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Okrogla miza SEP na Vilenici

KDO SLIŠI SOSEDOVO ZGODBO?

CEI Round Table at Vilenica

WHO CAN HEAR ONE’S NEIGHBOUR’S STORY?

21. Mednarodni literarni festival Vilenica /

21 st Vilenica International Literary Festival

Četrtek, 7. septembra 2006, ob 10h /

Thursday, 7 September 2006 at 10 a.m.

Lipica, hotel Maestoso, dvorana Allegra

Lipica Maestoso Hotel, Allegra Hall

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Okrogla miza SEP na Vilenici

KDO SLIŠI SOSEDOVO ZGODBO?

CEI Round Table at Vilenica

WHO CAN HEAR ONE’S NEIGHBOUR’S STORY?

Urednici / Editors:

Miljana Cunta, Barbara Šubert

Založilo / Published by:

Društvo slovenskih pisateljev, zanj Vlado Žabot

Grafično oblikovanje / Designed by:

Tadej Ulčakar

Tehnična ureditev in tisk / Technical arrangement and printing:

Ulčakar & JK

Naklada 300 izvodov / Print-run 300 copies

Ljubljana, avgust 2006 / Ljubljana, August 2006

CIP - Kataložni zapis o publikaciji

Narodna in univerzitetna knjižnica, Ljubljana

339.92(063)(082)

SREDNJEEVROPSKA pobuda. Okrogla miza (2006 ; Lipica)

Kdo sliši sosedovo zgodbo / Okrogla miza SEP na Vilenici [v

okviru prireditve] 21. Mednarodni literarni festival Vilenica, 7.

september 2006, Lipica ; [urednici Miljana Cunta in Barbara

Šubert]. - Ljubljana : Društvo slovenskih pisateljev, 2006

ISBN 961-6547-09-7

1. Gl. stv. nasl. 2. Cunta, Miljana 3. Mednarodni literarni

festival Vilenica (21 ; 2006 ; Lipica)

228125440

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Kazalo / Table of Contents

Beseda o Srednjeevropski pobudi ......................................6

A Word on the Central European Initiative .........................7

Okrogla miza SEP na Vilenici:

Kdo sliši sosedovo zgodbo? .............................................11

CEI Round Table at Vilenica:

Who Can Hear One’s Neighbour’s Story? ...........................14

Udeleženci / Panelists .....................................................19

Eseji / Essays

Csordás Gábor ................................................................................ 29

Nemi jeziki ali Priročna podoba drugega, prevod Lili Potpara

Dumb Languages or the Image of the Other at Hand

Tatjana Gromača ........................................................................... 45

Govor in zgodba, prevod Maja Novak

A Speech and a Story, translated by Lili Potpara

Simona Škrabec .............................................................................. 57

Ksenofilija ali ohranjanje tujosti

Xenophilia, or, Preserving the Foreign, translated by Nikolai Jeffs

Werner Wintersteiner ...................................................................... 75

Poetika različnega, Pustolovščina drugega, prevod Polona Glavan

Poetics of the Diverse, The Adventure of the Other

Idith Zertal .................................................................................... 87

Joj, kako lepa smrt! Pokopališča, ohranjanje spomina

in nacionalizem, prevod Tamara Soban

Oh, What a Beautiful Death! Cemeteries,

Remembrance and Nationalism

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Srednjeevropska pobuda (SEP)

The Central European Initiative (CEI)

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BESEDA O SREDNJEEVROPSKI POBUDI

Srednjeevropska pobuda (SEP) vključuje 18 držav članic: Albanijo,

Avstrijo, Belorusijo, BiH, Bolgarijo, Češko, Črno goro, Hrvaško, Italijo,

Madžarsko, Makedonijo, Moldavijo, Poljsko, Romunijo, Slovaško,

Slovenijo, Srbijo ter Ukrajino. Skupaj obsegajo ozemlje 2,4 milijonov

kvadratnih kilometrov in 250 milijonov prebivalcev. Začetki SEP segajo

v leto 1989, ko je bil v Budimpešti podpisan sporazum med Avstrijo,

Italijo, Madžarsko in Jugoslavijo, ki je opredelil pogoje za politično,

ekonomsko, znanstveno in kulturno sodelovanje. Danes si organizacija

s strategijo kohezije in solidarnosti prizadeva preprečevati nastajanje

in poglabljanje novih delitev v Evropi po širitvi EU ter pospeševati

zmogljivosti najmanj razvitih članic oziroma članic, ki potrebujejo

gospodarski zagon. Temelj dejavnosti SEP predstavljajo delovne skupine,

ki delujejo na številnih, vsebinsko različnih področjih, kot so:

kmetijstvo, varstvo okolja, energetika, kultura, čezmejno sodelovanje,

mala in srednja podjetja, civilna zaščita, boj proti organiziranemu

kriminalu, promet, manjšine, turizem in podobno. V letu 2004 je Pobudi

predsedovala Slovenija, v letu 2005 Slovaška, ki je za naslednje

enoletno obdobje predsedovanje predala Albaniji.

Okrogla miza SEP na Vilenici se uvrča med t. i. osrednje tematske

dogodke SEP za področje literature. Osrednji tematski dogodki so

ponavljajoči se dogodki, ki nosijo v naslovu ime Srednjeevropske pobude

in so strukturno in finančno vezani na Sekretariate SEP.

www.ceinet.org

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A WORD ON THE CENTRAL EUROPEAN INITIATIVE

The Central European Initiative (CEI) is composed of 18 member states:

Albania, Austria, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia,

the Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro,

Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine. Together,

they make up a territory of 2.4 million square kilometres and

a population of nearly 250 million. The CEI was the first forum for

regional co-operation on the political map of Central, Eastern and

South-Eastern Europe, and of all the various regional groupings, it enjoys

the longest tradition and covers the largest area. It was established

in 1989 by Austria, Italy, Hungary and Yugoslavia with the aim of creating

a platform for mutual political, economic, scientific and cultural

co-operation. From its inception, the CEI has promoted cohesion and

solidarity among its member states. In recent years, it has emerged

as one of the foremost platforms for regional co-operation. One of

the organisation’s main objectives is to bring the countries of Central,

Eastern and South-Eastern Europe closer together and to assist them

in the preparation process for EU membership through economic, human

and institutional development. In 2004, the Initiative presidency

was held by Slovenia; in 2005, Slovakia, and in the current year, it is

held by Albania.

The CEI Round Table at Vilenica is one of CEI’s Feature Events

in the area of literature. CEI Feature Events are recurring events that

contain the CEI name in their title and that are structurally and financially

connected to the CEI Secretariats.

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Okrogla miza SEP na Vilenici:

Kdo sliši sosedovo zgodbo?

KONCEPT

CEI Round Table at Vilenica:

Who Can Hear One’s Neighbour’s Story?

CONCEPT

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KDO SLIŠI SOSEDOVO ZGODBO?

Simona Škrabec

Vprašanje evropske identitete ostaja odprto, kljub temu da je blokovska

razdelitev celine srečno pozabljena. A razpravljanja se v glavnem

gibljejo v skladu z modelom, ki ga dobro ilustrira primer nekdanje

Jugoslavije. Od posameznika preidemo na identifikacijo s prvim okvirom

(Slovenija), ki ga oklepa nek širši pojem (Jugoslavija) in tega je po

potrebi mogoče vključiti v večjo enoto (Evropa). Okvire je mogoče

poljubno množiti in jih prilagajati, a poglavitna značilnost koncentričnih

krogov identitet je, da jih lahko pospravimo enega v drugega kot ruske

lutke. Vendar pa so osebne izkušnje marsikomu vsadile več kot eno

jedro. Pripadnosti tej ali oni skupnosti ni vedno mogoče razmejiti

tako jasno, kot so zarisane pokrajine v starih atlasih. Barve, ki ločujejo

države, narode ali zgolj administrativne enote ne zmorejo opisati sveta,

ki se vedno bolj zaveda svoje razdrobljenosti.

Ta pojav seveda ni nov, sploh pa ne na področju Srednje Evrope.

Že Robert Musil je ironično pripomnil, da bi v njegovem času vsak

pomemben filozof lahko naštel nekaj milijonov zvestih privržencev,

torej niso bili le narodi in jeziki tisti, ki so skrhali včerajšnji svet. Toda

kljub svojemu zapletenemu ustroju je bila Habsburška Avstrija zadnji

okvir, ki je še omogočal, da so bili spisi kočevskega graščaka z zanimanjem

brani tako na Dunaju kot v Vroclavu. Po Versajski pogodbi Evropi

ni uspelo obnoviti nobene tako velike paradigme. Evropska Unija

omogoča zgolj prost pretok kapitala, ne pa tudi ljudi, še manj njihovih

mnenj. Težko je pričakovati, da bi v Evropi nastal dovolj širok okvir, v

katerem bi se vsi počutili kot doma. Prešernova utopija o Evropi sosedov

se zdi morda nekoliko bolj uresničljiva. Namesto demoniziranega

nasprotnika bomo torej nekoč na drugi strani meje našli soseda, ki je

sicer drugačen, a vendar bomo znali prisluhniti njegovi zgodbi. Kako

oddaljeni smo še od te predstave romantičnega pesnika?

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Kartografija identitet

Časovni in prostorski okvir

Narodi utemeljujejo svoj obstoj z vzročno verigo, ki teče iz daljne

preteklosti v nedoločno prihodnost. Takšna zavest o sebi, zasnovana

na lastnem trajanju v času, pa je v veliki meri vzrok, ki onemogoča

dojemanje sočasne prisotnosti drugih identitet. Toda v današnjem svetu

postaja vedno bolj nujen pogled, osredotočen na prostor. Je prostor

– pa naj bo ta omejen na državo, v kateri živimo, na širšo regijo, kot

bi bila lahko Srednja Evropa, ali pa kar na vso celino – danes mogoče

že dojeti kot skupen okvir, v katerem smo sposobni zaznati drugačne

zgodbe, sprejeti njihovo hkratno prisotnost? Ali pa, nasprotno, tudi

danes prostor ostaja zgolj arena, v kateri poteka neusmiljen boj za prevlado,

ker se bo le zgodba najmočnejšega vpisala v arhive? Prostorska

perspektiva lahko služi za opravičilo kar najbolj izključujočim politikam

obrambe »življenjskega prostora«, lahko pa tudi odpira zavest o

tem, da na svetu nismo sami. Kateri od obeh možnosti se približuje

današnja Srednja Evropa?

Argument ogroženosti kot politično orožje

V kolikšni meri je strah pred vdorom barbarov še vedno prisoten v

Evropi? Prav Srednja Evropa je v preteklosti pogosto igrala vlogo varnostnega

pasu in predstavljala še zadnji obronek »civiliziranega« sveta.

Po drugi svetovni vojni pa se je ta ločnica toliko zamaknila, da je nad

njo za nekaj desetletij obvisel nevidni napis »ubi leones«, kakor je tedaj

duhovito opozoril Czesław Miłosz. Kako je s položajem Srednje Evrope

danes? In kako se sploh tkejo naše predstave o neznanih svetovih?

Je vedno na delu skrivnostni tkalec, ki uporablja za svoje delo grobo

svilo, polno vozlov, v katerih se skrivajo metri in metri nerazvite vrvi

prikritih predsodkov in tihega varovanja lastnih stališč? Sklicevanje na

ogroženost se je izkazalo kot učinkovito politično orožje z nepredvidljivimi

posledicami. Hitlerjeva Nemčija se je bala Judov, paranoja

je obvladovala Miloševićevo Srbijo, Zahod se je nekoč branil pred

komunistično nevarnostjo, danes pa se spet vrača v nekdanji orientalizem

in strah pred islamskim svetom.

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Literarne pokrajine

Podoba drugega

Vprašanje o tem, skozi kakšna cedila se preceja podoba drugih kultur,

s katerimi nimamo neposrednega stika, je izjemno zapleteno. Televizijske

in časopisne reportaže so stkane iz nekaj na hitro nagrabljenih

dejstev. A pri tem pogosto ne gre le za površnost ali nedorečenost. V

sodobnem, informacijskem svetu sami posredniki informacij stopajo

čedalje bolj v ozadje, medtem ko je Kafka, nasprotno, v svojo kazensko

kolonijo poslal raziskovalca. Brez njega nikoli ne bi izvedeli, kaj se je

dogajalo na otoku, ravno tako kot nam šele zemljemerčev prihod odkrije

obstoj Gradu. V kakšnem razmerju se danes nahajajo glede Srednje

Evrope vse tri Kafkove kategorije: Kje iskati metropolo? Kam postaviti

kolonije? In seveda tudi, kdo igra vlogo popotnika raziskovalca?

Kapilarna razvejanost svetovne literature

Svetovna literatura je izraz, ki se je rodil ob Goethejevem prebiranju

nekega kitajskega romana. Težko je ugotoviti, na kaj je mislil

pesnik, ko je skoval novo besedo, a najbrž njegova predstava ne ustreza

ne muzeju velikih književnih umetnin, v katerem odmevajo koraki

redkih obiskovalcev, kakor tudi ne nepregledni množici vsega, kar se

na svetu objavi pod široko oznako literatura. Svetovno literaturo si

lahko predstavljamo kot nenehno gibanje, ki nastaja vedno znova, ob

vsakem posameznem branju. Kako se v ta proces vključujejo literature

z obrobja velikih kultur? Kakšen je njihov dostop do bralcev zunaj

meja svojega jezika? Je morda res, kot je zapisala Pascale Casanova,

da vsaka knjiga potrebuje za vstop v mednarodni prostor potrdilo o

literarni vrednosti, ki ga podeljujejo v Parizu? Pri uveljavljanju v tujini

pa ne gre zgolj in samo za literarne prevode, saj je ena izmed šibkih

točk malih literatur prav pomanjkanje strokovnega občinstva v drugih

deželah. Pogosto celo res velike naklade ne jamčijo, da bosta pisatelj

in njegova kultura premagala anonimnost. A literatura kljub zakonom

trga pronica skozi meje. Fran Levstik je sredi 19. stoletja ustvaril silnega

junaka, ki je iz Trsta na plečih tovoril angleško sol kljub prepovedi

oblasti. Kako se danes zrna soli, skrita med platnicami, tihotapijo mimo

mejačev? V čem obstaja neulovljivost literature, njena silna moč?

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WHO CAN HEAR ONE’S NEIGHBOUR’S STORY?

Simona Škrabec

The question of European identity remains open although the division

of the continent into two blocks is happily forgotten. However,

discussions mainly follow the model well illustrated by the case of

former Yugoslavia. From the individual we proceed towards identification

with the first frame of reference (Slovenia), rooted within a

wider notion (Yugoslavia), which can – if necessary – be included into

a larger unit (Europe). The frames of reference can be multiplied and

adapted at will, but the fundamental characteristic of the concentric

circles of identities is that they fit one into another like Russian babushkas.

However, as a result of personal experience, many people

have more than one central core. Belonging to one community or another

cannot always be as clearly demarcated as regions in old atlases.

The colours dividing countries, nations or even administrative units

cannot describe the world, which is becoming increasingly aware of

its fragmentedness.

Admittedly, this phenomenon is not new, particularly not in Central

Europe. Robert Musil ironically remarked that in his time every

prominent philosopher could name a few millions of loyal followers,

so it wasn’t only nations and languages that shattered the world of

yesterday. But – despite its complex structure – Hapsburg Austria was

the last frame of reference still making it possible that the writings of a

nobleman from Kočevsko were read with the same interest in Vienna

as well as in Wroclaw. After the Versailles Treaty, Europe failed to build

a similarly large paradigm. The European Union enables only the free

flow of capital, but not of people or let alone of their opinions. It is

hard to expect that Europe could produce a framework wide enough

for everyone to feel at home in it. Prešeren’s utopia about a ‘Europe

of neighbours’ seems slightly more feasible. On the other side of the

border we will one day find a neighbour instead of a demonised opponent,

who is different, yes, but to whose story we are willing to listen.

How far away are we from this vision of the romantic poet?

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Cartography of Identities

Time and Space Reference

Nations define their existence by the causal chain running from the

ancient past into the indefinite future. However, this awareness of the

self based on its own existence in time to a substantial degree prevents

the perception of simultaneous presence of other identities. In the world

of today it is becoming increasingly important to be focused on space.

Is it possible to perceive this space – limited to the country where we

live, to the region like Central Europe or to the entire continent – like

a common frame of reference in which we are able to hear different

stories and acknowledge their presence? Or, on the contrary, does

space today remain only the arena of merciless struggle for predomination,

as only the most powerful story goes down in history? The

space perspective can serve as an excuse for the most exclusive policies

in defence of the ‘living space’, or can strengthen the awareness of the

fact that we are not alone in the world. Which of the two options is

closer to the reality of today’s Central Europe?

Feeling Threatened as a Political Weapon

To what degree is the fear of barbarian invasion still present in

Europe? In the past, Central Europe often functioned as a safety zone

and represented the outer fringe of the ‘civilised’ world. After World

War II this demarcation was shifted so much that Central Europe was

for decades bearing the invisible ‘ubi leones’ tag, as Czeslaw Milosz

once wittily remarked. What is the situation in Central Europe today?

And how are our perceptions of unknown lands weaved? Is a mysterious

weaver doing his work with rough silk full of knots concealing

metres and metres of prejudice and silent defence of one’s own views?

Reference to feeling threatened has proved to be an efficient political

weapon with unpredictable consequences. Hitler’s Germany was

afraid of the Jews, paranoia was the trade-mark of Milošević’s Serbia,

the West once defended itself against the Communist threat and is

today once more resorting to the former orientalism and fear of the

Islamic world.

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Literary Landscapes

The Image of the Other

The question of what sives the images of other cultures are sifted

through is extremely complex. TV and newspaper reports are made up

of a few hastily gathered facts, yet this doesn’t necessarily imply superficiality

or vagueness. In the modern information society the providers

of information step into the background, while Kafka – quite on

the contrary – sent an explorer into his Penal Colony. Without him

we would never have learnt what was happening on the island, just

as only the land surveyor’s arrival reveals to us the existence of the

Castle. What is today’s situation in Central Europe with regard to the

three Kafkan categories: Where do we look for the metropolis? Where

do we establish colonies? And – Who plays the role of the travelling

explorer?

Capillary-Like Pattern of World Literature

World literature is a phrase that emerged when Goethe was reading

a Chinese novel. It is hard to know what the poet was thinking when

he coined the new expression, but his ideas probably had nothing to

do with the museum of great literary works of arts with the echoing

footsteps of scarce visitors or with the endless mass of everything that

is published in the world and called literature. World literature can be

pictured as endless motion emerging time and again, with every act of

reading. How does this process include literatures from the fringe of

major cultures? How can they reach readers outside the boundaries of

their languages? Is it perhaps true – as Pascale Casanova wrote – that

every book, in order to enter the international arena, requires a certificate

of literary value awarded in Paris? Penetrating abroad is not just

the question of translation; one of the problems of small literatures

is the lack of qualified readership in other countries. Often even very

large editions do not guarantee that a writer and his or her culture will

overcome anonymity. But despite the laws of the market, literature is

crossing borders. In the mid-19th century the writer Fran Levstik cre-

16


ated a mighty hero who smuggled English salt from Trieste despite

the official ban. How are grains of salt concealed between book-covers

smuggled across borders today? In what lies the evasiveness of literature,

its mighty power?

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Translated by Lili Potpara


Udeleženci

Panelists

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Csordás Gábor, Madžarska / Hungary

Dr. Csordás Gábor (1950) je pesnik, prevajalec, esejist in založnik. Od

leta 1980 je bil glavni urednik literarne revije Jelenkor. Poučeval je

prevajanje na Univerzi v Budimpešti in literarno kritiko na Univerzi

v Pécsu. Je ustanovni direktor Založbe Jelenkor s sedežem v Pécsu, od

leta 2001 predava na tamkajšnji Fakulteti za komunikologijo. Od leta

2004 je programski vodja dvoletnega podiplomskega študija na tej

fakulteti. Za svoje delo je bil večkrat nagrajen.

Csordás Gábor (1950), Ph.D., is a poet, translator, essayist and publisher.

In 1980, he became the editor of the literary journal Jelenkor in

Pécs. He has taught translation at the University of Budapest and literary

criticism at the University of Pécs. He is the founder and director of

Jelenkor Publishers Ltd., in Pécs. Since 2001, he has been teaching at the

Faculty of Communications at the University of Pécs. Since 2004, he

has been programme director of the two-year postgraduate programme

at this faculty. He has received many awards for his work.

21


Karl-Markus Gauß, Avstrija / Austria

Karl-Markus Gauß (1954) je študiral germanistiko in zgodovino, nato

postal samostojni kritik in pisatelj, od leta 1991 izdajatelj in urednik

revije Literatur und Kritik. Redno piše za številne časopise in revije,

mdr. za Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Die Zeit, Wiener

Presse in Der Standard. Med številna priznanja za njegovo delo sodi

tudi Evropska esejistična nagrada Charles Veillon. Njegove knjige so

prevedene v štirinajst jezikov. Karl-Markus Gauß je nagrajenec Vilenice

2005. Živi in dela v Salzburgu.

