person:dina

  • Dinara Assanova, cinéaste réaliste – L’Histoire par les #femmes

    Pour me rappeler de ma période centrale asiatique. Una artiste remarquable

    https://histoireparlesfemmes.com/2019/06/06/dinara-assanova-cineaste-realiste

    Dinara Kuldashevna Assanova (Динара Кулдашевна Асанова) naît le 24 octobre 1942 à Frounzé (actuelle Bichkek) en République socialiste soviétique kirghize (ou Kirghizie), alors en URSS et qui deviendra en 1991 le Kirghizistan. Elle a une sœur, prénommée Klara. À la sortie de l’école en 1959, alors que ses parents espèrent la voir se diriger vers une carrière dans l’enseignement, Dinara voit les choses différemment : elle, c’est de cinéma qu’elle rêve.

    Alors qu’elle n’est âgée que de dix-sept ans, Dinara commence sa carrière cinématographique en se faisant engager au sein de la société de production cinématographique Kirghizfilm, qui s’appelle alors « Studio d’actualités et de films documentaires de Frounzé ». Elle y travaille comme accessoiriste, monteuse, actrice, jusqu’à devenir assistante réalisatrice pour le film Une fille de Tien Shan (1960) d’Algimantas Vidugiris. Elle assiste également la réalisatrice soviétique Larissa Chepitko sur son long-métrage Chaleur torride.

    #asie_centrale #cinéma #kirghizstan


  • Boeing : « Un régulateur cloué au sol »
    https://www.lemonde.fr/economie/article/2019/05/16/boeing-un-regulateur-cloue-au-sol_5462813_3234.html


    Des parents de victimes du crash du Boeing 737 d’Ethiopian Airlines à la Chambre des représentants lors d’une audition sur les crashes de l’avionneur, mercredi 15 mai, à Washington.
    NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP

    La responsabilité de l’Administration fédérale de l’aviation est pointée du doigt dans la catastrophe des 737 Max. Ressurgit le vieux débat de la #capture_du_régulateur par les industriels qu’il surveille, analyse l’éditorialiste économique du « Monde », Philippe Escande.

    Pertes et profits. Etrange ballet, mercredi 15 mai, sur la colline du Capitole à Washington. Les deux chambres du parlement américain parlaient avions. Dans les salles du Sénat, on procédait à l’audition de Stephen Dickson, le futur patron de l’Administration fédérale de l’aviation (FAA). Non loin de là, du côté de la Chambre des représentants, on a tenté, avec témoins et victimes, de refaire le film des événements qui ont conduit aux crashs successifs, à trois mois d’intervalle, d’un #Boeing_737_Max de la compagnie indonésienne Lion Air et d’un appareil équivalent d’Ethiopian Airlines. Bilan de ces deux catastrophes : 346 morts, 350 avions cloués au sol dans le monde, un effondrement des commandes de Boeing et des pertes en cascade dans tout le secteur mondial du transport aérien et du tourisme.

    Deux sujets majeurs sont soulevés. Le premier, très concret, est la responsabilité de Boeing, averti dès novembre 2018 par des pilotes d’Americain Airlines d’une défaillance du logiciel de pilotage de l’avion et qui n’avait toujours pas corrigé l’anomalie trois mois après quand l’avion éthiopien s’est écrasé. Le deuxième est celui de la responsabilité de l’instance de régulation, la FAA. Dina Titus, élue démocrate du Nevada, a résumé la situation. « Le public pense que vous étiez au lit avec ceux que vous étiez censé surveiller et que c’est pour cela que l’interdiction des vols de 737 Max a été si longue à venir », a-t-elle lancé à Daniel Elwel, l’actuel directeur de la FAA. La presse américaine a notamment révélé que les examens de certification étaient sous-traités à l’entreprise elle-même…

    Cette affaire soulève à nouveau la question d’un phénomène que les économistes connaissent bien et qu’ils appellent la capture du régulateur. Celle-ci est de deux ordres. D’abord matérielle, quand l’agence de surveillance manque de moyens face à des entreprises bien plus riches. Dans le cas de Boeing, Daniel Elwel a révélé que si la FAA devait faire les analyses demandées à l’avionneur, cela lui coûterait 1,8 milliard de dollars (1,6 milliard d’euros)

    #paywall


  • L’Anses confirme la toxicité de la lumière bleue émises par les lumières led
    https://www.batiactu.com/edito/anses-confirme-toxicite-lumiere-bleue-emises-par-lumieres-56408.php?MD5ema

    La toxicité d’une exposition aiguë à la lumière bleue sur la rétine est confortée, ainsi que les effets à long terme liés à une exposition chronique, qui augmentent les risques d’une dégénérescence maculaire liée à l’âge (DMLA). Autre aspect, les systèmes led sont sensibles aux fluctuations du courant d’alimentation, ce qui peut entraîner des variations de l’intensité de la lumière. L’Anses relève trois phénomènes particulièrement fréquents : le papillotement, l’effet stroboscopique et l’effet de réseau fantôme. Ces « modulations temporelles de la lumière » entraînent des migraines, de la fatigue visuelle ou des crises d’épilepsie. Les risques liés à l’exposition varient selon la température de couleur, ce qu’avait déjà noté l’Anses en 2010. « Plus une lumière tire vers le bleu, plus sa température en Kelvin est élevée et le risque de toxicité fort », explique Dina Attia chercheuse et cheffe de projet à l’Anses. « Les personnes les plus sensibles à l’exposition sont les enfants et les adolescents. A leur âge, le cristallin qui filtre la lumière bleue est encore très clair, et donc sujet à la phototoxicité », précise-t-elle.


  • Gertrude Abercrombie - Wikipedia
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gertrude_Abercrombie

    In 1932 she began to focus strictly on her art. The following summer she made her first sale at an outdoor art fair in Chicago and received an honorable mention in the newspaper for the event.[3] In the mid-1930s she moved out of her family’s home and became active in the regional art scene.[3] From 1934 to 1940 she served as a painter for the Works Progress Administration and in 1934 the Chicago Society of Artists held a solo show of her work.[3] During the 1930s and 1940s she also began creating woodcuts.

    In 1940 she married lawyer Robert Livingston, and in 1942 gave birth to their daughter Dinah. In 1948 the couple divorced. That same year she married music critic Frank Sandiford, with Dizzy Gillespie performing at the wedding. The couple were active in the bohemian lifestyle and jazz scene of Chicago hence their connection with Gillespie. They met musicians through Sandiford and through Abercrombie’s own skills as an improvisational pianist. The couple would divorce in 1964.[3]
    Dizzy Gillespie with Abercrombie on his birthday, 1964

    Within Abercrombie’s avant-garde social circle she was the inspiration for the song “Gertrude’s Bounce” by Richie Powell, who claimed that she walked “just like the way the rhythm sounds in the Introduction”,[5] and she appeared as herself in James Purdy’s Gertrude of Stony Island Avenue and as a fictional character in Purdy’s Malcolm, Eustace Chisholm.[3]

    She painted many variations of her favored subjects: sparsely furnished interiors, barren landscapes, self-portraits, and still-lifes. Many compositions feature a lone woman in a flowing gown, often depicted with attributes of sorcery: an owl, a black cat, a crystal ball, or a broomstick.[3] These works were often self-portraits, as she stated in an interview with Studs Terkel shortly before her death: “it is always myself that I paint”.[7] Tall and sharp-featured, she considered herself ugly;[8] in life she sometimes wore a pointed velvet hat to accentuate her witch-like appearance, “enjoy[ing] the power this artifice gave her over others who would fear or recoil from her”.[9] The 1940s and ’50s are described as her most prolific and productive period; a time when she no longer painted many portraits, but retained the themes mentioned above.[3]

    Abercrombie’s mature works are painted in a precise, controlled style. She took little interest in other artists’ work, although she admired Magritte.[10] Largely self-taught, she did not regard her lack of extensive formal training as a hindrance.[11] She said of her work:

    I am not interested in complicated things nor in the commonplace. I like and like to paint simple things that are a little strange. My work comes directly from my inner consciousness and it must come easily. It is a process of selection and reduction.[4]

    Her work evolved into incorporating her love for jazz music, inspired by parties and jam sessions she hosted in her Hyde Park home. Musicians such as Sonny Rollins, Max Roach, Jackie Cain and the Modern Jazz Quartet were considered friends. Dizzy Gillespie described her “the first bop artist. Bop in the sense that she has taken the essence of our music and transported it to another art form”.[12]

    #femmes #art #historicisation #surréalisme #peinture


  • Brazil new President will open Amazon indigenous reserves to mining and farming

    Indigenous People Bolsonaro has vowed that no more indigenous reserves will be demarcated and existing reserves will be opened up to mining, raising the alarm among indigenous leaders. “We are in a state of alert,” said Beto Marubo, an indigenous leader from the Javari Valley reserve.

    Dinamam Tuxá, the executive coordinator of the Indigenous People of Brazil Liaison, said indigenous people did not want mining and farming on their reserves, which are some of the best protected areas in the Amazon. “He does not respect the indigenous peoples’ traditions” he said.

    The Amazon and the environment Bolsonaro campaigned on a pledge to combine Brazil’s environment ministry with the agriculture ministry – under control of allies from the agribusiness lobby. He has attacked environmental agencies for running a “fines industry” and argued for simplifying environmental licences for development projects. His chief of staff, Onyx Lorenzoni, and other allies have challenged global warming science.

    “He intends that Amazon stays Brazilian and the source of our progress and our riches,” said Ribeiro Souto in an interview. Ferreira has also said Bolsonaro wants to restart discussions over controversial hydroelectric dams in the Amazon, which were stalled over environmental concerns.

    Bolsonaro’s announcement last week that he would no longer seek to withdraw Brazil from the Paris climate agreement has done little to assuage environmentalists’ fears.

    http://www.whitewolfpack.com/2018/10/brazil-new-president-will-open-amazon.html
    #réserves #Amazonie #Brésil #extractivisme #mines #agriculture #forêt #déforestation (probablement pour amener ENFIN la #modernité et le #progrès, n’est-ce pas ?) #aires_protégées #peuples_autochtones #barrages_hydroélectriques

    • Un leader paysan assassiné dans l’Amazonie brésilienne

      Le leader paysan, #Aluisio_Samper, dit #Alenquer, a été assassiné jeudi après-midi 11 octobre 2018 chez lui, à #Castelo_de_Sonhos, une ville située le long de la route BR-163 qui relie le nord de l’État de #Mato_Grosso, la principale région productrice de #soja du Brésil, aux deux fleuves Tapajós et Amazone.

      Il défendait des paysans qui s’accrochaient à des lopins de terre qu’ils cultivaient pour survivre, alors que le gouvernement les avaient inclues dans un projet de #réforme_agraire et allait les attribuer à des associations de gros producteurs.


      https://reporterre.net/Un-leader-paysan-assassine-dans-l-Amazonie-bresilienne
      #assassinat #terres #meurtre

    • As Brazil’s Far Right Leader Threatens the Amazon, One Tribe Pushes Back

      “Where there is indigenous land,” newly elected President Jair Bolsonaro has said, “there is wealth underneath it.”

      The Times traveled hundreds of miles into the Brazilian Amazon, staying with a tribe in the #Munduruku Indigenous Territory as it struggled with the shrinking rain forest.

      The miners had to go.

      Their bulldozers, dredges and high-pressure hoses tore into miles of land along the river, polluting the water, poisoning the fish and threatening the way life had been lived in this stretch of the Amazon for thousands of years.

      So one morning in March, leaders of the Munduruku tribe readied their bows and arrows, stashed a bit of food into plastic bags and crammed inside four boats to drive the miners away.

      “It has been decided,” said Maria Leusa Kabá, one of the women in the tribe who helped lead the revolt.

      https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/10/world/americas/brazil-indigenous-mining-bolsonaro.html

    • Indigenous People, the First Victims of Brazil’s New Far-Right Government

      “We have already been decimated and subjected, and we have been victims of the integrationist policy of governments and the national state,” said indigenous leaders, as they rejected the new Brazilian government’s proposals and measures focusing on indigenous peoples.

      In an open letter to President Jair Bolsonaro, leaders of the Aruak, Baniwa and Apurinã peoples, who live in the watersheds of the Negro and Purus rivers in Brazil’s northwestern Amazon jungle region, protested against the decree that now puts indigenous lands under the Ministry of Agriculture, which manages interests that run counter to those of native peoples.

      Indigenous people are likely to present the strongest resistance to the offensive of Brazil’s new far-right government, which took office on Jan. 1 and whose first measures roll back progress made over the past three decades in favor of the 305 indigenous peoples registered in this country.

      Native peoples are protected by article 231 of the Brazilian constitution, in force since 1988, which guarantees them “original rights over the lands they traditionally occupy,” in addition to recognising their “social organisation, customs, languages, beliefs and traditions.”

      To this are added international regulations ratified by the country, such as Convention 169 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples of the International Labor Organisation, which defends indigenous rights, such as the right to prior, free and informed consultation in relation to mining or other projects that affect their communities.

      It was indigenous people who mounted the stiffest resistance to the construction of hydroelectric dams on large rivers in the Amazon rainforest, especially Belo Monte, built on the Xingu River between 2011 and 2016 and whose turbines are expected to be completed this year.

      Transferring the responsibility of identifying and demarcating indigenous reservations from the National Indigenous Foundation (Funai) to the Ministry of Agriculture will hinder the demarcation of new areas and endanger existing ones.

      There will be a review of the demarcations of Indigenous Lands carried out over the past 10 years, announced Luiz Nabhan García, the ministry’s new secretary of land affairs, who is now responsible for the issue.

      García is the leader of the Democratic Ruralist Union, a collective of landowners, especially cattle ranchers, involved in frequent and violent conflicts over land.

      Bolsonaro himself has already announced the intention to review Raposa Serra do Sol, an Indigenous Land legalised in 2005, amid legal battles brought to an end by a 2009 Supreme Court ruling, which recognised the validity of the demarcation.

      This indigenous territory covers 17,474 square kilometers and is home to some 20,000 members of five different native groups in the northern state of Roraima, on the border with Guyana and Venezuela.

      In Brazil there are currently 486 Indigenous Lands whose demarcation process is complete, and 235 awaiting demarcation, including 118 in the identification phase, 43 already identified and 74 “declared”.

      “The political leaders talk, but revising the Indigenous Lands would require a constitutional amendment or proof that there has been fraud or wrongdoing in the identification and demarcation process, which is not apparently frequent,” said Adriana Ramos, director of the Socio-environmental Institute, a highly respected non-governmental organisation involved in indigenous and environmental issues.

