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(311) Perdiz roja

Eastern promises: there’s this act I call “the professional Eastern European” which is put on to please the Western right, where a person from Poland will say “oh, Western intellectuals were deluded in the Cold War—only we who have lived through Communism can truly understand…and Western intellectuals at the time feted the Eastern Bloc.” It reminds me of people who put on hard-luck stories about how they “worked their way up from nothing as a real blue-collar kid”—the idea is that Eastern Europeans are “authentic” and somehow, through experience, nay “lived experience”, are immune to leftist illusions.

Yet man is more complicated than that. Ryszard Kapuściński was a lyrical Polish journalist who composed prose-poem articles. As a boy, he lived in the Soviet zone when the Germans and the Soviets invaded Poland. His father was a teacher and in the Home Army—the NKVD came to arrest him, but he fled. Kapuściński later saw friends and their families deported to the camps—his mother fled to the Central Government, to the German zone. His father eventually joined them there. Yet, despite all this, after the war finished Kapuściński joined the Polish Communist youth organisation and finally the Polish Communist party and was an enthusiastic activist for both during high Stalinism. He only gave up his party card in the early 1980s.

What this tells you is that people can perfectly well live through a system that literally tried to kill their father—may have murdered them, sent them to a camp—and will still come out and be an activist for that system. It makes no rational sense, yet that is the power of belief and self-delusion. Kapuściński wasn’t an opportunist, he was a true-believer (and narcissistic)—during the war he was an enthusiastic altar boy, presiding over mass graves with a priest (to be a believer is always dangerous). When it comes to contemporary anti-white ideas and rightists wonder “how can they say that?”, remember Kapuściński—man is asleep, unconscious.


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