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DANUBE English Magazine For Central Europe

Thyssen  Bornemisza art  contempor ary

A QUESTION OF EVIDENCE.

words to drink

SAMIZDAT

an austrian girlband

NETNAKISUM GREGOR RAZUMOVSKY

THE UKRAINIAN NIGHTMARES AN  etymological  view

ALBION & BRITAIN IS HER NAME our exclusive murder

DEAD IN VIENNA

students abroad

HUNGARIAN UNIVERSITIES

god bless us all

IF LUCAS WRITES AN Y THING AT ALL A NIGHT AT THE OPERA

COMING FROM MICHAEL W. CONTEMPORARY ART

IN THE MUSEUM OF ANTIQUE AR T S PIN-UP GIRL ON PAGE 3

THE EGY P TIAN


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Franceska v. Habsburg Franceska von Habsburg, Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, additional information on the exhibition, panel participants, event and the art show of the foundation that currently takes place in Tokyo, Japan. Some more information on Tibet, Dalai Lama, China and many other subjects related to the issue. Franceska von Habsburg, Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, additional information on the exhibition, panel participants, event and the art show of the foundation that currently takes place in Tokyo, Japan. Some more information on Tibet, Dalai Lama, China and many other subjects related to the issue. Franceska von Habsburg, Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, additional information on the exhibition, panel participants, event and the art show of

Thyssen Bornemisza art contemporary

A QUESTION OF EVIDENCE.

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WAR ON PEACE

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he exhibition A Question of Evidence focuses on works that critically question politically precarious realities and reflect upon issues of identity and democratic reform in South-Eastern Asia. As part of the exhibition program, Reporters Without Borders Austria and ThyssenBornemisza Art Contemporary present Spurned and trampled: Human rights in China, a panel discussion followed by a film screening at the Stadtkino in Vienna. China will serve as an example for the discussion on how artists and journalists negotiate violations of the right to free expression and speech in politically explosive and precarious situations.

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ven though the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing drew global attention to issues of free speech and human rights in China, the latest annual worldwide press freedom index by Reporters Without Borders once again listed The People’s Republic as one of the lowest ranking nations. Human rights activists are subject to persecution, abduction and torture; ethnic and religious minorities are violently oppressed by police and military forces, and, according to Amnesty International, China is the nation with the highest number of executed death penalties.

2009 has been a year of crisis for China in regard to human rights: it not only marks the tenth anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Protests and their brutal squashing by the government, but also sees the

fiftieth anniversary of the equally bloody crushing of Tibet’s rebellion against the Chinese annexation of the region and the Dalai Lama’s subsequent flight to India in 1959.

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ut it is also a year of global economic crisis, which has put an additional strain on the value of freedom of press, human rights and freedom of speech. Are these rights, globalized in the UN’s International Bill of Human Rights, more than the crumbling foundations that they currently appear to be? What meaning and function do artistic practices focusing on knowledge production and activism or “the freedom of art” have in this global context?

FACT CHECK

Franceska von Habsburg, Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, additional information on the exhibition, panel participants, event and the art show of the foundation that currently takes place in Tokyo, Japan. Some more information on Tibet, Dalai Lama, China and many other subjects related to the issue. Franceska von Habsburg, Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, additional private screening of the new information on the exhibition, film by Ritu Sarin and Tenzpanel participants, event and the ing Sonam, “The Dalai Lama: art show of the foundation that 50 Years After the Fall of Ticurrently takes place in Tokyo, bet” (India 2009, English (original version), Japan. Some more information on Tibet, Dalai Lama, China and 80 min, directed by Ritu Sarin and Tenzing many other subjects related to the Sonam) has followed the panel discussion. issue. Franceska vont and the art The documentary is set against the backdrop show of the foundation that curof the fiftieth anniversary of the Tibetan uprisrently takes place in Tokyo, Japan. ing on March 10, 1959 and the Dalai Lama’s subSome more information on Tibet, Dalai Lama, China and many other sequent flight to India. The filmmakers followed subjects related to the issue. Some the Dalai Lama over the course of an eventful year, mat go with it ..

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which included the 2008 protests, the international response to it, the Olympic Games in Beijing, and the breakdown in talks with the Chinese government. Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam are among the foremost filmmakers focusing on the Tibetan question in their films and documentaries. Their projects have been shown and critically acclaimed at several film festivals.

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IMPRE LET TER THE   ED ETCET


ESSUM RS  TO DIT OR TERA.


DANUBE

A GULASCH Start in

MEDICINE

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tudents turned down by Universities and Medical Schools in Western Europe are moving East. Many institutions within the former Eastern bloc provide an excellent training at affordable prices, bolstering struggling national economies with Western cash, whilest helping able minded students to gain their diplomas.

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lorian Weissmann, 20, is in his second year at the University of Pécs Medical School, Southern Hungary. The University, Hungary’s largest in terms of student numbers, has been offering a myriad of courses taught in English to foreigners since 1984.

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in Pécs Medical School tend to be oral rather than written, which most students also deem preferable. Courses are taught in Hungarian, German and English, although students studying in English are very seldom native speakers, usually being Scandinavian or German.

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lorian, like most of the foreigners studying in Pécs, was rejected by medical schools at home and nearly gave up hope of becoming a doctor. It was during a chance encounter with a drunken girl on a French train that he learned about Hungarian medical schools with gloriously basic entrance requirements. “I had to take an English test, because that’s the language I study in, and a few other very easy exams,” says Florian.

contemporary, Ana Alvarez, from Leon, Spain, said that she overheard some teachers at her high school talking about a student who had “gone to some place in Hungary.”

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ungarian minds show a certain aptitude for creating highly elaborate and confusing mechanisms. However, unlike the Rubik’s Cube, Hungarians have generally had the good taste not to share their language with the rest of us. Its complexity verges upon the facetious.

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lice invited me to sit in on her Hungarian class - compulsory for students who wish to complete their medical studies in Pécs.

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ue to the superb Hungarian teach“It’s difficult,” says Judit Harmarné ing method and the slightly less sulthough the University do Sávay, the class’s tutor. “Four lessons perb Hungarian economy, Florian enjoys promote themselves in for- a week for two years is not enough to an education and lifestyle which would be eign student fairs, it seems learn the language, but in two years you impossible back in Germany. At € 12,600 that most foreign students en- can learn the basic medical Hungarian.” per year, tuition fees are much lower than rolled, like Florian, were lucky enough to Under her mentor’s patient guidance, a those in German private medical schools, pick up a thread of information by word girl opposite me struggles through a term while the student to teacher ratio actually of mouth. in her textbook: shows a significant improvement in Pécs. “We are very proud of our high standards,” “I heard about it by complete coinci“Natív röntgenfelvételt fogunk késziteni.” says Dr. Csernus Valér, Vice-Dean for dence,” said Alice Schmid, a friend of “Yes. Now what is that in English?” general affairs, Education and Science Florian’s, who had been turned down by “Um… native X-Ray examination. Uh?” and Head of Anatomy at the University Vienna. “A cousin of my friend studied in “Yes! Very good!” of Pécs Medical School. “The reason is Budapest, but it was already too late to “But what is that?” that we are much more practice orien- apply there.” However, broadening her “I don’t know. I’m not a doctor.” tated. We also promote a personal rela- researches to Eastern Europe lead her to tionship between teachers and students, Pécs. “I thought: ‘why not?’ I have nothhe class looked fairly annulled to the allowing teachers to be very sensitive ing to lose. The test was in August and the irony that many terms they learn to the students’ needs.” Examinations Semester started in September.” Another have no meaning to them in any language

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yet, but Hungarian still isn’t enough to persuade Alice to leave. “Moving out here was really good,” she tells me. “I would not prefer to be in Vienna now.”