      “The first decisions taken by the government have already brought setbacks, with the weakening of the indigenous affairs office and its responsibilities. The Ministry of Health also announced changes in the policy toward the indigenous population, without presenting proposals, threatening to worsen an already bad situation,” she told IPS from Brasilia.

      “The process of land demarcation, which was already very slow in previous governments, is going to be even slower now,” and the worst thing is that the declarations against rights “operate as a trigger for violations that aggravate conflicts, generating insecurity among indigenous peoples,” warned Ramos.

      In the first few days of the new year, and of the Bolsonaro administration, loggers already invaded the Indigenous Land of the Arara people, near Belo Monte, posing a risk of armed clashes, she said.

      The indigenous Guaraní people, the second largest indigenous group in the country, after the Tikuna, who live in the north, are the most vulnerable to the situation, especially their communities in the central-eastern state of Mato Grosso do Sul.

      They are fighting for the demarcation of several lands and the expansion of too-small areas that are already demarcated, and dozens of their leaders have been murdered in that struggle, while they endure increasingly precarious living conditions that threaten their very survival.

      “The grave situation is getting worse under the new government. They are strangling us by dividing Funai and handing the demarcation process to the Ministry of Agriculture, led by ruralists – the number one enemies of indigenous people,” said Inaye Gomes Lopes, a young indigenous teacher who lives in the village of Ñanderu Marangatu in Mato Grosso do Sul, near the Paraguayan border.

      Funai has kept its welfare and rights defence functions but is now subordinate to the new Ministry of Women, Family and Human Rights, led by Damares Alves, a controversial lawyer and evangelical pastor.

      “We only have eight Indigenous Lands demarcated in the state and one was annulled (in December). What we have is due to the many people who have died, whose murderers have never been put in prison,” said Lopes, who teaches at a school that pays tribute in indigenous language to Marçal de Souza, a Guarani leader murdered in 1982.

      “We look for ways to resist and we look for ‘supporters’, at an international level as well. I’m worried, I don’t sleep at night,” she told IPS in a dialogue from her village, referring to the new government, whose expressions regarding indigenous people she called “an injustice to us.”

      Bolsonaro advocates “integration” of indigenous people, referring to assimilation into the mainstream “white” society – an outdated idea of the white elites.

      He complained that indigenous people continue to live “like in zoos,” occupying “15 percent of the national territory,” when, according to his data, they number less than a million people in a country of 209 million inhabitants.

      “It’s not us who have a large part of Brazil’s territory, but the big landowners, the ruralists, agribusiness and others who own more than 60 percent of the national territory,” countered the public letter from the the Aruak, Baniwa and Apurinã peoples.

      Actually, Indigenous Lands make up 13 percent of Brazilian territory, and 90 percent are located in the Amazon rainforest, the signatories of the open letter said.

      “We are not manipulated by NGOs,” they replied to another accusation which they said arose from the president’s “prejudices.”

      A worry shared by some military leaders, like the minister of the Institutional Security Cabinet, retired General Augusto Heleno Pereira, is that the inhabitants of Indigenous Lands under the influence of NGOs will declare the independence of their territories, to separate from Brazil.

      They are mainly worried about border areas and, especially, those occupied by people living on both sides of the border, such as the Yanomami, who live in Brazil and Venezuela.

      But in Ramos’ view, it is not the members of the military forming part of the Bolsonaro government, like the generals occupying five ministries, the vice presidency, and other important posts, who pose the greatest threat to indigenous rights.

      Many military officers have indigenous people among their troops and recognise that they share in the task of defending the borders, she argued.

      It is the ruralists, who want to get their hands on indigenous lands, and the leaders of evangelical churches, with their aggressive preaching, who represent the most violent threats, she said.

      The new government spells trouble for other sectors as well, such as the quilombolas (Afro-descendant communities), landless rural workers and NGOs.

      Bolsonaro announced that his administration would not give “a centimeter of land” to either indigenous communities or quilombolas, and said it would those who invade estates or other properties as “terrorists.”

      And the government has threatened to “supervise and monitor” NGOs. But “the laws are clear about their rights to organise,” as well as about the autonomy of those who do not receive financial support from the state, Ramos said.

      http://www.ipsnews.net/2019/01/indigenous-people-first-victims-brazils-new-far-right-government


  • ELO#345 - Les chansons les plus gaies du monde
    Dror, le 24 octobre 2018
    http://entrelesoreilles.blogspot.com/2018/10/elo345-les-chansons-les-plus-gaies-du.html

    Il est temps aujourd’hui de tenter de déterminer les 20 chansons les plus gaies du monde :
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eF9R5aWFzkA&list=PLkeA_mTMOkTtu5FDBc0sTdskT_eBSgATg

    1) Barnyard Boogie, Louis Jordan (1948)
    2) Hold Tight, Fats Waller (1939)
    3) The Jumpin’ Jive, Cab Callaway (1939)
    4) Makin’ Whoopee, Dinah Washington (1957)
    5) Dancing in the street, Martha and the Vandellas (1964)
    6) I Feel Good, James Brown (1965)
    7) Do the Funky Chicken, Rufus Thomas (1970)
    8) Rubber Biscuit, The Blues Brothers (1978)
    9) Bang Bang, Joe Cuba (1966)
    10) I Like It Like That, Pete Rodríguez (1967)
    11) Aguas de Marco, Elis Regina and Tom Jobim (1974)
    12) Come di, Paolo Conte (1984)
    13) Je veux être noir, Nino Ferrer (1966)
    14) Le Nougat, Brigitte Fontaine (1988)
    15) Tomber la chemise, Zebda (1998)
    16) In The Summertime, Mungo Jerry (1970)
    17) Here comes success, Iggy Pop (1977)
    18) Revolution Rock, The Clash (1979)
    19) Alright, Supergrass (1995)
    20) Feel So Good, Mase (1997)

    Voici aussi les 30 plus tristes du monde :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/724826

    #Musique #Playlist #Gaies #Soul #Jazz #Rap #Rock #Chanson #Bossa_Nova #Salsa


  • Si vous lisez ces jours-ci des biographies d’Aretha Franklin, souvent truffées d’erreurs, vous y verrez souvent allusion à cette « fameuse » interview dans Time Magazine en 1968. Il y a longtemps de cela, j’ai acheté une version de ce magazine et j’ai traduit l’interview en français ici :

    LADY SOUL : SINGING IT LIKE IT IS
    Time Magazine, le 28 Juin 1968
    http://www.otisredding.fr/time_magazine.htm

    Pour le même site web (consacré principalement à #Otis_Redding), j’avais aussi fait cette comparaison des versions d’Otis Redding et d’Aretha Franklin de la chanson Respect :
    http://www.otisredding.fr/otis_blue.htm#RESPECT

    Otis Redding reconnaissait lui-même que la version d’Aretha Franklin était supérieure à la sienne. Il le dit dans le concert à Monterey en juin 1967. Et puis finalement il copie la version d’Aretha dans une émission à la télévision la veille sa mort (émission Upbeat de Don Webster, Cleveland, 9 décembre 1967) :
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9dBHWTejiU

    En 2009, j’avais écrit un petit article dans Siné Hebdo sur la filiation entre Aretha Franklin, Esther Phillips et Dinah Washington :

    Aretha, Esther et Dinah
    Dror, Siné Hebdo, le 21 janvier 2009
    https://entrelesoreilles.blogspot.com/2009/01/sin-hebdo-20-aretha-esther-et-dinah.html

    J’ai vu Aretha Franklin en concert trois fois (1995, 2008 et 2014). Trop jeune pour l’avoir vu à sa meilleur époque, j’ai le souvenir de concerts inégaux, mais aussi que LE moment fabuleux du concert était lorsqu’elle se mettait au piano et revenait à la base de la musique et de l’émotion :

    Bridge Over Troubled Water (15 novembre 2011)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_4GJwriRnM

    Alors on pouvait se croire projeté en arrière en 1971 au Fillmore West :

    Bridge Over Troubled Water (7 mars 1971)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D6FnXjqrIuU

    La troisième fois que j’ai vu Aretha Franklin en concert, c’était à Montréal en juillet 2014. J’avais alors écrit cet article :

    Aretha Franklin à Montréal 2014
    Dror, Entre Les Oreilles, le 5 juillet 2014
    https://entrelesoreilles.blogspot.com/2014/07/elo176-aretha-franklin-montreal.html

    Et il reste qui dans les musicien.ne.s de Soul ? Diana Ross, Tina Turner, Carla Thomas, Valerie Simpson, Shirley Brown, Millie Jackson, Mavis Staples, Gladys Knight, Dionne Warwick, Betty Wright, Candi Staton, Roberta Flack, Little Richard, Smokey Robinson, Al Green, Stevie Wonder, Sam Moore, Clarence Carter, Eddie Floyd, William Bell, Ronald Isley, Jerry Butler, Eddie Levert, Latimore, George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, Larry Graham, George Benson, Joe Simon, Lloyd Price...

    #Aretha_Franklin #Musique #Soul #Entre_Les_Oreilles #Siné_Hebdo #Shameless_autopromo


    • Aretha Franklin, respect éternel
      Jacques Denis, Libération, le 16 août 2018
      http://next.liberation.fr/culture/2018/08/16/aretha-franklin-respect-eternel_1672542

      La reine de la soul est morte ce jeudi à 76 ans. De l’église de son père au sommet des charts, sa voix a inscrit dans la légende des dizaines de tubes et porté haut les causes du féminisme et des droits civiques.

      « J’ai perdu ma chanson, cette fille me l’a prise. » Quand il découvre Respect, une ballade qu’il a écrite pour son tour manager Speedo Sims, Otis Redding ne peut que constater les faits face à Jerry Wexler, le pape de la soul music au label Atlantic. Ce jour-là, le chanteur sait que le titre paru deux ans plus tôt, en 1965 sur l’imparable Otis Blue, lui échappe. Pas sûr en revanche qu’il puisse se douter alors que ce hit fera danser des générations entières, porté par la voix de la papesse soul. Combien de soirées où cet hymne au féminisme débridé aura fait se lever toutes les femmes et filles, prises d’un doux délire  ! « La chanson en elle-même est passée d’une revendication de droits conjugaux à un vibrant appel à la liberté. Alors qu’Otis parle spécifiquement de questions domestiques, Aretha en appelle ni plus ni moins à la transcendance extatique de l’imagination », analysera Peter Guralnick, l’auteur de la bible Sweet Soul Music.

      Enregistrée le jour de la Saint-Valentin, la version d’Aretha Franklin, morte jeudi à 76 ans, est effectivement bien différente de celle du « Soul Father », qui vantait les mérites de l’homme allant au turbin et méritant de fait un peu de respect en retour. La jeune femme se permet d’y glisser quelques saillies bien senties  : « Je ne te ferai pas d’enfant dans le dos, mais ce que j’attends de toi, c’est du respect. » Le tout boosté par un chœur composé de ses sœurs Erma et Carolyn qui ponctue de « Ooh  ! » et « Just a little bit », donnant à l’histoire les faux airs d’une conversation complice entre femmes. Et de conclure par un tranchant  : « Je n’ai besoin de personne et je me débrouille comme une grande. » La suite, tout du moins d’un point de vue artistique, donnera raison à celle qui devint ainsi pour la postérité tout à la fois l’une des égéries des droits civiques et la visionnaire pythie d’une libération des mœurs.
      Dix-huit Grammy Awards

      « Cette chanson répondait au besoin du pays, au besoin de l’homme et la femme de la rue, l’homme d’affaires, la mère de famille, le pompier, le professeur – tout le monde aspire au respect. La chanson a pris une signification monumentale. Elle est devenue l’incarnation du "respect" que les femmes attendent des hommes et les hommes des femmes, le droit inhérent de tous les êtres humains », analysera-t-elle a posteriori dans son autobiographie, Aretha : From These Roots.

      Sa reprise de Respect n’était pas le premier succès de la native de Memphis. D’ailleurs, à l’époque, ce ne sera que le deuxième 45-tours de son premier album sous pavillon Atlantic, précédé par I Never Loved a Man (the Way I Love You) qui donne son titre à ce disque. Mais avec ce tube, bientôt suivi d’une quantité d’autres, elle se hisse vers des sommets à hauteur des mâles blancs qui dominaient l’époque. Coup double aux Grammy 1968 – les premiers d’une très longue série, dix-huit au total –, la chanson truste les charts pop, quatorze semaines au top des ventes afro-américaines où la concurrence est alors plutôt sévère, et intronise la « Soul Sister » (surnom emprunté à son précédent disque) en reine du genre  : « Queen of Soul », pas moins. Elle ne sera jamais détrônée.

      Pourtant l’album enregistré entre Muscle Shoals, l’usine à tubes d’Alabama, et New York, où elle dut se replier avec quelques musiciens sudistes, fut accouché dans la douleur, tel que relaté par un autre biographe émérite d’Aretha Franklin, le Français Sebastian Danchin (Portrait d’une natural woman, aux éditions Buchet Chastel). Toujours est-il que le 28 juin 1968, elle fait la une de l’hebdomadaire Time  : un simple portrait dessiné d’elle, discrètement barré d’un explicite The Sound of Soul. Cette année-là, elle est juste derrière Martin Luther King en termes de ­notoriété.

      Atteinte d’un cancer et officiellement rangée des hits depuis début 2017, la grande prêcheuse du respect est morte cinquante ans plus tard à Détroit, à 76 ans, devenue pour l’éternité celle dont un président des Etats-Unis (pas le moins mélomane, Barack Obama) a pu dire  : « L’histoire américaine monte en flèche quand Aretha chante. Personne n’incarne plus pleinement la connexion entre le spirituel afro-américain, le blues, le r’n’b, le rock’n’roll – la façon dont les difficultés et le chagrin se sont transformés en quelque chose de beau, de vitalité et d’espoir. »
      Premier disque

      Avant d’en arriver là, tout n’était pas écrit d’avance pour cette fille de pasteur, née le 25 mars 1942 dans le Sud profond, où la ségrégation fait force de loi. Grandie dans le giron de ce père homme de foi, Aretha Louise Franklin trouve sa voix à l’église, comme souvent. Elle a pour premier modèle son paternel, personnalité aussi sombre à la maison qu’auréolée de lumière sur l’estrade  : le pasteur Clarence LaVaughn Franklin enregistre et publie ses gospels sur la firme Chess, fréquente les stars (Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson, Art Tatum…), enchaîne les tournées, au risque de délaisser le foyer où les enfants se débrouillent comme ils peuvent. D’autant que leur mère, Barbara Siggers, « immense chanteuse gospel » selon la diva Mahalia Jackson, a quitté le foyer au lendemain des 6 ans d’Aretha.