Karl-Markus Gauß (1954) studied history and Germanic studies at

university and went on to work as a freelance critic and writer. Since

1991, he has been the publisher and editor of the magazine Literatur

und Kritik. He writes regularly for newspapers and magazines, such as

Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Die Zeit, Wiener Presse and

Der Standard. He has received numerous honours for his work, including,

in 1997, the Charles Veillon European Essay Prize. His books

have been translated into 14 languages. Karl-Markus Gauß was a recipient

of the Vilenica Prize in 2005. He lives and works in Salzburg.

22


Tatjana Gromača, Hrvaška / Croatia

Tatjana Gromača (1971) je leta 2000 objavila knjigo poezije Je kaj

narobe?, istega leta je izšel ponatis, knjiga pa je bila objavljena tudi v

Srbiji, Sloveniji in v Avstriji. Njene pesmi so prevedene v skoraj vse evropske

jezike, uvrščene so v pesniške antologije. Leta 2004 je objavila

roman Črnec, leta 2005 pa izbor reportažnih zapisov Bele vrane – zgodbe

iz Istre. Gostovala je na številnih evropskih literarnih srečanjih od

Stockholma prek Berlina, Dunaja, Varšave, Istanbula do Soluna, bila

je štipendistka berlinske Akademije umetnosti. Zaposlena je kot stalna

sodelavka tednika Feral Tribune iz Splita, živi pa v Puli.

Tatjana Gromača (1971) published her book of poetry Is Anything

Wrong? in 2000, and that same year it went into its second printing.

It was also published in Serbia, Slovenia and Austria. Her poems have

been translated and anthologised in almost all the European languages.

In 2004, she published the novel The Black Man, and in 2005, a

collection of her journalistic writing, White Crows – Stories from Istria.

She has been a guest at numerous literary gatherings from Stockholm

and Berlin to Vienna, Warsaw and Thessaloniki, and was a writer in

residence at the Berlin Academy of Art. She is employed by the weekly

Feral Tribune, based in Split, though she herself lives in Pula.

23


Simona Škrabec, Slovenija / Slovenia

Dr. Simona Škrabec (1968) od leta 1992 živi v Barceloni, kjer je doktorirala

iz literarne teorije. V katalonščini so izšli njeni prevodi romanov

Draga Jančarja, Borisa Pahorja in Danila Kiša ter mladinska literarna

dela Svetlane Makarovič. Slovenske bralce pa je med drugim seznanila

s Perejem Caldersom, J.V. Foixem, Jesúsem Moncado in Jaumejem

Cabréjem. Prevajalsko dejavnost spremljajo redne objave strokovnih

člankov in razprav o evropski literaturi 20. stoletja. Je avtorica knjig

Potomci samote in Po sledeh izkopanini, v kateri je spregovorila o pojmu

Srednje Evrope v 20. stoletju kot gorišču, v katerem so se izoblikovali

ključni moderni tokovi.

Simona Škrabec (1968), Ph.D., has lived in Barcelona since 1992,

and it was here that she completed her doctoral work in literary theory.

She has translated into Catalan novels by Drago Jančar, Boris Pahor,

and Danilo Kiš, as well as children’s and young-adult writing by

Svetlana Makarovič, and has also introduced Slovene readers to such

writers as Pere Calders, J. V. Foix, Jesús Moncada and Jaume Cabré.

Her translation work is complemented by the regular publication of

scholarly articles and essays on 20th-century European literature. She

is the author of the books The Lineage of Solitude and The Fate of the

Struggle, in which she discusses the notion of Central Europe in the

20th century as a focal point in the shaping of the major currents of

modernity.

24


Werner Wintersteiner, Avstrija / Austria

Profesor Werner Wintersteiner je direktor Austrian Competence Centre

for Education (Nemčija) na Univerzi v Celovcu. Je učitelj nemščine

in vzgojitelj za mir, pa tudi urednik četrtletnika “informationen zur

deutschdidaktik”(ide), avstrijske revije za nemške učitelje. Je ustanovitelj

“Centre for Peace Research and Peace Education” na Univerzi v Celovcu.

Njegovo zadnje delo je Poetik der Verschiedenheit. Literatur, Bildung,

Globalisierung (Poetika raznolikosti. Literatura, vzgoja in globalizacija.)

Professor Werner Wintersteiner is director of the Austrian Competence

Centre for Education (German) at the University of Klagenfurt.

He is a teacher trainer for German and a peace educator, as well as the

editor of the quarterly “informationen zur deutschdidaktik” (ide), an

Austrian journal for German teachers. He is the founder of the Centre

for Peace Research and Peace Education at the University of Klagenfurt.

His most recent book is Poetik der Verschiedenheit. Literatur,

Bildung, Globalisierung (The Poetics of Diversity. Literature, Education,

Globalisation).

25


Idith Zertal, Izrael / Israel

Profesorica Idith Zertal je izraelska zgodovinarka in esejistka. Učila je

zgodovino in kulturne študije na Judovski univerzi v Jeruzalemu in na

Interdisciplinarnem centru Herzliya. Trenutno poučuje sodobno judovsko

zgodovino na Univerzi v Baslu. Nekatera izmed njenih del: Od

žrtve do oblastnika, Preživeli v holokavstu in rojstvo Izraela, Izraelski

holokavst in politika narodnosti, Gospodarji zemlje, Naseljenci in država

Izrael, 1967-2004; Hannah Arendt: Pol stoletja kontroverzij. Trenutno

prevaja delo Hannah Arendt Izvori totalitarizma v hebrejščino.

Professor Idith Zertal is an Israeli historian and essay writer. She

has taught history and cultural studies at Hebrew University in Jerusalem

and at the Interdisciplinary Centre in Herzliya. Currently she

teaches Jewish contemporary history at the University of Basel. Her

books include From Catastrophe to Power: Holocaust Survivors and the

Emergence of Israel; Israel’s Holocaust and the Politics of Nationhood;

The Lords of the Land: The Settlers and the State of Israel, 1967–2004;

and Hannah Arendt: A Half-Century of Controversy. She is currently

working on a Hebrew translation of Hannah Arendt’s The Origins of

Totalitarianism.

26


Eseji

Essays

27


Nemi jeziki ali Priročna podoba drugega

Csordás Gábor

Po tridesetih letih prevajanja srednje- in vzhodnoevropskih književnosti

in več kot desetih letih objavljanja madžarskih prevodov literarnih

del, spisanih v teh regijah, moram priznati, da je moje zanimanje za

poveličevanje težav s kulturno komunikacijo in razumevanjem med

sosedi zelo skromno. O tem, kako naši narodi ne poznajo kulturnih

značilnosti in literarnih dosežkov drug drugega, je bilo napisanih že veliko

jeremiad. Razen preprostega izražanja obžalovanja v duhu pozitivističnega

razsvetljenstva, podobnega obžalovanju, ker ne poznamo tistega,

kar bi lahko poznali, so te tožbe ponavadi podprte z enim od dveh

argumentov.

Prepričljivejši od obeh (ki sem ga tudi sam pogosto uporabljal)

poudarja okvir virtualne identifikacije, ki je širši od nacionalnega. Narodi

s skupno zgodovinsko izkušnjo, skupno vero, skupnimi sovražniki,

skupnimi družbenimi strukturami itd. bi morali imeti poseben interes,

da bi se med seboj bolje spoznali. Skoraj bi lahko rekli, da bi na

ta način spoznali, da naše posebne nacionalne značilnosti niso zgolj

naključna napaka. Pa ne bom zdaj omenjal znane freudovske šale o

ponosu in močenju postelje.

Drugi argument ostane pod ravnjo nacionalnega. Trdi, da s spoznavanjem

drugačnosti drugega jezika razvijemo občutek za dialektalnost

in idiomatiko svojega. To se pravi, da se tistega, česar se vse življenje

nismo mogli naučiti doma, lahko naučimo med ekskurzijo v tujino.

S kančkom zlobe bi lahko rekli, da poskušata oba argumenta oslabiti

nacionalni referenčni okvir, tako da mu ponujata višjo vrednost in

moč, vendar pa je videti, da je že sam dovolj veljaven in ekskluziven,

da lahko shaja brez teh zapeljivih predlogov.

Toliko hrupa za nič najbrž pomeni, da smo zgrešili bistvo, v resnici

pa prav bistvo manjka. Geometrična hierarhija številnih krogov identifikacije

temelji na zamisli o središčni točki, v kateri se vse te »ravni«

29


identitete stikajo ali prekrivajo, se pravi, na zamisli o vnaprej danem

egu, ki se potem bodisi enači sam s seboj bodisi po rojstvu, kraju bivanja

in izobrazbi »spada« v določen sklop identitet. Na zamisli, da

na začetku ne poznamo ničesar razen samih sebe. Velikemu pesniku

iz 15. stoletja je bila zadeva bolj jasna. V svoji Baladi o nepomembnem

kramljanju je Villon zapisal: »Je connois tout, fors que moi-mêmes«

( »vem, da vse vem – le sebe ne poznam«) * . Vsa stvar poteka v obratni

smeri – od zunaj navznoter. Vse, kar si domišljamo, da vemo o sebi,

izvira iz jezika in se vanj vrača. Jedro je nemo in tisto, čemur pravimo

ego, je le proteza, narejena iz besed. Jezik je pred vsako tezo.

Če se ozremo po dandanašnjem svetu, bi težko zanikali, da večina

človeštva živi v svetu kodificiranega in normaliziranega nacionalnega

jezika. Pogosto omenjane izjeme dvojezičnih mejnih področij in zelo

razširjenih lokalnih narečij so le izjeme, ki potrjujejo pravilo.

Če je jezik tisto, prek česar in v čemer se ego in svet dajeta drug

drugemu, potem v dobi nacionalnih jezikov nacionalno ne more biti

samo še ena raven identitete, samo še en okvir identifikacije. Ego bi

moral biti nacionalno vnaprej oblikovan, kot je menil in učil Herder.

O praznini jedra ne bi mogli vedeti ničesar, ne bi vedeli, česar ne bi

mogli vedeti, proteze v resnici ne bi mogli razlikovati od teze. In ne

bi mogli skupaj z Villonom reči: »Je connois la faute des Boemes, / Je

connois le pouvoir de Rome, / Je connois tout, fors que moi-mêmes«,

ker bi mislili, da je resnica prav nasprotna.

In tudi če vemo kaj, česar ne moremo vedeti, to vedenje ne more

priti od drugod kot iz jezika. Torej se vrnimo v dobo nastanka nacionalnih

jezikov. Davnega leta 1581 je neki drugi Francoz, Michel

Eyquem de Montaigne, italijanski cerkvi daroval spominsko ploščo,

na kateri je bil napis:

Michael Montanus Gallus Vasco

Jezik, v katerem je napis zapisan, je srednjeveška latinščina. Da je

bil to prvi jezik, ki se ga je mladi Michel zaradi očetovih humanističnih

* Prevedel Janez Menart, op. prev.

30


nagnjenj naučil, je le zanimivost. Bolj pomembno je, da je bil to skupni

jezik pismenih ljudi, uradnikov po vsem znanem svetu. To se pogosto

poudarja, vendar pa radi pozabljamo, da latinščina ne bi mogla

biti jezik uradnikov, če ne bi bila imperialni jezik, skupni jezik – koiné

– etnično in kulturno raznolikega Rimskega cesarstva.

Prva beseda v napisu, »Michael«, je ime krščanskega svetnika. Vsak

otrok krščanskega sveta je bil krščen po svetniku, njegovo ime pa ga je

označevalo kot posameznika in kot pripadnika krščanske skupnosti.

Druga beseda, »Montanus«, je latinska različica besede »Montaigne«.

To je ime kraja ob reki Dorgogne med Gaskonjo in Akvitanijo, ki ga je

Montaignov dedek Ramon Eyquem kupil kot fevd za 900 frankov. V

tistih časih si plemiški naziv in ime lahko kupil skupaj s posestvom. Ta

beseda je torej plemiški naziv, ki ga uporablja namesto svojega prvotnega

priimka Eyquem, da izrazi svojo pripadnost plemstvu.

Tretja beseda, »Gallus«, se nanaša na Galijo, provinco v Rimskem

cesarstvu. V vsem srednjem veku je ta beseda označevala prebivalce tega

dela sveta in ni imela veliko skupnega z njihovim dejanskim jezikom

ali politično pripadnostjo. V resnici je bila francoščina šele tretji jezik,

ki se ga je mladi Michel naučil. Takrat se je imenovala »François« in

je bila jezik sodišča. S postopnim združevanjem kraljestva po stoletni

vojni je postala drugi jezik plemstva, predvsem plemičev s političnimi

ambicijami. Od leta 1539 naprej je bila uradni jezik kraljeve administracije

in zakonodaje.

Četrta beseda, »Vasco«, pomeni Gaskonec. To je edini del Montaigneve

večbesedne samooznake, ki izraža nekaj, čemur bi danes lahko rekli

nacionalni ponos. Gaskonščina, narečje okcitanščine, ki se je govorilo od

Bordeauxa do Navarre, je bila v resnici njegov drugi jezik, jezik okolja,

kjer je preživel otroštvo. Takrat je bilo katero od lokalnih narečij severne

ali južne okcitanščine prvi jezik za vse ljudi od Nizozemske do Pirenejev

in edini za nepismene in ljudi nizkega rodu. Montaigne se v svojih Esejih

pogosto vrača k temi gaskonskega dialekta in značilnosti Gaskoncev.

Mnoge svoje osebne navade in videz razlaga z dejstvom, da je Gaskonec.

Opravičuje se, da meša francoščino z gaskonščino in pravi, da je bil v to

prisiljen, ker je gaskonski izraz sočnejši, vendar pa je v njegovih besedilih

tovrstnih izposojenk presenetljivo malo.

31


Po mojem mnenju njegov odnos osvetljuje pomemben vidik jezika

in identitete. Medtem ko je Montaigne želel razložiti, zakaj je Eseje

napisal v francoščini, ne pa v latinščini, nikoli ni imel nobenega namena

pisati v gaskonščini (čeprav je dele svojega popotnega dnevnika

Journal de Voyage napisal v italijanščini). Seveda, porečemo, če je hotel,

da ga berejo po vsej Franciji, se je moral odločiti za skupni jezik

kraljestva. Ta jezik je bil »François«, skupni jezik v severni Franciji že

dolgo pred stoletjem, v katerem se je rodil Montaigne. Zgodnji jezikoslovci

so to dognali na podlagi hipotetičnega narečja »Francien«, ki se

je govorilo v Ile-de-France v 13. stoletju. Ta jezik ni zapustil nobenih

pisnih virov, čeprav je Chrétien de Troyes že v 12. stoletju v svojem

Lancelotu omenjal jezik, ki se mu je reklo »François«. Videti je torej,

da je bil »François« od vsega začetka ali vsaj od nekega neznanega trenutka

naprej jezik posredovanja, jezikovni superstratum nad kontinuumom

dialektov južne okcitanščine, neke vrste artefakt, tudi v dobesednem

pomenu: izdelek umetnosti. Ko je Montaigne razlagal, zakaj se je

odločil za francoščino, je bil njegov glavni argument, da je zahvaljujoč

prizadevanjem izvrstnih prevajalcev, kakršen je Jacques Amyot, ta jezik

postal dovolj prožen za izražanje vseh sanjarij (»rêveries«) uma.

V Montaignevem času je bil »François« nekaj med cesarskim koiné

in nacionalnim jezikom v nastajanju. Bil je skupni jezik večjezične

in večetnične dinastične tvorbe, ki se je počasi razvila v bolj ali manj

enovito nacionalno državo. Psihološki temelji te enovitosti so bile na

začetku komaj kaj več kot etikete: poudarjena delitev med prijatelji in

sovražniki, začasno sobivanje vseh konfliktov. Iz razlogov, ki močno

presegajo našo temo, je zaradi prihoda Ivane Orleanske na prizorišče

ena od teh etiket postala bolj lepljiva kot prej, ker se je dinastična vojna

sprevrgla v vojno med Francozi in Angleži.

Še en Francoz, ki je bil rojen natanko tistega leta, ko so Ivano Orleansko

sežgali na grmadi (1431), se za Francoza opredeljuje na dvoumen

in ironičen način: »Je suis François, dont il me poise – Francoz

sem in to me bremeni.« * Ker je bil omenjeni Francoz François Villon,

je mogoče, da je pesnik imel v mislih samo svoje ime, lahko pa gre za

* Prevod Janeza Menarta: »Francoz sem. V ječi po ukazu.« op.prev.

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to, da je kot Francoz spadal pod francosko jurisdikcijo, njegov pajdaš

pa je bil Savojec in je torej lahko pričakoval milejšo kazen.

Vsa ta dejstva so dobro znana ali pa jih je mogoče najti v knjigah.

Upal sem si vas dolgočasiti s podrobnostmi o nastanku sodobne identitete

in nacionalnega jezika, ker ponavadi zanemarjamo podrobnosti

in jih nadomeščamo z globalnimi koncepti in površnimi primerjavami.

Vendar pa se hudič, predvsem nacionalni, skriva v podrobnostih.

Naj najprej omenim zamisel o nacionalni identiteti. Poleg preproste

upravne pripadnosti, državljanstva ali spadanja pod jurisdikcijo kot

ubogi François, bi morala biti nekako povezana z nacionalnim jezikom,

v katerem posameznik sodeluje v vsenacionalnem diskurzu. Ne pozabite,

kolikšno pozornost Montaigne posveča vprašanju gaskonščine

in svojim gaskonskim lastnostim. V eseju, napisanem v francoščini,

izpostavi svojo individualno identiteto med drugimi, in sicer na prizorišču,

ki lahko sprejme vse te identitete. Še več, nekje v Esejih primerja

mentaliteto in značaj Francozov in Italijanov, in tudi tam so tako

lastnosti kot mentalitete relativne in individualne, nastopijo pa na

prizorišču, ki lahko sprejme oboje. Zdaj pa si predstavljajte, da bi

opisal svoje lastnosti Gaskonca v gaskonščini ali svoje lastnosti Francoza

v francoščini. Ali ne bi bila to tavtološka samopotrditev? Seveda

ne bom zanikal pojava takšnih ponavljajočih se samoopredelitev ali

obstoja podzavestne težnje po popolni in absolutni identiteti. Rad bi

le povedal, da je takšna identiteta prazna.

Oglejmo si primer iz hrvaške literature 19. stoletja. Avgust Šenoa

je svoj prvi roman Zlatarjevo zlato (Zlatarovo zlato) objavil leta 1871.

Šest let pozneje je objavil še roman z naslovom Kmečki punt (Seljačka

buna), ki se dogaja petnajst let poprej, čeprav so junaki v glavnem

isti, enako pa velja tudi za kraje. V romanu nastopa meščanstvo iz

Gričke Gorice, prihodnjega Zagreba, zemljiški posestniki, kmetje in

podložniki iz sosednjih gradov in vasi. V prvem romanu ima vsak junak

svojo relativno in individualno identiteto, in čeprav je veliko govora

o »ljubezni do domovine« in »železnem zidu na pragu krščanskega

sveta«, zapleteni odnosi med temi identitetami prepoznavno slikajo

hrvaški svet. V drugem romanu junaki na svojem ovratniku nosijo

33


nacionalno etiketo. »Staro hrvaško srce bije« v vsakem človeku, ki se

ima za Hrvata, in sicer do takšne stopnje, da fraza »u meni kuca staro

hrvatsko srce« zelo hitro postane prazna sintagma. Kljub obsežnim

opisom pokrajine in podeželskih prizorov, spisanih v lepem in izrazno

bogatem hrvaškem jeziku, hrvaški svet, ki smo ga spoznali v prejšnjem

romanu, izgine pod debelo plastjo enakih identitet. Ker v knjigi ni

pravih junakov, zgodbo usmerjajo primitivne spletke.

Nacionalna identiteta sploh ni nobena identiteta.

In naj zdaj vzamem zamisel o nacionalnem jeziku kot nosilcu ali

substratu tako imenovane nacionalne identitete. Ne bi bilo težko dokazati,

da mnogi, če ne kar vsi nacionalni jeziki izvirajo iz skupnega

jezika imperialne tvorbe, vendar bi to preprosto predolgo trajalo. Čeprav

se sodobna nacionalna država pretvarja, da je potomka enojezičnega

kraljestva ali dominiona iz preteklosti, je to pretvarjanje bodisi lažno

bodisi se izkaže, da je bila enojezičnost v najboljšem primeru nadaljevanje

narečij, v najslabšem pa mešanica narečij in jezikovnih ostankov

prejšnje imperialne tvorbe. Kakor koli že, jezik nacionalne države v

nastajanju mora biti nadgradnja množice narečij. In če kdo sklepa,

da jezik izvira iz enega od teh narečij, kot na primer francoščine iz

hipotetičnega narečja »Francien«, že sam njegov obstoj nakazuje oddaljenost

od narečij in povezovalno funkcijo med njimi, ker drugače ne

bi mogel igrati svoje posredniške vloge.