West have such promising futures. The dropout rate is, according to Dr. Csernus “comparable to Western European Universities; about 20-30% for the first two years.” lorian is keen to re-enter “My room mate is French,” says Florian. his year at a German medical “He failed twice in Belgium, so he came school, as many Germans ulti- here.” mately do once the Pécs Medical school has boosted them to their Western tudents in Pécs have to watch their yeargroup’s standard. Both Alice and backs too. “If you fail a subject three Florian, upon completing their courses, times here, then you’re out. Like in Gerwill be awarded Medical certificates many.” valid throughout the European Union. “I would say, thanks to God, that the “I heard of someone who moved on to standard here is still slightly higher here study in Romania when that happened than in the West of Europe,” says Profes- to her,” added Alice. sor Laszlo Lenard, who was Dean and Rector of the University until 2007. “I definitely have a better life here,” says n his lectures, Dr Laszlo illustrates Florian, adding that the money he could textbook Neuroscience with an im- save by studying in Hungary is actually pressive display of intellectual largesse. spent on a lavish student lifestyle. He and his friends frequent the cafés of the “Can anyone tell me what Priapism is?” historical town centre, where a bottle of There was a pause in the theatre. “Well, beer costs as little as one Euro. Student can anyone tell me who the God Priapus bars, meanwhile, serve up three course was?” The assembled students remained meals for two Euros. silent. “As educated people, you should know this. It is very important. Learning ardly an Eli Roth Backwater, is a Holistic process.” Pécs has a Mediterranean climate, and is littered with fine Imperial lorian agrees that few lecturers in architecture. The town is well equipped Germany would be likely to display to handle the vast numbers of students a similar flair for such academic diver- who do not speak the language. Cafés sity.It is a compliment to the lecturers have tri-lingual menus, the majority of at Pécs and to the Hungarian teaching the population seem to understand basic method that students written off in the German and/or English and it comes as

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no surprise when Florian tells me: “I have a friend who has been here for four years and still doesn’t speak a word of Hungarian.”

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he already pitiful exchange rate of more than 340 Forints to the Euro is set to further deteriorate by the end of the year. Florian and his friends gleefully speculate that their spending power will be fantastically improved by such a decline in the Hungarian economy. The living expenses of approximately $5000 a year could be decimated and Florian already receives emails from the University encouraging him not to leave. “This is a very good financial help for us” says Dr. Csernus of the foreign students who make up roughly two thirds of the Medical school’s student body. “People fall in love with Pécs,” says Florian.

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he University of Pécs may be reached by train from Vienna Westbahnhof. via Budapest for around 50 Euros. The journey takes about six hours. University Website: http://english.pte.hu/

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DANUBE

An Austrian  GIRLBAND

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ie Sargfabrik is packed and the atmosphere is electric. The venue, located near the end of the U4, has become tonight’s epicenter for the growing number of Netnakisum fans.

hen, to the sound of of sacrificing their cultural integrity Netnakisum have released an album thunderous and hearty in the name of commercial expansion. (available on i-tunes or at their gigs), applause, the Girl- “Good musicians who become celebrities and are going on tour to Ireland this band quartet take to became famous because of what they year. the stage, there can be no doubt that are doing,” says violinist Magdalena they are a product not of a Commer- Zenz. “The others have to pay a very sked if Netnakisum would cial Record label, but of their own folk high price because they have to offer like to peruse a broader inculture and sardonic sense of humour. the public their private lives and the ternational market, Magdalena Dressed in Garish Dirndls, the group public can see everything that they are met my inquiry with the same dry intersperse Tyrolian folk music with doing.” cynicism the group apply to their music: excerpts from Classical Jazz, contemporary Pop, the theme from Amilé and ot a synthesiser in sight, Netnak- “Of course! We would like to rule the even, at one point, the 20th Century isum are devoted to their acoustic world! Next year we are touring AmerFox fanfare. instruments, which they handle with ica, the year after, Asia and Australia, astounding skill and precision, not to so you can see how serious we are!” s much a display of dramatics as mention a little flippancy. musicianship, Netnakisum, who “We all started playing our instruments etnakisum gigs are usucame together at the Graz music Con- when we were about five or six,” says ally light-hearted events, servatoire, frequently reduce their au- Magdalena, the likely explanation for awash with beer and a diences to fits of laughter with their an- the apparent ease with which she can culture that can celebrate tics. At one point in the Girls’ rendition pull off such stunning sounds, even its continuity rather than mourn its of Britney Spears' “Acid” for example, singing along to her own instrument. demise. they strike lurid poses with their in- Marie-Thereze Härtel, who plays the struments, pulling snarling faces in Viola, learned the traditional Austrian he evening will take you from imitation of music video ‘temptresses.’ vocal art of yodeling from her mother, the serene splendour of Alpine The irony is, though, that the girls, who and the four perform fantastic yodeling Folk Music, to Avant-Garde comedy received a Classical training, could not numbers in close harmony – a must see and wit, to hilarious acoustic parodies be further from the Pop idols of modern for anyone interested in contemporary of modern electric music. Western culture and have no intention Austrian folk culture. Formed in 2004, Most of all, though, it’s just fun.

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DANUBE VIKTOR A. YUSHCHENKO This Memorial actually became one of the landmarks in the centre of Vienna. For the past 63 years since it was erected in front of the Palais Schwarzenberg it has caused controversy more often than any Austrian or Russian authority would care to confirm. Yet chances this rather questionable erection will ever vacate the premises are rather slim. In 1955 alongside many other remindesr of the second world war and liberation of Vienna by the victorious Red Army of the USSR became a permanent fixture of Austrian constitution. Der Staatsvertrag – basis for the country‘s independence – foresees perpetual presence and maintenance of this and many other more and less significant monuments, obelisks and memorial plaques spread around the city that otherwise strives to shed all the memories of it‘s nazist past. Every year flowers and other devotionalia are spread out in front of it on May 9th commemorating the end of the second world war, reminding us of some 10 million russian soldiers and 30 million civilians killed in the single bloodiest conflict of human history.

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Count gregor razumovski is

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MUSING ABOUT UKRAINE.

ount Razumovski, once advisor to Ukranian President Yushchenko, explains how the squabbling Ukranian government could drive the nation in to the wall.The protagonists of the Ukranian government today, Yushchenko, Yanokovich and Tymoshenko, were senior ministers of state during the Communist era. “We are not speaking about people who came out of the opposition or resistance groups.” Says Gregor Razumovski, once an advisor to Yushchenko. “We are speaking about Big Heavy weights, all of whom were socialised within the Soviet Union.”