      Sept années plus tard, l’adolescente grave son premier disque, avec le chœur de la New Bethel Baptist Church, le sanctuaire au cœur du ghetto de Detroit où son père célèbre sa mission sur Terre. L’année qui suit, elle accouche d’un premier enfant, suivant là encore les traces du prédicateur, par ailleurs fornicateur à ses heures  : une des demi-sœurs de la jeune Aretha est le fruit de relations illicites avec une paroissienne de 13 ans  !
      Ferveur inégalée

      Avant 18 ans, Aretha a déjà deux enfants. Autant dire un sérieux handicap pour qui entend faire carrière en musique. C’est pourtant la même, certes délestée des bambins qui se retrouvent chez mère-grand Rachel, qui est castée par le talent-scout John Hammond. Elle a 19 ans quand elle débarque à New York pour intégrer l’écurie Columbia, où la future Lady Soul – autre surnom absolument pas usurpé – est censée suivre le sillon creusé par Lady Day, la femme au chihuahua Billie Holiday. Las, l’histoire ne se répète jamais, et malgré d’indéniables talents et de petits succès dont un bel hommage à Dinah Washington, une de ses références avouées, et un recommandable Yeah où elle tente déjà de faire siennes quelques rengaines empruntées à d’autres, celle qui sera plus tard la première femme à rejoindre le Rock’n’roll Hall of Fame ne parvient pas à se distinguer dans le jazz. Jusqu’à ce qu’elle franchisse le Rubicon, en passant chez Atlantic où, outre Jerry Wexler, elle trouve en Arif Mardin un directeur musical à son écoute.

      « Quand je suis allée chez Atlantic Records, ils m’ont juste assise près du piano et les tubes ont commencé à naître. » Il ne faudra jamais oublier qu’à l’instar d’une Nina Simone, Aretha Franklin était aussi une formidable pianiste. La liste des classiques enregistrés en moins de dix ans donne le tournis  : Baby I Love You, (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman, Think, (Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You’ve Been Gone, Chain of Fools, Until You Come Back to Me… Entre 1967 et 1974, la porte-voix d’une communauté chante ou déchante l’amour, en mode énervé ou sur le ton de la confidence sur oreiller, portée par des arrangements luxuriants ou dans ce dénuement propre à magnifier les plus belles voix sudistes (de Wilson Pickett à Sam & Dave). Dans cette série qui ressemble à une irrésistible ascension, chacun a ses favoris  : Call Me, par exemple, pas forcément le plus gros succès, demeure une ballade pour l’éternité où elle fait valoir toute la classe de son toucher sur les noires et ivoire. A moins que ce ne soit I Say a Little Prayer, le cantique écrit par Burt Bacharach et Hal David pour Dionne Warwick (qui se le fera chiper), tout en légèreté laidback. Qu’elle flirte volontiers avec la pop, reste fidèle à l’esprit de la soul ou mette le feu au temple frisco rock Fillmore West dans un live mémorable avec le terrible saxophoniste r’n’b King Curtis, son directeur musical assassiné quelques mois plus tard, la voix d’Aretha Franklin transcende toujours les sacro-saintes chapelles avec une ferveur inégalée. Celle héritée du gospel, la genèse de tout, auquel elle rend un vibrant hommage en 1972 avec Amazing Grace, un office avec le révérend James Cleveland qui devient le premier disque du genre à réussir la jonction avec le public profane.

      La série va pourtant s’arrêter au mitan des années 70, alors que Jerry Wexler s’apprête à quitter la maison mère pour rejoindre Warner Bros. A Change Is Gonna Come, pour paraphraser la superbe complainte qu’elle a empruntée à Sam Cooke dès 1967. Le disco triomphe, et bientôt le rap qui saura lui rendre hommage, à l’image de Mos Def revisitant One Step Ahead ou de Lauryn Hill s’investissant dans The Rose Is Still a Rose. Orpheline de son mentor, Franklin elle-même quitte en 1980 Atlantic pour Arista. La chanteuse ne s’en remettra pas, alors même qu’elle parvient à toucher un public rajeuni en étant au générique des Blues Brothers. Elle y chante en femme de ménage (mais chaussée de mules en éponge roses  !) Think, hymne à la liberté et à la féminité affirmée haut et fort (encore).

      Ombre d’elle-même

      La scène d’anthologie marque les esprits, mais dans la vraie vie, Aretha Franklin n’aspire qu’à des productions de plus en plus pompières, qui masquent par leur outrance l’essentiel  : ses exceptionnelles qualités d’interprète. Les interventions de jeunes musiciens comme Marcus Miller ou Narada Michael Walden n’y font rien, même si avec ce dernier elle parvient une nouvelle fois à toucher furtivement la place de numéro 1 des charts r’n’b.

      Si elle se fait rare en studio, si elle ne marque plus l’histoire de la musique, elle n’en demeure pas moins une icône pour les nouvelles générations. George Michael s’adonne ainsi à un duo – une spécialité de la diva, qui sans doute trahissait déjà un réel manque de renouvellement – avec celle qu’il considère comme une influence majeure. Toutes les chanteuses de nu soul prêtent allégeance à la première dame, qui de son côté s’illustre dans la rubrique mondanités. Elle traverse ainsi les années 90 en ombre d’elle-même, caricature de ses grands millésimes, qu’elle fructifie. Elle n’en reste alors pas moins une figure que l’on met aisément en couverture, affichant des looks pas toujours raccords, et au premier rang des chanteurs de tous les temps selon Rolling Stone.

      De come-backs avortés en retours guettés par des fans toujours en demande, rien n’y fait. La star, rentrée vivre à Detroit, attise pourtant les désirs et envies des jeunes producteurs : André 3000 d’Outkast et Babyface mettent même un album en chantier, alors que l’année d’après, en 2014, le festival de jazz de Montréal la fait remonter sur scène. Longue robe blanche, cheveux blonds, elle assure le show.

      Trois ans plus tard, elle est encore en blanc, mais considérablement amaigrie, pour un gala au profit de la fondation Elton John, à New York. Plus que de résurrection, cela sonne comme un concert d’adieux. Néanmoins, on gardera plutôt en souvenir le dernier grand moment d’une carrière hors norme de cette chanteuse  : le 6 décembre 2015 lors des prestigieux Kennedy Center Honors, elle entre en scène en manteau de fourrure, voix aussi sûre que son doigté au piano, pour interpréter (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman devant le couple Obama, auquel elle avait déjà fait l’honneur de chanter lors de son investiture en 2009. Comme la révérence d’une voix pas ordinaire, en tout point populaire.

      Jacques Denis

    • « Aretha Franklin a chanté son époque, avec son époque, et pour son époque »
      Isabelle Hanne, Libération, le 16 août 2018
      http://www.liberation.fr/planete/2018/08/16/aretha-franklin-a-chante-son-epoque-avec-son-epoque-et-pour-son-epoque_16

      Daphne Brooks, professeure d’études Afro-américaines à l’université Yale, revient sur la figure d’Aretha Franklin et sa place dans l’histoire musicale et nationale.

      Daphne Brooks, 49 ans, professeure d’études afro-américaines à l’université Yale, écrit sur la question raciale, le genre et la musique populaire. Elle a ­notamment travaillé sur le parcours d’Aretha Franklin pour son ­livre Subterranean Blues  : Black Women and Sound Subcultures (à paraître) et a donné plusieurs conférences sur la Queen of Soul, qu’elle a rencontrée à l’occasion d’une lecture à Princeton qui lui était dédiée. Elle s’intéresse ­particulièrement aux moments où les artistes Afro-Américaines se retrouvent à la croisée entre les ­révolutions musicales et la grande histoire nationale, Aretha Franklin étant la figure ty­pique de ces intersections.
      Que représente Aretha Franklin pour vous  ? Quels sont vos ­premiers souvenirs d’elle  ?

      J’ai grandi dans les années 70 en Californie, dans une famille qui écoutait de la musique en permanence alors qu’elle avait déjà acquis le statut de « Queen of Soul ». Elle a toujours été omniprésente dans mon monde.
      Comment est-elle devenue l’un des objets de vos recherches  ?

      La musique d’Aretha Franklin, c’est le son de la conquête des droits ­civiques, du Black Power, ce ­mélange de joie, de blackness, ce sens de la fierté, notre héritage afro-amé­ricain. Elle a su trans­mettre cette beauté intérieure dans ses chansons.
      Quels sont les liens entre Aretha Franklin et le mouvement de lutte pour les droits civiques  ?

      Ils sont nombreux. Son père, C.L. Franklin, était ce pasteur très célèbre à Detroit et son église, la New Bethel Baptist Church, un haut lieu du combat pour les droits civiques. Il galvanisait un public noir à travers ses sermons diffusés à la radio pendant les années 50 [puis commercialisés sur disque, ndlr]. Il accueillait Martin Luther King lors de ses séjours à Detroit. Aretha Franklin a d’ailleurs accompagné ce dernier à plusieurs manifestations et chanté lors de ses funérailles. Mais cette connexion ne se limite pas à ces liens familiaux. Sa musique, elle aussi, s’inscrit dans ce contexte historique. Il y a, bien sûr, son ADN gospel. Et pas seulement  : Respect, la chanson écrite par ­Otis Redding mais réinterprétée par Franklin en 1967, une année pivot [l’année du « Long, Hot Summer », une série d’émeutes raciales], est devenue instantanément un hymne des droits civiques, de l’émancipation des Noirs, du Black Power et du mouvement féministe. Trois ans plus tôt, en 1964, elle avait déjà ­enregistré Take a Look, dont les paroles avaient fortement résonné lors du « Freedom Summer », cet été où des centaines d’étudiants ont risqué leur vie pour inscrire des Noirs sur les listes élec­torales du Mississippi [« Lord, what’s happening / To this human race  ? / I can’t even see / One friendly face / Brothers fight brothers / And sisters wink their eyes […] / Just take a look at your children / Born innocent / Every boy and every girl / Denying themselves a real chance / To build a better world. »] Dans sa musique elle-même, elle a su articuler ce chagrin et ce regard sur l’humanité si propre à la soul music.
      Vous dites qu’elle n’a pas seulement été une voix des droits ci­viques, comme Nina Simone, mais qu’elle a également eu un impact sur le féminisme afro-américain  ?

      Aretha a chanté son époque, avec son époque, et pour son époque. Avec des chansons comme Natural Woman, elle s’est aussi exonérée d’une certaine image pour se ­connecter au mouvement féministe moderne, au féminisme noir. Très tôt dans sa carrière, elle s’est donné le droit de chanter les tourments émotionnels des Afro-Américaines avec tellement de genres musicaux différents  : c’était son appel à l’action, à l’émancipation des Noires aux Etats-Unis. Elle a chanté la ­bande-son complexe de la femme noire qui se réinventait. Elle montre que cette dernière peut être un ­sujet doué d’émotions complexes, d’une volonté d’indépendance… Toutes ces choses qui ont été si longtemps refusées aux Afro-Américains aux Etats-Unis. Elle a vraiment été dans la droite ligne du Black Power  : désormais, les Noirs montrent qu’ils n’ont pas besoin de s’excuser d’exister.
      Elle a aussi été cette icône aux tenues extravagantes, luxueuses, en perruque et fourrure. Peut-on dire qu’elle a participé à façonner une certaine féminité noire  ?

      Oui, mais comme d’autres activistes ou artistes noires, telle Diana Ross par exemple, qui ont en effet développé cette image de la beauté noire glamour, somptueuse. Mais elle a également montré, dans les années 70, une image plus afrocentriste, avec des tenues plus sobres et une coiffure afro.
      A bien des égards, Aretha Franklin est une synthèse des Afro-Américains...

      Elle est née dans le Sud, à Memphis (Tennessee), mais elle a grandi dans le Nord, à Detroit, dans le Michigan. Sa famille a fait comme des millions d’Afro-Américains au milieu du XXe siècle  : ils ont déménagé du Sud vers le Nord, ce phénomène qu’on appelle la Grande Migration [de 1910 à 1970, six millions d’Afro-Américains ont émigré du sud des Etats-Unis vers le Midwest, le Nord-Est et l’Ouest, pour échapper au racisme et tenter de trouver du travail dans les villes indus­trielles]. Elle a aussi su faire la synthèse ­entre tous les genres musicaux afro-américains, de la soul au r’n’b, de la pop au jazz. Aretha Franklin fait partie, fondamentalement, de l’histoire des Noirs américains. Elle appartenait à cette génération d’Afro-Américains qui a sondé l’identité noire, qui venaient du Nord comme du Sud, urbains comme ruraux, passionnés de jazz, de blues, de r’n’b et de pop. Le tout en se battant pour faire tomber les murs de la ­culture Jim Crow [les lois qui organisaient la ségrégation raciale] à travers l’agitation sociale et la performance artistique.
      Isabelle Hanne correspondante à New York



  • Defying the gaze of others in Abu Bakr Shawky’s Yomeddine |
    Adham Youssef
    June 1, 2018
    MadaMasr

    https://www.madamasr.com/en/2018/06/01/feature/culture/defying-the-gaze-of-others-in-abu-bakr-shawkys-yomeddine

    After finishing my interview with director Abu Bakr Shawky and producer Dina Emam at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, I move to my next scheduled meeting — a group discussion with a Kenyan director about her film, which is screening in the Un Certain Regard competition. Shawky is conducting an interview with a foreign journalist nearby, and I can’t help but overhear their conversation. The reporter asks him about the “political and religious messages” behind his debut feature and Palme d’Or contender, Yomeddine (2018).

    Later, when I meet with Shawky again, I ask him to comment on that question. “Wherever there is a good story I will go,” he says. “There is an expectation  from Middle Eastern films that they have to be about politics and religion, but I don’t want to do that anymore. Not because they are irrelevant, but I watch films from the United States, Europe and Asia that are not political, and I like them. So why can’t a Middle Eastern film not be political in the traditional sense and still be considered enjoyable and significant?”

    There were three other Arabic-language films in Cannes this year; Nadine Labaki’s Cafarnaüm (2018), a Lebanese drama about poor children and migrants in the informal housing areas of Beirut; Gaya Jiji’s My Favourite Fabric (2018), a film that tackles female sexuality and the Syrian revolution (guaranteed to be a hit with Western audiences); and Sofia, Meryem BenMbarek’s story about premarital pregnancy in Morocco. Yomeddine stood out among them as a different narrative that is placed within a specific context, yet is universally appealing and relatable nonetheless.


  • Résistance féminine à Idleb : itinéraire d’une activiste
    https://vacarme.org/article3092.html

    Ce texte donne la parole à Dina, une jeune femme syrienne originaire de la ville d’Idleb. Cette ville moyenne du nord de la Syrie, à soixante kilomètres d’Alep, a alternativement été contrôlée par le régime et par les forces d’opposition, avant de passer sous le contrôle du Jabhat al-Nosra (« Front de la victoire »), groupe de combattants jihadistes qui constitue l’une des composantes islamistes de l’opposition armée en Syrie.