Iz enakih razlogov je vsak nacionalni jezik artefakt. Prvič zato, ker

nujno nastane kot nadomestek za skupni jezik prejšnjega cesarstva in,

kot vsi dobro vemo, »translatio imperii« pomeni prevajanje. Veliko

prevajanja. Da bi jezik postal ustrezen za potrebe naroda v nastajanju,

morajo cele generacije opraviti velikansko delo. Vse to prinese s seboj

tudi neko stopnjo normalizacije in kodifikacije. Toda politični

interesi po enoviti državi jezik ves čas potiskajo še dlje od te točke

proti popolnemu poenotenju. Bolj ko uporabniki in institucije nacionalnega

jezika popuščajo pred to silo, bolj izgubljajo možnost, da bi

se razložili in predstavili drug drugim in samim sebi, zato potonejo še

globlje v svoj prvotni narečni molk.

Kajti narečje samo po sebi je nemo. Vse, kar prihaja iz narečja in

kar narečje sprejema, gre prek nacionalnega jezika. Mednarečno spora-

34


zumevanje ni mogoče. Nemost narečja se zelo lepo pokaže v redkih

primerih, ko kdo poskuša napisati literarno delo v narečju. Pesmi Matije

Bećkovića ali izdelki »Heimatsliteratur« so približno tako »zanimivi«

kot eskimska opera. (Ne govorim o tistih iskrenih prizadevanjih, ko

ljudje iz nekdanjega dominiona poskušajo narečje pretvoriti v nacionalni

jezik. Ta prizadevanja so redko uspešna, in tudi če obrodijo sadove,

to traja stoletje ali več. Žalovanja za izgubljenim (opuščenim) imperialnim

jezikom ni mogoče preskočiti. »Heimatsliteratur« in drugi

primeri pisanja v narečju imajo nasproten cilj: poskušajo izničiti ali

izbrisati dragocene rezultate tovrstnih prizadevanj.)

Težnja po popolnosti, iluzija nacionalne enovitosti ni nič drugega

kot samouničevalni potencial jezika. Kot pravi Derrida, jezikov je vedno

več kot eden (il y a toujours plus d’une langue). To pa ne pomeni,

da brez narečij ni jezika (brez narečij je le še eno narečje), temveč da če

jezik ne deluje kot koiné, se nujno pojavi drug koiné.

Zdi se mi, da so v mnogih današnjih evropskih jezikih na delu

takšne samouničevalne sile. Bolj ko jeziki poskušajo biti nacionalni,

manj uporabnosti imajo kot nacionalni jeziki. Nič čudnega torej, da

so za sosede prav tako nemi kot sami zase.

35

Prevedla Lili Potpara


Dumb Languages or the Image of the Other at Hand

Csordás Gábor

After 30 years of translating Middle- and East-European literatures,

including more than ten years experience of publishing Hungarian

translations of literary works written in these regions I have to confess

that I have a very moderate interest in amplifying the problems of

cultural communication and understanding between neighbours. Volumes

of Jeremiades have been written on the topic of how our nations

ignore each other’s cultural characteristics and literary achievements.

Except plain expressions of regret in the spirit of positivistic enlightenment,

something like a pity for the ignorance of what could be known,

these complaints usually follow two lines of argumentation.

The more powerful one (which had been frequently used by myself

too) points to a frame of virtual identification broader than the

national one. Peoples with common historical experience, common

faith, common enemies, common social structures etc. should have a

special interest in a better mutual acquaintance. It is almost to say, this

is how we could learn that a special feature of our national characterestics

is not merely a contingent error. Let me put aside here the well

known Freudian joke about pride and bedwetting.

The other argument goes below the level of the national. It says

that by getting acquainted with the otherness of others one develops

a feeling for the dialectal and idiomatic of one’s own. That is, what we

did not learn over a lifetime at home, we can learn from an excursion

abroad.

With a morsel of malice one could say that both argumentations

aim at a weakening of the national frame reference by promising him

a higher validity and strength. Whereas it seems to be valid and exclusive

enough to manage without these seducing proposals.

So much ado about nothing suggests that the point is missed. As

a matter of course, the point is missing. The geometric hierarchy of

37


multiple circles of identification is based on the idea of a central point

in which all these „levels” of identity coincide or overlap. That is, on

the idea of a beforehand given Ego which in turn either identifies itself

with, or by birth, residence and education „falls under” a given set of

identities. On the idea, that in the beginning we know nothing except

ourselves. A great poet back in the 15th century knew already better.

„Je connois tout, fors que moi-mêmes.” „(I know everyting except

myself”) – he wrote in his Ballade des menus propos (Ballade of Small

Things). The whole thing goes in the opposite direction: from outside

inward. Everything we pretend to know about ourselves comes from

and goes back to the language. The core is dumb and what we call Ego

is a prothesis made of words. Language precedes every thesis.

Looking around in our present world it would be hard to deny

that the vast majority of mankind lives in a world of a codified and

normalized national language. Often mentioned exceptions of bilingual

border areas, of widespread local dialects are only the exceptions

proving the rule.

If it is the language, by which and in which the Ego and the world

are given to each other, then in the era of national languages the national

can not be just another level of identity, just another frame of identification.

The Ego should be nationally preformed as it was thought and

taught by Herder. We would not be able to know anything about the

emptiness of the core, we would not know what we could not know, the

prothesis would be in principle indistinguishable from the thesis. And

we could not say with Villon: „Je connois la faute des Boemes, / Je connois

le pouvoir de Rome, / Je connois tout, fors que moi-mêmes” – since

we would have to think that the opposite is true.

Even if we know something that we could not know, this knowledge

can not come from elsewhere than from the language. So let’s go

back to the era of the emergence of national languages. Back in 1581

another Frenchman, Michel Eyquem de Montaigne donated a votive

plaque to an Italian church with the following inscription:

Michael Montanus Gallus Vasco

38


The language of the inscription is mediaeval Latin. That due to his

father’s humanistic fancy this was actually the first language the young

Michel learned is only of incidental interest. More important is that

this was the common language of the literate people, the clerks all over

the known world. This is often emphasised. We tend to forget, however,

that Latin could not have been the language of the clerks without

having had been an imperial language, the common language, the

koiné of the multiethnic and multicultural Roman Empire.

The first word of the inscription, „Michael”, is a name of a Christian

saint. Every child of the Christian world had been named after a

saint, and the name served both for distinction of the person and its

identification with the Christian community.

The second word, „Montanus”, is the Latin version of „Montaigne”.

This is a name of a place by the river Dordogne, between Gascogne

and Aquitanie. The place was bought by Montaigne’s grandfather, Ramon

Eyquem as a feud for 900 francs. At that time you could buy

a nobleman’s title and name together with an estate. So this word is

also a nobleman’s name which he uses instead of his original name

Eyquem, as an expression of his belonging to the nobility.

The third world, „Gallus”, refers to Gallia, a province of the Roman

Empire. Throughout the Middle Ages this word indicated the

habitants of this part of the world, and had not much to do with their

actual language or political belonging. Actually, French was the third

language the young Michel learned. Called at that time „François”,

this was the language of the Court. With the gradual consolidation of

the kingdom after the Centennial War it became the second language

of the nobility, especially of those with political ambitions. From 1539

it was the official language of the royal administration and legislation.

The fourth word, „Vasco”, means Gascon. This is the only part

of Montaigne’s multiple self-identification which implies something

similar to what we would call today national pride. Gascon, a dialect

of langue d’oc spoken from Bordeaux to Navarre was actually his

second language, the language of his childhood’s surrounding, just as

39


one of the local dialects of langue d’oil or langue d’oc was the first one

for everybody else at that time from the Netherlands to the Pyrenees,

and the only one for the illiterate and those of lower order. Montaigne

often comes back in his Essays to the topic of the Gascon dialect and

to the characteristics of the people of Gascogne. Many features of his

personal habit and appearance he explains by being Gascon. He excuses

himself for mixing French with Gascon, he felt forced, he says,

since the Gascon expression was more savoury; such borrowings are

nevertheless suprisingly scarce.

I think his attitude sheds light on an important aspect of language

and identity. While he felt necessary to explain why he wrote his

Essays in French instead of Latin, Montaigne never had the slightest

intention to write anything in Gascon (just as he wrote parts of his

Journal de Voyage in Italian). Of course, we would say, if he wanted

to be read all over France, he had to opt for the common language of

the kingdom. This language was the „François”, a koiné of Northern

France long before Montaigne’s century. Earlier linguists deduced it

from a hypothetic dialect called „Francien”, spoken in Ile-de-France

in 13th century. However, no written trace of such a language exists,

whereas Chrétien de Troyes mentions already in 12th century the

language „François” in his Lancelot. To all appearances, the „François”

was from the very beginnig or at least from unknown times a language

of mediation, a lingual superstrate above a continuum of langue d’oil

dialects – an artefact, if you like, an artefact also in a literal sense: a

product of arts. In explaining why he chose the French, Montaigne’s

major argument was that – thanks to the efforts of brilliant translators

like Jacques Amyot – it became flexible enough to follow all fantasies

(„rêveries”) of the mind.

At Montaigne’s time the „François” was something between an imperial

koiné and a national language in the making. It was the common

language of a multilingual and multiethnic dynastic formation which

gradually turned into a more or less unified national state. The psychological

foundation of this unity was at the beginning hardly more than

a labelling: an emphatic division of friends and enemies, a temporary

40


concomitant of every conflict. For reasons far beyond the scope of our

present topic, it was the entering onto the stage of Jeanne d’Arc that

made one of these labels stick more firmly than earlier, by converting

a dynastic war into a war between Frenchmen and Englishmen.

Still, another Frenchman, born exactly in the year of the immolation

at the stake of Jeanne d’Arc (1431), defines himself as Frenchman

in an ambiguous and ironical manner: „Je suis François, dont

il me poise – I am a Fenchman and it’s a burden on me”. Since the

Frenchman in question is Villon, „François” could mean here simply

his name; the burden is, however, that being a Frenchman he falls

under French jurisdiction, in opposition to his accomplice who is a

Savoyard and therefore can expext a milder sentence.

All these facts are well known or can be found in the books. The

reason why I risked boring you with some details of the making of

a modern identity and that of a national language is that we usually

tend to put aside the details and substitute them with global concepts

and superficial analogies. Still, the devil, and especially the national

one, dwells in the details.

Let me take first the idea of national identity. Apart from a sheer

administrative belonging, a citizenship, or falling under a given jurisdiction

like poor François, it should have something to do with

the national language through which one participates in a nationwide

discourse. Now, remember how Montaigne dwells on the topic of

Gascon language and on his characteristics of a Gascon. In an esssay

written in French he brings into play his particular identity among

others, on a scene constructed to receive all of them. Moreover, there is

a place in the Essays where he compares the mentality and character of

the French and the Italians. Even here, both characteristics and mentalities

are relative and particular, and appear on a scene constructed

to receive both of them. Now imagine that he depicts his characteristics

of a Gascon in Gascon or his characteristics of a French person

in French. Would not it be a tautologic self-affirmation? Of course I

would not deny the occurrence of such recurrent self-definitions, nor

the existence of an unconscious propensity for a total and absolute

identity. I would say only that such an identity is empty.

41


Let us see an example from 19th century Croatian literature. August

Šenoa published his first novel, The Gold of the Goldsmith (Zlatarovo

zlato) in 1871. Six years later he published another novel entitled The

Peasants’ Revolt (Seljačka buna) whose plot takes place fifteen years

earlier, whereas the characters are largely the same, and the same is valid

for the places. The novel presenets bourgeois of Grička Gorica, the

future Zagreb, landlords, peasants and serfs from neighbouring castles

and villages. In the first novel every character has his relative and particular

identity, and while there is much talk about „the love of the

fatherland” („ljubav domovine”) and „the iron wall on the doorstep

of the Christian world” („gvozden zid na pragu kršćanskoga svijeta”),

the intricate relations of these identities are summed up in an unmistakeably

Croatian world. In the second novel the characters bear a

national label on their collars. An „old Croatian heart is beating” in

every person declared to be Croatian, to such a degree that the expression

„u meni kuca staro hrvatsko srce” starts to function very early

as a zero syntagma. In spite of extensive descriptions of paysages and

rural scenes, written in a beautiful and powerful Croatian language,

the Croatian world known from the earlier novel disappears under a

greasy layer of identical identities. Since there are no real characters,

primitive intrigues keep the plot moving.

National identity is no identity at all.

Let me take then the idea of national language as bearer or substrate

of the so-called national identity. It would not be difficult – it would

be simply too long – to show that many, if not all, national languages

stem from a koiné of an imperial formation. Even if a modern national

state pretends to be the heir of a unilingual kingdom or dominion of

the past, either the very pretension is false, or else unilingualness proves

to be at best a continuum of dialects, at worst a patchwork of dialects

and linguistic remnants of a previous imperial formation. Anyway, the

language of the national state in the making has to be superposed upon

a multitude of dialects. Even if one supposes that it stems from one

of these dialects, as French from a hypothetical „Francien”, its sheer

existence already implies an equal distance and an integrative position

42


with respect to the dialects – simply because otherwise it could not

perform its mediating tasks.

By the same reasons, every national language is an artefact. First, because

it emerges necessarily as a substitute for a koiné of an earlier

empire. And as we know very well, „translatio imperii” means translation.

A lot of translation. To make a language suitable to the needs of a

nation in the making is a tremendous job for generations. This implies

also a certain degree of normalization and codification. But the political

interests invested in the unity of the state would push the language

all the time beyond this degree, towards complete homogenization.

The more the users and institutions of a national language yield to this

force, the more they lose the possibility to explain and present themselves

to each other and to themselves – the deeper they fall back into

their original dialectal dumbness.

Because the dialectal in itself is dumb. Everything coming from a

dialect and received by a dialect goes through the national language.

Inter-dialectal communication is as much as nonsense. How dumb

a dialect is, one can see from scarce examples when somebody tries to

write a literary work in dialect. The poems of Matija Bećković or the

products of „Heimatsliteratur” are as „interesting” as an Eskimo opera.

(I do not speak about those honest efforts, when people of a former

dominion undertake to transform a dialect into a national language.

This effort is rarely succesful, and even if it is, it takes a century or

more. The labour of mourning for the lost (abandoned) imperial language

can not be spared. The „Heimatsliteratur” and other examples

of dialectal writing aim at just the opposite: they try to withdraw or to

efface the precious results of the labour done.)

The compulsion towards perfection, the illusion of national homogeneity

is nothing else than a self-destructive potential of the language.

As Derrida said, there is always more than one language (il y a toujours

plus d'une langue). And this does not mean only that without dialects

there is no language (without dialects there is only another dialect),

but also that if a language does not function as a koiné, then another

koiné appears.

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It seems to me, that these self-destructive forces are at work in many

European languages of our days. The more national they want to be,

the less use they have as a national language. No wonder that they are

just as dumb to neighbours as to themselves.

44


Govor in zgodba

Tatjana Gromača

V človeški skupnosti je “intelektualcem”, “književnikom” dana “naloga”,

da se ukvarjajo z vprašanji identitete, z vprašanji tolerance do

“drugega” – drugega in drugačnega. Zdi se mi, da so v zadnjih letih na

evropski intelektualno - literarni sceni tovrstne teme nekakšen “trend”.

Morda je neuvidevno od mene, da gradim na taki konstataciji, zato

bom pri priči dodala – tudi sama sem se med pisanjem ene od svojh

številnih malih knjig želela “spoprijeti” s temi problemi. Mislim, da to

ne preseneča – prostor, na katerem živim, je bil še pred petnajstimi leti

prostor groze in smrti. Ta groza in ta smrt sta prizadeli vsako živo bitje

na tem prostoru, brez ozira na to, da smo številni med nami odnesli

živo glavo in rešili svoje družine ter domove. Tudi danes še zmeraj,

pogosto celo nezavedno, živimo s to grozo in s smrtjo, vsak dan, mirno

opazujoč njune posledice.

Prepričana sem, da so številni intelektualci, ki so se ukvarjali s

problemom tolerance, identitete, naroda, mej in držav, pri svojem pisanju

ali v javnih nastopih na srečanjih, kakršno je tole, zares izhajali z

neoporečne pozicije – predvsem s pozicije humanega bitja, ki ne more

zamižati pred strahotami, kakršnim je priča in za katere se prav zato,

ker je kritično bitje, ki misli in postavlja pod vprašanje tudi lastno pozicijo,

počuti odgovoren. Številnih med nami – sem uvrščam tudi svoj

primer – se je tudi osebno – na lastni koži – na ta ali oni od neštetih

načinov dotaknilo sovraštvo, zlo, o katerem pišejo.

Ko pišemo, zajemamo stvari iz kaosa, radi bi se dokopali do začetka,

skrajnega izhodišča, vzroka, radi bi vstopili v srž problema, da bi odkrili

“zdravilo”, s katerim bomo odpravili zlo. Vprašanje pa je, ali tako sploh

kam pridemo in kako daleč je mogoče priti. Ko bi se nam posrečilo

prodreti do točke, kjer bi začutili, da nam je “ključ do rešitve” vsaj na

dosegu roke, kaj bo to pomenilo drugim, kakšen učinek bo to imelo?

Ali lahko kaj storimo v širšem družbenem kontekstu ali pa je to samo

ena od naših iger, našega “kratkočasenja”?

45


Izkušnje, ki sem jih dobila, ko sem živela na Hrvaškem in občasno

obiskovala države nekdanje Jugoslavije – pri tem mislim zlasti na tiste,

ki so same sodelovale v vojni, Srbijo ter Bosno in Hercegovino – mi

govorijo, da vojna in čas po njej nista prinesla “katarze”; da pri ljudeh

– pri tem imam v mislih “večino”, čeprav so med njimi seveda izjeme –

ni prišlo do nikakršnega ozaveščenja. Ljudje se niso osvobodili tistega,

kar imenujemo “miti preteklosti” – nasprotno, zdi se, da so še globlje

zabredli v temni limb idealizacije lastnega naroda, konservativizma

in tradicionalističnih ritualov, romantiziranja narodnih preteklosti ...

Sovraštvo do “drugega”, prepričanje o pravičnosti in resničnosti lastne

pozicije, odsotnost želje po razumevanju drugega ali vsaj po komunikaciji,

to so bolezni, za katerimi danes bolehata tako hrvaški kakor

srbski narod, še vedno enako, neozdravljeno. Virus nacionalizma in

sovraštva je navzoč globoko v telesih obeh narodov, le da so si njegove

zaznavne, zunanje manifestacije nadele drugačno “preobleko”.

Kot vemo, se oba naroda pospešeno pripravljata na vstop v Evropo

– liderji in politične elite tako ene kot druge države vedo, da Evropa

od njih pričakuje osvobojenost od strasti nacionalizma in sovraštva, da

biti “Evropejec” pomeni biti vljuden in odprt, pripravljen na civiliziran

pogovor, na dobre sosedske odnose, na rasne, manjšinske, spolne in

druge enakosti. Drugo je dejstvo, da prav ta Evropa pod preprogo

hinavsko pometa lastno ksenofobijo, nacionalizme, socialne krivice,

pomanjkanje posluha za nemočne in “manjše” – to je problem, ki ga

bom zaradi osredotočenosti na “lastno dvorišče” vljudno obšla.

Tako Srbija kakor Hrvaška torej posegata po kozmetičnih trikih,

da bi v očeh evropske javnosti, zlasti predsedujočih v komisijah za evropske

integracije, zbrali čim več pozitivnih točk. Tako ena kot druga

država izvajata cenene, površinske, samozavajajoče korekture, “face lifting”,

s katerim se bosta z nepopisnimi mukami iztrgali iz balkanskega

mraka in brezupa ter stopili pod bleščečo evropsko neonsko luč.

Da se razumemo – nobena od teh dveh držav ne bi izvedla niti te

skromne korekcije, ko ne bi na plečih nosili bremena ogromnega zunanjega

dolga in ko jima ne bi grozilo predkolapsno socialno-ekonomsko

stanje. Breizhodnost položaja sili obe državi k vsaj nekakšni poslušnosti

46


do evropskih avtoritet, ki ju v zameno nagrajujejo s krepkimi injekcijami

lastnega kapitala in ju spreminjajo v ubogljivo, ceneno, a hvaležno

delovno silo. Kar se tako Hrvaške kot Srbije tiče – nobena od njiju ne

bi haaškemu sodišču izročala generalov, obtoženih za vojne zločine,

temveč bi jih, ko bi njiju kaj vprašali in ko bi jima bile okoliščine bolj

naklonjene, venčali z lovorikami ter nosili na ramenih – kot se pač ravna

z največjimi heroji lastnega naroda.

Kako torej v takih okoliščinah govoriti o problemu identitete ali

nuji tolerance in skupnih okvirjih življenja, ne da bi to hkrati zvenelo

absolutno odveč ter deplasirano? Tu bi lahko navedla neštete aktualne

primere, ki bi pri priči “zamašili usta” kateremukoli govorcu, že

spočetka naravnanemu v to smer.