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he ‘Big Three’ of Ukranian politics were all made ministers by the ex-president Kuchma, himself very much a product of a Soviet political nurturing. The Orange Revolution was spurred by the suspicion that the 2004 presidential election had been rigged. Yanukovich, who had support – and possibly dubious help – from Outgoing Leonid Kuchma was declared victor in the election.

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rowds of Ukranians gathered outside the parliament buildings waving Orange flags (Orange being the colour of the Yushchenko’s campaign coalition). An internationally scrutinised second election followed and Yushchenko was declared the final victor. The ability of the Ukranian people to elect their president had been proven. “That was the point at which people said ‘great, we have changed, we have found a new way,’ this whole Orange Revolution thing is going to change the whole country and everybody is going to be happy,” says Gregor Razumovski. “But when Yushchenko became president, the first thing he did was put his old cronies back in ministerial positions.”

You were an advisor to Yushchenko, was he a good guy?

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s far as the system permits him to be. I’d say he’s moderately corrupt. Ukranian politicians are compromised by the way they’ve been bred.

But things are coming to a head now because?

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t’s a combination. People are feeling betrayed because they had placed such high hopes in the revolution. Before that, basically, we got used to being screwed. We were used to the fact that the government would be doing whatever they wanted to do. The change really came from this moment of euphoria (when we thought), now the country is really going to be free. Not free of the Russians. Free of it’s internal oppressing problems.

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nd then, all the other things add up, like the financial crisis. The credit line of the Ukraine is now at the same level as that in Pakistan, which is not very high. And we give a lot to Pakistan. But we give a lot to Pakistan because we have to. Because it’s positioned next to India and we don’t want a military conflict between India and Pakistan. But what about the Ukraine? People in the West and European Union tend to overlook that. The Ukraine is a potential conflict area. Pressure is building up there too, like a welt preparing to pop. Ukrainians have been divided and oppressed for Centuries. There is a great amount of latent grudgery there and pent up negativity from Stalinist and Soviet oppression. None of that makes for a good, quiet , stable situation.

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here is a tradition of violence in the Ukraine. If you look at Ukranian history, one can see a certain tendency to explode into extreme violence occasionally. Murderous aggression. That’s something you don’t really get in Russia. The situation is totally

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absurd, because the Ukraine is a country that should be able to support itself, simply by means of agricultural potential, but it doesn’t. National production now is lower than it was in 1990. In the Soviet Union they were more productive than they were in 2008.

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here is a moratorium on the privatisation of land for agroproduction. The moratorium is in place because of the President, who for the last four years has been unable to decide whether or not the country should, at long last, be privatised. There was a great deal of discussion because of where we would be because of foreign investors taking over, taking over Ukranian land and so on.

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o there is a strange mixture of nationalism and cynical making use of national symbols and problems, stabilising the position of the President. For example, the way Yushchenko uses the murders perpetuated by Count Menshikov after the battle of Balaklava in 1712, who slaughtered a great number of the Ukrainian population on orders from Peter the Great. Another example is the way the government, especially the president, has been trying to make use, for propaganda purposes of the great famine in the Ukraine between 1929 to 1934, in which 5 to 7 million Ukrainians died, branding it a ‘Genocide,’ which is historically incorrect. It was not a genocide. It was something ordered by the Communist party chiefs in Moscow to be carried out against a

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certain group, so it was a sociocide. Killing all the Carinthians in Austria would be genocide. Killing all the dentists would be sociocide.

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oviet troops went against the Kulaks, the rich peasants, which is simply not the same thing. One must not disregard that a great number of these Kulaks were actually Russian, and were murdered in the same way. I think it’s very quaint that the president is writing so very much on this subject of the Great Famine and at the same time preventing privatisation of the country. It’s an incredible contradiction. Diverting attention?

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ossibly, or just plain stupidity. But playing with these subjects is very hot; it can create xenophobia towards Russia. It is not a very intelligent way to manage a country. There are more important priorities than creating enemies. It’s never a very good idea to put all one’s eggs in one basket, which is what these guys have been doing concernng NATO and the EU, while at the same time, basically going against Russia.

And against the Ukranian people, about 70% of whom don’t wish to join NATO…


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ell yes, exactly. Why should they? I would say that the other 30% are probably deeply mislead, because there would be no advantage

How would the conflict start?

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f it were to lead to civil war, which would be the worst case scenario, I wouldn’t even say it’s even an immediately likely one, it is a possibility that we should take seriously, because the consequences for us in Western Europe would be absolutely disastrous. I would expect it to start with some solo act. Someone would blow up a car or set fire to a building.

And the government would come back with tanks?

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efinitely not. The country is so segmented, it’s not even a question about being Russian or Ukranian. There is a great deal of homogeneity between Russians and Ukranians living within the Ukraine. Those who consider themselves to be ethnically Ukranian or Russian would nevertheless have the same interests. It’s starting to boil down to very simple things. Actually it’s getting simpler, not more complicated. People are concerned with getting enough food, how to heat their houses, and the point is that the people simply can’t afford these things anymore. The winter was not that harsh this year, but it was cold anyway. People did not receive gas, even though the Ukraine does have reserves, they are not as impressive as those in Austria. They can only last a couple of weeks.

In the event of Civil collapse in the Ukraine, how would the West be affected?

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egrettably we have to get a little bit cynical here. From a western point of view there are only two really interesting (gas) alternatives, one being NABUCCO, the other reliable source for us would be in Austria. It would be very unwise for us to rely on a Ukranian power plant. It’s a long way to go to the Ukraine, so it is very hard to defend the pipeline. If there really were problems, the least of their worries would be to keep the pipelines working.

There is no alternative. When Tymoshenko was energy minister under president Kuchma she was fired because she was caught red-handed with her hand in the cooky jar. She embezzled great amounts of money and she went to jail for that. Two persons partly responsible for getting her sent to jail were Yushchenko and Yanukovich. Two years later, you get Yushchenko and Tymoshenko pairing up. These things are so ridiculous in a way. Could the Ukrainian Government have deliberately initiated the Gas crisis just to divert attention from what is going on?

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es, well, not so much the government, its more just the president, actually. He’s been using the situation to smudge Tymoshenko’s reputation because of the October Elections.Most people you speak to, even in the countryside, are able to distinguish between the Moscow government of the 1930s and the Russian people. In a way, you get much more wisdom in the Ukrainian people than you get in it’s government. Tymoshenko is far more in favour of compromising and discussing things. Yushchenko has to stir things up to keep Tymoshenko down and to get NATO to be more open to him. He thinks that if he manages to get Russia really annoyed with the Ukraine, then NATO is going to open it’s arms.