    Nous nous sommes rencontrées à plusieurs reprises entre la libération d’Idleb en mars 2015 et novembre 2017. Dina a été forcée de quitter sa ville lorsqu’al-Nosra a découvert qu’elle dispensait des formations à des femmes et des enfants sur leurs droits politiques et civiques. Elle vit désormais en exil à la frontière turco-syrienne et attend avec impatience la chute d’al-Nosra pour pouvoir rentrer chez elle.

    #Syrie #révolution_syrienne #printemps_arabe #féminisme #al-Nostra #jihadisme


  • Quatre chemises blanches - Četri balti krekli (1967) cinéma letton
    Film censuré en 1967 par les soviétiques

    Le film du presque centenaire réalisateur letton Rolands KALNINS , a attendu l’année 2018 pour être vu au Festival du Cinéma de Cannes après avoir été censuré par l’occupant soviétique.

    https://youtu.be/aleHzUI8Vbg

    Le film se déroule dans les années 1960 en Lettonie dans sa capitale Riga. Technicien des services téléphoniques, poète et compositeur amateur, Cēzars Kalniņš (Uldis Pūcītis) joue avec des amis dans un groupe. D’après Anita Sondore (Dina Kuple), une fonctionnaire de la culture entre deux âges, les textes des chansons qu’il a composées vont contre la morale. Elle fait obstacle à la présentation de ces chansons au public. La commission publique qui discute les créations du jeune auteur se transforme en allégorie d’une opinion silencieuse mais très influente et dont l’action dévastatrice ne peut être enrayée

    En 1967, sous l’occupation soviétique, parmi les méfaits du KGB, ce film est une critique cinématographique en chansons du régime totalitaire soviétique. Le films est Interdit de projection durant vingt ans, c’est ainsi que procèdent les régimes totalitaires : ils empêchent les paroles, les écrits et les expressions. Qu’est ce qui a changé aujourd’hui dans cette Russie qui envahit toujours ses payas voisins ?

    Quatre chemises blanches - Četri balti krekli est présenté pour la première fois au public en 1986 et restauré en 2017, à l’occasion du 95e anniversaire du cinéaste.

    En présence de Rolands Kalniņš , il est présenté au public du 71e Festival de Cannes dans la sélection Cannes Classics parmi les films restaurés et les films du patrimoine, à coté des films en compétition et hors compétition et de la sélection « Un certain regard » : .

    Lire la suite : https://www.lettonie-francija.fr/quatre-chemises-blanches-cetri-balti-krekli-1967-cinema ?

    #Rolands_Kalniņš #Cinéma #lettonie, #cinéma_letton, #Četri_balti_krekli,
    #censure, #censure_soviétique,


  • Palestinians uncover history of the Nakba, even as Israel cuts them off from their sources

    For Palestinian historians researching the 1948 exodus of their people, the greatest challenge is getting access to the few surviving documents of the period: most are locked away in Israeli archives
    By Dina Kraft Apr 20, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/palestinians/.premium.MAGAZINE-hidden-stories-of-the-nakba-1.6010350

    When Salim Tamari was researching his book on Arab neighborhoods in the Jerusalem area that were destroyed or conquered during the 1948 war, he had to ask Jewish-Israeli colleagues to go to the Israel State Archives to retrieve material for him. As a Palestinian, he did not have a permit to travel to the city, just 33 kilometers (20 miles) from his office in the West Bank.
    He was seeking family papers, photos and diaries – precisely the kind of primary source material vital to piecing together any period in history. However, this material is often out of reach for Palestinian historians of the Nakba (the Palestinian term for the formation of Israel, which means “Catastrophe” in Arabic).
    While Israelis will celebrate 70 years of the Jewish state this week, it is remembered as a national trauma by the Palestinians. Over 700,000 lost their homes in wake of the War of Independence and millions of their descendants live in refugee camps scattered throughout the Middle East.
    Telling the social history of this period from a Palestinian perspective is a challenge.
    When Palestinians fled or were driven from their homes – the matter has long been the subject of fierce debate – the contents were often looted or confiscated, among them the letters, books and photo albums needed to help tell the history of that period and the life that preceded it.
    The limited material that remained was collected and cataloged by the nascent Israeli authorities and stored in archives. In the case of some 30,000 books collected and housed by the National Library of Israel, for example, the belongings were labeled “absentee property” and, like other materials, placed out of reach of the majority of Palestinians.
    One archive of particular interest for demographic and ethnographic information is that of the Haganah (the underground, pre-independence army of British Mandatory Palestine’s Jews). This contains the so-called “Village Papers” – intelligence collected on individual villages before the war began. The materials include hand-drawn maps of Arab villages; the number of people living in them; and those they had incriminating information on who might be tapped as informers. None of it is digitized.


  • Résistance féminine à Idleb : itinéraire d’une activiste
    https://vacarme.org/article3092.html

    Ce texte donne la parole à Dina, une jeune femme syrienne originaire de la ville d’Idleb. Cette ville moyenne du nord de la Syrie, à soixante kilomètres d’Alep, a alternativement été contrôlée par le régime et par les forces d’opposition, avant de passer sous le contrôle du Jabhat al-Nosra (« Front de la victoire »), groupe de combattants jihadistes qui constitue l’une des composantes islamistes de l’opposition armée en Syrie. Nous nous sommes rencontrées à plusieurs reprises entre la libération d’Idleb en mars 2015 et novembre 2017. Dina a été forcée de quitter sa ville lorsqu’al-Nosra a découvert qu’elle dispensait des formations à des femmes et des enfants sur leurs droits politiques et civiques. Elle vit désormais en exil à la frontière turco-syrienne et attend avec impatience la chute d’al-Nosra pour pouvoir rentrer chez elle.

    #Féminisme, #Guerre, #Syrie


  • Revue Vacarme | résistance féminine à Idleb : itinéraire d’une activiste
    https://asile.ch/2018/04/18/revue-vacarme-resistance-feminine-a-idleb-itineraire-dune-activiste

    Ce texte donne la parole à Dina, une jeune femme syrienne originaire de la ville d’Idleb. Cette ville moyenne du nord de la Syrie, à soixante kilomètres d’Alep, a alternativement été contrôlée par le régime et par les forces d’opposition, avant de passer sous le contrôle du Jabhat al-Nosra (« Front de la victoire »), groupe de […]


  • Gregory Klimov. The Terror Machine. Chapter 12
    http://g-klimov.info/klimov-pp-e/ETM12.htm

    Prisoners of the System

    “Let me introduce you," - colonel Kondakov said, ‘lieutenant-colonel Dinashvili.’

    I shook hands with a man in gray civilian clothes. His white shirt was open at the collar and he was not wearing a tie: an exaggerated negligence in civil attire, characteristic of the professional officer. A puffy face, whitish complexion, obviously long unacquainted with sunlight. A weary indifference in the black, staring eyes. A flabby handgrip.

    At the request of the M. V. D.’s Central Operational Group, Colonel Kondakov and I had gone to their headquarters. There were certain matters in their hands, which overlapped analogous material in Colonel Kondakov’s department, and so the M. V. D. had invited the S. M. A. into consultation and assistance. Kondakov studied the reports of previous examinations of certain prisoners, and other material relating to them. The first case was that of a former scientific worker in the laboratory at Peenemunde, the headquarters of German research into rocket-missiles.

    ‘A slight delay!’ the lieutenant-colonel said with a glance at the door. ‘I’ve given orders for him to be made rather more presentable first.’

    ‘Have you had him long?’ Kondakov asked.

    ‘Some seven months,’ Dinashvili answered in a drowsy tone, as though he had not slept a wink since the day of his birth. ‘We received certain information from agents, and decided to take a closer look at him.’

    ‘But why... in such circumstances?’ the colonel asked.

    ‘He was living in the western zone, but his mother is in Leipzig. We ordered her to write to him and ask him to visit her. And now we’ve got to keep him under lock and key until the question’s cleared up.’

    ‘But how did his mother come to agree?’

    ‘We threatened to expropriate her greengrocer’s shop if she didn’t. We told her we only wanted to have a friendly talk with her son,’ Dinashvili explained with a yawn.

    A little later a sergeant brought in the prisoner. The chalky whiteness of the man’s face and his feverish, deeply sunken eyes were more eloquent than all the M. V. D. endeavors to make him more presentable.

    ‘Well, you get to work on him, and I’ll take a rest.’ Dinashvili yawned again and stretched himself out on a sofa. The prisoner, an engineer and expert on artillery weapons, was of particular interest to us, for according to agents’ reports he had worked in the ’third stage’, as it was called, at Peenemunde.

    The ’first stage’ was concerned with weapons already tested in practice and being produced serially; the ’second stage’ dealt with weapons that had not gone beyond the phase of tests inside the works; the ’third stage’ was concerned with weapons that had not got farther than the planning phase. We knew all about the results of the work of the first two stages, but the ’third stage’ represented a gap in our knowledge, for almost all the designs and formulae, etc., had been destroyed at the time of the capitulation. No factual material whatever had fallen into our hands; our only source of information was the oral testimony of a number of persons.

    Judging by the reports of the interrogations so far made, the prisoner held for examination had worked among a group of scientists whose task was to produce guided rockets for anti-aircraft defense. The German decision to explore this line of activity had been due to the fact that the Allies’ air-offensive powers had greatly outstripped Germany’s air-defense resources.

    The rockets were planned to be shot from special mountings, without precise ranging on the target. At a certain distance from the target plane, highly sensitive instruments built into the rocket head automatically directed the missiles and exploded them in the target’s immediate vicinity. The Germans had already effectively exploited the same principle in magnetic mines and torpedoes, so causing the Allied fleets serious losses in the early days of the war.

    In the case of a rocket the problem was complicated by the much greater velocity both of the missile and of its target, by the smaller dimensions of the target, and by the fact that an aeroplane is constructed mainly of non-magnetic metal. Nonetheless, we had indications that the Germans had actually found the solution to these problems. But there were many contradictory opinions as to how they had done so, whether by radar, photo-electric cells, or in some other manner.

    The reports of the interrogations showed that the prisoner had been ordered to reconstruct all the formulae and construction plans of the V-N rocket out of his own head. Colonel Kondakov turned the inquiry in a very different direction. After comparing the available data he tried to determine the position the prisoner had occupied in the complicated system of the Peenemunde scientific staff. He clearly saw that one individual could not possibly know every aspect of the work on the project, as the M. V. D. demanded.

    ‘Would you be prepared to continue your work in a Soviet research institute?’ he asked the prisoner.

    ‘I’ve already asked again and again for an opportunity to prove the accuracy of my statements,’ the prisoner replied. ‘Here I can prove very little. You understand.’

    The gray form lying with his back to us on the sofa came abruptly to life. The lieutenant-colonel sprang to his feet. ‘You want your freedom? Then why did you flee to the West?’ He stormed and raged at the prisoner, who shrugged his shoulders helplessly.

    ‘I propose to place him at the disposition of General...’ Kondakov turned to Dinashvili, mentioning the name of the general who was in charge of the Soviet research station at Peenemunde. ‘There we’ll get out of him all he knows.’

    ‘But supposing he escapes?’ The lieutenant-colonel gave the prisoner a distrustful glance.

    ‘Comrade Lieutenant-Colonel,’ Kondakov smiled stiffly, ‘for us the decisive question is how we can extract the greatest possible advantage from each individual case. I shall apply to higher authority to have the man transferred to Peenemunde.’

    We turned to the next case, which was connected with an idea for a really fantastic invention. Plans had not gone beyond the stage of the inventor’s own calculations and sketches, and had never been tested by any official German organization. The man had been living in the French zone, and had offered his project to the French authorities for their consideration. The interested Soviet quarters had learnt of his plans through the intermediary of the French Communist Party, and they had put the case in the hands of the M. V. D.

    How the German inventor had been brought to the Soviet zone was not mentioned in the reports; one learned merely that he had been ten months in the cellars of the Potsdam Operational Group, and had been encouraged to continue work on his invention with all the numerous means it possessed of ’bringing influence to bear’.

    We were confronted with a fairly young man, by profession - an electrical engineer who had specialized on low-tension current problems. During the war he had worked in the research laboratories of several important electro-technical firms concerned with telemechanics and television. He had been working on his invention for a number of years, but the plans had only begun to take practical shape towards the end of the war, by which time the German military authorities were no longer interested in such things.

    He began to explain his invention, referring to the works of leading German scientists in the field of optics, for support. It was to consist of two instruments, a transmitter and a receiver. The transmitter, a comparatively small instrument, was intended to be dropped some miles behind the enemy lines; and when in operation the receiver, situated on the other side of the front, would show on a screen everything that was happening between the two instruments; in other words, all the enemy’s dispositions and technical resources. The use of a series of transmitters and receivers would provide a survey of any desired sector of the front.

    There was no indication in the reports of the reason why the M. V. D. had held the prisoner for ten months. With their characteristic distrust, its officers assumed that he was attempting to conceal details from them, and tried every means of forcing him to say more than he actually knew.

    In this case Colonel Kondakov tried a different tack from the one he had taken with the rocket specialist: he attempted to find out how far the inventor had realized his ideas in practice. He was interested not only in the theory but also in the feasibility of its application. He plied the man with expert questions in the field of wireless telegraphy and television. The man passed the test with honor. But, with an obstinacy rarely met with behind the walls of the M. V. D., he hesitated to give up the key details of his invention. Possibly he was afraid the M. V. D. would liquidate him as an unnecessary and inconvenient witness when he had told them.

    ‘Would you be prepared to demonstrate that your plan is technically feasible within the walls of a Soviet research institute?’ Kondakov asked him.

    ‘Herr Colonel, that’s the one thing I wish for, the one thing I’ve asked for again and again,’ the man answered in a quivering voice.

    ‘He’s lying, the swine!’ a voice shouted from the sofa. Dinashvili sprang to his feet again. ‘He’s only looking for an opportunity to escape. Why did he offer his invention to the French?’

    ‘I propose to place this man at the disposition of Colonel Vassiliev in Arnstadt,’ Kondakov told the M. V. D. officer. ‘If Vassiliev takes a negative view of his proposals, you can have him back and settle the matter as you wish.’

    ‘The way you’re going on you’ll let all my prisoners escape,’ Dinashvili fumed.

    We devoted the rest of the day to examining various documents, chiefly agents’ reports on German scientists and technicians in the western zones. We had to decide how far these people could be of practical use to the Soviet Union. If we thought they could be, the M. V. D. took further steps to ’realize the opportunity’.

