we see are Russian “secret ships”. They were there in their all monstrosity.

P1180055 P1180050

And of course if you are Cold War nerd, you need to take trip to Balaclava and go see the former submarine factory. There’s no submarines anymore, just their models, but there’s plenty of writtings on the walls in cyrilics about how you should keep the state secrets and think twice before speaking. And there’s parts of submarines, weapons, torpedoes and of course the silo itself. Eerie. Foreigners are asked to pay more, but if you manage to speak bit Russian, you’ll get the locals price. Which may or may not feel like winning the Cold War over again. Then go back into harbour and have beer or a coctail to the fact we made it, neither red or dead. Or if you feel hot, catch a boat to one of the fancy beaches and let yourself forget the history for hour and two.

P1180251 P1180263 P1180230 P1180241 P1180243 P1180225

(Pic 1: Don’t tell everything you know. Know what are you telling

Pic 2: Protect the military secrets!

Pic 3, 4: the silo

Pic 5: Voguing it on some old torpedo

Pic 6: one of the hallways of the silo)

If you care for all wars, being either a bellicose hawk, a nerd or bleeding heart liberal, go see Panorama… a well done… panoramatic art of Crimean war (and feel creeped out how this thriving city that is so alive and buzzing was fought over so many times in the history).

P1180179 P1180171 P1180161

You will feel history in Sevastopol, it’s terrifying impact…. but you will feel so alive with the breeze from the Black Sea. You will feel history under your feet, you will see lot of beautiful people and striking architecture… but if you are not totally unaware you will feel implications of the times past. You will feel greateful you are here.

 

P1180100

Kvas – a refreshing drink made of bread and yeast. It’s the opposite of communism. You know how communism sounds great, but is horrible in reality? Kvas sounds horrible, right? It’s great.

P1180491

A peak into the pink zone. You will find that sometimes map is misleading. And that sometimes a wrong turn means walking straight into creepy. Leave the secrets as they lay. Not saying it is so, but you may not make it back from the pink zones. And the rest of the city is oh-so-pretty.

P1180001

Yet another war memorial.

P1180005

Memorial of some general. Category called (by us cynical pacifists) as “swine on piedestal”.

P1180569

Memorial to the war in Afghanistan (the one that Soviets lead, not the current one). The cross stands in a red star. I hurt my toe there, because I was not expecting a star on the ground. Shows how much communism can suprise you.

P1180461 P1180520 P1180516 P1180268 P1180270 P1180102 P1180010

And of course the things for beauty, that the city kept for herself (and the Might USSR) for so long.

The things I learned through my university years

I recently graduated Master’s (brag brag brag) and now I am off the real world, wondering how to use my knowledge effectively in it… I think it’s time to revise all I learned.

So here it is:
Economics: If you wanna make your country thrive, of course you can act protectionist. But you ave to be careful about not protecting ineffective sectors of your economy.
And… we shouldn’t talk much about the economics crisis. It’s like Voldemort. It shouldn’t be mentioned.

Future of Europe: Czechs eat horrible and drink a lot. And foreigners love that about our country.

Russian language: Russians are weird. And that “b” like letter is a bitch.

Stratetic studies: Russia bad. America good. we only purchase weapons to protect peace. Nuclear weapons are good, unless Russia, Iran or North Korea get them (shhhh, about Israel. *points to other shiny things*).
In warfare invetion is crucial. And if everything fails, try to extract important information from enemy’s concubines (thanks Sun Tzu).

Geopolitics: Heartland, Rimland, shatterbelt, blah blah blah, Chinese are going to get us.

History of 20th century: Stalin had yellow eyes. And during Lenin’s early days in Kremlin, there was a lot of crows and Lenin was highly disturbed by them. So they started to shooting them, only it disturbed Lenin even more. And all the movies about Samurais are untrue.

The USA and New Europe: Bush wasn’t that bad, ya’ll. And New Europe is not that new actually.

Theories of war and peace: I actually learned a lot about conflict resolution in this class. Only it’s never been implemented in real world. At least not succesfully. I may try to implement these in some hellzone, if I ever feel suicidal.
Also: theory of democratic peace works. Actually, it doesn’t! Actually, it DOES! No, it don’t!
And that one PhD student is hot, has nice legs and knows about modern wars. Wonder if she has boyfriend. Or girlfriend.

Transnational studies: I got to discuss one of my fave artists here, M.I.A. and be totally academic about it.
(and I guess yakking in English on Czech University among Europeans about problems of Latin American migration is transnationalism too).

Proliferation of weapons of mass destruction: current mayor of Nagasaki does not reply to e-mails of peace activists.
And there’s lot of sketch countries in the world.

Middle Eastern studies: Of course I learned about terrorists and dictators, Islamists and Zionists (and anti-Zionists too!). But the most memorable thing I learned and something we all I think will remember is… that back in the day, Leila Khaled was a slamming hottie. Who
hijacked plane (and probably looked good doing it).

Human evolution and politics: Muslims commit suicide bombing because in polygamous society non-alpha males have hard chances of getting laid.

I guess my life is fuller now. But I still have no idea how to use this for good of the state and society.