So he conspires to bring NATO in on his side against Russia

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es, definitely, because he wants to annoy Tymoshenko, which he loves to do, of course, and secondly, he wants the European Union to open it’s arms to the Ukraine, which is ridiculous, because Germany will never accept anyone who has any kind of conflict with it’s neighbours, and the French will never accept anyone the Germans won’t accept, simply because they don’t want to annoy the Germans. I did have the impression that the Bush administration might be in favour of bringing Georgia and the Ukraine into NATO, perhaps even because of their general latent tension with Moscow. The worst case scenario for the Ukraine would be civil war, but the worst case scenario for everyone on this planet would be a civil war in Russia. You could get hundreds of microstates, half of them possessing nuclear weapons; and many of those not even afraid to use them.

Could the tension be resolved democratically by voting in a new government in 2010?

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roblem is: whom? There is nobody there. There have always been three collegues who worked together for many many years, and suddenly decided to go against each other. Theres always those three guys dominating affairs.

Interview by Alexander F. Shaw. The opinions represented and statements made by the interviewee do not necessarily reflect the facts and the DANUBE Magazine.

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DANUBE

The Iron Road TO ROMANIA

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majestic red caravan lumbers through the Balkan night, twisting along small Carpathian tracks past the high, pointed roofs and domed haystacks of sleeping Transylvanian villages. The Dacia Express is Romania’s fragile, direct rail link with Austria. Without a representative website, this daily passage between Bucharest and Vienna is barely mentioned online. Indeed, when asked, staff at Bucharest’s JW Marriott hotel seemed incredulous that such a service even existed. Dacia Express’ management requires that tickets to board the train be bought in person at a railway station. The arcane service may pose a nightmare scenario for tourists who need their comforts, but the Express does provide a cheaper option to flying.

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he train itself has a gloriously archaic feel. Businesspeople and occasional intrepid, well heeled tourists occupy a carpeted carriage whose timeless cabins are decked out with crisp sheets, wood panelling and tiny, smart washbasins. Further down the train are two and three tier bunk beds in cabins occupied by students, travelers and commuters. Lastly, seating compartments line dimly lit corridors haunted by an extraordinary array of Euroflotsam. Backpacking students, large families, Priests of half a dozen religious persuasions, Gypsies, desperate commuters, men with bear skin hats and people like me, who had

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had their First Class tickets stolen on the platform. One’s very presence in these passages, illuminated by tungsten dimmed with half a century’s grime from tobacco smoke, inspires the notion that one is not just a tourist, but rather, a bona fide member of the new, mobile European society. Worried about the language? It is unlikely that nobody in your compartment will speak English. The 19 hour long journey will certainly provide you with ample time to get started on a Balkan tongue too. Hungarian is tricky, but Romanian has its basis in Latin, so a roundabout knowledge of the Romance languages will help you catch the odd phrase.

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he Dacia Express is a social melting pot of Central and East Europeans. The people I saw on this train, in spite of language barriers, laughed, played cards and passed around Vodka and cigarettes. People who complain that cultural life is dull, bland and monotonous today should see this. The train carries with it the vestige of empires; the grandeur of the Austere Communist era as well as the dignity of The Kingdoms before. The Express must surely be one of the few places in Europe where a ticket inspector in a quasi-militant uniform will sign and stamp a ticket, then respectfully raise a hand to touch the rim of his peaked hat as he hands the receipt back to a man with fa-

cial hair like the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, bent over a wooden walking stick.

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ne of the reasons it is impossible to buy a ticket by any conventional electronic means, according to a spokesperson at Westbahnhof, is that the train is owned and operated by several companies in various different countries and at each border a new staff are assigned to take responsibility for operations. Throughout the journey, this vanguard of European integrationist achievement periodically changes hands to the tune of furious bureaucrats and legal officials shouting at each other at remote check points. My attempts to photograph such scenes were met with the utmost hostility. As the train crosses the continent, carriages are removed, added and redirected, but a dining car is available at the outset of the journey from each end.

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or Backpackers and tourists with some free time, Bucharest itself is worth a visit. Once dubbed ‘The Paris of the East,’ it underwent a brutal architectural and social upheaval under the Chauchescu regime, and would probably better be described today as ‘Paris on steroids’.


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he train departs from Vienna Westbahnhof at 6:50pm daily, arriving at Bucharest Gara de Nord at 2:00pm the next day. Going West, departure is at 4:45pm daily and arrival in Vienna at 9:00am. First class private cabins can be reserved for 210 Euros*. The cheapest ticket available, at 104 Euros, will land you in a second class seating compartment with up to five others. Various intermediate degrees of comfort may be obtained. Passengers traveling in Sleeper compartments with up to four beds are segregated by sex. Couchettes with up to six beds are not segregated and start at 120 Euros a bed. Groups traveling together may be able to block book an entire cabin, but this will depend on your luck and persistence. The company on board tends to be friendly, although it helps to bring a bottle to get conversation going. If you have a seating ticket, pick your compartment with care.


DANUBE

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s someone who read Judy Blume in grade school, Erica Jong in high school, Anaïs Nin in college and Iris Murdoch during my barely employed slacker years, I’m not so sure.

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Do female novelists write about sex less often, and less skillfully, than men?

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But Jane Vandenburgh obviously thinks the answer is yes, and in her new memoir, “A Pocket History of Sex in the Twentieth Century,” she goes on a jagged little tear on the topic. “Most women don’t write about sex at all, and if they do, they don’t do it very well,” she intones. Ms. Vandenburgh breaks the sex writing of female novelists into two classic and derogatory subtextual categories: “I’m Actually a Lofty Virgin” and “I’m Really a Whore.”

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he adds, in a sentence that made me smile: “Or women write all purplish or silly and blushing or get gothic or medieval or do it with Space Aliens or become all mannered, elaborate and Victorian, and all of this is just about equally irksome to me, and some of it makes me almost physically ill.” Sex with space aliens? I’m clearly reading the wrong kinds of novels.

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he title of Ms. Vandenburgh’s new book and the snippets from it provided above might lead you to think that this


volume is a critical, essayistic meditation on fornication and its discontents. You’d be mistaken. What she has delivered instead is a survival story, a tale of how she overcame a strange and sad childhood to become a strange, complicated and slightly less sad adult. Sex, and the longing for it, lingers around the margins of this book the way shadows do in a Hopper painting.

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uthor’s beautiful, wild and self-destructive parents came from wealthy old families, and their little beach house in Redondo, Calif., is “full of big, heavy, old-fashioned furniture that our parents inherited from Various Dead Rich Relatives Who Never Gave a Damn About Us When They Were Alive.” Her father, an architect, plays Bartok late at night on the grand piano in the living room. He’s antisocial, neurotic, promiscuous, bisexual; he is arrested in a gay bar and sent to a sanatorium by his relatives to be “cured.” When Ms. Vandenburgh is still young, he kills himself by leaping from the top of an office building.

“I want to believe our dad died of the ugliness of buildings,” she writes. But she knows it isn’t so. Her mother has been slowly losing her mind, the stitching coming loose from her cranium, since Ms. Vandenburgh and her two brothers were born. She is an artist who loses interest, Ms. Vandenburgh writes, “in what she calls The More Mundane — that we get to school on time, that we go to school at all, that any of us eat.”