Če se vseeno odločimo za govor, kako ga usmeriti tja, kjer bi lahko

kaj dosegel, ne da bi se pri tem sami sebi zdeli kakor dvorni norčki

ali naivni idealisti, ki vzklikajo parole nagnjeni nad temačen vodnjak,

poln ptičjega dreka in smeti?

Nisem prepričana o širši družbeni vlogi vrednot in tez, ki bi jih

želeli razvijati z govorjenjem o skupnem življenju in toleranci. Resignirano,

da ne rečem – fatalistično, menim, da je naš govor govor,

ki je namenjen nam samim in se kakor odmev vrača k nam samim.

Končne rešitve odkriva zgodovina, in sicer vedno v obliki novih in

novih “humanih preseljevanj” v dramaturški obdelavi in pod “režijsko

taktirko” tistih, ki razpolagajo z močjo. Humane ideje vedno ostajajo

omejene z majhnimi ograjicami v razkošnem vrtu zgodovine, kot gobelini

v kičastih okvirih, za vzor bodočim sentimentalnim učencem in

idealistično nastrojenim učiteljicam, ki tiho listajo po čitankah – take

pa se zmerom najdejo.

Kljub temu pa kajpak ne bi pisala, če ne bi v nekaj verjela. Niti

na to se prav posebej ne zanesem – ampak edino, v kar verjamem, so

zgodbe. Zgodbe, ki si zaslužijo, da jih povemo – zgodbe, kakršnih je

na tisoče, različne zgodbe, katerih priče smo in katerih dramaturški

obrati neposredno negirajo težko spremenljivo sliko sveta z njegovimi

neumnimi, kratkovidnimi logikami “krvi in rodne grude”. Ljudje

živijo ujeti v tej logiki in se z njo iz dneva v dan hranijo, vseeno pa neka-

47


teri bežijo, se – med drugim – skrivajo tudi v knjige in v njih odkrivajo

potrditev ter začasno zatočišče.

Zato bi na tem mestu, če imate še trohico potrpežljivosti, povedala

kratko, povsem resnično zgodbo. Nedavno tega sem ji bila sama

priča, potem pa sem, prepričana v neizogibnost razpleta te zgodbe, ki

pripoveduje prav o odvečnosti in nelogičnosti podrejanja človeških eksistenc

in identitet pojmom “narodov”, “držav” in “meja”, slišala še eno

zgodbo s podobnim izhodiščem in podobnim koncem.

Zgodba pripoveduje o družini hrvaških Srbov – Srbov, ki so bili

rojeni na Hrvaškem, ki so tam odrasli in ki so tam preživeli vse svoje

življenje, ki so Srbi po narodnosti, njihova domovina pa je Hrvaška.

Ta velika družina, ki jo sestavljajo oče, mati, sin, sinova žena in njuna

sinova, je živela v Baniji, pokrajini v notranjosti Hrvaške, poznani prav

po narodnostni premešanosti, po hriboviti, razkošni naravi, gostih gozdovih,

nadvse rodovitnih sadovnjakih in dobrem domačem žganju “iz

banijskih sliv”. Sredi devetdesetih let je bila med vojno na Hrvaškem

ta družina tako kot marsikatera druga prisiljena zapustiti svoj dom, ki

so ga postavili z veliko muke in truda, v katerem so prebili vse svoje

življenje in na katerega so bili navezani. Vojna jih tako kot marsikoga

drugega ni vprašala, kaj si oni mislijo o vsem tem in kaj čutijo – med

vojno na Hrvaškem so bili Srbi, da ne rečemo “četniki”, in kot taki

so morali zapustiti Hrvaško. Globokoumna logika vsake vojne, tudi

te, je med drugim velevala – očistiti Hrvaško Srbov, očistiti Srbijo

Hrvatov, srbski del Bosne očistiti Hrvatov in Muslimanov ... z eno

besedo – logika, kakršni zdrav razum stežka sledi. V “duhu te logike”

je bila ta srbska družina izgnana v Srbijo. “Odnesli so celo kožo”, v

obdobju, ki je sledilo, se jim je celo posrečilo svojo veliko, bogato

kmetijo na Hrvaškem prodati neki hrvaški družini, resda za precej

manj denarja, kolikor je bilo posestvo vredno. Družina je dolga leta

živela v nadvse slabih razmerah – nameščena v begunskih centrih,

potem pa so v nekem manjšem mestu nedaleč od glavnega srbskega

mesta Beograda kupili hišico z dvoriščem in obdelovalno zemljo. Tam

ta družina prebiva še danes, sin in njegova žena sta našla zaposlitev v

krajevni šoli, njuna sinova sta nadaljevala s šolanjem. Uredili so hišo,

48


zasadili majhen sadovnjak, zdaj redijo svinje in celo golobe – spoštujoč

duh tega srbskega kraja, kjer je vzreja golobov nekakšna tradicija. Na

prvi pogled je vse v redu, družina je rešena, našla si je nov dom, ki je

za nameček videti krotek in lep.

Od znotraj so stvari povsem drugačne. Oče ne more pozabiti hiše,

sadovnjaka, gozda, kamor je na Hrvaškem vsak dan zahajal na lov. Tamkajšnjih

sosedov in prijateljev, s katerimi so delili življenje. Njegova

žena novi dom prenaša še teže – ne more se privaditi na mentaliteto

in navade v Srbiji. Težko razume srbske “slave”, verska praznovanja, ki

včasih trajajo več dni in ki jih mora zdaj prirejati tudi njena družina,

da ne bi “odstopala” od drugih. Tem praznovanjem prej nikoli niso

posvečali večje pozornosti, zdaj pa jo nekako morajo, če nočejo biti

izvzeti iz okolja, v katerem živijo. Žena ne more preboleti doma, ki so

ga izgubili, prostora in ljudi, ki so ji bili bližji, ki jih je štela za “svoje”.

Spričo žalosti nad rodnim krajem, ki mu pripada, je hudo zbolela –

dneve preživlja v majhni, zatemnjeni sobi, leže v postelji. Kraj, kamor

bi se rada vrnila, je nepovratno izgubljen, ona pa nima ničesar več,

česar bi se nadejala.

Njun sin in njegova žena sta se samo na videz prilagodila novemu

okolju – znotraj sebe se počutita kot tujca. Tu ju nikoli ne bodo docela

sprejeli – tako kot sta za Hrvate na Hrvaškem “Srba” ali, še huje,

“četnika”, sta za Srbe v svoji novi domovini, ali ironično rečeno, v

“pradomovini”, Hrvata ali – “ustaša”. Realno gledano ju ni nikjer – ne

na Hrvaškem ne v Srbiji. Njuna usoda tako kot usoda tisočerih njima

podobnih na eni ali drugi strani ne zanima prav nikogar. Zanju nihče

nima ne razumevanja niti sočutja. Zavedajoč se tega spoznanja živita v

nekakšni trajni depresiji. Ko se iz službe vrne domov in nahrani svinje

in golobe, mož pomalem pije, potem pa leže na klop na dvorišču in

zre v nebo. Ali pa ure in ure čemi pred veliko leseno kletko, kjer živijo

golobi, jih opazuje in oponaša njihovo gruljenje.

Ta zgodba ima tudi svoj epilog, neke vrste “nadgradnjo”, ki šele prav

pokaže, kje “tiči” pravi problem – ta pa je zajet v načinu percepcije te

in podobnih zgodb pri ljudeh, ki niso nujno ozkosrčni nacionalisti,

temveč se, nasprotno, štejejo za kozmopolite in pacifiste.

49


Zgodbo o tej družini sem namreč pripovedovala svoji prijateljici.

Ta je humana, občutljiva, inteligentna oseba, s katero delim nekatere

poglede na svet. Vseeno pa zgodba o Srbih, ki so ostali brez doma in

domovine, moje prijateljice Hrvatice ni posebej ganila.

“Navsezadnje so pa le Srbi, že zavoljo tega pa se nas nekako niti ne

tičejo,” si je najbrž mislila pri sebi.

“Sploh pa, kaj jim navsezadnje manjka v ‘njihovi’ Srbiji? Tako je

navsezadnje tudi Palestincem najbolje med njihovimi in Izraelcem med

svojimi lastnimi. Za vse strani, vpletene v spopade, je pač najbolje, da

se mirno razidejo vsak na svoj konec.”

Tako si misli, kot si mislijo tisoči drugih, res iskrenih pacifistov.

Ampak ob koncu te zgodbe sem svoji prijateljici po naključju omenila

dejstvo, ki mu do tedaj nisem pripisovala posebnega pomena, ki

pa ji je na lepem skalilo udobno ravnodušnost.

“Namreč – sinova žena iz te zgodbe, tista, ki se je zaposlila v šoli, po

narodnosti ni Srbkinja, temveč Hrvatica.”

To spoznanje je pri moji prijateljici povsem spremenilo način doživljanja

celotne zgodbe. Ko je slišala za to, jo je, četudi “post festum”,

pretresla usoda – ne vse družine, temveč ene edincate Hrvatice v

družini, s katero se je zdaj “hvala bogu” lahko celo poistovetila – in se

vživela v njeno tragično usodo.

Mimogrede bodi omenjeno, moja prijateljica je poročena s polovičnim

Srbom in če povemo po pravici, nosi srbski priimek, ampak to

je dejstvo, ki zanjo tako kot za večino Hrvatov, kar jih je kdaj davno

umazalo svojo identiteto s čim “srbskim”, preprosto ne obstaja. Tega

dejstva kratko in malo ni, tistega pa, o čemer ne govorimo in česar ne

vidimo – ni. Ali razumete?

50

Prevedla Maja Novak


A Speech and a Story

Tanja Gromača

‘Intellectuals’, ‘writers’, are given a ‘role’ in society – namely to

investigate the questions of tolerance towards the ‘other’ and the different.

It seems to me that in the recent years these topics have been a

kind of ‘trend’ in the European intellectual-literary arena. It’s perhaps

not tactful of me to start with this assumption, so I immediately want

to add this: I myself, writing one of my small books, wanted to ‘tackle’

these problems. I don’t think this is strange – the region where I live

was the venue of terror and death only fifteen years ago. This terror

and death touched every living being in the region, although many of

us managed to save out heads, families and houses. Even today, quite

unconsciously, we live with this terror and death, every day calmly

observing their consequences.

I believe that many intellectuals dealing with the problems of tolerance,

identity, nations, borders and states in their writings or speeches

at gatherings like this one truly proceeded from the pure position

– from the position of humane people who can’t close their eyes to

the atrocities they witness, because they are critical beings who think

about and question their own position and feel responsible. Many

– including myself – are in one of countless ways personally touched

by the hatred and evil they write about.

When we write, we pull things out of chaos, we want to get to the

beginning, to the very starting point, to the cause, we want to enter the

essence of the problem in order to find a ‘remedy’ for evil. However, the

question is: Do we actually achieve anything and how far can we get? If

we manage to get somewhere where we at least begin to feel that we are

nearing the ‘key to the solution’ – what will this mean to others, what

effect will it achieve? Can we do something in a wider social context or

is this just a kind of game, some type of ‘breaking of time’?

My experience of living in Croatia and occasionally visiting the

countries of the former Yugoslavia – meaning particularly the coun-

51


tries that took part in the war, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina

– tells me that the war and the post-war period brought no ‘catharsis’.

That the people – and I mean the ‘majority’, although there are some

exceptions – reached no higher awareness. People have not been freed

of what we call the ‘myths of the past’ – on the contrary, it seems that

they have sunk even deeper into the dark limbo of idealising their

own nation, conservatism and traditionalistic rituals, romantic notions

about their national histories… Hatred towards the ‘other’, firm

belief in the justness and truthfulness of their own position, absence

of any desire to understand the ‘other’ or at least to communicate are

the uncured diseases still pestering the Croatian and Serbian nations

alike. The virus of nationalism and hatred is deeply rooted in the bodies

of both nations, only that its external manifestations have been

concealed under new ‘clothes’.

As we know, both nations are hastily getting ready to join Europe

– the leaders and political elites of both countries know that Europe

expects from them to be free of the passion of nationalism and hatred,

that to be ‘European’ means to be polite and open, to be ready for

civilised dialogue, for good neighbourly relations, for equality of races,

minorities, sexes and any other type of equality. It’s quite another matter

that this very same Europe hypocritically pulls a sheet over its own

xenophobia, nationalisms, social injustices, lack of sensitivity for the

weaker and ‘smaller’ – this is the problem which I will politely evade,

because I want to focus on my own ‘back yard’.

Both Serbia and Croatia are therefore using cosmetic tricks in order

to gain as many positive points in the eyes of the European public, and

especially with those chairing the commissions for European integrations.

Both countries are applying cheap, superficial and self-deceiving

corrections, a kind of ‘face-lift’, in order to pull themselves out of the

Balkan obscurity and abyss, and glimmer under the bright European

neon lights.

Let’s make this clear – neither of the two countries would be making

even these tiny corrections if they didn’t have huge external debts

and if they weren’t threatened by the pre-collapse social and economic

52


situation. The dead-end position is forcing both countries to seeming

obedience to the European authorities, who in turn award them with

rich injections of capital, turning them into a submissive and cheap,

but grateful labour force. Both Croatia and Serbia not only feel reluctant

to extradite the generals accused of war crimes to the Court

Tribunal in the Hague, but – if they had any say in this and if circumstances

were in their favour – would like to crown them with laurels

and celebrate them like the greatest national heroes.

So, how can we – in such circumstances – speak of the problem

of identities and the necessity of tolerance and common framework

of life, and not at the same time sound absolutely superfluous and

inappropriate? I could enumerate countless concrete examples, which

would immediately ‘shut up’ any speech going in this direction right

from the very start.

However, if we nevertheless decide to speak – how can we direct

this speech to where it could actually achieve something, without seeing

ourselves like court jesters or naïve idealists chanting slogans bent

over a dark well filled with bird shit and garbage?

I’m not certain about the wider social role of the values and ideas

we would like to promote by talking about co-existence and tolerance.

Stoically, not to say fatalistically, I believe that our speech is mechanical

and comes back to us like an echo. The final solutions are shaped

by history, time and again talking about ‘humane migrations’, written

and directed by those in power. Humane ideas always remain fenced

within small enclosures in the luxurious garden of history, like tapestries

in gaudy frames, to serve as an example to future sentimental

pupils and idealistic teachers silently reading the textbooks – and there

are always some of those.

But, naturally, I would never write about something I didn’t believe

in. And I don’t have very many beliefs either; the only thing I believe

in is a story. A story, which deserves to be told. And there are thousands

of such stories, different stories that we hear, the dramatic turns

of which negate the static picture of the world with its stupid and

short-sighted logic of ‘blood and soil’. People live trapped in this logic,

53


feeding on it day after day, while some other people are running away

and – among other things – hiding in books where they find evidence,

a temporary sanctuary.

This is why I would like to – if you will bear with me a little longer

– tell you a short, completely true story. I heard it recently, and then

– convinced of the inevitability of this story, which talks about the

uselessness and illogicality of reducing people’s existence and identity

to ‘nations’, ‘states’ or ‘borders – I heard another story, which began

and ended similarly.

The story talks about a family of Croatian Serbs – the Serbs, who

were born, grew up and lived all their lives in Croatia, of Serbian

nationality, but whose homeland is Croatia. This big family – father,

mother, their son, the son’s wife and their two sons – lived in Banija,

the region in central Croatia characterised by the mixture of two nations,

rich hilly nature, thick forests, abundant orchards and excellent

home-brewed brandy made of local plums. During the war in Croatia

in the mid-nineties this family, like many others, was forced to leave

their home, which they had built with a great deal of effort, where

they’d spent their entire life, where their roots had been. The war never

asked them what they thought about it and how they felt – it never

posed this question to anybody; in the war in Croatia they were simply

Serbs, not to say ‘Chetniks’, and as such they had to leave Croatia.

The deep-thinking logic of this war, like any other, was among other

things to cleanse Croatia of Serbs, cleanse Serbia of Croats, cleanse

the Serbian part of Bosnia of Croats and Muslims… In short – the

logic, which any sane mind finds hard to follow. In the ‘spirit of this

logic’ the Serbian family from our story was expelled to Serbia. They

managed to ‘save their heads’; in the times that followed they even

managed to sell their large and rich rural holding to a Croatian family,

though for much less money than it was actually worth. For years the

family lived in very bad conditions, accommodated in refugee centres,

and then they managed to buy a small house with a yard and some arable

land in a town not far from Belgrade, the capital of Serbia. There

they still live; the son and his wife are employed in the local school,

54


their sons are continuing their education. They renovated the house,

planted a small orchard, they raise pigs and pigeons respecting the

spirit of the place where raising pigeons is a kind of tradition. On the

outside everything is well: the family is safe, they found a new home,

which even looks nice and cosy.

But on the inside the picture is quite different. The father cannot

get over the house, the orchard and the forest in Croatia, where he

went hunting every day. The neighbours and friends they had over

there, who they shared their lives with. His wife finds it even harder

to live in the new home – she can’t get used to the Serbian mentality

and the local customs. She has difficulty accepting the Serbian ‘slava’

– religious holidays sometimes lasting for days, which her family as

well has to celebrate in order not to be the odd man out. Earlier, they

never celebrated the saint’s days, but now they feel they have to if they

don’t want to be cast out of the society where they now live. The wife

is still grieving over the lost home, the region and the people that were

close to her, that she considered ‘her own’. The sorrow for her native

place has made her sick; she’s spending her days lying in bed in a small,

dim room. The place to which she would like to return is forever lost;

she has nothing left to hope for.

Their son and his wife are only seemingly adapted to the new environment;

inside they feel like strangers. In Serbia they will never be

fully accepted: just like for the Croats in Croatia they are ‘Serbs’, or

even worse – ‘Chetniks’, for the Serbs in their new homeland, or ironically,

their ‘ancient homeland’, they are Croats or ‘Ustashe’. Objectively

speaking – their home is nowhere – either in Croatia or in Serbia.

Their fate, like thousands of similar fates on both sides, is absolutely of

no interest to anybody. Nobody has any understanding or sympathy

for them. The family, well aware of this, live in a kind of permanent

depression. When the husband comes home from work and feeds the

pigs and the pigeons, he drinks a bit, and then lies on a bench in the

yard and stares at the sky. Or else sits for hours in front of the wooden

coop with the pigeons, watching them and imitating their cooing.

This story has an epilogue, a kind of ‘denouement’, which shows

where the true problem lies; this problem is contained in the way this

55


and similar stories are perceived by people who are not necessarily narrow-minded

nationalists and who, quite on the contrary, consider

themselves to be cosmopolitans and pacifists.

In fact, I told the story of the Serbian family to my friend. She’s a

humane, sensitive, intelligent person with whom I share certain views

of the world. However, my friend, who is from Croatia, was not particularly

touched by the story of the family who lost their home and

homeland.

‘After all they are Serbs, and therefore not really our problem,’ she

was probably thinking to herself.

‘And besides, what could they possibly be lacking in ‘their’ Serbia?

In the end, Palestinians are also best off among their own people, and

so are the Israelis. It’s best for all nations in conflict to peacefully go

back where they belong.’

This is what she thinks, and this is what thousands of other truly

honest pacifists think.

Well, when I finished my story, I accidentally told my friend an

item of information that I hadn’t paid any particular attention to before,

but which suddenly disturbed the cosy indifference.

Namely – the wife from the story, the one who found work in the

local school, is not Serbian by nationality, but Croatian.

This fact completely changed the way my friend perceived the story.

When she heard it, she was suddenly ‘post festum’ moved by the

fate – but not of the entire family, but of this one Croatian woman

within it, who she was suddenly able to identify with and relive her

tragic destiny.

By the way – my friend is married to a half-Serb, and let truth be

said, she has a Serbian surname, but this fact is of hardly any importance

to her or to many other Croats, who have long ago tainted their identity

with something ‘Serbian’. This fact just isn’t here, and what we don’t talk

about and what we don’t see, simply doesn’t exist. Get it?

56

Translated by Lili Potpara


Ksenofilija ali ohranjanje tujosti

Simona Škrabec

Literarne kulture so krhke, posebej še tiste, ki živijo v ogroženih

jezikih. Pri tem ni tako pomembno število govorcev, temveč asimilacijski

pritiski neke večje in močnejše kulture. Takšna »manjša« literatura,

kot bi rekel Kafka, je v današnji Evropi zagotovo katalonska. Njihova

kultura velja v svetu kot nekaj prepoznavnega, a hkrati životari zunaj

vsakega uradnega mednarodnega priznanja. Toda položaj je bil nedavno

brez dvoma veliko težji, po državljanski vojni je bil katalonski jezik

več kot trideset let odrinjen na sam rob, v prvem obdobju Francovega

režima pa sploh prepovedan.

Nič čudnega ni torej, da se v Barceloni vrstijo literarne prireditve

in da literatura igra vlogo, ki daleč presega njene običajne pristojnosti.