    We were finished late in the afternoon. Glancing at the clock, I decided to phone Andrei Kovtun. When I told him I was in Potsdam he invited me to call on him in his office.

    Several months had passed since our first meeting in Karlshorst. Meanwhile, he had been visiting me almost every week. Sometimes he arrived in the middle of the night, sometimes towards dawn. If I offered him some supper or breakfast, he only waved his hand wearily and said: ‘I merely wanted to drop in for a little while. I’ll have a nap on your couch.’

    At first I was astonished by these irregular, purposeless visits; he seemed to find a morbid pleasure in talking about our school and student days. He went over the tiniest detail of our youthful experiences again and again, always ending with the exclamation: ‘Ah, they were great days!’ It sometimes seemed to me that he came and talked to me simply to escape from his present circumstances.

    I asked Colonel Kondakov to drop me outside the building of the M. V. D. central administration, where Andrei worked. A pass was already waiting for me at the inquiry office. In the dusk of the summer evening I walked through the garden and up to the second storey, where Andrei had his room.

    ‘Well, pack up!’ I said as I entered. ‘We’re going to Berlin.’ “Hm! You’re finished for the day, but I’m only just beginning,” he snarled.

    ‘What the devil did you ask me to come here for then?’ I said angrily. After spending the day in Lieutenant-Colonel Dinashvili’s company I felt an urgent desire to have some fresh air as soon as possible.

    ‘Don’t get worked up, Grisha! I’ve often been to your place, and you’ve never been here before.’

    ‘I’ve already spent all day in a similar hole,’ I retorted, making no attempt to conceal my annoyance. ‘I’ve no wish to stick here. If you like, we’ll go to Berlin and see a show. If not....’

    ‘You’d like to see a show?’ he interrupted. ‘Well, you can see a good show here too. Things you’d never see in a theater.’

    ‘I don’t feel like it today,’ I insisted.

    ‘Now listen, Grisha!’ He changed his tone, and his voice recalled the days when he had sat astride my chair. ‘For a long time now I’ve been interested in a certain question. To make you understand, I shall have to go rather a long way back. You and I have nothing to conceal from each other. Nobody in the world knows me better than you do.’

    He was silent for a moment or two, then he added: ‘But to this very day I don’t know you....’

    ‘What is it you want to know then?’ I asked.

    He went to the door and turned the key. Then from sockets in the wall he pulled several plugs attached to cords running to his desk.

    ‘Do you remember our childhood?’ he said as he leaned back in his chair. ‘You were a boor just like me. And you must have had the same sort of sensitive reaction as I had. But you never said a word. In those days it used to make me mad with you. But now I must regard it as something praiseworthy. Do you know why?’

    I made no comment. After a moment he went on, staring under his desk:

    ‘It’s an old story. I was fourteen years old when it happened. On the very eve of the October celebrations I was summoned to the school director’s room. He had another man with him. Briefly and simply, this man took me to the G. P. U. There I was accused of having stuck cigarette butts on Stalin’s portrait, and other counter-revolutionary crimes.

    Of course it was all sheer lies. Then they told me that as I was so young they were prepared to forgive me if I was prepared to work with them. What could I do? I was forced to sign a document condemning me to collaboration and silence. And so I became a N. K. V. D. spy. I hated Stalin with all my heart, I decorated the toilet walls with anti-Soviet slogans, and yet I was a N. K. V. D. spy. Don’t get anxious! I never denounced anybody. When they pestered me too much I wrote in charges against similar spies. As I was in touch with the G. P. U. I knew their people. It didn’t do them any harm.’

    He fidgeted in his seat and said without raising his eyes: ‘I was mad with you in those days because you didn’t share your thoughts frankly with me. I was convinced that you thought as I did. When we were students... do you remember Volodia?’

    He mentioned the name of a mutual friend who had graduated from the Naval Academy shortly before the war broke out. ‘He used to talk to me openly. But you were always silent. And all the time it went on like that. I joined the Young Communists. You didn’t. Now I’m in the Party. You’re not. I’m a major in the State Security Service, and at the same time I’m a bigger enemy of the system than all my prisoners put together. But are you still a convinced Soviet citizen? Why are you so silent, damn you?’

    ‘What is it you want from me?’ I asked with a strange indifference. ‘An avowal of counter-revolutionary sentiments, or assurances of devotion to Stalin?’

    ‘Ah! You don’t need to tell me that!’ He shook his head wrath-fully. ‘I simply regard you as my best friend, and so I’d like to know what you really are.’

    ‘Then what am I to say to you?’

    ‘Why don’t you join the Party?’ He gave me the vigilant look of an interrogating officer.

    ‘It isn’t difficult for me to answer that question,’ I said. ‘It’s more difficult for you to answer the question: ’Why did you join the Party?’’

    ‘Wriggling again!’ he cried in a blind fury, and let slip a foul curse. ‘Forgive me, it fell out!’ he said apologetically.

    ‘It’s all because your life flatly contradicts your convictions, Andrei,’ I said. ‘But I do only just so much....’

    ‘Aha! So that’s why you don’t join the Party!’ he exclaimed with unconcealed malevolence.

    ‘Not entirely,’ I protested. ‘When I flew from Moscow here I had every intention of joining the Party on my return.’

    ‘You had?’ He stressed the word derisively.

    ‘There’s no point in arguing over grammatical tenses, Comrade Interrogating Officer.’ I tried to turn the talk into a joke. I had the singular thought that the major of the State Security Service sitting opposite me suspected me of sympathizing with communism and was trying to convict me of this sympathy.

    ‘Grisha, putting all jokes on one side,’ he said, staring straight into my eyes, ‘tell me, are you a blackguard or aren’t you?’

    ‘And you?’ I retorted.

    ‘Me?... I’m a victim....’ He let his eyes drop. ‘I have no choice. But you’re free.’

    There was a dead silence. Then that hysterical, toneless cry came again: ‘Tell me, are you a blackguard or aren’t you?’

    ‘I do all I can to become a good communist,’ I answered thought-fully. I tried to speak honestly, but my words sounded false and hypocritical.

    He sat for a time without speaking, as though seeking a hidden meaning in my words. Then he said calmly and coldly: ‘I think you’re speaking the truth, and I believe I can help you.... You want to learn to love the Soviet regime. Isn’t that so?’

    As he received no answer, he continued: ‘I had an acquaintance. Today he’s a big shot in Moscow. He did it like this: He arrested a man and accused him of making or planning to make an attempt on Stalin’s life, a blow against the Kremlin, of poisoning the Moscow water supply, and similar crimes. Then he handed him a statement already drawn up and said: ’If you love Stalin sign this!’’ Andrei smiled forcedly and added: ‘And I can help you to love Stalin. Agreed? I’ll arrange a little experiment for you. I’m sure it will help you in your endeavor to be a good communist.’

    ‘What am I to do?’ I asked, feeling thoroughly annoyed. This conversation was getting on my nerves, especially as it was taking place in the M. V. D. headquarters. ‘I have no intention of signing any statement. And I certainly shan’t come here to see you again.’

    ‘One visit will be enough.’ He smiled sardonically and looked at his watch. ‘The show will be starting in a moment. But now, not another word.’ He replaced the plugs of the telephone cords in their sockets. He opened a drawer and took out various documents, and after checking them reached for the telephone. From the conversation that ensued I gathered that the investigating officers sub-ordinate to Andrei were at the other end of the line. Finally he nodded with satisfaction and replaced the receiver.

    ‘Act one, scene one. You can think of your own title later,’ he said quietly, and switched on a dictaphone in front of him on the desk. Two voices sounded in the stillness of that large room: a pleasant, feminine voice in pure German, and a man’s voice speaking German with a pronounced Russian accent.

    ‘If you don’t mind, Herr Lieutenant, I’d like to ask about my husband,’ the woman said.

    ‘The only definite thing I can say is that his fate depends wholly and entirely on your work for us.’

    ‘Herr Lieutenant, it’s exactly a year since you promised me that if I fulfilled certain conditions my husband would be released in a few days,’ the woman said.

    ‘The material you’ve brought in to us recently has been unsatisfactory. It would be very unpleasant for me if we were forced to take certain measures. You might happen to meet your husband in a place where you wouldn’t wish to.’

    The woman gave a suppressed moan. Andrei switched off the dictaphone, took a sheet of paper out of a file and handed it to me. It was a decision of a M. V. D. military tribunal, condemning a man to twenty-five years’ forced labor ’for terroristic activities directed against the Soviet army’s occupation forces’.

    ‘He’d been a communist since 1928,’ Andrei explained. ‘Spent eight years in a Nazi concentration camp. One month after the beginning of the occupation he resigned from the Communist Party. He talked too much. You see the result. His wife works as a translator for the British. She enjoys their trust because she’s the wife of a man who has been persecuted by the Hitler regime. Since we imprisoned her husband they trust her even more. Until recently she was an extremely valuable agent of ours.’

    He nodded to me to be silent, and switched on the dictaphone again. This time two men were talking, also in German.

    ‘You’ve come well out of the test recently. Now we want to give you a more responsible commission,’ said a voice speaking with a Russian accent. ‘At one time you were an active member of the National Socialist Party. We’ve given you the chance to join the S. E. D. Now we expect you to justify the trust we’ve placed in you.’

    ‘Herr Captain, even when I was a member of the N. S. D. A. P. - and I was only a member because of circumstances-1 always sympathized with the ideals of communism and looked hopefully to the East,’ a voice said in pure German. ‘Today the S. E. D. has a large number of members who formerly sympathized with the ideas of national socialism,’ the first voice replied. ‘We’re particularly interested in these nationalistic tendencies among the S. E. D. members.

    Such people are really working for the restoration of fascism, and they’re the most bitter enemies of the new, democratic Germany. And as a former national-socialist you’ll be trusted by such people more than anyone else will. In future your task will be not only to register any such expression of opinion, but also even to sound your comrades’ moods and tendencies. You must pay particular attention to the following people.’ He read out a list of names.

    Andrei cut off the dictaphone and looked at a document: "A Gestapo spy since 1984. Has worked for us since May 1945. So far, on the basis of his reports 129 arrests have been made. He’s been accepted in the S. E. D. on our recommendation.

    ‘Ah, here’s a case of love in the service of the State,’ he remarked as he opened another file. ‘Baroness von... Since 1928 has been running a matrimonial agency for higher society and has simultaneously owned brothels. A Gestapo agent since 1936. Registered with us since July 1945. Has two sons prisoners of war in the U. S. S. R. The head of the prisoner of war camp has been ordered not to release them without the special instructions of the M. V. D. Are you interested in pretty girls? Look!’

    He handed a portfolio and a card index across the desk. On the portfolio cover was a series of numbers and pseudonyms; they corresponded with similar references in the card index, which contained personal details. At the top of the portfolio was the photograph of a gray-haired, well-set-up woman in a white lace collar.

    I opened the portfolio: it contained a number of sheets to which the photographs of young, beautiful girls were attached. These were the baroness’s protégées, and with their unusual beauty they were a credit to her philanthropic institutions. In addition to the normal personal details each sheet bore an entry: ’compromising details.’

    Beneath the picture of a happy, smiling, fair-haired girl this entry commented: ’Fiancé served in the Wafien-S. S. In Soviet hands since 1944. 1946, syphilis.’ The next photograph was of a girl with the eyes of a young doe; it had the note: ’Father a member of the N. S. D. A. P. Interned in U. S. S. R. 1944, illegitimate child.’ Next came a brunette and the comment: ’Registered with the police on account of prostitution. 1946: illegitimate child by a negro.’

    All the comments provided exact dates and factual material. ‘The baroness’s house is in the American zone,’ Andrei explained, ‘and her sphere of activities corresponds.’ He took the photo of the girl with doe’s eyes from me, noted the code number, took a file bearing the same number from his desk and said: ‘Look!’

    It contained the girl’s reports as an agent. Photos of American soldiers. Numbers; dates; love letters, for attestation of the signatures; details of places of service, personal manner of living, political attitude, American home addresses.

    ‘What are the American addresses for?’ I asked,

    ‘If we need to we can always make contact with the individual concerned. It’s even easier for us to do so there than here,’ Andrei replied.

    He pointed to a special folder in the file: it contained photographs of the girl in an American lieutenant’s company. First came Leica amateur snaps, reflecting all the stages of the progressive intimacy. Then, on a special sheet, numbered and dated, were photographs of a different kind. The technical finish revealed the work of an automatic micro-film camera. Unequivocal pornographic pictures, perpetuating love not only in its nakedness, but also in its perverted forms. On every photo the American lieutenant was clearly recognizable.

    ‘That young man’s also working for us now,’ Andrei grinned. “In America he had a young and wealthy fiancee. When he was faced with the choice either of compromise in her eyes, with all that it entailed, or quietly helping us, he preferred to help. Now he’s sending us quite valuable material.

    ‘That’s only just a sample of the baroness’s work,’ he continued. ‘We have others of her kind, all engaged in exploiting the prostitutes in all the four zones of Germany. Quite an extensive enterprise, as you see.’

    ‘But does it pay?’ I queried.

    ‘More than you’d think. Prostitution and espionage have always gone hand in hand. We’ve merely given these activities a new, ideological basis. We approach every single case individually. And in addition almost every one of these women has a relative in our hands. Our system is the cheapest in the world.’

    ‘You must have seen men condemned to death,’ I remarked. ’Tell me, have you often met men who died believing in the truth of what they were dying for?”

    At the beginning of the war I often saw S. S. men about to be shot," he said thoughtfully, rubbing his brow. ‘They used to shout: Heil Hitler!’ When I was with the partisans I sometimes had to stand by and watch while Germans hanged Russians. And as they stood with the rope round their necks they cursed the Germans and shouted: ’Long live Stalin!’

    I knew some of them personally, and I knew they had never said words like that before. Yet as they stood waiting for death they shouted ’Long live Stalin!’ I don’t think it was because they believed them, I think it was a matter of personal courage. They simply wanted to give expression to their contempt for death and the enemy.’

    ‘And now you’re engaged in destroying the enemies of the State,’ I continued. ‘According to the History of the C. P. S. U. the capitalists and landowners have long since been exterminated. So those you have to fight against today are children of our new society. If they’re enemies, how are they to be classified? Are they ideological enemies, or are they simply people who by force of circumstances have done something punishable under the M. V. D. code?’

    ‘Why do you ask that?’ He looked at me distrustfully.

    ‘The question’s interested me for some time now, and who could answer it better than a major in the M. V. D.?’

    ‘Damn you, Grisha!’ He sighed unexpectedly. ‘I thought I’d put you through it and so relieve my own feelings. But there you sit like a post, and now you’re starting to grub around in my soul. You’ve raised a question that’s been troubling me for a long time.’ He spoke more slowly. ‘If it’s a question of ideological enemies, then today all the nation is our ideological enemy. Those who fall into the hands of the M. V. D. are only victims of a lottery. Out of every hundred charges brought by the M. V. D., ninety-nine are pure inventions.