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fter her husband’s suicide, Ms. Vandenburgh’s mother buys a new car and buries it in the garage under “hundreds and hundreds of beer cans.”

“She is hiding her beer cans in the garage,” the book continues. “She is hiding her cans from the neighbors, the Communists, the psychiatrists and our grandparents.” When the Welcome Wagon ladies show up, her behavior and sanitary habits freak them out. Before long, she is sent to a mental hospital, and Ms. Vandenburgh and her brothers, orphaned, are shipped off to grow up with a stable family of cousins.

“They were well born,” she writes of her parents, “while we are Class Damage.”

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s. Vandenburgh writes well about her high school years, in which she led a split life: she was a popular and outgoing kid who felt, on the inside, “dark and somehow twisted.” She and her siblings, like Dave Eggers and his brother, Toph, in “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius,” seem both damaged and made strangely invincible by the loss of their parents. Her writing about sex is closely observed. “Kissing — as long as the boy smells good and tastes good — is like this little haiku of how the sex will be as soon as we get around to it,” she writes. “Kissing is the three-line note with all the pent-up nature of the real thing packed down into it.”

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t an early age she also learns this heavy lesson: “Sex is the way you hurt yourself, I already feel, the fastest way to suffer damage.” The first half of “A Pocket History of Sex in the Twentieth Century” is intense, controlled, a memoir-as-fever-dream. The book’s second half feels like the work of a different writer. It is sloppy and choppy, loopy, talky. Her linear narrative up to that point begins to jump around, disconcertingly, in time. Suddenly she’s divorced and has kids. Then she’s allergic to everything in the world. Then she’s married to someone else. Then she’s back in one college, then another.

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hen she’s writing novels and hanging out with the poet Gary Snyder. Somewhere in there are bits about working for a telephone company and moving to Washington. I could barely keep it all straight. The author has the same problem. “I myself have no idea how I came to be speaking of these things, since I too have completely lost my place,” she admits at one point. That’s not a sentence you want to read in any sort of book, unless the heroine is having sex with space aliens.

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s. Vandenburgh has an interesting mind. The book’s messy second half is full of gripping set pieces, especially her pointillistic retelling of the night she and her second husband were mowed down and seriously injured by a car in Berkeley. “I never have much of a damper on my mind,” Ms. Vandenburgh tells us, “and barely have one on my mouth, so I tend to say things as they come to me.” That is this book’s tragic flaw and also the source of its not inconsiderable charm.

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DANUBE

Bet and win OR LOSE

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win, an online betting and gaming company, is proposing its own gambling legislation as an alternative to that of the Austrian government.

Austria‘s Finance Minister Wilhelm Molterer‘s Proposed legislation, that would continue to outlaw private online lotteries in Austria, has been described by one of Bwin‘s Co. CEOs‘, Norbert Teufelberger, as a ‚breach of constitutional and European Law.‘ Changes to the Austrian 1989 Gambling Act were recently made in response to the act‘s insidious infringement of EU legislation, but Austrian law still effectively allows Win2day (run by the land based Casinos Austria and Austrian Lotteries), to maintain a monopoly on Austrian Internet Gambling, contrary to the terms of the EC Treaty‘s guarantee of free movement of goods and services. Herr. Molterer‘s latest draft of Internet Gambling legislation includes conditions that only Win2day could possibly meet, experts agree. The situation has not gone unnoticed in the past, but Austrian reforms were put on hold as soon as Brussels were satisfied that Austria were attempting to rectify the situation in 2006.

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have other means of income via online sports bets and games, the Austrian based company have made it clear that they will not invest in further technologies within Austria if Minister Molterer‘s legislation is approved. Mr. Mann (who did not want to give his real name), said: The government put these laws in place to stop people laundering money through dubious websites. I just want good odds, that is why I continue to use Bwin. They‘ll never catch me anyway.“

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win‘s struggle against Win2day took a turn for the worse in April, when the former (successfully), acquired an injunction against Austrian Lotteries for advertising ‚the only legal online gambling service in Austria.‘ The incident lead to laws being passed that prevented anyone from suing gaming companies over their advertising practices. For legal action to be taken against the companies‘ advertising now, the Federal Finance Minister Wilhelm Molterer, must be petitioned. It is now Herr. Moterer‘s personal responsibility to oversee the advertising practices of gaming companies, connecting the government directly with an effective gambling monopoly.

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nline Electronic lotteries face trout just shows, the state now have legble as it is, Bwin is now banned in islative and judicial power combined Saxony, Hesse and Bavaria. Austrians over Austria‘s gambling economy. I wonface a €7,500 fine for using such serv- der if the Minister of finance is actually ices within their own country. Although friends with the Chairman of Casinos Bwin, who employ 800 staff in Vienna, Austria?“ Mused Mr. Mann.

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The reminder OF THE 

WAR

FACT CHECK

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ubbed „The Memorial of the Unknown Rapist“ and also known as the „Looter‘s Memorial“, Schwarzenbergplatz‘s Stalinist War Memorial is being renovatthe 20 meter high pedestal supporting the ed in accordance with an ancient statue of a soldier. The statue itself has reAustrio-Soviet Pact. The memomained curiously unscarred by the decades. rial was built to commemorate the 17,000 Soviet troops killed uilt by Prisoners of War in a time of in the Battle for Vienna in 1945. chronic food shortages, the monuA masterpiece of Soviet propament used 15 tons of bronze, 300 square ganda, the monument was envimeters of polished marble, and required sioned by a Russian foot-soldier, that 2500 Square metres of soil be transdesigned before the battle even ferred. Originally, the monument also begun, and was constructed near featured a tank. While other countries to the Haus der Industrie, where tore down Soviet memorials, considerthe Council of Allied Forces was ing them reminders of an austere age held. under Communism, many Viennese consider Heldendenkmal der Roten hen Austria regained inde- Armee an aide memoir of a crucial pendence in 1955, the new gov- period in the history of their city. ernment signed a treaty promising to take care of the memorial on behalf of the Soviet Union. Sixty years later, repairs have been made to the monument‘s collapsing masonry in accordance with that pact. An Ad Hoc effort to correct subsidence was made in the 70‘s, but the situation has become worse since then. Although many consider the pact to be obsolete since the collapse of the Soviet Union, 700,000 Euros have just been been poured into a restoration of the monument. As well as structural repair, a special cleaning device was used to scrape dirt from

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This Memorial actually became one of the landmarks in the centre of Vienna. For the past 63 years since it was erected in front of the Palais Schwarzenberg it has caused controversy more often than any Austrian or Russian authority would care to confirm. Yet chances this rather questionable erection will ever vacate the premises are rather slim. In 1955 alongside many other remindesr of the second world war and liberation of Vienna by the victorious Red Army of the USSR became a permanent fixture of Austrian cons-

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DANUBE USA,NYC NYC must Gold lover in Queens, ms of gold gra kilo have stolen over 386 at the curD US 0 worth around 12,000,00 ce from oun y tro rent price of 890 $ per y Inc. elr Jew l me her employer – the Jac prethe ling ugg sm – over the past years, rk. wo m fro ts oun cious metal in small am her in nd fou re we 240 kilograms of gold ted to return apartment, after she attemp theft investie onc 30 kgs to her employer NYPD folby d rte gations had been sta r. elle jew lowing an audit at the BANGKOK rth a diamond tiara wo eljew A g. 4,200,000 $ for a do a d ure act nuf ler from Bangkok ma dog d ove bel diamond tiara for his on his Canun, just for fun. Next fourthe for p agenda is a hair gri ly ilar sim a in legged companion exclusive style.