Že dobro desetletje živim v tem svetovljanskem mestu in moji izkušnji

slovenskega »kulturnega sindroma« se je torej pridružil še občutek

neizpolnjenosti, ki zaznamuje Katalonce.

Barcelona kot mesto je ujeta v ozek prostor, ki ga zaradi same pokrajine

ni mogoče kaj dosti razširiti, na vzhodu jo zapira morje, na zahodu

strma pobočja pogorja Collserrola, na severu gosta mreža mestnih ulic

prehaja v gričevnat svet Maresme, kjer po dolinicah kljub razgibanemu

reliefu vztrajno rastejo nova naselja. Toda najbolj zaprta je meja proti

jugu, kraška planota Garrafa zapira mesto z Montjuïcom, na vrhu katerega

stoji vojaška utrdba in nadzoruje mesto globoko v dolini. Hrbet

te gore pada strmo v morje, ob vznožju pečin je barcelonsko tovorno

pristanišče, ladje so visoko naložene s pisanimi zabojniki, velike kovinske

škatle se kopičijo tudi na obrežju. Toda med skalami nad njim ne

gnezdijo le ptice, za steno gore, ki prikriva pogled na vrvež pristanišča,

se skrivajo tudi skladovnice popolnoma drugačne vrste, na pečini ima

svoj prostor namreč največje barcelonsko pokopališče.

Lesene krste ne počivajo v zemlji, kakor je navada brez razlike med

narodi ali veroizpovedmi v Srednji Evropi, temveč v kostnicah. Nizke

57


zidane zgradbe, polne niš, stojijo s hrbtom obrnjene druga proti drugi.

Kostnica je v vmesnem prostoru med dvema zgradbama, ki ni viden

očem. Ko krsto »pokopljejo« v nišo, ostane nepredušno zaprta z nagrobnikom

dovolj dolgo, da lahko ob naslednjem pogrebu posmrtne

ostanke preprosto odrinejo v kostnico z loparjem, podobnim tistemu,

ki služi za vsajanje kruha v peč.

Ves ta uvod je potreben, da vam lahko zaupam majhno anekdoto,

s katero je na enem številnih barcelonskih literarnih večerov pesnik

poskušal opravičiti nesmiselno početje, da še vedno vztraja in piše

pesmi v jeziku, ki nikakor ne uspe postati samoumeven niti v svoji

lastni domovini. Znak več, kako zapleten je tudi danes položaj katalonskih

literatov, je v tem, da njegova izjava ni nikjer zabeležena. Kljub

temu, da letno objavijo okrog 7.000 knjižnih naslovov, v katalonščini

skorajda ne obstajajo literarne revije in kratek esej, v katerem bi pesnik

opravičil smiselnost svojega početja, nima oglasne deske, na katero bi

bil lahko obešen.

Dogodek se je zgodil v petdesetih letih na pokopališču na Montjuïcu.

Družina se je zbrala k pogrebu, a ko so odprli nagrobni kamen,

se je v niši prikazala krsta, zavita v republikansko zastavo. Zaprta v

svojem zračnem grobu, je tkanina ostala nedotaknjena celih dvajset

let. Republika je bila še vedno tam, z njo pa se je pred očmi nejevernega

dečka prikazal tudi otipljiv dokaz o preteklosti, ki jo je uradna

verzija zgodovine zanikala. Otrok je sicer res odrasel v svojem jeziku,

kajti asimilacija ni posegla iz javnega sveta v zasebno sfero, a jezik je

bil oropan preteklosti, toda ta je bila nenadoma in neizpodbitno tu.

V naslednjem trenutku se je krste dotaknil lopar in jo z enim samim

sunkom spremenil v prah.

»Hočem, da me pokopljejo neposredno v zemljo, pa čeprav v krsti.

Nočem, da me vsadijo v steno, kot na pokopališču Săo Joăo Batista,

kjer v zemlji ni več prostora. Zato so si izmislili tiste diabolične zgradbe,

v katerih je človek spravljen kot v arhivu«, je zapisala v svojem romanu

Živa voda iz leta 1973 Clarice Lispector. Bila je stara komaj dva meseca,

ko je leta 1920 s starši, judovskimi priseljenci iz Ukrajine, prišla

v Brazilijo. Lispectorin edini jezik je bil portugalščina. Toda izkušnja

58


priseljenca jo je vendarle zaznamovala, podarila ji je sposobnost, da

ve, da obstajajo pokopališča tako z nišami kot z gomilami. Zato piše o

tem, kako na svetu ni ničesar, kar bi bilo samoumevno. Predvsem pa

človeku ni samoumeven jezik. Nihče se ne rodi s sposobnostjo govora.

Vsak otrok si mora šele ustvariti pogoje za dialog, ki bodo omogočili,

da se v njem razvije jezik. Ni namreč dovolj, da je posameznik sposoben

videti in čutiti, zato da lahko spregovori, potrebuje sogovornika.

Le-ta je pogosto umišljen, lahko nagovorimo samega sebe ali pa neko

višjo instanco, ki nas presega, lahko se v mislih obračamo na nekoga,

ki je sicer iz mesa in kosti, a je za vedno odsoten. Možnosti je veliko,

toda brez sogovornika, naj bo umišljen ali ne, jaz ne obstaja.

V tem okviru primarne socializacije, skozi katero se izoblikuje človekova

najbolj osebna identiteta, je popolnoma vseeno, če govorimo jezik

večmilijonskega naroda ali zgolj male, ogrožene skupnosti. Preden se

jezik zavije v takšno ali drugačno zastavo, mora storiti nekaj veliko bolj

osnovnega, ubesediti mora svet. Neskončno razsežnost človeku dojemljivega

sveta besede urejajo v pojme, ti pa tkejo gosto mrežo odnosov,

skozi katero urejamo in spoznavamo vse, kar nas obdaja. Tudi literatura

torej najprej sama po sebi »prevaja« svet v besede, ubeseduje nekaj, kar

jo presega. Pisatelj zajema in razpostavlja elemente iz svojega sveta tako,

da naj bralcu omogočijo pogled v celoto, iz katere izvira. Zato nobeno

literarno delo nima dobesednega pomena. Vsako branje je dialog z besedilom,

odkrivanje plasti pomenov, ki so naložene vanj. A ne smemo

pozabiti tudi na to, da je bilo literarno delo napisano prav za ta dialog.

Ravno tako kot otrok spregovori šele, ko najde sogovornika, literatura

ponavlja ta vzorec komunikacije na veliko širšem in bolj abstraktnem

nivoju. Kaj se zgodi, ko ta zapleteni mehanizem, ki tesno povezuje avtorja,

sporočilo in sprejemnika, prenesemo v drugo kulturo?

Literarni prevod je nova knjiga, rastlina, presajena v drugo okolje,

ki mora šele pognati svoje korenine. Učinek ne more biti enak kot v

originalu, zvestoba izvirniku je po svoje precej nesmiseln pojem. Je prevajalec

res dober takrat, ko zvesto prestavi vse elemente iz enega jezika

v drugega? Ali to pomeni, da mora niše iz barcelonskega Montjuïca

spremeniti v gomile na ljubljanskih Žalah? Težava se seveda ne pojavlja

59


samo v tej ali oni posebnosti, ki bi jo bilo mogoče razložiti z opombo

pod črto. Sam jezik je velikanska zapreka, ljubezenska pesem, naj bo

zapisana v kateremkoli evropskem jeziku, ne more ujeti nedvoumnosti

slovenskih zaimkov in glagolov v dvojini. Zatakne se, kadar je treba

pesem o »naju« prevesti v pesem o »nas«, kakor tudi v obratni smeri,

ko »mi« postanejo zgolj »midva«. Madžarščina ali estonščina, jezika, ki

ne poznata slovničnih spolov, pa dovoljujeta na primer prikriti partnerjevo

identiteto do konca romana, če avtor noče, nikoli ne bomo

izvedeli, ali se je junak zaljubil v moškega ali žensko …

Literarni svet ni prevedljiv brez ostanka, to več ali manj sprejemamo

kot staro resnico. A vendar je prisotnost tujega celo v kontekstu izmenjave

literarnih tradicij pogosto sprejeta kot nekaj izjemno motečega.

Zagotovo se spominjate zgodbe o Filipu Kobalu, ki ga je Peter Handke

poslal raziskat svet na sončno stran Karavank. Njegov junak se je vrnil

domov praznih rok, prepričan, da mu zadostuje zgolj zgodba, ki si

jo je o Sloveniji ustvaril že dolgo pred tem potovanjem. Slepa okna,

ki se vztrajno pojavljajo v romanu Ponovitev avstrijskega pisatelja, so

izjemno natančna metafora učinka, ki ga ima takšno srečanje z drugo

kulturo. Okno je na fasadi res izrisano, vendar se ne odpira nikamor,

ne dovoljuje pogleda v notranjost sosedove hiše. Naslikani okenski

okvir je zgolj platno, na katerega projiciramo lastne predstave.

Prevajalec kaj hitro postane Filip Kobal, ki sicer sedi, kakor pove

njegov priimek, v sedlu z eno nogo na vsaki strani, a vendar pozablja,

da mora ohraniti tujost izvirnika tudi, ko bo le-ta presajen v drug jezik.

Še več, literarni prevodi služijo že od nekdaj kot sredstvo jezikovne

antropofagije. Požreti nasprotnikovo srce, da bi postali močnejši: Biblija

ali Don Kihot ali Shakespeare v jeziku nekega malega naroda sta

dokaz o tem, da se je nek jezik sposoben kosati z drugimi. Jezik je

posrkal sok izročila in zavrgel ostanek. Ostanek je svet, v katerega je

bil vpet izvirnik, in sprejemanje njegove drugačnosti.

V ogromni literarni produkciji v angleškem jeziku danes zgolj procent

ali dva predstavljajo literarni prevodi. A ne samo to, ko angleški

knjižni trg vsrka nekega tujega avtorja, ga vsrka do konca, romane

Dostojevskega najdemo v večin knjigarn med angleškimi avtorji z isto

60


začetnico. Prevod izbriše najpomembnejšo sled o izvoru, sam jezik. Če

ni nikjer posebej povedano, prevedena knjiga postane preprosto del

nekega drugega jezika, izvirnik in njegove korenine pa niso več znani.

Leta 2007 bo katalonska literatura gostja Frankfurtskega knjižnega sejma,

vse kaže, da bo predstavljena predvsem s svetovnimi uspešnicami

Vila-Matasa in Ruíz Zafona ali pa z deli Juana Goytisola, morda bosta

zraven tudi oba romana Alberta Sánchez Piñola. Prvi trije avtorji so

sicer del barcelonskega kulturnega utripa, a pišejo v španščini, le slednjemu

je izjemen prodor v mednarodni prostor uspel iz katalonščine.

Nemški bralci bodo to bistveno razliko med obema vrstama izvirnika

opazili le, če bo uspešno izvedena skoraj pedagoška naloga, da oznake

»katalonska« literatura ni ravno mogoče uporabljati za vse, kar nastaja

na ozemlju Katalonije. A za to ni kaj dosti upanja, Španija še vedno

ohranja zunaj svojih meja podobo enovitega monolita.

Primer romana Mrzla koža, ki je v dveh letih po nastanku dosegel

prevode v kar 44 različnih jezikov, je zanimiv še z druge plati.

Močno spominja na Bartolovega Alamuta, ki se na Pirenejskem polotoku

že skoraj dvajset let prodaja preveden iz francoščine in kot delo

»tržaškega avtorja«. Tako zgodba o samomorilskih izmaelitih kot tudi

pripoved Sánchez Piñola o svetilničarju na malem južno morskem

otoku nočeta biti odsev sveta, v katerem sta nastala. Povezava z lastno

kulturo je zgolj metaforična, a to vez recepcija zunaj meja vztrajno

zanika. Angleški prevajalec Bartolovega romana svari bralce, da bi bilo

razumevanje Alamuta v povezavi z zgodovino Slovencev na Primorskem

med obema vojnama »površinsko poenostavljanje«. V takšnih

primerih je kulturno »ljudožerstvo« najbolj vidno. Literarna dela se res

uspešno prevajajo, prodajajo, prebirajo v številnih deželah, a pogoj za

ta prehod je čim bolj popolna izkoreninjenost. Bolj kot je anonimen

avtor in kultura, iz katere prihaja, bolj kot je samo literarno delo brez

neposredne vpetosti v neko konkretno zgodovinsko resničnost, lažje

kroži med kulturami. Knjiga postane anonimna, in čeprav jo je podpisal

pisatelj, je njena vrednost enaka starim legendam ali mitom. Vse,

kar je obkrožalo zgodbo, se je raztopilo, zgodba je postala zgolj hrana

drugim zgodbam, spremenjena v nekaj, kar ni več tuje. Temeljna

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značilnost takšne prisvojitve pa je, da prevedeno delo izgubi vse, kar je

bilo ostrega in neudobnega v izvirniku. Alamut za Slovence ni preprosto

delo, bralce in komentatorje sili v soočanje z neprijetnimi poglavji

lastne zgodovine, za ameriškega bralca pa je ta zgodba, nasprotno, lahko

zgolj dokaz o večni teroristični nevarnosti in konec.

Poenostavljanje in prilagajanje danim vzorcem je vstopnica, ki odpira

svetovno prizorišče. Toda nekaj podobnega se zgodi, ko se literatura

zaplete ravno v nasprotno mrežo, v pretirano zavezanost svojemu izvoru,

ki nacionalno literaturo spremeni v zgolj natančno izbran kanon.

Okostenelost preži v subvencijah, v literarnih nagradah, v uradni promociji.

Toda tudi temu se – k sreči ali na žalost – literarni prevajalci

vztrajno izmikajo. Kulturna oblast bi jih pogosto rada spremenila v

tajnice, ki bi pridno odtipkale v drug, če je le mogoče pomemben

jezik, le tista literarna dela, ki si zaslužijo predstavljati lastno kulturo

pred tujimi bralci. A to ne gre, cesarjeva roka je sicer dolga, a ne seže kaj

daleč v tujino. Precej enostavno je prirediti v tujini literarni večer pred

uglednimi gosti, bistveno težje pa je vzbuditi s tujim delom pozornost

uveljavljenih kritikov in pisateljev domače dežele. Posebej težko je to v

primeru malih jezikov, ki niso majhni zaradi števila govorcev, temveč

zato, ker se jih je razen tistih, ki so se rodili v njih, naučil le malokateri

tujec. Angleške, francoske ali nemške avtorje prebirajo številni

ljubitelji evropske književnosti z nekaj veselja do učenja jezikov, slovenskim

ali katalonskim avtorjem se kaj takega primeri le redkokdaj.

Vsa promocija v tujini in vsaka recepcija zunaj meja sta torej odvisni

zgolj od obstoječih literarnih prevodov. Teh pa, žal, praktično nikoli

ne spremljajo ustrezna referenčna dela. Majhnost majhnih literatur je

ravno v tem, da sicer še nekako izvozijo literarna dela, ne pa tudi okvira,

ki bi dovoljeval, da bi bila lahko razumljena v ustreznem kontekstu.

Literatura zunaj svojih jezikovnih meja ostaja tako zgolj slučajna

gledališka predstava, ki meri svojo uspešnost po številu prodanih izvodov

ali udeležencih kakega festivala. S tem pa je dejansko prevzela

vlogo političnega potrjevalca identitete, to pa jo je oropalo globine.

Edini namen literarnih del in njihove promocije postane tako zagotoviti,

da se vsa kolesca kulturnega stroja lahko še naprej vrtijo. Da

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i lahko vzpodbujala kakršno koli kritično razmišljanje, pa postane

postranskega pomena. Zunaj meja svojega jezika literatura trpi torej v

vseh primerih, ki sem jih omenila, za isto boleznijo, za pomanjkanjem

stalnega in kritičnega dialoga z bralci, ki bi bili pripravljeni sprejeti in

bi bili sposobni razumeti tuje elemente, ki jih nosi s sabo vsako literarno

delo.

Danilo Kiš je opozarjal, da svet postane nevaren, ko se zoži na eno

samo knjigo. Zato tudi ni naključje, da naslovni junak njegove Grobnice

za Borisa Davidoviča (1977) počiva v praznem kenotafu, ker se pisatelj

zaveda, kako močno orožje lahko postanejo spominska obeležja.

Davidovičevo življenje zglednega revolucionarja se konča s presunljivim

tenkim stebrom dima. Isto zbirko novel pa odpira zgodba poljske

aktivistke Hane, ki pade pod udarci noža z držajem iz rožnega lesa,

a nihče ne ve, v kakšnem jeziku je izgovorila svoje zadnje besede, v

poljščini, romunščini, madžarščini, ukrajinščini ali jidišu.

Svet se je v zadnjih desetletjih močno spremenil, zdi se, da vsaj v

Evropi ni več težkih političnih nasprotij, o katerih govorijo Kiševe

zgodbe. A vendar je pogled pisateljev, ki so sposobni pokazati, kako

krhek je svet, v katerem živimo, nujen. Zastava se v trenutku spremeni

v prah, človeško življenje v steber dima, ljudje umirajo, ne da bi vedeli,

v katerem jeziku so izgovorili poslednji stavek, a hkrati so pripravljeni

brez oklevanja reči, da je pokojnik, ki ga vložijo v ozko odprtino v

zidu, tam »pokopan«. Jezik je nezanesljiv in vedno dovzeten za nove

pomene. Morda je kaj takega res mogoče samo v literaturi, a je vredno

premisleka.

Da bi bil kos tako zapleteni nalogi, literarni prevajalec ne more biti

neka dvoumna, siva oseba brez posebnosti, ki ravno zaradi skrivanja

svojega jaza zagotavlja zvestobo izvirniku. Prevod ni mehanično delo,

prevajalčevo delo pač ne spominja na potrpežljivo in natančno pregledovanje

krtačnih odtisov, temveč prej na literarnega kritika, ki aktivno

posega v to, kdo in kje bo imel dostop do nekega literarnega dela. Prevajalec

ni besedni virtuoz in tudi ne spreten posnemovalec, ne more se

izogniti vprašanju, kaj je sploh to, kar prevaja in kako tudi v prevodu

ohraniti pečat drugačnosti.

63


Xenophilia, or, Preserving the Foreign

Simona Škrabec

Literary cultures are fragile, all the more so those that live within

an endangered language. The actual number of the speakers of such a

language is not important. What is crucial, rather, is the assimilative

pressure of a bigger and stronger culture in relation to this language.

Catalan literature is certainly one such “smaller” literature, as Kafka

would call it. Although Catalan culture is internationally recognizable,

it also lives outside any official international recognition albeit up until

recently, however, the situation was, without doubt, much harder.

Namely, after the civil war Catalan spent more than thirty years existing

on the edge, indeed, in the first two decades of Franco’s rule it was

actually banned altogether.

It is not surprising, therefore, to find Barcelona hosting one literary

event after another, and that literature there plays a role that exceeds

its usual responsibilities. I have spent more than a decade living in

this cosmopolitan city, and my own experience of the Slovene “cultural

syndrome” has been added to by that feeling of unfulfilment that

marks the Catalonians.

As a city, Barcelona is trapped within a narrow space that, due to

the nature of the surrounding landscape, cannot be expanded much.

To the East the city is bounded by the sea; to the West by the steep

Collserola mountains; and the North witnesses the dense network of

city streets merge into the hilly world of the Maresme the valleys of

which witness new suburbs rising as a challenge to the landscape itself.

The most closed off, however, is the border towards the South. There,

the Karst plateau of Garraf closes off the city with the Montjuïc on

top of which stands a military fortress controlling the city in the valley

deep below. The slope of this mountain swiftly descends into the sea,

and its base hosts the Barcelona freight port in which ships are fully

loaded with colourful containers while big steel boxes crowd the coast

65


as well. Between the rocks above, however, we not only find nesting

birds. Rather, the mountain slope that otherwise also obstructs a view

of the hubbub of the port, also reveals a sanctuary of a very different

kind. Namely, the cliff also hosts the biggest graveyard in Barcelona.

The wooden coffins do not rest in the soil, as is custom among

the various nations and religions of Middle Europe, but in ossuaries.

Low buildings, full of niches, stand with their backs to each other.

The ossuary will lie in the space invisible to the eyes and between two

buildings. When a coffin is “buried” into a niche, remains hermetically

sealed off with a tombstone for so long that, when it is time for

another burial there, the remains are simply edged away with a shovel

similar to that used to shove bread into an oven.

This introduction is necessary in order for me to confide a small

anecdote with which a poet tried to excuse the useless activity of continuing

to write poems in a language that is unsuccessful in becoming

taken for granted even in its own homeland. Another indication as to

how complicated the position of Catalan writers is today, consists in the

fact that the apology of the poet in question was not recorded anywhere.

Despite the fact that some 7 thousand different titles are published every

year, Catalan hardly has any literary magazines. Thus, a short literary

essay in which a poet could explain the purposefulness of his activities

actually does not have a billboard on to which it could be posted.