    We act on the principle that every man is our enemy. To catch an enemy red-handed you have to give him the opportunity to commit a hostile act. If we wait, it may be too late. For their name is - million. So we seize the first to hand and accuse him of what you will. Thus we liquidate a certain proportion of the potential enemy and simultaneously paralyze the will of the others. That’s our prophylactic method. History itself has forced us to resort to it. But such a system has certain positive aspects too...’

    ‘You still haven’t answered my question,’ I said. ‘Have you ever met a real enemy? A man who gazed straight into your face and declared: ’Yes, I am against you!’?’

    The major looked up at me from under his brows. ‘Why don’t you yourself come and work for the M. V. D.? You’d make a remark-ably good examining officer,’ he muttered. ‘I’ve deliberately been dodging the question; you see, I have a living answer to it... Only, I didn’t intend to bring him to your notice. I’m afraid it might have an unhappy effect on our friendship.’

    He looked at me expectantly, and hesitated. As I raised my head I saw the clock. It was long past midnight, but the building was living its own life. From the corridor came sounds comprehensible only to people intimate with the work of the M. V. D. From time to time there was a cautious knock at the door, and Andrei went out of his room, locking the door behind him. Again and again our conversation was interrupted by telephone calls.

    ‘Good!’ he said at last, as I did not reply. ‘But I ask you not to draw any conclusion about me from what you see.’ He picked up a telephone: ‘Comrade Captain, what news of 51-W? Still the same? Good! Have him brought up for examination. I shall come along with another officer.’

    We went down to the next floor. Here there was no carpeting in the corridor; the walls were painted with gray oil-paint. We entered a room. At the desk opposite the door sat a captain of infantry. Andrei answered his greeting with a nod, went to a sofa by the wall, and buried himself in examination reports. I sat down at the other end of the sofa.

    A knock at the door - a sergeant in a green cap reported: ‘Prisoner No. 51-W, at your disposition, Captain.’ He was followed by a dark figure with hands crossed behind him. A second guard closed the door.

    ‘Well, how are things, Kaliuzhny?’ the captain asked in a friendly tone.

    ‘Is it such a long time since you saw me last, you hound?’ The words burst from the prisoner in a cry of boundless hate and con-tempt, suppressed pain and mortal yearning. He staggered right up to the desk and stood there, his legs straddled. I saw that his wrists were handcuffed. The M. V. D. handcuffs only prisoners who are candidates for death, or are particularly dangerous.

    ‘Well, what’s the position?’ Have you remembered anything yet?" the captain asked, without raising his head from his scrutiny of the papers on his desk. The answer came in a rushing, largely in-comprehensible stream of curses directed against the captain, the M. V. D., the Soviet government, and, finally, the man whose portrait hung on the wall behind the desk. The prisoner leaned forward, and it was impossible to tell whether he was on the point of dropping with exhaustion or making ready to strike his tormentor. His guards, one on either side, seized him by the shoulders and thrust him down on a seat.

    ‘Now let’s talk to each other quietly,’ the captain said. ‘Would you like a smoke?’ He beckoned to the guards, and they removed the handcuffs. There was a long silence, while the man took a greedy draw at the cigarette. A gurgling sound came from his chest; he coughed painfully and spat into his hand.

    ‘Here, enjoy this, Captain!’ He stretched his hand across the desk, revealing black clots of blood in the bright light of the desk lamp. ‘They’ve damaged my lungs, the hounds!’ he croaked, as he wiped the blood on the edge of the desk.

    ‘Listen, Kaliuzhny...’ the captain said in a pleasant tone. ‘I’m terribly sorry you’re so pigheaded. You were a model citizen of the Soviet Union, the son of a worker, a worker yourself. A hero of the patriotic war. Then you go and make one mistake....’

    ‘That was no mistake!’ The words came hoarsely from the other side of the desk.

    ‘We know how to value your past services,’ the captain continued. ‘Atone for your guilt, and your country will forgive you. I only want to make your lot easier. Tell us who the others were. Then I give you my word as a communist...’

    ‘Your word as a communist!’ The bloody rattle conveyed inexpressible hate. ‘You viper, how many have you already caught with your word of honor?’

    ‘My word is the word of the Party. Confess, and you will be given your freedom!’ The captain had difficulty in controlling himself.

    ‘Freedom?’ came from the bloody mask that had been a face. ‘I know your freedom! I shall find your freedom in heaven...’

    ‘Sign this document!’ the captain held out a sheet of paper.

    ‘You wrote it, you sign it!’ was the answer.

    ‘Sign!’ the officer ordered in a threatening tone. Forgetting the presence of the two men sitting silently on the sofa, he swore violently and snatched up a pistol lying on his desk.

    ‘Give it here, I’ll sign!’ the prisoner croaked. He took the sheet of paper and spat on it, leaving clots of blood clinging to it. ‘Here you are... With a genuine communist seal!’ His voice rose in malignant triumph. He slowly raised himself out of his chair and slowly bent over the desk to face the pistol barrel. ‘Well, now shoot! Shoot, hangman, shoot! Give me freedom!’

    In impotent fury the captain let the weapon sink, and beckoned to the guards. One of them sent the prisoner to the floor with his pistol butt. The steel handcuffs clicked.

    ‘You don’t get away so easily as that!’ the captain hissed. ‘You’ll call for death as if you were calling for your mother before we’re finished!’ The guards hoisted up the prisoner and stood him on his feet. ‘Put him to the ’stoika’,’ the captain ordered (Torture by being kept constantly in a standing position.).

    With an unexpected, desperate writhe the man wrested himself free. With a vehement kick he sent the desk over. The captain sprang away, then, howling with rage, flung himself on the prisoner He brought his pistol butt down heavily on the man’s head; a fresh purple patch appeared above the crust of congealed blood.

    ‘Comrade Captain!’ Andrei Kovtun’s voice sounded sharply.

    As the man was dragged out of the room the captain gasped out ‘Comrade Major, I ask permission to close the examination procedure and transfer the case to the tribunal.’

    ‘Keep to the instructions I’ve given you,’ Andrei replied coldly and went to the door.

    We walked silently along the corridor.

    ‘You wanted to see for yourself,’ Andrei said moodily as he (closed the door of his room behind us. He spoke hurriedly, as though anxious to justify himself, to forestall what he felt I was bound to say.

    ‘Why was he arrested?’ I asked.

    ‘For the very question you were so interested in,’ Andre answered as he dropped wearily into a chair. ‘He was a man who openly declared: ’Yes, I’m against you!’ All through the war he was with us, from the very first to the very last day. He was wounded several times, decorated several times. He was to be demobilized after the war, but he voluntarily signed on for longer service. And then, a month ago, he was arrested for anti-Soviet propaganda in the army. His arrest was the last straw. He tore his shirt at his breast and shouted: ’Yes, I’m against you!’’

    ‘How do you explain his change?’

    ‘Not long before he had had leave in Russia. He went home - and found the place deserted. His old mother had been sent to Siberia for collaboration with the Germans. To avoid starving, during the war she had washed crockery for them. And in 1942 they send his young brother to work in Germany; after the lad’s repatriation he was condemned to ten years in the mines. And apart from that, our prisoner saw what was happening at home. When he returned to duty he began to tell others what he had seen and heard. The rest you know for yourself.’

    ‘What did the captain mean by his reference to ’the others’?’ I asked.

    ‘Oh, the usual story.’ Andrei shrugged his shoulders. ‘Out of one man we’ve got to unmask a whole counter-revolutionary movement. There you have the clear evidence that every man is an enemy,’ he continued in a monotonous tone. ‘Outwardly he was an exemplary Soviet man. One of the sort that during the war died with the shout ’Long live Stalin!’ on their lips. But when you go deeper...’

    ‘So you regard him as an ideological enemy?’ I asked.

    ‘He hasn’t any idea yet,’ Major Kovtun answered. ‘But he’s already come to the point of saying ’no’ to the existing regime. He is dangerous chiefly because he is one of millions. Throw a lighted idea into that powder barrel and the whole lot would go up!’

    I was silent. As though he had divined my thoughts, Andrei whispered helplessly: ‘But what can I do?’ Then, with sudden vehemence, he cried: ‘What did you want to see it for? I’d already told you...’

    In the dusk of the room his face changed, it expressed his weariness. His eyes were dull and expressionless. He fidgeted with restless, nervous fingers among the papers on his desk.

    ‘Andrei!’ I cried, and turned the lampshade so that the light fell full on his face. He huddled himself together, raised his head and stared at me blankly. I glanced into his eyes: they were fixed and dilated; the pupils showed no reaction to the strong light.

    ‘You know what light-reaction is, don’t you?’ I asked as gently as I could.

    ‘I do,’ he answered quietly. His head sank on to his chest.

    ‘It means you’ve reached the end of your tether,’ I said. ‘In a year or two there’ll be nothing left of you but a living corpse.’

    ‘I know that too,’ he muttered still more quietly.

    ‘Can’t you find any other way out than morphine?’ I asked, putting my hand on his shoulder.

    ‘I can’t find any way at all, Grisha... I can’t,’ his lips whispered. ‘You know, I’m often pursued by delusions,’ he said in a perfectly expressionless tone. ‘Always and everywhere I’m followed by the scent of blood. Not just blood, but fresh blood. That’s why I come to you sometimes so unexpectedly. I’m trying to get away from that smell.’

    ‘Pull yourself together, Andrei!’ I rose from my chair, took my cap down from the hook, and glanced at the clock. ‘It’s six already. Let’s go for a drive.’

    He opened a cupboard and took out a civilian suit. ‘Every one of us has to own a suit of civilian clothes,’ he explained as I gave him a questioning look. ‘Nowadays I use it to get away from the accursed stench.’

    Before we finally left the room, he took a book out of his desk drawer and handed it to me, saying: ‘Take and read it. I’ve seldom read anything to compare with it.’

    I read the name of the book: Abandon Hope... and of the author: Irene Kordes.

    ‘I don’t get much time for reading,’ I answered, as a rapid glance at its pages showed that the book was about the Soviet Union. ‘And I’ve read enough of this stupid kind of literature. And look at its date of publication: 1942!’

    ‘That’s just why I want you to read it,’ he answered. ‘It’s the only German book about the Soviet Union that every German ought to read. I personally find it particularly interesting because she spent four years in prison; she was held for interrogation by the M. V. D.’

    Later I did read the book. The writer, Irene Kordes, was living with her husband in Moscow before the war. During the Yezhovshchina period (The period of the great purges of 1936 - 1938 to which most of the political émigrés living in the Soviet Union fell victims. Yezhov was head of the N. K. V. D. at the time; in 1939 he himself was dismissed and shot.) they were both arrested simply because they were talking German in the street.

    That was sufficient for the M. V. D. to charge them both with espionage. There followed four years of misery and torment, four years of examination in the cellars of the notorious Lubianka and other Soviet prisons. After the Soviet Union signed the pact of friendship with Hitlerite Germany in 1939 she was set free and sent back to her own country. Her husband disappeared within the N. K. V. D. walls.

    It is a striking circumstance that the book was published in 1942. This German woman displayed a true grandeur of spirit. After living for four years in conditions that would have led anybody else to curse the regime and the country, and even the people, who willingly or unwillingly bore the responsibility and guilt for the Soviet system, Irene Kordes had not one word of reproach or accusation to say against the Russian people. She spent four years in hell, together with hundreds of thousands of Russian people who shared her fate; and during that time she came to know the Russians as few foreigners have done.

    The first rays of the rising sun were gilding the crowns of the trees as Andrei and I left the building. He drove our car along the autobahn. He sat silent; his features seemed waxen and sunken in the gray light. His driving was spasmodic and restless. As we drew near to the Wannsee he took his foot off the accelerator and looked at the clock. ‘You haven’t got to be in the office till ten,’ he said. ‘Let’s drive to the lake and lie for an hour on the sand.’

    ‘Good!’

    Gentle waves were curling over the surface of the lake. Mews were flying overhead, or gliding low to send up spray from the crests with their wings. The fresh morning breeze drove away the leaden weariness of my sleepless night. We undressed and plunged into the water. The farther we swam from the bank the more strongly was I conscious of the freedom and expanse, of an inexplicable desire to swim on and on. I felt a rare inward relief, as though the waves would wash us clean of the blood of the past night.

    After bathing we lay on the sand. Andrei watched the few early bathers. I gazed at the sky, at the white, fleecy clouds.

    ‘Well, have I helped you in your endeavors to become a true communist?’ he asked in a wooden tone, and tried to smile.

    ‘You’ve shown me nothing new,’ I answered. ‘Many things in this world look unpleasant when seen close up.’

    ‘So you excuse all these things?’

    ‘One must attempt to comprehend not merely a part, but the whole. Not the means, but the end.’

    ‘So the end justifies the means?’ he said bitterly. ‘You’ll make a better bolshevik than I.’

    ‘I am a child of the Stalin epoch,’ I replied.

    ‘So in your view everything is for the best!’

    ‘I’d like to believe that....’

    ‘Then what stops you now?’

    ‘I’m afraid I lack the wider vision,’ I said slowly. ‘When I’ve solved the problem of the expediency or inexpediency of the final goal it will be easy.... In either case it will be easy.... That is my final answer, Andrei. Until then we’d better drop further talk on the subject. Meanwhile, I think you should take some leave and have a thorough rest.’

    ‘That won’t help,’ he sighed. ‘I need something else.’ “You must either find a faith that justifies your present activities, or...” I did not know how to go on.

    ‘It’s rather late for me to seek, Grisha.’ He shook his head and stared at the sand. ‘I’ve burnt my wings. Now I must creep.’

    Little Lisa was a charming child. When she went for walks with her old governess along the Gogolevsky boulevard in Moscow the people sitting on the benches used to say reprovingly to their children: ‘Just look at that pretty little girl. See how well she behaves!’

    On hearing such remarks, Lisa would pull haughtily at her velvet dress, and deliberately speak in a louder tone to her German governess. The people whispered in surprise: ‘They must be foreigners.’

    Lisa’s father was one of those men who have the gift of adjusting themselves to life. He had joined the Party at the right time, he knew when to say the right word, and even better when to keep a still tongue in his head. Thus he rose to the directorship of a large commercial trust in Moscow. High enough to exploit to the full all the material advantages of his official position, yet not high enough to be forced to take the risk of responsibility for the undertaking.