ELA USA-VENEZU rampant her rat Hugo Chavez, the ted the sen pre has president of Venezuela ated in loc nd Isla USA with a gift. Petty's ing to ong bel and the state of New Jersey Vende os róle Pet y a venezuelan compan rs, yea for e put dis of ezuela was a subjec ergen e ent sid pre el in an act of goodwill nd isla ge lar res -ac ously returned the 392 nd shall beto the United States. The isla undergoing er aft ve, come a nature preser up. ancle al extensive environment

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, the original octopus from "Octopussy" with a golden n ma golden gun from "The "Diamonds m fro ng gun", a Ford Musta bo from "A Tur rit are forever", Lotus Esp the tank as ll we as Spy who loved me" through n sna Bro rce T-55 steered by Pie eneye". old "G in g streets of St. Petersbur JAPAN Home! South Foreigners, Please Go ployment due em t los Africans who have t economic ren cur to the ng offered bei are is cris home. urn ret to h cas nted ede rec unp an In se ane Jap the ion act government offers south african workers 3,000 USD in repatriation support per capita to leave the each country and up to 2,000 $ for can y the t tha so er, family memb ncou e hom ir the to et afford a tick try.

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DOM UNITED KING down a es rn bu Smoking sparrow rrow adspa a ire house. In Linkolnsh a fire resed cau dicted to nikotine had P worth GB 0 ,00 250 sulting in estimated urance ins the of s of damages. Expert ment art dep fire al company and the loc been had d bir the t have established tha bs stu tte are cig g nin collecting still bur led had ich wh g ldin on the roof of the bui building. It is to a devastating fire in the of animal ade cas t believed to be the firs sing such an cau oke diction to nikotine sm extensive damage.

OV UKRAINE,LV city of the in y, ne Daughter for Mo ated rev agg an ne, rai Lvov, western Uk ghdau -old ear 4-y his bank customer left ial anc fin the er aft ce, ter in the bank offi ds fun out h cas to d establishment refuse he t tha d ime cla He from his account. Po . her d fee to ord aff simply could not ents of the lice eventually forced the par customer's the y, tod girl to re-assume cus lled. ulfi unf d ain withdrawal wish rem

USA,NYC e you are in Things for free. Next tim a thing or t lec col can Manhattan, you of exacttag ce pri tive two with an attrac Wall Street. ly Zero in the "Free Store" on ng is gratis, Anything, absolutely anythi t and are eneip rec a n you just have to sig r own, so you of s item couraged to donate next customthey can be picked up by the Anna Stein er. The store is being run by ker artists and Ethna Robles – New Yor – and the a ide the h wit who have came up Cultural the by d pai ng 5,000 $ rent is bei taxes. Council of NYC out of city

T USA,DETROI ED KINGDOM it: a bra-rib UNIT tro De Life saving bra in in Cumbry. Town of Casik a criminal James Bond was the only thing between District became home to the Y n, probably in the Lake worldwide, TURKE shot and a 57-year-old woma first James Bond Museum , st nikotine in Turkey. gun ain a d ag e fire ttl ber Ba rob a er en Pet tist den ired saving her life. Wh ret by a students who the projectile established As of June 2009 turkish him led had 007 for the rib must have deflected n passio e reduced stiinjury rather Nelson. His enjoy a cigarette will receiv ilrab mo me for g tin leaving her with a minor hun world health. Smokl at large, the around the pendiates to promote their g's min Fle Ian on ed than dead. The robber is stil bas s movie ng in public robbery and ia from the ing bans and fines for smoki the es lud inc tion victim who vitnessed the lec col character. The e. was shot in the process is saf

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building have been introduced in 2008. OUTER SPACE Stephen Colbert in orbit. The new module of the International Space Station orbiting Earth will be named after a popular TV host. In a public vote initi ated by NASA 230,539 people have voted for Stephen's name who is a well-known comedian and host of "The Colbert Report" featured on Comedy Central. FINLAND USB stick in a finger. A software engineer in Helsinki, Finland who had lost half of his ring finger on his left hand after an accident involving a deer near the suomi capital has had a v GB storage device installed in the prostetic replacement of his digit to store data he'd like to carry around. The idea was born during the operation when doctors jokingly suggested this digital extension of his body . In future he plans to expand the storage capacity and supplement it with an RFID tag, allowing him to digitally extend his dextrous abilities. GERMANY A scientist dead for over 450 years obliged to pay TV fees. Paying TV fees often takes on absurd forms across Europe. Adam Riese, a german math ematician who lived some 500 years ago received a claim for TV fees which was returned by the occupants of his former house with a reminder that the man had been dead since 1559. A similar claim was delivered last year to Friedrich Schiller. USA,REDMOND Bill Gates bans iPhone. The billionaire and former boss of Microsoft forbids his wife Melinda and their own children to use the popular communication device iPhone. Notably, the utilisation of iPods and iPhones is also forbidden for employees of Microsoft headquarters by Steve Ballmer, operations manager of the software giant and Apple's historic rival on the computer market.

UK,HEATHROW Please proceede to the boobgate. At Heathrow a gay security guard was awarded over 60,000 pounds in compensation from a female colleague who had repeatedly offended him by imposing her breasts on the unwilling co-worker. Not only had she displayed her breasts to him, she even attempted a sexual harassment suit against him, which forced him to pursue legal action. GUINEA-BISSAU No paper – no papers. Due to paper shortages in the african nation the citizens are deprived from reading printed news. Since December 2008 nationwide newspapers have seized production as the nearly bankrupt country can no long er import paper due to the worldwide financial crisis. In the past paper used to be imported from Netherlands which is no longer an option for the financialy unstable country according to the representative of guinean journalists' association.

JAMAICA Bob Marley is a brand. In the carib bean nation and all around the world Bob Marley who died in 1981 at the age of 36 is considered to be the single most important representative of reggae. Now his name, as well as "No Woman No Cry" and "I Shot The Sheriff" became registered trademarks owned by Hilco Consumer Capital which purchased a majority in House Of Marly LLC from the artist's family.