The event took place in the nineteen fifties at the Montjuïc graveyard.

The family gathered for the funeral, but when the tomb was opened

what was revealed was a coffin wrapped in the flag of the Spanish

Republic. Closed in its grave, the cloth had remained untouched for

the past twenty years. The Republic was still there, and with it the

boy’s disbelieving eyes were given tangible proof of a past that official

history had otherwise denied. True, the child had grown up speaking

his own language, this because assimilation had not transgressed from

the public into the private sphere. But, this language was nonetheless

robbed of its past, a past that was suddenly and unambiguously part of

the here and now. The next moment, however, the coffin was touched

by the shovel and with one nudge it crumbled into dust.

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“I want to be buried directly into the earth, even if this means being

buried in a coffin. I do not want to be inserted into a wall, as is the

case at the Săo Joăo Batista graveyard where there is no room left in

the earth. That is why they came up with those diabolical buildings in

which individuals are put away as if being stored away in an archive.”

Thus wrote Clarice Lispector in her 1973 novel Living Water. She was

only two months old when she and her parents, Jewish migrants from

Ukraine, arrived in Brazil in 1920.

Her only language was Portuguese, but the experience of being a migrant

marked her, and gave here the ability of recognizing that one deals

either with graveyards that have niches, or graveyards with mounds.

This is why she writes about how there is nothing in the world that can

be taken for granted. Above all, language is not something that humans

can take for granted. Nobody is born with the capability of speech.

Each child has to create the conditions for that dialogue otherwise enabling

the development of language itself. Namely, it is not enough for

the individual to be able to see and feel; to be able to speak one has to

have somebody to talk to. Frequently, this is an imaginary figure; or we

can talk to ourselves, or some higher being above us; we can also turn to

someone who is all flesh and bones, but who is otherwise gone forever.

There are many different possibilities, but without a co-conversationalist,

imaginary or not, the self does not exist.

Within this framework of primary socialisation, one through which

an individual’s most personal sense of selfhood is formed, it does not

matter whether we speak the language of a nation with many millions

of members, or that of a small community under threat. Before language

drapes itself in this or that flag, it must achieve something far

more basic – it must word the world. Words order the infinite dimensions

of the world knowable to humankind into concepts; these concepts

then weave a dense network of relations through which we manage

and come to know everything that surrounds us. Literature also,

and in itself, already “translates” the world into words, gives words to

something that surpasses it as it is. Writers gather and distribute elements

from their world in such a way so as to enable their readerships

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to have a view into the whole. This is why no literary work has a literal

meaning. Rather, every act of reading is a dialogue with the text, it is

the discovery of various layers of meaning stacked on to this text. But

we must also not forget that the literary work is written precisely to

facilitate such a dialogue. Just as children start talking only when they

find somebody to talk to, so literature repeats this pattern of communication

on a much bigger and more abstract scale.

What happens, however, when this complex mechanism binding

authors, meaning and receiver, is carried over to another culture? A literary

translation is a new book, it is a plant transplanted into another

environment, one that must nonetheless still root itself. The effect of

this rooting cannot be the same as it is for the original; faithfulness to

the original being, in a sense, a pretty meaningless concept. Are translators

really good translators only then when they faithfully transpose

all the elements from one language to another? Does this mean that

they must transform the niches of the Montjuïc of Barcelona into the

mounds of Žale in Ljubljana? Of course, this problem does not only

occur in this or that “special use” that can otherwise be explained away

with a footnote. Language is in itself a gigantic obstacle; regardless of

the language it is written in, a love poem cannot capture the unambiguous

nature of the dual forms of Slovene pronouns and verbs. Things

get complicated when a poem about “us two” (“naju” in Slovene) has

to be translated into a poem about “us” (“nas”). The same problem occurs

in the opposite direction when “we” (“mi”) become just “the two

of us” (“midva”). Hungarian or Estonian, languages that do not know

linguistic genders, allow the partner’s sexual identity to be concealed

right up to the end of a given novel. If the author does not want us to,

then we shall never know whether the subject of the work fell in love

with a man or a woman…

The literary world is not translatable without residue. This is something

we accept as one would accept an ancient truth. Nonetheless,

the presence of something foreign in the context of the exchange of literary

traditions is frequently understood as something extremely irritating.

I am sure you recall the story of Filip Kobal who Peter Handke

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sent off to explore the sunny side of the Karavanke mountains. His

hero returned home empty handed, convinced that all he needed was

just the story he had made up for himself about Slovenia before he

had actually embarked on his journey to the country himself. The

blind windows that persistently turn up in this Austrian writer’s work

Repetition, are an exceptionally apt metaphor of the effect meeting a

different culture can have. True, the window is actually marked on

the façade, but it does not open up to anywhere, it does not allow a

glimpse inside the neighbour’s house. The painted window frame is

mere canvas onto which we project or own imagination.

Translators can quickly become individuals like Filip Kobal, sitting

(as his Slovene surname implies) in a saddle with a leg straddling each

side. They can also, however, forget that they must retain the foreignness

of the original even when this is transplanted into another language.

Indeed, literary translations have always been a means of literary

cannibalism: to eat the enemy’s heart so as to become stronger oneself:

The Bible or Don Quixote or Shakespeare translated into the language

of a small nation prove the fact that this language can successfully

compete with others. The language has sucked the juice of tradition

and rejected the residue. The residue is the world onto which the original

was tacked, it is the reception of its otherness.

Within the huge literary production taking place in the English

language today, only a percent or two are literary translations. But this

is not all. When the English speaking market sucks in a given foreign

author, this author is completely sucked in: most bookshops shelve

Dostoyevsky among English authors whose surnames also begin with

the letter D. The translation erases the trace of its origin, the language

itself. If it is nowhere explicitly stated, then a translated work simply

becomes part of the language it was translated into; its original, and its

roots, are thus rendered unknown.

In 2007, Catalan literature will be the guest of the Frankfurt Book

Fair. It seems that it will be represented at the fair primarily with the

international bestsellers of Vila-Matas and Ruíz Zafon, or the works of

Juan Goytisolo; possibly also by both novels by Albert Sánchez Piñol.

69


Although they write in Castilian, the first three authors are otherwise

part of the cultural heartbeat of Barcelona. Only Sánchez Piñol has

succeeded in achieving international recognition writing in Catalan.

German writers will only notice this crucial difference between these

two kinds of originals, if the presentation of Catalan authors will be

successfully accompanied by the almost pedagogical mission of explaining

how the label “Catalan” literature cannot be used for just about

everything being written on the territory of Catalonia. There is little

hope, however, that this mission will in fact be carried out. Spain still

outwardly projects an image of itself as a unitary monolith.

The example of the novel Cold Skin, achieving translations into 44

different languages only two years after first appearing, is interesting

for another reason as well. Namely, it strongly resembles Alamut by

the Slovene writer Vladimir Bartol, a novel that has been selling in

the Pyrenees for nearly twenty years as translated from French, and as

the work of an “author from Trieste”. Thus, both the story of suicidal

Ismaelites and Sánchez Piñol’s narrative of a lighthouse keeper on a

small South Sea island, do not want to be a reflection of the world

in which they were actually created. The connection with their own

culture is only metaphorical, a connection which outside reception

persistently denies. The English translator of Bartol’s novel warns the

readership that understanding Alamut in connection with the history

of the Slovenes living in the coastal areas of the country between the

two world wars would constitute a form of superficial simplification.

It is in such cases that cultural “cannibalism” is most evident. Literary

works are being successfully translated, sold and read in numerous

countries. The condition for their passage is, however, an uprooting

that is as thorough as possible. The more authors and their cultures

are anonymous, and the more a given literary work is without direct

reference to a concrete historical reality, the easier it is for this work

to circulate among cultures. The work becomes anonymous, and even

though it has been signed by the author, its value is the same as that

of old legends and myths. Everything that surrounded the story has

melted away. The story itself has become mere food for other stories

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and has been changed into something that is no longer foreign. The

basic characteristic of such appropriation is that the translated work

loses everything that was sharp and uncomfortable in the original. Slovene

readers do not find Alamut an easy work to read. The novel forces

its readers and critics to confront unpleasant chapters of their own history.

On the other hand, however, a reader from the USA understands

Alamut as mere proof of a timeless terrorist threat. And that is that.

The simplification and adaptation to pre-given patterns is a ticket

to the world at large. But something similar happens when literature

entangles itself into the opposite net – the exaggerated fidelity to its

origin, a move that changes national literature into nothing more than

a precisely delineated canon. Ossification lurks behind subsidies, literary

prizes, and official promotion. But this – for better or worse – is

something that literary translators elude. The cultural powers that

be would like to change translators into mere secretaries who would

quaintly retype into another language, if possible an important one,

only those works that deserve to represent one’s own culture to a foreign

readership. But this will not do. True, the emperor’s hand is long,

but it does extend much beyond the land in which the emperor himself

rules. It is quite easy to organize a literary event abroad such as a

public reading in front of eminent guests, but it is much harder for a

foreign work to excite the interest of renowned critics and domestic

writers. Indeed, generating such excitement is especially difficult in

the case of small languages; languages that are small not because of the

number of speakers they have, but because apart from those born into

them, few foreigners have learnt them. English, French or German

authors are read by numerous lovers of European literature who have

at least some love of learning foreign languages. On the other hand,

Slovene and Catalan writers experience such readership love extremely

rarely. All the promotion abroad, and all the reception that takes

place there, are thus dependent solely on existing literary translations.

Sadly, these are practically unaccompanied by adequate works of reference

and criticism. The smallness of small literatures consists precisely

in the fact that somehow they are able to export their literary works

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abroad, but the fail to export the framework that would allow these

works to be understood within their pertinent original context. Hence,

a literature existing beyond the borders of the language in which it was

written remains a chance theatre show that measures its success in terms

of the numbers of copies that it has sold, and the numbers of participants

in some festival or another. With this, such literature has taken

on the role of marking identity with the political stamp of approval,

a role that has robbed literature of depth. Because of this, the sole intention

such literary works, and the aim of their promotion, becomes

to ensure that the cogs of the cultural machine continue to turn. The

possibility of these works becoming the catalysts of any kind of critical

thinking, becomes a side issue. In all the cases I have mentioned, a

literature existing outside its linguistic borders suffers from the same

malady: the lack of constant and critical dialogue with a readership

ready to accept as well as understand those foreign elements that every

literary works carries within itself.

Danilo Kiš used to warn that the world becomes a dangerous place

when it is reduced to a single book. Therefore, it is no coincidence that

the hero of his collection A Tomb for Boris Davidovič (1977) rests in an

empty cenotaph. This is because the writer is aware of how powerful

weapons monuments can become. Davidovič’s life of an exemplary

revolutionary ends with a heart-rending thin column of smoke. The

collection itself is opened by the story of the Polish activist Hana. She

is beaten to death by a rosewood handle of a knife, nobody knowing

in what language her last words were said – Polish, Romanian, Hungarian,

Ukrainian or Yiddish.

The last couple of decades have seen the world change so much

that, so it seems, Europe at least is no longer the scene of those political

differences that the stories of Kiš talk about. The gaze of writers

who are able to show how fragile is the world in which we live is

nonetheless urgent. It takes only a second for a flag to crumble into

dust, a human life into a column of smoke; individuals die without

us knowing in which language their last words were said. At the same

time, however, people do not hesitate when saying that somebody in-

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serted into a narrow opening in a wall is “buried” there. Language is

unreliable and always ready to take up new meanings. Maybe this is

something possible only in literature. Regardless, it is still worthy of

consideration.

To be up to the complex task of translation, the literary translator

cannot be some unambiguous grey being without discerning features

who, precisely through hiding one’s own individuality, guarantees fidelity

to the original. Translation is not something done mechanically,

the task of the translator is not something reminiscent of patient and

detailed proof-reading. Rather, translation is more like the work of a

literary critic who actively engages into who will have, and where there

will be, access to a given literary work. Translators are neither virtuosos

of words nor able mimics. It is impossible for them to avoid asking

themselves what actually is the work they are translating and how to

ensure that the translation retains a mark of otherness.

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Translated by Nikolai Jeffs


Poetika različnega

Pustolovščina drugega

Werner Wintersteiner

I

Kdo lahko sliši svojega soseda?

Kdo pa sploh želi slišati svojega soseda?

Kdo bi z zanimanjem prisluhnil zgodbam svojega soseda?

Lahko slišim govoriti svojega soseda, dokler imam polne roke dela

s samim seboj? Dokler si obupano želim govoriti sam? Kdo lahko sliši

svojega soseda, če noče poslušati? Ne živimo v družbi, kjer nas urijo

in spodbujajo, da rečemo »jaz«, da spregovorimo, da se vsiljujemo? Ne

propagirajo takšnega avtizma kot glavno vrlino neoliberalistične družbe?

Je sploh ostalo še kaj prostora za poslušanje zgodb, a ne v zasebno razvedrilo,

temveč kot del civilnega dialoga? Je literatura še vedno politična

zadeva? Prav v situaciji, kakršna je naša, so poezija, romani, gledališke

igre, estetika lahko protistrup anestetičnim učinkom medijske družbe.

Kaj niso pesniki nekakšni »sosedje« svojih rojakov, ki jim govorijo zgodbe

in jim pomagajo videti, kdo so in kaj v resnici počnejo?

II

Lahko v resnici slišim sosede, ko pa se nočem naučiti njihovega

jezika? Pravzaprav smo do sosedov zelo selektivni, pa tudi do njihovih

jezikov. Ne verjemite tistim, ki povzdigujejo večjezičnost, s tem pa mislijo

le, da se morajo vsi naučiti angleško. Na avstrijskem Koroškem, od

koder prihajam, so ljudje, ki pravijo, da se nima smisla učiti slovenščine,

tako majhnega jezika. Učenje »neuporabnega« jezika ljudi le ovira pri

učenju resnično pomembnih stvari, npr. jezika globalnih akterjev.

Predstavljajo si lahko le večjezičnost močnih jezikov. Zato se moramo

zavedati, da obstaja hierarhija jezikov, tako kot hierarhija držav in ljudstev.

Tega ni nihče izrazil bolje kot slovenski pesnik Edvard Kocbek v

svoji pesmi Lipicanci.

75


Edvard Kocbek

Lipicanci

Zato so dunajski cesarji govorili

francosko s spretnimi diplomati,

italijansko z zalimi igralkami,

špansko z neskončnim Bogom

in nemško z nešolanimi hlapci,

s konji pa so se pogovarjali slovensko.

III

Kdo je naš sosed? No, Francetu Prešernu so bile stvari očitno dokaj

jasne. Evropa sosedov - ki drug drugemu niso preblizu, so medsebojno

ločeni z mejno črto. Kot sosede Slovencev je imel v mislih Avstrijce, ali

Italijane, Madžare, Hrvate itd.

Danes pa sosedje več niso (ali niso zgolj) ljudje na drugi strani meje,

temveč znotraj naših držav. Kadar pogledamo skozi okno ali hodimo

po ulicah, kadar se peljemo s podzemeljsko železnico na Dunaju ali

katerem drugem srednjeevropskem mestu, vidimo, da naši sosedje prihajajo

iz Nigerije in Turčije, iz Koreje in Bosne, tako iz severne Afrike

kot iz južne Azije. Ne gre le za tradicionalne srednjeevropske narode

(prav tako zgodovinsko pomešane, kar prepogosto pozabljamo), temveč

za globalno ljudstvo, ki iz različnih razlogov prihaja z vseh koncev

sveta. Se, prvič, zavedamo te nove situacije? In drugič, sprejemamo ta

novi položaj multikulturnih družb?

Zakaj še naprej govorimo o nas in njih? Kaj pa je to razlikovanje

drugega kot opravičevanje dejstva, da jim odrekamo enake pravice?

Dokler niso oni sprejeti z enakimi pravicami, je nesmiselno govoriti o

tem, da smo dobri sosedje.

Veliko prepogosto sprejmemo drugega pod pogojem, da se ne meša

z nami. Sprejemamo Evropo sosedov, a raje vidimo, da se sosedje držijo

zase - priseljenci lahko živijo izven Evrope, drugi Evropejci pa izven

naše države, prosim; nočemo, da vznemirjajo naše otroke, ko hodijo v

isto šolo, niti nas, ko se naselijo v našo sosesko in naše elitne ulice. Bolj

76


ali manj se vdajamo simboličnemu priznanju multikulturnosti, in celo

multilingvizma, vendar pa sami nočemo biti del tega.

Turki v Avstriji, tako kot integracija Turčije v Evropsko unijo, so

nadvse pomembna politična tema v moji državi, kjer vsak igra svojo

igro, zlasti desničarske stranke. Komu pa so mar prizadeti ljudje? Gerald

Nitsche, avstrijski pesnik, slikar in učitelj, se je podal na pot po

turških in kurdskih skupnostih v Avstriji in odkril številne pesnike

med industrijskimi delavci, učitelji, gospodinjami, kuharji, branjevci ...

Posledica tega je knjiga z naslovom heim@t (domovin@) - naslov, ki je

namenoma dvoumen. Nitsche nam pomaga odkriti povsem nov vidik

naših sosedov - njihove zgodbe. Le kdo bi bil proti njihovi integraciji,

ko je poslušal njihove zgodbe?

IV

V Evropi ima jezik pri vprašanjih identitete odločilno vlogo že

od konca 18. stoletja. V našem razmišljanju je globoko zakoreninjena

enačba narod = jezik, nemara matematični podatek, ki smo si ga najbolje

zapomnili. In to se v našem globaliziranem svetu ni kaj prida

spremenilo. Tu je še en, nedavni primer. Mlada avstrijska pisateljica

pravi, da ljudje govorijo »z mano dvakrat počasneje, tudi ko jim vnovič

zagotovim, da zelo dobro razumem nemško, da mi ni nič bolj tuja kot

njej, vodji galerije, ki z mano govori dvakrat počasneje zaradi mojega

videza, ki je morda dvakrat bolj tuj. V takšni situaciji se kar pogosto

znajdem. Moja samozavest je zrahljana, ko se zagledam z njene perspektive,

perspektive tistih, ki moj tuji videz bolj slišijo kot vidijo.«

Pogosto začne jecljati in uporabljati lažni naglas, verjame, da govori

narobe; zdi se ji, da ji nikoli niso dovolili govoriti brezhibne nemščine

(Kim 2004, 36, moj poudarek).

Avstrijska pisateljica Anna Kim, rojena v Koreji, odrasla na Dunaju,

se dotika tabuja. Jezik ni le značilnost, temveč privilegij nekega naroda

in kriterij razločevanja od drugega. Videti si drugače - kako si drzneš

govoriti kot eden od nas? Pripovedovati moraš drugačne zgodbe, in to

v drugem jeziku, prosimo!

77


V

Da bi se izognili pasti nacionalističnega razmišljanja v družbi, ki se

globalizira, po mojem potrebujemo nekakšno poétique du divers, po

karibskem pisatelju Edouardu Glissantu. Poetika različnega je koncept

strpnega sobivanja v pluralističnem svetu.

Poetika različnega bi nas verjetno lahko naredila občutljivejše za svet

različnosti, kjer poezija in literatura še vedno igrata pomembno vlogo

pri sestavljanju duševnih zemljevidov, s katerimi se laže spoprimemo z

dramatičnimi spremembami, ki se odvijajo v moderni družbi.

Različnost ne pomeni modnega multikulturalizma, ki po Slavoju

Žižku ni nič drugega kot »ideologija sodobnega globalnega kapitalizma«

(Žižek 2001, 13); različnost po drugi strani nasprotuje tudi vsakemu

partikularizmu in kulturnemu egoizmu manjšin. Poetika različnega

poudarja idejo razumevanja in solidarnosti po vsem svetu, predpogoj

za to pa je priznavanje in spoštovanje razlik med nami. Gre za tretjo,

transkulturno pot med univerzalizmom vladajočih in radikalnim kulturalizmom

zatiranih. Tako ima poetika različnosti trojni cilj:

Prvič, zagovarjanje razlik vseh manjšinskih kultur in družb pred

»univerzalizmom« velikih narodov, zagovarjanje tega, kar je Gilles Deleuze,

ki si je izraz izposodil od Kafke, imenoval les littératures mineures.

Drugič, priznavanje kulturne heterogenosti in dvoumnosti, »nečistega«,

mešanega in hibridnega, kreolizma, kot je temu rekel Edouard

Glissant.

Tretjič, priznanje, da nobena družba in noben kulturni odnos med

družbami ni harmoničen, temveč zaznamovan s konflikti. To moramo

sprejeti kot dejstvo in si prizadevati za nenasilno preoblikovanje konflikta,

na način Johana Galtunga.

Avstrijski pisatelj Ernst Jandl nam je v svojih pesmih pokazal vse

vidike pozitivnega odnosa do drugosti, od pustolovske izkušnje drugosti

do sočutja s tistimi, ki so diskriminirani in izkoriščani. Njegov

posebni talent je v tem, da nam pokaže svoje ideje preko jezika, ne

le njegovega pomena in semantike, temveč preprosto njegove oblike,

strukture in besedišča.