    He had prudently brought up his sons in the spirit, which had ensured himself a successful career. But he had intended to marry his daughters to men who could guarantee them not only material well-being, but brilliant society life. Lisa was the younger daughter, and her father’s favorite. From earliest childhood she was the subject of rapturous admiration on the part of her relations and family acquaintances, and the naive envy of her child companions.

    The years passed, she grew up, and graduated from school. When the time came to decide on what she should do next, after consultations with her father she resolved to enter the Moscow Institute for Foreign Languages. There she could be sure of comparatively easy studies and the prospect of an equally easy position when she left; the Institute was known to be a starting point for careers in the Commissariat for Foreign Affairs, the Commissariat for Foreign Trade, and other governmental bodies. The young girls of Moscow retailed many strange rumors of the massive yellow building in Metrostroyevskaya Street; Lisa thought of its doors as opening on to a terra incognita.

    Thanks to her excellent knowledge of German, and her father’s connections, she had no difficulty in entering the Institute. In her very first year she won the professors’ notice by her keen intelligence and her success as a student. She considered it a matter of honor to be outstanding in her subjects. She had always been used to admiration, and as the years passed she had developed a morbid craving for it.

    Now she attempted to win the admiration and envy of those around her. She went to great trouble to excel the other students in every possible respect: in study, in behavior, and in dress. The professors began to hold her up as an example to the others, while her colleagues looked down their noses at her eccentric behavior. The young men turned to stare after her slender figure and were astonished at her provocative conduct and her dress.

    One morning in the autumn, during her second year at the Institute, on reaching the door of the lecture hall she was called aside by a senior girl, who whispered: ‘Lisa, you’re wanted in the Special Department. You’re to report there at once.’

    The Special Department was situated next door to the rector’s office. None of the students knew exactly what functions the department performed: they could only surmise. Lisa knocked shyly at the door, and went in. Behind a desk sat a woman with the exaggeratedly self-confident air of women who occupy men’s positions. Now this woman took a file from a steel cupboard behind her, and glanced first at the file, then at Lisa. The minutes seemed endless. Lisa stared with longing through the window at the house-roofs opposite and thought: ’It’s either arrest or expulsion from the Institute.’

    The woman held out a sealed envelope to her, and said: ‘At nine this evening you’re to call at the address on this letter. Hand in your name at the inquiry office. They’ll be expecting you.’

    Lisa glanced at the address: the letters began to dance before her eyes. They read: ’Lubianskaya Square, entrance 8, room 207.’

    That day she was unusually abstracted. She heard very little of what the professors said, but in her head the words drummed incessantly: ’Lubianskaya Square, nine o’clock.’ Punctually at five to nine she passed through the gates of the N. K. V. D. central offices in Lubianskaya Square. The lieutenant on duty phoned to someone then handed her a pass. She went to the room given on the letter and knocked almost inaudibly with her knuckles.

    ‘You’re punctual; that’s a good sign.’ The young man in civilian dress who opened the door smiled as he spoke. ‘Please come in!’ He pointed affably to a comfortable chair by the desk. She dropped into it, and planted her feet firmly on the floor.

    The young man smiled again, pleasantly. ‘May I offer you a cigarette?’ He pushed a box of expensive cigarettes across the desk. Her fingers trembled, she had difficulty in opening the box and taking out a cigarette. She did not know what to make of this warm reception.

    ‘Would you like some tea? Or coffee?’ the obliging young man asked. Without waiting for her answer he pressed a button on his desk, and a few moments later a tray of coffee, cakes, and a tablet of chocolate arrived. To cover up her uncertainty and shyness she took a cake. But somehow she had difficulty in getting it down.

    ‘Have you any idea why I’ve invited you to come and see me?’ he asked, lighting a cigarette and studying Lisa from one side. ‘No... I haven’t,’ she answered in a trembling voice. ‘We’ve been interested in you for a long time now,’ he began, leaning back more comfortably in his chair. ‘You’re a cultivated and an attractive girl. I might go so far as to say very attractive. And you’re from a good Soviet family. Your father’s an old Party member. You yourself have been active as a Young Communist in the Institute. We’ve received very favorable reports about you.’

    He paused and glanced at her, to study the effect of his words. The expression of anxiety and excitement gradually faded from her face, to be replaced by one of tense expectation.

    ‘We not only punish enemies of the Soviet regime,’ he continued. ‘We’re even more concerned to see that the numbers of genuine Soviet people should increase. As we’ve had such good reports about you we consider it our duty to take some interest in your future career.’ He paused again. ‘Tell me, we’re right, aren’t we, in regarding you as a true Soviet citizen and in wishing to help you in your career?’

    ‘I’m still too young,’ she said in some embarrassment. ‘So far I’ve not had the opportunity...’

    ‘Oh, I quite understand,’ he interrupted. ‘You’ve always wanted to prove your devotion to the Party, but so far you haven’t had the opportunity: that’s it, isn’t it?’

    ‘I... I’ve always tried...’ she stammered.

    ‘I know. I’ve taken some trouble to find out about you before asking you to come and see me. And now we think we can test you in action. You’re studying in the Institute for Foreign Languages. You know that after graduating many of the students will be given the opportunity to work together with foreigners, or even abroad. That’s a great honor. I’m sure you’d like to belong to that select few, wouldn’t you?’

    ‘Of course. Comrade,’ she readily answered; but then she prudently added: ‘If it’s in the interests of the Party and the government.’ She now realized that this evening visit to the N. K. V. D. by no means held out the unpleasant prospects it had suggested to her. And she resolved to exploit all her powers to grasp the attractive possibility that seemed to be looming up on the horizon.

    ‘Call me Constantine Alexievich,’ the man said in a friendly manner, as he pushed the tablet of chocolate across to her. ‘I see you’re a clever girl. Work with foreigners, or even abroad: you know what that means! It means Lyons silks, Parisian perfumes, and the best restaurants in the world. It means special privileges, high-society. An easy and fine life filled with pleasure. Men at your feet...’

    He took a breath and gave her a swift glance. She was sitting motionless as though entranced; her eyes were shining with excitement. The chocolate began to melt in her fingers.

    ‘But all that is possible only on one condition,’ he said with a hint of regret. ‘That is, that you have our complete trust. Not everybody has that. It has to be won.’

    His last words seemed cold and hard. For a second she again felt helpless and afraid. But in a moment her longing for a brilliant existence and admiring glances shattered all her doubts and fears.

    ‘What have I got to do?’ she asked practically.

    ‘Oh, we’ll give you various commissions that will provide you with opportunities to show your devotion to the party,’ he explained in a careless tone. Then, as though she had already indicated her assent, he added in a businesslike tone: ‘You will be given additional schooling. And instructions will be issued to you for each separate commission... as well as the requisite means to achieve the task.’

    ‘But perhaps I shan’t be equal to your demands,’ she feebly objected, for she hadn’t expected matters to develop so quickly, and instinctively she tried to secure a way of retreat.

    ‘We shall help you. Besides, from the personal knowledge we already have of you we know very well what you can do. Now may I ask you to sign this document?’ He pushed a form across the desk and showed her where to sign. She glanced rapidly through it: it was a formal promise to collaborate and not to talk; in the event of breaking this promise she was threatened with ’all necessary measures to defend the State security of the Soviet Union’. Her radiant vision of a brilliant future seemed to turn a little dim. He handed her a pen. She signed.

    Thus she achieved her desire for a brilliant life. And thus the N. K. V. D. added one more to its list of agents. Before long, without interrupting her studies at the Institute, Lisa was transformed into a model siren.

    During the war there were no Germans in the true sense of the words living in Moscow. So she was introduced into the small circle of German anti-fascists who had arrived as political émigrés in the Soviet Union and had managed to survive the continual purges. But soon this work proved to be without point, as the only German communists left in freedom were themselves secret agents of the N. K. V. D., and that organization had introduced her to them only in order to provide yet one more cross-check on the reliability of their spies. But the Germans had grown cunning through experience, they glorified Stalin and repeated the fashionable slogan: ’Smash the Germans.’ She was disgusted with this way of showing devotion and grew angry at the lack of opportunity to prove what she could do.

    Constantine Alexievich, who was her immediate superior, quickly became convinced of her keen intelligence and unusually wide cultural horizon. She was capable of starting and carrying on a conversation on any subject. Now she was entrusted with the task of spying on higher Party officials, and had the opportunity to visit the exclusive clubs of the various People’s Commissariats and even the very special club attached to the People’s Commissariat for Foreign Affairs.

    The results of her work were stored away in the N. K. V. D. files and prisons. The fact that she was kept at work on the ’internal front’ for a long time is testimony to her success. In the N. K. V. D. view, work among foreigners is comparatively unimportant. Where foreigners are concerned the N. K. V. D. is interested in external details and factual material. But spies working among the ’beavers’, i. e., the important Soviet Party men, are expected to discover their secret thoughts and moods: a complex task, and calling for real art on the part of those engaged in it.

    In the spring of 1945 Lisa graduated from the Institute as one of its best students. At this period many of the graduates were sent to work in the S. M. A. in Berlin, and Lisa went with them. Once more she was given special commissions. She was appointed translator to a member of the Special Dismantling Committee under the Council of People’s Commissars, simultaneously acting as his N. K. V. D. control.

    When this general was recalled to Moscow on the completion of his task she was appointed to the personnel department of the S. M. A. Her personal file contained the remark: ’Employment to be given in agreement with the Administration for State Security.’ A few days later she became personal interpreter to General Shabalin, the economic dictator of the Soviet zone.

    That was when I first met her. Soon afterward Major Kuznetsov gave me his secret warning concerning her. Did the general himself know what sort of people he had around him? After a time I came to the conclusion that he had good reason not to trust anybody.

    His orderly, Nikolai, had served in the N. K. V. D. forces at one time. As is the custom in the Soviet Union, anyone who has ever had any kind of relations with the N. K. V. D. - not only their former workers, but even their former prisoners always remains in touch with them. Of course the general knew that quite well. Nikolai was his master’s orderly, and simultaneously his control.

    Shabalin’s maid, Dusia, was a pleasant, quiet girl. At the end of 1945 all the Russian women who had been brought to Germany during the war and had later been employed by the Soviet authorities to fill subordinate positions were sent back home. To everybody’s astonishment Dusia remained behind. People assumed that she owed this to the general’s protection. But when the general returned to Moscow while Dusia still remained in Karlshorst it was assumed that she must have some other highly placed protector. Only a few suspected the truth.

    She was a very pleasant girl, but I always felt that she suffered from some personal sorrow and vague depression. She knew what had happened to her friends who had been sent back to Russia, and she knew that in the end she would share their fate. Yet she had to work as an instrument in the hands of those same men who sooner or later would become her jailers.

    Thus the general’s orderly, his maid, and his personal interpreter were all N. K. V. D. agents. I don’t think the general was so stupid as not to realize it. Even if he hadn’t noticed it, he must have known from experience that it must be so. And so, to simplify matters, he regarded all those who worked in close touch with him as informers for the N. K. V. D. Including me.

    After Kuznetsov’s warning I was more on my guard with Lisa. I found out more about her from former friends of hers who had studied with her in the Institute, and who were working as translators in the Supreme Staff. She was not only inordinately ambitious, but also inordinately talkative; and in such circumstances the M. V. D. trust could not remain a secret for long. I gleaned other details of her from various sources.

    One evening shortly after General Shabalin’s recall to Moscow, while she was waiting to be given a new appointment, she dropped in on me on some pretext. In Karlshorst we all had a habit of calling casually on one another, without waiting for special invitations. After looking round my apartment she made herself comfortable on the couch and declared: ‘You’re a poor sort of lady’s man, Gregory Petrovich. And to make matters worse, you’re a skinflint.’ As she tucked her feet up on the couch she added: ‘Bring a bottle of wine out of your cupboard and let’s feel at home.’

    ‘I already feel at home,’ I answered.

    ‘Don’t be so detestable!’ She purred like a cat. ‘I’m going away soon. Though I simply can’t endure you, I’d like to celebrate our parting.’

    ‘The feeling is mutual,’ I retorted. ‘And yet I’m sorry you’re going.’

    ‘So you really are sorry to part from me?’ She gazed at me with her dark brown eyes. ‘You admit it!’

    So far as her feminine charms were concerned; what I found most attractive in her was the polish acquired from residence in a great city, her culture and knowledge, in combination with a superlative vulgarity. Such a combination involuntarily attracts by its very novelty.

    ‘I find you as interesting as the beautiful skin of a snake,’ I confessed.

    ‘But why do you avoid me, Gregory Petrovich?’ she asked. ’By all the signs you and I ought to understand each other better than anybody else."

    ‘That’s just the very reason, Lisa,’ I said. ‘Don’t be annoyed with me. Shall I tell you your fortune? You’ll marry an elderly general. That’s the only way in which you’ll be able to satisfy your demands on life. You regard life soberly enough to know that I’m telling the truth.’

    She was rather disconcerted uncertain how to take my words, in joke or earnest. Then she began to talk sincerely and passionately, as though she wanted to justify herself:

    ‘Good! One confidence deserves another! Yes, I shall marry a man in the highest possible position. I don’t suppose he’ll be young. What is so-called ’pure love’ in comparison with what a man in a high position can offer me? I can pick up handsome young men in any street, and they’ll do as I tell them! Let other women run about without stockings and act ’pure love’. One must have power: money, or a high position. Then, and only then, can one understand how cheap love is...’

    ‘It’s a matter of taste.’ I shrugged my shoulders.

    ‘Not of taste, but intelligence,’ she retorted. ‘You’re old enough to understand that life is a struggle. That there are strong and weak. If you want to live, you must be strong. If you’re weak, you must serve the strong. Equality, brotherhood? Beautiful fairy stories for fools!’

    ‘You take a very critical attitude to life!’ I observed.

    ‘Yes. I want to be on top, not underneath,’ she continued in a dreamy tone. ‘You can only comprehend life when you see it from above. And to do that you need wings...’

    ‘I like you today, Lisa,’ I said almost sincerely. ‘Life is often far from easy. Often one looks for a fine fairy-story. As you say, fairy-stories are for fools. But... do you remember the story of Icarus? That’s a story for the wise. He, too, wished to have wings ... Do you know how the story ended?’

    She looked up at me blankly. ‘What are you getting at, Gregory Petrovich?’ she asked uncertainly.

    ‘Oh, nothing! It’s just a mental association,’ I replied.

    At the beginning of 1946 Lisa was appointed a translator to the Soviet delegation at the Nuremberg trials. She remained in that position for a year. Of course she had other tasks, her real tasks, to perform there too. But she is of interest because she is a shining example of a new type of Soviet personality, someone who is the educational product of the Stalin epoch, and exploits all the prerequisites for a successful life under Soviet conditions.