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DANUBE

Outspoken Can’t you see me, sitting here, Under this apple tree? Never is the only word I hate, never say it To me, under this apple tree. For pity’s sake, why, Under this apple tree, Can’t you see me, Kicking leaves, drowning? Blood runs from the fruit, the wasps, Under this apple tree, Gorged on ripe flesh, Gorgeing out the rosy chunks; Everything is wrong here, Ringing summer in my ears;

ROLAND REYNOLDS is an anarchic detainee at a monastic boarding school in north Somerset, England. Born in 1991 in the sleepy seaside town of Barry, his career as a playwright kick-started in 2008 with his sensational debut at the Edinburgh Fringe, directing his own play, "Stalemate". As a short story writer he is beyond compare, being classed by many among the great proponents of the genre throughout the ages, such as Hardy, Tolstoy, and Thomas. It is as a poet, however, that he finds his greatest expression, having to date produced nearly two hundred poems of mixed quality.

When you knew me, you forgot how to smile; You just forgot. Dropping leaves from the tree, Orange blossom springing from the grasses, Nodding, ‘gainst my sleeping thighs, Trapped before, outside meaning. Yobs laugh at the outside, Vandals at Rome’s gates, Orange shines melting their hearts, Under this apple tree;

To What end do we fight, we inane decades? All our senses have been shut down and we hide, Lean on me, Trapped behind, inside conformity. I can support your weight; don’t Stop being a part of me, or I’ll Tear apart the Earth, looking for you; Never is the only word I hate; never say it.

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DANUBE

Britain  THE LAND OF  WHITE CLIFFS  OR TIN MEN? The vexed question of the name for Britain has occupied the attention of academics and linguists for over a century. First explorations of the matter date back to the time of the industrial revolution. Most likely the issue is older; we simply lack the official records of such an academic discourse. Ever since – alongside the name-search for Ireland which we perhaps shall cover in the future – the issue has not been settled, yet a plethora of suggestions has emerged including ones ranging from Celtic to Hamito-Semitic sources.

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1990 (as it seems the year was popular for reforms not just in the CEE region) when Wolfgang Meid made a suggestion to reject the descriptive nature of the name and to look for a more cosmological – or if you prefer, more divine – perspective, proposing to look for origins in the contrasting realms of the light above and the depth below, deriving it from the “Albio” (the world of light above the earth) as opposed to “Dubno” (the earth with its dark depths). This possible solution places the devenir of Albion on a path consistent with comparable linguistic developments in other realms, such as slavic “svjet” which represents both “world” and “light”.

ver the course of time many this journey of linguistic research. Why and quite varied perspec- Albion, would an educated reader ask, aftives on the issue, from inside ter all it is only one of the many names as well as from outside the used for Scotland nowadays, and indeed, world of Celtic Studies, have been put it is synonymous with the provenance of forward and discussed, some credible, this oldest known name for the island of others plausible and some quite outra- Britain. Actually, in some cultures this hile the “land of white chalk cliffs” geous. While the issue does not seem set- name is still a common alternative to has a certain romantic appeal, tled to the world of academia, an attempt Britain – in Russia, for example, all but Meid’s interpretation of the name has at an overview is something that might the uneducated lot will recognise it imme- seemingly held sway until the present. be of interest to you as well, esteemed diately, even though its use might be con- But wait, there is more to come. After all, reader. After all – we are a magazine in sidered overly old-fashioned and rather Albion may be the oldest known name english, and while we reside and con- conservative these days. for the large island off the French coast, centrate on central Europe, our origins but it is certainly not the only one. are very British in their core, so neglecthe name Albion was long believed ing such an important issue as the roots to have originally described Britain’s he name Britain must have of Britain would be nothing our unborn coastal white cliffs, for which the island an origin, too. From the rechildren would be pleased at. is so well known, and of which its inhabsearch we know, that the name itants are proud. This rather plausible must have existed for over o let me – a Russian – embark on a opinion existed unchallenged and as the 2,000 years. Diodorus Siculus mentions brief journey to the coast of Albion on prevailing accepted interpretation until it at 30 bc, Pytheas mentiones a similar

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transcription as early as 325 bc both as coming from Latin as Britannia but generally considered Celtic in origin, deriving from Pritani (or Britani) meaning “those who smear themselves with paint or grease” or alternatively “those who anoint themselves.” this divination still holds sway today.

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till, as admirable as “the world of light above the earth” may seem, and as charming as ‘the land of white chalk cliffs’ may appear, these approaches may not reflect the practicality of the ancient world, where common sense often prevailed over rather useless romanticism. So what would be the more practical – hands on as we would certainly say today – approach to the question of Albion? It well may be tin. Yes, the white metal so precious in producing bronze and mined in the south-west Britain, mainly in Cornwall, which would bring us back to the original idea of the white island, yet make its interpretation more historically and linguistically plausible. After all, it was evidently Britain’s mineral wealth that prompted the Roman invasion of 43 ad. This notion is also supported by the distribution of Irish-influenced metalwork on the Continent in the rather distant past.

VENIAMIN KOSTITSIN-TETERIN is a Russian-born linguist, designer, photographer, writer and traveller residing in Europe. His linguistic skills are in popular demand by the European and more remote institutions, both academic, artistic and from the realm of politics as well as sought for by too many companies to name. Research in the field of language history is one particular field he devotes time to whenever his workload permits. This article was written exclusively for the DANUBE Magazine and is based on his extensive cooperation with the University of Vienna.

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ut what about the “anointed people” (or rather tattooed or painted ones – perhaps you recall the popular movies depicting Scots as folks featuring heavy and not always attractive make-up) you might ask – and rightly so. After all it is a lot more inspiring to be called “anointed people” than “tin people”, yet the disappointment of those who prefer anointment is almost certain, since recent research indicates that Prydyn itself appears to be of Phoenician origin and meaning – the nean. Moreover, Pridyn, which became Britdrumroll for the tiny painted solain, seemingly made its way into Latin, oustdier in the back of your toy-chest, ing the previously dominant Albion. Names please – “Tin Land”! This theory deriving from economic activities exist also is further strengthened by the in our own time. Recall “Gold, Ivory, & PepPhoenician name for Ireland – per” Coasts in West Africa, or the “Spice Ériu, or “copper island”. Islands” in Indonesia, to name a few.

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hile the matter o it might be a long-shot, yet this small may not be settled, etymological excursion into the past of yours truly seems the British isles may help us understand to be rather satisfied our own history, as well as provide help in with the findings since it certainly grasping the past of our common realm we satisfies the k.i.s.s. approach and came to regard as Europe. moreover links all the names to a common factor, namely, metal procurement. The acquisition of tin from Britain and copper from Ireland has a long history, significantly influencing the trade both in western Europe and the Mediterra-

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DANUBE

, A K D VO EA-URN, T

   Z I A M S There are many things we consider russian, but few that have reached out to the world and have achieved such an universal echo emanating from countries otherwise eons apart and classes that mutually despise each other to the point of drawing weapons. Do they have anything in common, these two perfectly imperfect products that so often have captivated our attention and changed our perception of the world leaving us with thoughts we had never imagined possible and with a hangover we not always were anticipating ?

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ecently I came across an essay by Peter Steiner of Pennsylvania which – without any vodka involved – left me rather light-spirited and giggly. It was an introduction on Samizdat, Tamizdat, Magnitizdat and many other hugely unattractive words, yet full of quirky insight on the almost philosophical perspective on the issue which actually prompted me to get these words on paper.