78


V pesmi Calypso, ki je spoj nemščine in angleščine (ne pa portugalščine!),

na primer opisuje svojo željo po eksotičnem življenju v Braziliji:

ich was not yet

in brasilien

nach brasilien

wuld ich laik du go

wer de wimen

arr so ander

so quait ander

denn anderwo 1

V svojih »migrantskih pesmih« (ciklus »tagenglas« v njegovi knjigi

The yellow dog) posoja glas tistim, ki v naši družbi nimajo glasu, ne le

zato, ker pripadajo revnim delavcem, temveč tudi zato, ker nikoli niso

imeli priložnosti, da bi se pravilno naučili državnega jezika. V namerno

nepravilni nemščini, »izrojenem jeziku« brez sintaktične strukture,

je Jandl zgostil vse trpljenje ljudi, ki so izgubili domovino, ne da bi

zato v novi državi dobili bogastvo in položaj.

Ko dvignem pogled z rožnega vrta v kampusu univerze Britanske

Kolumbije (kjer tole pišem) k zalivu Tihega oceana in zasnežene gore

za njim, mi pride na misel pesem, ki verjetno najbolje zajema to, kar

hočem povedati. Napisal jo je kanadski avtor z italijanskimi koreninami,

poleg njega pa še mnogi drugi. Takole se glasi:

Nativo di Montreal

élévé comme Québecois

forced to learn the tongue of power

vivi en Mexico come alternativa

figlio del sole e della campagna

par les franc-parleurs aimé

Antonio d’ Alfonso 2

79


Ljubijo ga franc-parleurs, jezikovni uporniki. Da bi lahko slišali svoje

sosede, pa tudi sami postali dobri pripovedovalci, moramo po mojem

tudi sami postati jezikovni uporniki.

Viri

80

Vancouver, junija 2006

D’Alfonso, Antonio, citat iz: Lothar Baier Ostwestpassagen. Kulturwandel

- Sprachzeiten. München: Antje Kunstmann 1995, 25.

Glissant, Edouard. Introduction à une Poétique du Divers. Paris:

Gallimard 1996.

Kim, Anna. Verborgte Sprache. V: Zwischenwelt, 21. Jg., Heft

1/2004,36-37.

Kocbek, Edvard. Lipicanci / Die Lippizaner. Deutsch von Klaus

Detlef Olof. V: Neuhäuser u.a. 1980,12-17.

Jandl, Ernst. Tagenglas. V: Gesammelte Werke. Hgg. von Klaus

Siblewski. Zweiter Band. Gedichte 2. Darmstadt und Neuwied:

Luchterhand 1985.

Žižek, Slavoj. Ein Plädoyer für die Intoleranz. Wien: Passagen

2001 (druga, popravljena izdaja).

Wintersteiner, Werner. Poetik der Verschiedenheit. Literatur, Bildung,

Globalisierung. Klagenfurt: Drava 2006.

Prevedla Polona Glavan

1 Približen prevod: nisem še bil / v braziliji / v brazilijo / bi rad odšel / kjer so ženske / tako

drugačne / tako nekam drugačne / kot drugod.

2 Približni prevod: Po rodu iz Montreala / vzgojen kot Quebečan / prisiljen v učenje jezika

moči / alternativno živeč v Mehiki / sin sonca in podeželja / priljubljen med franc-parleurs

/ Antonio d’Alfonso.


Poetics of the Diverse

The Adventure of the Other

Werner Wintersteiner

I

Who can hear their neighbour?

But who wants to hear their neighbour?

Who is interested in listening to their neighbour’s stories?

Can I hear my neighbour speaking, as long as I am always occupied

with myself? As long as I desperately wish to talk myself? Who can

hear their neighbour if they refuse to listen? Don’t we live in a society

where we are trained and stimulated to say “I”, to speak up, to impose

ourselves? Is this kind of autism not propagated as the main virtue of

neoliberalist society? Is there any place left for listening to stories, not

as a private entertainment but as part of a civic dialogue? Is literature

still a political affair? It is exactly in a situation like ours that poetry,

novels, theatre plays, aesthetics, can be an antidote to the anaesthetising

effects of media society. Aren’t poets like “neighbours” to their

fellow citizens who tell them stories to help them to see who they are

and what they are really doing?

II

Can I truly hear my neighbours as long as I refuse to learn their

language? In fact, we are very selective with neighbours, as well with

their languages. Don’t believe in those who exhalt multilinguism but

actually only mean that everybody has to learn English. In Carinthia,

Austria, where I come from, there are people who say it makes no sense

to study Slovene, such a small language. Learning a “useless” language

only prevents people from learning the real important things, e.g. the

language of the global players. All they can imagine is a multilinguism

of the powerful languages. Thus, we have to be aware that there

are hierarchies of languages as well as of nations and people. Nobody

81


has expressed this better than Slovene poet Edvard Kocbek in his poem

Lipicanci (my translation)

Edvard Kocbek

The Lipican Horses

Thus, the emperors in Vienna

Were speaking French to the smart diplomats

Italian to the beautiful actresses

Spanish to the eternal God

And German to the manner-less servants,

But to the horses they conversed in Slovene.

III

Who is our neighbour? Well, for France Prešeren things seemed to

be quite clear. A Europe of Neighbours – not too close to each other,

separated and protected from each other by a borderline. As the neighbours

of the Slovenes he meant the Austrians, or the Italians, Hungarians,

Croatians etc.

Today, however, our neighbours are not (or not only) the fellows on

the other side of the border, but they are inside our countries. When

we look out of our window or walk in the streets, when we take the

subway in Vienna or in any other town in Central Europe, we see our

neighbours coming from Nigeria and Turkey, from Korea and Bosnia,

from Northern Africa as well as from Southern Asia. They are not only

the traditional peoples of Central Europe (historically mixed too, as

we forget much too often), but global people coming for diverse reasons

from all over the world. Are we firstly aware of this new situation?

And secondly do we accept this new status of multicultural societies?

Why do we continue to speak about us and them? What else is this

distinction other than a justification of refusing them the same rights?

As long as they are not accepted with equal rights, it makes no sense to

speak about being good neighbours.

Much too often, we accept the other under the condition that they

do not mix up with us. We accept a Europe of Neighbours but we pre-

82


fer that the neighbours stay away –the immigrants may stay outside

of Europe, and the other Europeans outside of our country, please;

we do not want them bothering our children by attending the same

school, nor ourselves by settling in our neighbourhood and in our

fancy streets. More or less, we resign ourselves to a token acceptance

of multiculturalism, and even multilinguism, but we do not want to

be involved ourselves.

Turks in Austria, as well as the integration of Turkey into the European

Union, is a highly politicised issue in my country where everybody

plays their own game, especially the right wing parties. But

who cares about the people concerned? Gerald Nitsche, Austrian poet,

painter and teacher, made a journey through the Turkish and Kurdish

communities in Austria and discovered many poets among industrial

workers, teachers, housewives, cooks, market sellers … The result is a

book, called heim@t (Homel@and) – a title that is ambiguous on purpose.

Nitsche helps us discover a very new aspect of our neighbours

– their stories. After listening to their stories, who would deny them

integration?

IV

Language in Europe has played a decisive role in the identity discourse,

since the late 18 th century. The equation nation = language

is deeply rooted in our minds, maybe the piece of mathematics that

we have learned the best. And this has not changed much in our globalised

world. Here is another, very recent, example. A young Austrian

writer reports that people speak “twice as slowly with me, even after

another confirmation that I understand the German very well, it is

not stranger to me than to her, the manager of the Gallery who speaks

twice as slowly because of the way I look, twice as strange, maybe. A

situation that happens quite often to me. It is crunching in my selfconfidence,

when I see myself from her perspective, the perspective of

those who hear my strange appearance more than they see it”. Quite

often, she starts stuttering and using a false accent, she believes to be

wrong; she thinks she was never allowed to speak a perfect German

(Kim 2004, 36, my translation, my emphasis).

83


Austrian writer Anna Kim, born in Korea, brought up in Vienna,

touches on a taboo. Language is not only the attribute, but the privilege

of a nation, and a discriminating criterion from the other. You

look different – how you dare speak like one of us? You have to tell

other stories, and in a different language, please!

V

In order to get out of the trap of nationalist thinking in a globalising

society, I guess we need a poétique du divers, after Caribbean writer

Edouard Glissant. Poetics of the diverse is a concept for a living together

with tolerance in a pluralist world.

A poetics of the Diverse could probably sensitise us for a world of

diversity where poetry and literature still play an important role in

constructing the mental maps that help us to deal with the dramatic

changes that are ongoing in modern society…

Diversity does not mean a fancy multiculturalism which, according

to Slavoj Žižek is nothing else but the „ideology of the current global

capitalism“ (Žižek 2001, 13); diversity, on the other hand, is also in

opposition to any particularism and cultural egoism of minorities. A

poetics of the diverse highlights the idea of worldwide understanding

and solidarity, which presupposes to recognise and to appreciate our

differences. It is a third, transcultural way between the universalism of

the dominant and radical culturalism of the oppressed. Thus, a poetics

of diversity, has a triple aim:

Firstly, the defence of the rights of all minority cultures and societies

against the „universalism“ of the big nations, a defence of what Gilles

Deleuze, borrowing from Kafka, has called les littératures mineures.

Secondly, to recognise cultural heterogeneity and ambivalence, the „unclean“,

the mixed and hybrid, the creolism, according to Edouard Glissant.

Thirdly, the acknowledgement that any society and any cultural relationship

among societies is not harmonious, but characterised by conflicts.

We have to accept this as a matter of fact and to work for non-violent

conflict transformation, in the manner of Johan Galtung.

The Austrian writer Ernst Jandl has shown us in his poems all aspects

of a positive attitude towards otherness, from the adventure of the ex-

84


perience of otherness to compassion with those who are discriminated

and exploited. His particular talent is to show us his ideas via language,

not just its meanings and semantic, but simply by its form, structure

and vocabulary.

In Calypso, for instance, a poem blending German and English (but

not Portuguese!), he describes his desire for an exotic life in Brazil:

ich was not yet

in brasilien

nach brasilien

wuld ich laik du go

wer de wimen

arr so ander

so quait ander

denn anderwo

In his “migrants poems” (the cycle “tagenglas” in his book The yellow

dog) he gives a voice to those who have no voice in our society, not only

because they belong to the working poor but also because they never

had a chance to learn the state language properly. In deliberately incorrect

German, a “degenerate language”, without any syntactic structure,

Jandl, has concentrated all the suffering of people that have lost their

homeland without recompense of wealth and status in their new country.

When I look from the rose garden at the campus of the University

of British Columbia, (where I am writing this text) to the Pacific

Ocean bay and the snowy mountains behind, a poem comes into my

mind that probably encapsulates the best what I want to say. It is from

a Canadian author with Italian roots, but many others as well. It goes

like this:

Nativo di Montréal

élévé comme Québecois

forced to learn the tongue of power

vivi en Mexico come alternativa

85


figlio del sole e della campagna

par les franc-parleurs aimé

Antonio d‘Alfonso

Beloved by the franc-parleurs, by the language rebels. In order to

hear our neighbours as well as to become ourselves good storytellers, I

believe we too must become language rebels,.

References

86

Vancouver, June 2006

D’Alfonso, Antonio, quoted after: Lothar Baier Ostwestpassagen.

Kulturwandel – Sprachzeiten. München: Antje Kunstmann 1995, 25.

Glissant, Édouard. Introduction à une Poétique du Divers. Paris:

Gallimard 1996.

Kim, Anna. Verborgte Sprache. In: Zwischenwelt, 21. Jg., Heft

1/2004, 36-37.

Kocbek, Edvard. Lipicanci / Die Lippizaner. Deutsch von Klaus

Detlef Olof. In: Neuhäuser u.a. 1980, 12-17.

Jandl, Ernst. Tagenglas. In: Gesammelte Werke. Hgg. von Klaus

Siblewski. Zweiter Band. Gedichte 2. Darmstadt und Neuwied:

Luchterhand 1985.

Žižek, Slavoj. Ein Plädoyer für die Intoleranz. Wien: Passagen

2001 (2nd, revised edition).

Wintersteiner, Werner. Poetik der Verschiedenheit. Literatur, Bildung,

Globalisierung. Klagenfurt: Drava 2006.


Joj, kako lepa smrt!

Pokopališča, ohranjanje spomina in nacionalizem

Idith Zertal

Tam, kjer se srečata spomin in nacionalna identiteta, je grob, tam leži

smrt. Polja smrti nacionalnih etničnih spopadov, grobovi padlih so

osnovne gradbene enote modernih nacij, na njih raste tkivo nacionalnega

čustva. Trenutek smrti za domovino, posvečen in prikazan kot trenutek

odrešenja, skupaj z brezkončnim obredom vračanja k temu trenutku

in njegovi živi-mrtvi žrtvi združuje skupnost smrti, nacionalno skupnost-žrtev.

V tej skupnosti si živi prilaščajo mrtve, jih delajo nesmrtne,

pripisujejo njihovim smrtim pomene, kakor se zdi primerno njim,

živim, in tako ustvarjajo »skupno mesto« (Jules Michelet), ki sestoji iz

mrtvih in živih ter v katerem so mrtvi najvišje sodilo za dejanja živih.

Starodavni grobovi tako porajajo procese, ki ustvarjajo nove grobove.

Stara smrt je hkrati motiv in potrdilo odobravanja za novo smrt v

službi naroda, in smrt s smrtjo se bo združila. Bojni porazi, ti še preveč

učinkoviti tekoči trakovi množične smrti v službi naroda, so bistvena

sestavina ustvarjanja nacionalne identitete, zgodbe o njih pa prepredajo

nacionalne sage od enega konca do drugega in pri tem postajajo

zgodbe o zmagoslavju in hrabrosti, za zgled pri vzgoji narodovih

otrok-vojakov-žrtev, ki se na teh podobah in predstavah naučijo želeti

si umreti (Idith Zertal, Israel's Holocaust and the Politics of Nationhood,

Cambridge 2005, str. 9).

Koncept smrti za domovino, ki določa vse nadaljnje nacionalne smrti,

je homerska smrt, Ahilova »lepa smrt« v Iliadi (kalos thanatos). Ahil,

utelešenje mladega moža na višku moči in slave, si izbere smrt v boju

in pri tem z lastnim, pogubljenim lepim telesom predstavlja idejo lepe

nacionalne smrti, kot da bi uničeno telo posameznika revitaliziralo

narod in mu vdihnilo novo, večno življenje. Tovrstna samozavedna

smrt po lastni izbiri postane neizogibni iniciacijski obred v »življenje«,

ki ima pomen, življenje brez konca, večni obstoj, za razliko od pustega,

bednega, nesmiselnega obstoja tistih, ki se ne darujejo domovini. Ta

87


lepa smrt, smrt na bojišču in po lastni izbiri, uteleša edinstvenost in

veličastnost žrtve, tako v trenutku smrti kot za vekomaj. Dejanje, ki je

vzelo junaku življenje, junakova smrt, retroaktivno podeli njegovemu

kratkemu življenju smisel, kot da bi mu bila ta lepa smrt usojena, njegovo

življenje pa se bere in razlaga za nazaj kot življenje nekoga, ki je

bil še zaživa obsijan s slavo smrti. Kot je zapisal Jean-François Lyotard,

je bil »Umri, zato da ne boš umrl,« pomen, ki so ga Atenci pripisovali

konceptu »lepe smrti«. Pri tem je šlo za zamenjavo končnega (eschaton)

za neskončno (telos), neskončno življenje je izhajalo iz smrti po lastni

izbiri, smrti, ki osvobaja od smrti (Jean-François Lyotard, The Differend,

Phrases in Dispute, Minneapolis, 1988, str. 99-101). *

»Ro’i Rothberg, sloki svetlolasi mladenič, ki je zapustil Tel Aviv,

da bi si ob vratih v Gazo zgradil dom, ki bi bil zid za nas vse,« je

rekel Moše Dajan aprila 1956 v govoru ob grobu mladeniča, ki ga je

spoznal le nekaj dni prej, »Ro’i – svetloba v srcu mu je zaslepila oči,

da ni videl pobliska rezila. Hrepenenje po miru mu je zamotilo sluh,

da ni slišal prežečega umora. Vrata v Gazo so bila zanj pretežko breme

in so ga pokončala,« je žaloval Dajan in s svojimi besedami pospremil

Ro'ija Rothberga v večno slavo, naklonjeno lepim junakom, ki se še za

življenja zavedajo svoje smrti, ter ga spremenil v enega od večno živih

mrtvecev izraelske mitologije.

Vojna je nujno potrebno prizorišče klasičnega junaka in inherentni

del nacionalizma. Smrt pod kroglo sovražnika, smrt na nacionalnem

bojnem polju je prevladujoča različica klasičnega junaškega modela.

Zunanja manifestacija notranjih meril odličnosti je slava, namreč besedila,

ki pripovedujejo to zgodbo o slavi. Brez besedila o slavi junak ni

junak; izgubi svojo edinstveno junaško avro. Vzorni junak vedno goji

neko vrednoto, ki je pomembnejša od njegovega življenja, nekaj, kar

ga presega. Ro’iju Rothbergu je bilo usojeno, da se je odločil zapustiti

Tel Aviv in oditi v Gazo, zato da je postal živi mrtvi junak. S tem, ko

izgubi življenje v bitki, pa junak v modernem času doseže neko edinstvenost,

ki ga osami in postavi v izrazit kontrast z ljudskimi množicami

brez lastnosti modernosti in modernega nacionalizma.

* V slovenščini: Navzkrižje, prevod Jelica Šumič-Riha, Ljubljana: Založba ZRC, 2003, str.

145-146.

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Vse od francoske revolucije so moderne nacionalne vojske sestavljene

iz prostovoljcev in množičnih nabornikov, zato so morale razviti sisteme

nagrajevanja in nadomestil za padle v bitkah ali njihove preživele družine

in prijatelje. To se je izoblikovalo v podelitev posmrtne slave in večne

mladosti, v slavospeve, v žalne nagovore uglednih osebnosti naroda.

Prva svetovna vojna in njen nesmiselni množični pokol cele generacije

mladih ljudi vseh narodnosti je spremenila Evropo v kraljestvo spomina

ter zaznamovala začetek uradnih nacionalnih komemoracijskih

slovesnosti in obredov. Nacionalna pokopališča, ki so vsa videti enaka,

so v sebi zbrala otroke posamezne države in postala veliki družbeni

izenačevalec, ki izbriše razlike v etničnem poreklu, razredu, jeziku, kulturi

ali družbenem položaju. Revež, ki ga pokopljejo z nacionalnimi

častmi ob meščanskem častniku, je tako osvobojen uboštva in anonimnosti,

ki sta ga spremljala vse življenje, in s smrtjo odrešen življenja

brez prihodnosti. Po prvi svetovni vojni so komemoracije za padlimi,

postavljanje neštetih spomenikov in rituali tako javnega kot zasebnega

žalovanja preželi vso družbo in jo pretvorili v skupnost žalovanja.

Bistvena faza v izoblikovanju nacionalne skupnosti je njeno zaznavanje

sebe kot skupnosti v travmi, kot »skupnosti-žrtve«, in osnovanje

panteona mrtvih mučenikov, v podobah katerih vidijo sinovi in hčere

naroda odsev idealnih samih sebe. Z oblikovanjem tej skupnosti lastnega

martirologija – namreč, skupnosti, ki postane spominjajoči se

kolektiv, ki obuja spomine in pripoveduje o sebi s pomočjo združujočih

spominov na katastrofe, trpljenje in viktimizacijo, ki svoje člane medsebojno

povezuje s tem, da jim vceplja občutek skupnega poslanstva in

usode –se ustvari skupen občutek narodnosti in izkristalizira se narod.

Iz takih težkih preizkušenj lahko izide splošen občutek odrešitve in preseganja,

ko skupnost-žrtev pripoveduje o skupnih trenutkih uničenja

in jih obnavlja skozi obrede pričevanja in identifikacije, dokler ti trenutki

ne izgubijo svoje zgodovinske bitnosti, se ovijejo v svetost in

postanejo zgled junaških prizadevanj, mit ali preporod (Zertal, Israel’s

Holocaust, str. 2).

Moderna država je začela uvajati uradne oblike komemoriranja in

sublimiranja svojih mrtvih v prvi vrsti zaradi sebe same, da je zadostila

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potrebam vojske po nabornikih, da je zagotovila ponovno vznemirjenje

zaradi nacionalnega žrtvovanja, razvnela narodovo domišljijo in

podžgala domoljubni občutek pripadnosti. Vsaka bitka je štela za boj

za preživetje, za sam obstoj domovine in njenih plemenitih idealov.