    They have grown up in a milieu, which excludes mental freedom, freedom of thought, and their consciousness is automatically focused on the material aspect of existence. Their driving impulse is the desire to climb as high as possible up the social ladder. The means? People of Lisa’s type are trained not to think about the moral aspect of their activities. Soviet morality justifies everything that serves the Party interests.

    One cannot help drawing a comparison between Andrei Kovtun and Lisa Stenina. They both serve one and the same institution. He carries out his task with all his inner being protesting, but with no possibility of changing his position in any way. Lisa, on the other hand, does her job quite willingly and deliberately. Andrei has already learnt only too well that he is the helpless slave of the system. Lisa is striving to get higher. And yet possibly she, too, will be pursued by the stench of blood before long.

    Sommaire https://seenthis.net/messages/683905
    #anticommunisme #histoire #Berlin #occupation #guerre_froide


  • Résistance féminine à Idleb : itinéraire d’une activiste
    https://vacarme.org/article3092.html

    Ce texte donne la parole à Dina, une jeune femme syrienne originaire de la ville d’Idleb. Cette ville moyenne du nord de la Syrie, à soixante kilomètres d’Alep, a alternativement été contrôlée par le régime et par les forces d’opposition, avant de passer sous le contrôle du Jabhat al-Nosra (« Front de la victoire »), groupe de combattants jihadistes qui constitue l’une des composantes islamistes de l’opposition armée en Syrie. Nous nous sommes rencontrées à plusieurs reprises entre la libération d’Idleb en mars 2015 et novembre 2017. Dina a été forcée de quitter sa ville lorsqu’al-Nosra a découvert qu’elle dispensait des formations à des femmes et des enfants sur leurs droits politiques et civiques. Elle vit désormais en exil à la frontière turco-syrienne et attend avec impatience la chute d’al-Nosra pour pouvoir rentrer chez elle.

    #Féminisme, #Guerre, #Syrie


  • Kushner reportedly told Abbas: Stopping settlement construction impossible, it would topple Netanyahu - Palestinians - Haaretz.com
    http://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/palestinians/1.809057

    A U.S. delegation headed by President Trump’s adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner told Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas this week that “stopping settlement construction is impossible because it will cause the collapse of the Netanyahu government,” according to diplomatic sources who spoke to international Arabic newspaper Al-Hayat. 

    The U.S. delegation, including envoy Jason Greenblatt and Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategy Dina Powell, met with Abbas on Thursday during their regional trip aimed at kickstarting peace negotiations

    #arnaque pseudo #processus_de_paix #Palestine


  • Johannesburg (Afrique du Sud) : solidarité avec les « #Quatre_de_Boiketlong »
    https://fr.squat.net/2017/08/04/johannesburg-afrique-du-sud-solidarite-avec-les-4-de-boiketlong

    – Appel à solidarité – Les « Quatre de Boiketlong » et la criminalisation de la pauvreté et des mouvements sociaux : Liberté pour Dinah et Sipho, Justice pour Papi ! Les Quatre de Boiketlong En février 2015, quatre militant-e-s de quartier [community activists] originaires de Boiketlong dans le Vaal, au sud de Johannesburg, ont été condamné-e-s à 16 […]

    #Afrique #Afrique_du_Sud #prison


  • #SaveDinaAli une saoudienne forcée au retour au royaume de l’enfer
    https://www.argotheme.com/organecyberpresse/spip.php?article3071

    Une inquiétude sans nul doute alarmante, le sort d’une enseignante saoudienne est, après 15 jour de sa disparition qui l’œuvre de sa famille, d’une gravité qu’il convient de relater. Les femmes du royaume saoudien restent des mineurs depuis leur naissance jusqu’à leur mort. Un tuteur masculin les suit, qui après les parents, dont les frères aussi, c’est l’époux qui reprend le relais. Dina Ali devait demander le refuge politique, loin de l’horrible régime qui bénéficie de toutes les complaisances, (...)

    Positions Communiqués, publication, impressions, points de vue, officiels, institution, club, personnalité, association,

    / censure, presse, journaux, dictature, expressions, liberté, #diplomatie,_sécurité,_commerce,_économie_mondiale, Terrorisme , islamisme , Al-Qaeda , politique , , beurs, (...)

    #Positions_Communiqués,publication,_impressions,_points_de_vue,_officiels,_institution,_club,_personnalité,_association, #censure,_presse,_journaux,_dictature,_expressions,_liberté #Terrorisme_,_islamisme,Al-Qaeda,politique,_ #beurs,_discrimination,_racisme,_intégration #fait_divers,_société,_fléau,_délinquance,_religion,_perdition #Afrique,_Monde_Arabe,_islam,_Maghreb,_Proche-Orient, #Arabie_Saoudite,_Qatar,_Moyen-Orient,_monarchies,_arabes,_musulmans


  • #SaveDinaAli une saoudienne forcée au retour au royaume de l’enfer
    http://www.argotheme.com/organecyberpresse/spip.php?article3071

    Une inquiétude sans nul doute alarmante, le sort d’une enseignante saoudienne est, après 15 jour de sa disparition qui l’œuvre de sa famille, d’une gravité qu’il convient de relater. Les femmes du royaume saoudien restent des mineurs depuis leur naissance jusqu’à leur mort. Un tuteur masculin les suit, qui après les parents, dont les frères aussi, c’est l’époux qui reprend le relais. Dina Ali devait demander le refuge politique, loin de l’horrible régime qui bénéficie de toutes les complaisances, (...)

    Positions Communiqués, publication, impressions, points de vue, officiels, institution, club, personnalité, association,

    / censure, presse, journaux, dictature, expressions, liberté, #diplomatie,_sécurité,_commerce,_économie_mondiale, Terrorisme , islamisme , Al-Qaeda , politique , , beurs, (...)

    #Positions_Communiqués,publication,_impressions,_points_de_vue,_officiels,_institution,_club,_personnalité,_association, #censure,_presse,_journaux,_dictature,_expressions,_liberté #Terrorisme_,_islamisme,Al-Qaeda,politique,_ #beurs,_discrimination,_racisme,_intégration #fait_divers,_société,_fléau,_délinquance,_religion,_perdition #Afrique,_Monde_Arabe,_islam,_Maghreb,_Proche-Orient, #Arabie_Saoudite,_Qatar,_Moyen-Orient,_monarchies,_arabes,_musulmans


  • L’Arabie saoudite traque une ressortissante jusqu’aux #Philippines
    https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/international/140417/larabie-saoudite-traque-une-ressortissante-jusquaux-philippines

    Parvenue à sortir de son pays, ce qui est interdit pour une femme non accompagnée d’un homme de sa famille, Dina Ali Lasloom, 24 ans, se trouvait à l’aéroport de Manille quand elle a été remise par les autorités locales à deux hommes qui l’ont reconduite à Riyad.

    #International #Arabie_Saoudite


  • La liberté de s’exprimer sur Israël en butte à des attaques dans les universités britanniques
    The Guardian, le 27 février 2017
    http://www.aurdip.fr/la-liberte-de-s-exprimer-sur.html

    Signatures (plus de 200 profs britanniques): Prof Jonathan Rosenhead, Prof Conor Gearty, Prof Malcolm Levitt, Tom Hickey, Prof Dorothy Griffiths, Prof Moshé Machover, Sir Iain Chalmers, Prof Steven Rose, Prof Gilbert Achcar, Prof Penny Green, Prof Bill Bowring, Mike Cushman, Jim Zacune, Dr Jethro Butler, Dr Rashmi Varma, Dr John Moore, Dr Nour Ali, Prof Richard Hudson, Dr Tony Whelan, Dr Dina Matar, Prof Marian Hobson, Prof Tony Sudbery, Prof John Weeks, Prof Graham Dunn, Dr Toni Wright, Dr Rinella Cere, Prof Ian Parker, Dr Marina Carter, Dr Shirin M Rai, Andy Wynne, Prof David Pegg, Prof Erica Burman, Dr Nicola Pratt, Prof Joanna Bornat, Prof Richard Seaford, Dr Linda Milbourne, Dr Julian Saurin, Dr Nadia Naser-Najjab, Prof Elizabeth Dore, Prof Colin Eden, Dr Neil Davidson, Jaime Peschiera, Catherine Cobham, Prof Haim Bresheeth, Dr Uriel Orlow, Dr Saladin Meckled-Garcia, Dr Abdul B Shaikh, Dr Mark Leopold, Prof Michael Donmall, Prof Hamish Cunningham, Prof David Johnson, Dr Reem Abou-El-Fadl, Dr Luke Cooper, Prof Peter Gurney, Dr Adi Kuntsman, Prof Matthew Beaumont, Dr Teodora Todorova, Prof Natalie Fenton, Prof Richard Bornat, Dr Jeremy Landor, Dr John Chalcraft, Milly Williamson, David Mabb, Dr Judit Druks, Dr Charlie McGuire, Dr Gholam Khiabany, Glynn Kirkham, Dr Deirdre O’Neill, Dr Gavin Williams, Prof Marsha Rosengarten, Dr Debra Benita Shaw, Dr João Florêncio, Prof Stephen Keen, Dr Anandi Ramamurthy, Dr Thomas Mills, Dr Don Crewe, Prof Robert Wintemute, Andy Gossett, Prof Mark Boylan, Angela Mansi, Dr Paul Taylor, Tim Martin, Keith Hammond, Karolin Hijazi, Dr Kevin Hearty, Prof Daniel Katz, Dr Richard Pitt, Prof Ray Bush, Prof Glenn Bowman, Prof Craig Brandist, Prof Virinder S Kalra, Dr Yasmeen Narayan, Prof Michael Edwards, John Gilmore-Kavanagh, Prof Nadje Al-Ali, Prof Mick Dumper, Graham Topley, Dr Shuruq Naguib, Prof David Whyte, Peter Collins, Dr Andrew Chitty, Prof David Mond, Prof Leon Tikly, Dr Subir Sinha, Dr Mark Berry, Dr Gajendra Singh, Prof Elizabeth Cowie, Dr Richard Lane, Prof Martin Parker, Dr Aboobaker Dangor, Dr Siân Adiseshiah, Prof Dennis Leech, Dr Owen Clayton, Dr John Cowley, Prof Mona Baker, Dr Navtej Purewal, Prof Mica Nava, Prof Joy Townsend, Dr Alex Bellem, Dr Nat Queen, Gareth Dale, Prof Yosefa Loshitzky, Dr Rudi Lutz, Dr Oliver Smith, Tim Kelly, Prof Laleh Khalili, Prof Aneez Esmail, Fazila Bhimji, Prof Hilary Rose, Dr Brian Tweedale, Prof Julian Petley, Prof Richard Hyman, Dr Paul Watt, Nisha Kapoor, Prof Julian Townshend, Prof Roy Maartens, Dr Anna Bernard, Prof Martha Mundy, Prof Martin Atkinson, Dr Claude Baesens, Dr Marijn Nieuwenhuis, Dr Emma Heywood, Dr Matthew Malek, Prof Anthony Milton, Dr Paul O’Connell, Prof Malcolm Povey, Dr Jason Hickel, Dr Jo Littler, Prof Rosalind Galt, Prof Suleiman Shark, Dr Paula James, Dr Linda Pickard, Pat Devine, Dr Jennifer Fortune, Prof Chris Roberts, Dr Les Levidow, Dr Carlo Morelli, Prof David Byrne, Dr Nicholas Cimini, Prof John Smith, Prof Arshin Adib-Moghaddam, Dr Peter J King, Prof Bill Brewer, Prof Patrick Williams, Prof Daphne Hampson, Dr Wolfgang Deckers, Cliff Jones, Prof Luis Pérez-González, Prof Patrick Ainley, Dr Paul Kelemen, Prof Dee Reynolds, Dr Enam Al-Wer, Prof Hugh Starkey, Dr Anna Fisk, Prof Linda Clarke, Prof Klim McPherson, Cathy Malone, Prof Graham Dawson, Prof Colin Green, Prof Clément Mouhot, Prof S Sayyid, Prof William Raban, Prof Peter Hallward, Prof Chris Rust, Prof Benita Parry, Prof Andrew Spencer, Prof Philip Marfleet, Prof Frank Land, Dr Peter E Jones, Dr Nicholas Thoburn, Tom Webster, Dr Khursheed Wadia, Dr Philip Gilligan, Dr Lucy Michael, Prof Steve Hall, Prof Steve Keen, Dr David S Moon, Prof Ken Jones, Dr Karen F Evans, Dr Jim Crowther, Prof Alison Phipps, Dr Uri Horesh, Dr Clair Doloriert, Giles Bailey, Prof Murray Fraser, Prof Stephen Huggett, Dr Gabriela Saldanha, Prof Cahal McLaughlin, Ian Pace, Prof Philip Wadler, Dr Hanem El-Farahaty, Dr Anne Alexander, Dr Robert Boyce, Dr Patricia McManus, Prof Mathias Urban, Dr Naomi Woodspring, Prof David Wield, Prof Moin A Saleem, Dr Phil Edwards, Dr Jason Hart, Dr Sharon Kivland, Dr Rahul Rao, Prof Ailsa Land, Dr Lee Grieveson, Dr Paul Bagguley, Dr Rosalind Temple, Dr Karima Laachir, Dr Youcef Djerbib, Dr Sarah Perrigo, Bernard Sufrin, Prof James Dickins, John Burnett, Prof Des Freedman, Dr David Seddon, Prof Steve Tombs, Prof Louisa Sadler, Dr Leon Sealey-Huggins, Dr Rashné Limki, Dr Guy Standing, Dr Arianne Shahvisi, Prof Neil Smith, Myriam Salama-Carr, Dr Graham Smith, Dr Peter Fletcher

    #Palestine #Grande-Bretagne #Liberté_d'expression #Liberté_académique #Universités #Semaine_contre_l'apartheid_israélien #Israeli_Apartheid_Week #BDS #Boycott_universitaire



  • Polyphones
    http://www.revue-et-corrigee.net/?v=wwh&a=2016

    Polyphones est un projet initié en 2015 par Dinah Bird, Marie Lisel, Gaël Segalen, Valérie Vivancos et Christine Webster. Dans cette même période apparaissent également les collectifs Meta et Elles ont des ailes. Riche période pour les expérimentations féminines ! Wi Watt’Heure # 14 diffuse l’énergie de la journée-événement du lancement de Polyphones le 12 décembre à Pantin racontée par Gaël Segalen et Christine Webster. Vous pourrez entendre : le montage de notre entretien du 21 décembre à la maison des ensembles, des fragments brefs de la journée de lancement du réseau le 12 décembre, comme la conversation croisée par skype avec l’australienne Cat Hope, de l’anglaise Liz Dobson, de la mexicaine Veronica Mota, des extraits de musiques de l’improvisation collective (Live Jam Session), du concert des (...)