Somewhat schizotypal account on Kosovo, Republic of

I could call this entry simply “crazy”, but that may give readers expectations of me getting drunk of Kosovar raki and sleeping with entire KFOR continent (and losing my peace symbol earings). So odd in believes and behaviour it is. It may sound like trip on depleted uranium laced acid. Or as account of somebody who seriously overdosed on political science mixed with empathy. It could be that some places are seriously haunted or their energies are so strong they make people slightly crazy.

Once I had dream. I do have very vivid and somewhat trippy dreams. In this one, I was running for president of some small and poor country. And as part of campaign, I was on a roadtrip with my friends and we were riding down a highway in mountains. Beautiful mountains.

Months later, I was sitting on bus, line Tiranë-Pristina… on a highway, in a mountains. God (and United Nations) know why there’s highway between one poor town and capital of no-state. But the views are wonderful.

Pristina is bizzare. It is a town full of war memorials.

P1150849

And there’s flags. Kosova’s, Albanian, American, EU (thank you for having faith in us, when we lost it ourselves) and NATO. Yes, NATO.

P1150862

People asked me if I am an American and were somehow sad that I am not. Maybe they wanted to see real American. You know, unarmed one, or simply one that is in the country because they wanted to, not because they were sent in.

I slept in guesthouse owned by talkative professor… and there was a ghost in my room. Really. But this non-country is full of ghosts.

Pristina is new and somehow abruptly build, and it looks like condo of woman who left her abusive partner and splurged on modern furniture, without thinking how it all will go together.

P1150873

So there is architecture like this, and nothing around. It looks bit unfinished. And I couldn’t get my mind of the history and what we did and didn’t do. And if we did right. Is there even any “right” when it comes to war?

P1150883

And it looks spacious, somehow scarily spacious. Like ground zero. And feels surreal.

P1150884

Professor from the guest house sent me to Newborn, apparently hip part of the town. There are American restaurants and you can get good burgers there. I testify. And there’s little cafes, where you can have coffee under one Euro and just people watch (and be watched. Good they love foreigners there). I imagined every waiter and taxi driver had something to do with KLA in the past. There was a waiter in Doner Place in Prizren, who had scar in his face and I secretly hope it was not from “I teased sister’s cat when I was five”. Because animal abuse is worse than being member of secessionist paramilitary unit with terrorist inklings.

Kosovo/a might be secular and pro-European… but they do have mosques

P1150926

P1150936

P1150953

Prizren is picturesque town. But they have Coca Cola.

P1150959

and KFOR. Professor told me Kosova is a safe country, since there’s KFOR. I didn’t want to argue that need for international peacekeeping forces tells something about your countries safety. Even though the peacekeepers are hot. I bruised my leg while checking out the peacekeepers, who looked bored out of their minds. I walked into a roadblock. Peacekeepers were amused.

P1150962

and there’s memorials to terrorist/freedom fighters. It’s fuzzy there. Even for us post-modernist who maintain that there is no truth and everything is relative. But tell yourself how one man’s freedom fighter is another’s man’s terrorist, when they haunt you in your guesthouse room and when some, according to info on memorials were less than 18. Yes, fighting for your freedom is hot, war crimes are not… but here, it’s many shades of gray. Darker than we care to admit.

But one doesn’t want to trot a non-country thinking that everybody there is evil, more or less and that we are evil too, for getting involved in this war (and evil for not getting involved in other wars… can I say *Rwanda*?)

P1150963

And then, there’s those bizzare KFOR bildboards:

P1150998

P1150999

yes, weapons are bad*, your KFOR.
(*except our weapons)

P1160002

we gave you peace… now give us Raki.

P1160011

And then there’s Bill Clinton Boullevard, with a statue. Sometimes, when you bomb a country, you do get a statue.

P1160004

Freedom, peace and all the good things seems to be thorny in this no-state.

P1160006

I wonder if somebody should tell them that throwing the word “nazi” around is frowned upon in the West?

On the way back to Tirana, I’ve seen a wondrous thunderstrom. Then it passed and it was sunny again, skies were clear. Omen? How about those cows that were crossing the borders and they let them pass, without looking at their passports? The bus driver blasted some nationalist music with lot of loud instruments. And I knew that I can leave Kosovo and be cynical about it… but it will haunt me forever.

UN comments on Gangnam style

And approves…..

I wonder if it means that we can now talk about Palestine and Kosovo/a and North Korean nukes. Since UN talks about mundane shallow shit for us.

At least we know what does Ban Ki-moon on Youtube (and I am scared, so very scared that sooner or later UN will give statement about 2girls1cup). But seriously, isn’t it enough TV considers celebrity gossip news? Does UN have to sink to that level?

I am should not be suprised. Nobel Peace Prize decorated EU spends time debating about cellphone chargers and if water helps thirst and dehydratation. Czechoslovak parlaiment had back then debate about if lion in coat of arms should have… a penis (until then I thought his fur was just messy. But I don’t see any reason to castrate our coats of arms).

It seems that you cannot escape talk of shallow and unimportant. But it is slowly becoming all there is.

And  as much as I love music… I don’t think Gangnam style is gonna save us. I’d rather hear what Ban Ki-Moon has to say to Syria. And what he’s gonna do about it.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.