Tako je bilo v teh bitkah padle vojake moč imeti le za sublimne. Šlo

je za dinamiko samoohranjanja in samopodaljševanja. Nepotrebne,

nekoristne bitke so bile povzdignjene in opredeljene kot eksistencialne

bitke, tisti, ki so v njih padli, pa so bili sanktificirani. Ta poteza je

bila nujno potrebna za upravičevanje dejstva, da je do teh odvečnih

bitk sploh prišlo, in za legitimacijo njihove grozovite cene. Po drugi

strani pa so tisti, ki so padli za narod, pa naj je šlo še za tako nepotrebno

in pogubno bojevanje, posvetili bitko s tem, da so v njej dali

življenje. Vojna izkušnja je doživela postopek sanktifikacije na drug

način. Bojevniki, padli vojaki, ki so si bili najpogosteje popolni tujci,

so v zgodbah o slavi postali bratje po orožju, bojni tovariši z edinstvenim

občutkom bratstva in solidarnosti, ki ga ni mogoče primerjati

z nobeno drugo izkušnjo izven bojišča. Bolj ko je bila vojna nična,

več nepotrebnih junaških žrtvovanj je zahtevala in bolj konstitutivna

izkušnja je bila za vojake (George Mosse, The Fallen Soldiers; Reshaping

the Memory of the World Wars, Oxford, 1990).

Mit nacionalne svete vojne in smrt za domovino sta pojma, ki sta

se rodila med prvo svetovno vojno, prav zaradi vnebovpijoče jalovosti

nekaterih od njenih največjih in notorno nesmiselnih bitk ter zaradi

arbitrarnosti in muhavosti, s katero so jih državniki in vojskovodje vseh

spopadajočih se strani vodili. Organizirani in obsežni sistem komemoracije

padlih, z obredi in slavospevi, ter sublimacija in imortalizacija

mrtvih so bili namenjeni ne le prikrivanju brezplodnosti vsega skupaj,

lažnosti vse vojne, ampak tudi ublažitvi tako nepredstavljivega pokola,

uničenja v največjem merilu dotlej. Sublimacija in obenem udomačitev

smrti sta bili v resnici poizkus, da bi se zameglil njen pomen, da bi se

zakrila njena dokončnost in nepreklicnost, da bi se zastrla groza izgube

in uničenja ter sploh zabrisala izkušnja smrti.

Obseg bojevanja v vojni leta 1948 – konstitutivni vojni Izraela, ki

je bila zasnovana in ki se splošno razume kot eksistencialna, ultima-

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tivna bitka za domovino, s 5700 padlimi vojaki in civilisti (približno

en odstotek judovskega prebivalstva) – ji je podelil mitične razsežnosti

svetovne vojne. Zaradi časovne bližine z nacističnim sistematičnim

pobojem šestih milijonov Judov v drugi svetovni vojni je vojna iz leta

1948 postala manihejska vojna, totalna vojna med silami absolutnega

dobrega in pravičnosti ter silami radikalnega zla in zlonamernosti.

Skoraj nemudoma se je oblikoval diskurz vojne in njenih mrtvih z

obravnavanjem izkušenj bojevnikov, kot bi bile svete, in z ideološkimi

stališči državnikov, pesnikov in publicistov, ki so bili v mnogih primerih

starši mladih vojakov. To je bil diskurz homogene družbe, povezane in

predane, ki je uporabila vsa državna sredstva, kot so tisk, poezija, žalni

govori, spominske knjige, spominski dnevi in spomeniki, da je naredila

svoje padle otroke nesmrtne in osmislila njihovo žrtev. Najboljši in

najbistrejši, izgubljena elita, potomstvo vodstva, realno ali simbolno,

je še naprej obstajalo v javni sferi in igralo vlogo pomembnih protagonistov

v razvijajoči se narodni pripovedi. Ti modeli diskurza prevladujejo

še danes, čeprav so nekoliko spremenjeni.

Da se udomači, mora konkretna, stvarna smrt na bojišču skozi postopek

zmanjšanja, utišanja. Za razliko od mitičnega življenja po smrti,

ki ga nacionalni diskurz napihuje in omogoča, gre dejanska in zgodovinska

smrt v vsej svoji grozi, v uničenju mladega telesa, končnosti

življenja in bridkosti tistih, ki ostanejo, v nacionalnem diskurzu skozi

proces sterilizacije in mitologizacije. Narod poveličuje zmago, poudarja

pravičnost ravnanja in upravičenost žrtev. Osebna smrt zagotavlja

in omogoča nacionalno življenje. »Kri bo prelila noge mater/ A narod

se bo sedemkrat dvignil / Če bo poražen na lastni zemlji,« je zapisal

Natan Alterman v pesmi »Now the Day of Battle Has Finished and

Waned« (Zdaj se je dan bitke končal in iztekel).

Stvarnost Altermanove mitične pesmi »The Silver Platter« (Srebrni

pladenj) je stvarnost prehodnega območja, nekakšne nikogaršnje zemlje

med življenjem in smrtjo. Kot pravi profesor književnosti in esejist

Dan Miron, padli v Altermanovi pesmi nekako ali nekje živijo naprej,

v njih obstaja večno, intenzivno življenje, medtem ko so dejansko

mrtvi. »Ali so od živih ali od mrtvih?« se Alterman retorično sprašuje.

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Pesem prikazuje mlada bojevnika, fanta in dekle, katerih smrt privede

do odrešitve, do Države, po kateri hrepenita, do sekularnega čudeža.

»Na smrt utrujena« mladenka in mladenič »padeta v sencah k nogam

naroda.« V resnici nista mrtva, niti živa, le »počivata … ob griču, blizu

cvetlice. Domovina jima podeli življenje in to življenje »vrneta«

domovini (Dan Miron, Facing the Silent Brother: Notes on 1948 War

in Poetry, Jerusalem, 1992 [v hebrejščini]).

Smrt je vtisnjena v kompenzacijsko, superlativno retoriko, zaradi

nje se padlim pripisujejo izjemne lastnosti. Postanejo nosilci redkega,

edinstvenega potenciala, ki se ne bo nikoli uresničil, prihodnosti, ki

je nikoli ne bo. Malokdaj najdemo kakšno podobnost med tem, kako

so padli v vojni leta 1948 in drugih vojnah prikazani v slavospevih in

komemoracijskih albumih, ter dejanskimi, skromnimi mladeniči, ki

jih je generacija njihovih staršev tik pred vojno opisovala kot plitke,

ničvredne in puste. A prav abstraktnost upodobitve, pomanjkanje

resničnosti dela padle na nek način nedosegljive in neuničljive. Nerealno

je ne-izbrisljivo. Na ta način je padle mogoče prikladno obuditi

v življenje, po naročilu, pri nacionalnih obredih in za nacionalne

namene. Ta tehnika omogoča spopadanje z grozotami smrti in preminutja

ter blaži občutke krivde tistim, ki so odgovorni, da so mlade

ljudi poslali v smrt. »Tu so, slava Človeštva!/ Tu so, brezmadežni in

smeli!/ Pod točo puščic sredi ognjenih zubljev/ Korakajo, z orožjem v

roki/ A v njihovih srcih plamti dragoceno videnje/ Prerokov pravice

in resnice« (David Shimoni, »Hanukkah 1948« (Hanuka leta 1948),

ponatisnjeno v Miron, Facing the Silent Brother).

»Prelivanje krvi ni bilo naš namen./ Naši sinovi so se izučili za

delo in obrti,« je zapisal Alterman, narodni pesnik obdobja ustanavljanja

države Izrael, predstavljajoč hegemonistični diskurz, da »ni bilo

druge izbire«, tezo povsem nedolžne žrtve, ki narod odreši vsakršne

odgovornosti za njegove odločitve, dejanja in njihove posledice, to

je smrt njegovih lastnih otrok in otrok sovražnikov. V nacionalnem

diskurzu smo vedno narod, ki si prizadeva za mir, mi ne sovražimo,

nam je vojna vsiljena, mi smo žrtve in nikoli ne bomo odpustili svojim

sovražnikom, ki nas silijo, da ubijamo in smo ubiti. Žrtve in

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neskončni krog maščevalnega nasilja, napadov in protinapadov, so

vedno odgovornost one druge strani. To je nacionalna retorika, ki v

skladu z okoliščinami vedno znova nastaja in se obnavlja, ki ustvarja

pravičniške državljane in omogoča, da se nenehnost vojne zdi nesporna

in samoumevna. Zgodovina, kakor se piše, interpretira in zapušča prihodnjim

rodovom, zideologizirana in spolitizirana, se prikladno začne

s trenutkom, ko nas napade sovražnik, nikoli s sosledjem dogodkov,

ki so privedli do izbruha nasilja, niti ne z zgodovinskim ozadjem, ki je

sovražnika naredilo za sovražnika in ga pahnilo v to, da ravna, kakor

ravna. Tako je zagotovljen obet trajnih spopadov in njihovih mrtvih.

93

Prevedla Tamara Soban


Oh, What a Beautiful Death!

Cemeteries, Remembrance and Nationalism

Idith Zertal

Where memory and national identity meet, there is a grave, there

lies death. The killing fields of national ethnic conflicts, the graves of

the fallen, are the building blocks of which modern nations are made,

out of which the fabric of national sentiment grows. The moment of

death for one’s country, consecrated and rendered a moment of salvation,

along with the unending ritual return to that moment and to its

living-dead victim, fuse together the community of death, the national

victim-community. In this community, the living appropriate the

dead, immortalize them, assign meaning to their deaths as they, the

living, see fit, and thereby create the “common city” (Jules Michelet),

constituted out of the dead and the living, in which the dead serve as

the highest authority for the deeds of the living.

Ancient graves thus generate processes that create fresh graves. Old

death is both the motive and the seal of approval for new death in the

service of the nation, and death with death shall hold communion.

Defeat in battles, those all too effective wholesale production lines

of death in the service of the nation, are a vital component in the

creation of national identity, and their stories are threaded through

national sagas from end to end, becoming in the process tales of triumph

and valor, held up for the instruction of the nation’s childrensoldiers-victims,

who learn from these images and imagining to want

to die (Idith Zertal, Israel’s Holocaust and the Politics of Nationhood,

Cambridge 2005, p. 9).

The concept of death for the sake of the homeland, which informs

all future national deaths, is the Homeric death, Achilles’ “beautiful

death” in the Iliad (kalos thanatos). Achilles, the ultimate young man

at the peak of his virility and glory, makes a choice to die in battle

and in doing so represents in his own ruined, beautiful body the idea

of the beautiful national death, as if the destroyed individual body

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were revitalizing the nation, endowing it with new, eternal life. This

kind of self-conscious, chosen death becomes an indispensable ritual

of initiation into a “life” of meaning, a life with no end, a perpetual

existence, as opposed to the dull, wretched, meaningless existence of

those who do not give themselves to the homeland. This beautiful

death, death by choice on the battlefield, embodies the uniqueness

and magnificence of the victim, at the moment of death and forever.

The act that took the hero’s life, the hero’s death, endows his short life

with retroactive meaning, as if he had been destined for this beautiful

death, and his life is read and interpreted backwards as that of someone

who while still alive had already been immersed in the glory of

death. As Jean-François Lyotard wrote, “Die in order not to die,” was

the meaning the Athenians gave to the concept of “beautiful death”.

This was the exchange of the finite (eschaton) for the infinite (telos), the

infinite life resulting from death by choice, the death which liberates

from death (Jean-François Lyotard, The Differend, Phrases in Dispute,

Minneapolis, 1988, pp. 99-101).

“Ro’i Rothberg, the lean blond youth, who left Tel Aviv to build a

home at the gates of Gaza, to be a wall for us all,” said Moshe Dayan

in his eulogy in April 1956 at the grave of the young man he had met

only a few days before, “Ro’i – the light in his heart dazzled his eyes

and he did not see the glint of the knife. The yearning for peace dulled

his hearing and he did not hear the sound of lurking murder. The gates

of Gaza weighed too heavily on him and undid him,” lamented Dayan,

and by his very words he dispatched Ro’i Rothberg to the eternity

of glory, bestowed upon beautiful heroes who know their death while

still alive, and transformed him into one of the eternal living dead of

Israeli mythology.

War is the indispensable scene of the classical hero and an inherent

part of nationalism. Death wrought by enemy fire, death on the

national battlefield, is the prevalent variant of the classical hero’s model.

The external manifestation of the internal criteria for excellence is

glory, namely the texts which tell this tale of glory. Without a text of

glory the hero is not a hero; he loses his unique heroic aura. The model

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hero always nurtures a value which exceeds his life, something which

transcends him. Ro’i Rothberg was destined to choose to leave Tel

Aviv and go to Gaza, in order to become a living dead hero. However,

by losing his own life in battle, the hero attains, in modern times, a

uniqueness that singles him out from the crowd, and positions him

in blunt contrast to the masses without qualities of modernity and of

modern nationalism.

Modern national armies, since the French Revolution, were built

on volunteers and mass enlistment and, therefore had to evolve systems

of reward and compensation to those who fell in battle or to their

surviving families and friends. This took the form of the bestowal of

after-death glory and eternal youth, songs of praise and honour, eulogies

by national figures. World War I, and its pointless mass slaughter of

a whole generation of young people from all nationalities, transformed

Europe into a realm of memory and marked the commencement of official

national commemoration ceremonies and rituals. National cemeteries

with their uniform appearance gathered unto them the nation’s

children, thus becoming the great social leveller, erasing differences in

ethnic origin, class, language, culture and rank. The poor man who

was buried with national honour alongside the bourgeois officer was

delivered that way from a lifelong of destitution and anonymity and

was redeemed by death from a futureless life. Following World War I,

commemoration of the fallen and the erection of countless memorials

and rituals of mourning, both public and private, swept the entire

society and transformed it into a community of grief.

An essential stage in the formation and shaping of a national community

is its perception as trauma-community, a “victim-community,”

and the creation of a pantheon to its dead martyrs, in whose images

the nation’s sons and daughters see the reflection of their ideal selves.

Through the constitution of a martyrology specific to that community,

namely, the community becoming a remembering collective that

recollects and recounts itself through the unifying memory of catastrophes,

suffering, and victimization, binding its members together

by instilling in them a sense of common mission and destiny, a shared

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sense of nationhood is created and the nation is crystallized. These

ordeals can yield an embracing sense of redemption and transcendence,

when the shared moments of destruction are recounted and

replicated by the victim-community through rituals of testimony and

identification until those moments lose their historical substance, are

enshrouded in sanctity, and become a model of heroic endeavour, a

myth or rebirth (Zertal, Israel’s Holocaust, p. 2).

The modern state began to initiate official ways of commemoration

and sublimation of its dead, first and foremost for its own sake, to supply

the army’s need for conscripts, to ensure the reproduction of the

thrill of the national sacrifice and to inflame the nation’s imagination

and patriotic sense of belonging. Every battle was perceived as a fight

for life, for the very existence of the homeland and its noble ideals.

Thus the fallen soldiers in these battles could only be seen as sublime.

It was a self-nurturing and self-perpetuating dynamic. Unnecessary,

futile battles were elevated to the realm of and defined as existential

battles, and those killed in them were sanctified. This move was essential

in the justification of the fact that these redundant battles were

waged in the first place and for the legitimization of their appalling

price. On the other hand, the fallen for the nation, in whatever unnecessary

and wasteful combat, sanctified the battle by giving their

lives in it. The war experience underwent a process of sanctification

in another way. The warriors, the fallen, most often total strangers

to each other, became in the tales of glory brothers at arms, fighting

companions with a unique sense of brotherhood and solidarity

not to be compared to any other experience outside the battlefield.

The more futile war was the more unnecessarily heroic sacrifices it

demanded, and the more constitutive experiences it created for its soldiers

(George Mosse, The Fallen Soldiers; Reshaping the memory of the

World Wars, Oxford, 1990).

The myth of national holy war and death for the sake of the homeland

are notions which originated during World War I, precisely because

of the flagrant futility of some of its biggest and notoriously

meaningless battles and, due to the arbitrary and wanton way in which

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they were handled by the statesmen and generals of all feuding parties.

This organized and comprehensive system of commemoration of the

fallen, with its rituals and eulogies, and the sublimation and immortalization

of the dead were destined not only to cover up the futility

of it all, the deceitfulness of the entire war, but also for the taming of

such unimaginable slaughter, the devastation of such unprecedented

scale. Sublimation and at the same time domestication of death were

in fact an attempt to blur its meaning, obscure its finality and irreversibility,

dim the horror of loss and destruction and obliterate the

experience of death altogether.

The scope of the fighting in the1948 war, the constitutive war of Israel,

conceived and universally understood as the existential, ultimate

battle for the homeland, with its 5,700 fallen soldiers and civilians,

(approximately one percent of the Jewish population) endowed it with

the mythical dimensions of a world war. Its proximity to the Nazi

systematic murder of six million Jews in World War II transformed

the 1948 war into a Manichaean war, a total war between the forces of

absolute good and justice and the forces of radical evil and malice. The

discourse of the war and its dead took form, almost immediately, with

the enshrinement of the experiences of the fighters themselves, and

the ideological stance of statesmen, poets and publicists who, in many

cases, were the parents of the young soldiers. It was a discourse of a

homogeneous society, cohesive and committed, that used all its state

resources, such as the printed press, poems, eulogies, memorial volumes,

commemoration days and monuments, in order to immortalize

the fallen children and give meaning to their sacrifice. The best and

the brightest, the lost elites, the progeny, whether real or symbolic of

the leadership, continued to exist in the public sphere, to play a role,

as major protagonists in the unfolding national tale. These models of

discourse still prevail today, though somewhat transformed.

For its domestication, concrete, material death in battlefield must

undergo a process of diminishment, of silencing. As opposed to the

amplification and empowerment of mythic life after death, factual and

historical death, in all its horror, the devastation of the young body,

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the finality of life and the grief of those remaining, all go through a

process of sterilization and mythologization in the national discourse.

The nation glorifies victory, emphasizing its just way and the vindication

of sacrifice. Personal death commands and enables the national

life. “Blood will cover mothers’ feet/ But seven times will the nation

arise/ If upon its own land it suffers defeat,” wrote Natan Alterman in

his poem

“Now the Day of Battle has Finished and Waned.”

The reality of Alterman’s mythical poem “The Silver Platter,” is of

a twilight zone, a sort of no man’s land between life and death. The

fallen in Alterman’s poem, says literature professor and essayist Dan

Miron, continue to live in a certain way or a certain place and there

exists within them a perpetual, intensive life whilst they have actually

been dead. “Are they of the quick or of the dead?” is Alterman’s

rhetorical question. The poem is depicting two young combatants, a

man and a woman, whose death brings about the whole redemption,

that is the yearned-for State, a secular miracle. “Weary unto death”

the young woman and man “fall in the shadows at the nation’s feet.”

They are not actually dead, neither alive just “resting…by a hill near a

flower.” The homeland awards them life and they “return” this life to

the motherland (Dan Miron, Facing the Silent Brother: Notes on 1948

War Poetry, Jerusalem, 1992 [Hebrew]).

Death is imprinted within a compensatory, superlative rhetoric, and

through it the fallen attain a dimension larger than life. They are bearers

of a rare, unique potential which will never materialize, a future which

will never come. There is rarely a resemblance between the portrayal

of the fallen in the 1948 war, as well as in other wars, through their

eulogies and commemoration albums, and the actual, humble youths

who just before the war had been described by their parents’ generation

as shallow, valueless and drab. Yet in a way the abstract portrayal

of the fallen, the lack of reality makes them unattainable and indestructible.

The non-real is non-obliteratable. That is how the fallen

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can be conveniently resurrected, on call, during national rituals and

for national purposes. This technique enables to deal with the horrors

of death and its demise, it appeases the feelings of guilt for those who

were responsible for sending these youths to their death. “Here they

are the glory of Mankind!/ Here they are pristine and brave! / Beneath

a hail of arrows amidst the blaze/ They march, with weapons in hand/

But in their hearts a precious vision flames/ Of the prophets of justice

and truth” (David Shimoni, “Hanukkah 1948”, reproduced in Miron,

Facing the Silent Brother).

“It was not for bloodshed that we aimed./ Our sons were trained

for work and trades,” wrote Alterman, the national poet of the era of

the establishment of the state of Israel, representing the hegemonic discourse

of “no option,” the thesis of the totally innocent victim that releases

the nation from any responsibility for its choices and deeds, and

their consequences, that is the death of its own children and the death

of the enemy’s children. In the national discourse we are forever a nation

pursuing peace, we do not hate, war has been forced upon us, we

are the victims and will never forgive our enemies who force us to kill

and be killed. The victims and the unending cycle of vengeful violence,

of attack and counterattack, are always the responsibility of the other

side. This is the national rhetoric that is produced and reproduced

again and again according to circumstances, to forge the self-righteous

nationals and make possible the unquestionable and self-explaining

perpetuity of war. History, as it is written, interpreted and bequeathed,

ideologized and politicized, conveniently begins at the moment the

enemy attacks us, never with the sequence of events that led to the violent

occurrence, nor with the historical background which has made

the enemy an enemy and thrust him to act the way he does. Thus the

prospect of a perpetual conflict and its dead is assured.

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