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here shall we look for the roots, the definitions of the words we want to scrutinize – the dictionary naturally, and what shall happen if we were to take a look at Samizdat? Naturally i assume that you know the meaning of the word quite well, yet what will a glance in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) tell us? As expected, the original meaning – Self-Publishing – or the “clandestine or

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illegal copying and distribution of litera- never be considered an Urn by a Russian, ture” which is perfectly fine, but not yet and i am one. antagonising and not very high-sprited either, so let us take a glance at the neightill, both Samogon and Samizdat bors. Dictionaries may be used with two can be somewhat difficult to swallow dissimilar purposes in mind. Many view – even though the reasons might vary. lexicons as a mechanism for imposing Samizdat is often being generalized, firm order upon the phenomenal chaos however the diversity of the genre does with which the academia often cannot not permit such summation - it could cope otherwise, yet there is another ap- have been a critical work of literature, a proach for people like myself (and maybe piece of writing by a wrong author, or an it could be one for you too) – for me a already published œuvre that had fallen dictionary possesses an enticing, excit- under the censorship once the doctrine of ing, often sublime poetics of its own. This the party changed. All of them could asmagical poetry turns Samizdat into a sume a shadowy samizdat existence, but neighbor of Samogon (“illegally distilled no reader could tell you immediately why spirit, similar to vodka”), a relative (per- one or another particular piece became haps an in-law, possibly an inbred one) of part of samizdat literature, even if they samovar (“a Russian tea urn” - Urn! how could distinguish it from the press dwelldelightful and morbid the language of ing in the daylight of the soviet library. OED can be). Yet Samogon is rarely an- This diversity does not allow a linear apything like Vodka and Samovar would proach to the subject, neither would any

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. T D A    decent Samogon which would certainly prevent you from any straight lines in motion of body or thought.

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amizdat was and still is often perceived on a rather poetical scale as the very political and socially responsible way of juxtaposing the “true, hidden” literature in service of the greater good against the well established and promoted by the state culture of writing, but this approach is rather limited and overly simplistic, even if poetic romanticising the underground in the Soviet Union. So the actual Samizdat – very much like Samogon could be anything and everything ranging from political dissent, to paintings songs, recordings ... anything self-published that had only one thing in common: the precariousness of its material vehicle, the way of publishing and distribution. What is available to us is nothing but a fraction of the original corpus of underground publishing culture, and even more importantly, the very notion of original seems inappropriate for texts circulating across national boundaries in a variety of unlike replicas beyond any authorial control.

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ou might need some good Samogon, or at least a decent bottle of Vodka to work with, if you devote your time to Samizdat. There’s no structure or classi-

fication, there is often not even a recogniseable purpose, since even the available collections of selfpublished and distributed literature were in a way censoring the available pile of publications, shaping the material to their own needs, limiting the archives to purposefully built collections while excludSamizdat one of the landmarks in the centre of Vienna. For the past ing many fields. It is enough to take just 63 years since it was erected in a brief glance at the otherwise excellent front of the Palais Schwarzenberg collection of Radio Liberty which in its it has caused controversy more purposefulness was as eager as it was often than any Austrian or Russian biased – the entire collection is absoauthority would care to confirm. Yet chances this rather questionalutely indifferent to purely artistic ble erection will ever vacate the texts and other forms of Samizdat, premises are rather slim. In 1955 preserving for the posterity only conalongside many other remindesr tent which was deemed politically of the second world war and libevaluable in the battle against comration of Vienna by the victorious Red Army of the USSR became munism, through broadcasting via a permanent fixture of Austrian radio waves back to the Soviet realm constitution. Der Staatsvertrag which was the so-called “Tamizdat” – – basis for the country‘s indepen“There-published” as opposed to “Selfdence – foresees perpetual presence published”. and maintenance of this and many

WORDRAP.

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oth Samogon and Samizdat are rather poorly researched, both represent informal, underground cultures and both have a rich history which still remains to be uncvered and documented to a much greater extent than it is the case today. One way would be with a glass of Samogon in one and a book in another hand, not that it would not work with a nice cup of tea on a lazy summer afternoon with friends gathered around a steaming Samovar on your terrasse.

other more and less significant monuments, obelisks and memorial plaques spread around the city that otherwise strives to shed all the memories of it‘s nazist past. Every year flowers and other devotionalia are spread out in front of it on May 9th commemorating the end of the second world war, reminding us of some 10 million russian soldiers and 30 million civilians killed in the single bloodiest conflict of human history.

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DANUBE The subtle perks of

Provinciality

i love the countryside. certainly, it is full of the little nuisances you do not want to withstand for all posterity, the people are ugly, uncultured and sometimes the olfactory backdrop is more than a person of decent upbringing would like to cope with, yet often there are perks that sometimes make up for all the inconveniences one otherwise would not like to endure.

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n occasion i agree to work as a conference interpreter, which is in many ways the most pleasant way to supplement my income (I am one of these nouvaux pauvres - big name, small budget remnants of the aristocracy scattered around the world who actually have to work now and then, quel horreur) while helping me to preserve my command of the languages I have acquired in the many years spent in continental Europe.

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ue to the nature of this occupation (which I usually pursue in the times of boredom between parties and other festivities – and making money in my spare time is not the most unpleasant passez-temps) i have to travel from one location to another. Some are dull, others are fabulous and then there are places where i would not go if i would not receive money for it. This time it was one of these overgrown villages that barely deserve to be called a town in the middle of central european nowhere which have nothing, absolutely nothing, appealing about them. Yet it is home to a big enterprise in cross-branch industry building machines that produce parts found in most, correction – in all, things we buy nowadays.

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ollowing the gentle call of the rolling buck yours truly arrived in this 10,000-inhabitants enclave on the border of two Austrian provinces on a steaming hot tuesday evening, hoping for the acceptable (I could not possibly hope for the best there), prepared for the worst. Traveling on a train has its advantages,

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such as being able to type down this text in a first-class compartment while being served drinks and snacks by ugly overweight stewards but not being bothered by screaming children in the cattle-class of common commuters. So the 90 minutes on a train were quite commode and bearable, the arrival in the town itself was not. Leaving the train I was welcomed by hot, humid air seasoned with the stench of at least 20,000 cows that keep the townsfolk company in this disgrace of a township and was certain that the accommodation provided would in no way surpass the hospitality of a cattle barn.

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o my surprise and quiet disbelief the Gasthaus I arrived at was rated as a 4 star auberge with somewhat disturbing sign claiming a “gourmet kitchen” and a “friendly garden”, painted in an unexpectedly pleasing hue of burgundy red, not without pretense but in a rather good taste. As I arrived rather late and the hotel was already overbooked, the pleasant surpise seemed to have come to a rather unpleasant turn, yet compensating for the error a couple turned up simultaneously with myself who had been booked into two roomes but would have preferred one, so the problem was solved to the satisfaction of all involved before it could have become annoying. Inmidst of the discussion most of the owners family showed up –


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