PUBLISHER’S WORD. Be Afraid of Indifferent People!

 

 “Do not be afraid of enemies – in the worst case, they can kill you. Do not be afraid of friends – in the worst case, they may betray you. Be afraid of indifferent people – they do not kill and do not betray, but betrayal and murder exist due to their silent acquiescence.”

These words, often cited in various texts, are attributed to several famous people: the Polish writer Bruno Jasieński, the Czech journalist Julius Fučík, the French military pilot and writer Antoine de Saint-Exupery and the American poet Richard Eberhart. They all were the children of the same era, entering this world together with the 20th century. Only one of them – Richard Eberhart – managed to step over into the 21st century, reaching the age of 101.
Bruno Jasieński, Julius Fučík and Antoine de Saint-Exupery have left us approximately at the same time, at the very peak of their creative powers. It was an untimely leaving, forced by war and repressions. The words “be afraid of indifferent people...” written in the preface of the unfinished A Conspiracy of the Indifferent, written by Bruno Jasieński, murdered at the prison of Moscow during Stalin’s repressions, and The Report with the Loop on the Neck, the last piece of Julius Fučík, written at a gestapo prison in Berlin, while waiting for a death sentence, are not just some fancy words, written on a keyboard at some office, while drinking a cup of coffee. These words were written in blood, witnessing the death of devoted patriots, traitors and even facing your own death. They don’t carry any pose, except for the naked truth and the desire to convey a message. A message for those that remain on the Earth. That’s why these words are so effective. They touch something deep inside. The depths, where art attempts to touch the human soul.
Asked, what messages does the modern and often drastic art of theatre send to the society and the world, Herberts Laukšteins, the Latvian director and head of Liepaja Theatre, offered a prompt answer: “I believe that the message is very simple – let’s not be indifferent!”
Due to its particular senses, art is the first to feel the symptoms of society’s illnesses and threats. Art doesn’t heal or save the world. Art merely reminds us of the possibility of saving the world and saving ourselves.
Experts, political scientists and politicians talk about the possibility of saving ourselves without any metaphors. Even those that stand on the opposite side of the barricades, holding a finger on a machine gun or a ballistic missile launch button – some of those, holding the reign of power in the modern day, began suggesting removing that finger and taking a cup of tea instead, sitting down at the discussion table. Their mission is to find an acceptable compromise. The mission of the media is to send a message to the people and the world. A message that is correct and transparent.
Do they carry out this mission as independently, honestly and fairly, as if it was the last word on this Earth?
Such discussion and search for compromise was organised this summer in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, inviting politicians, experts, as well as media, culture and art representatives for the XIV Eurasian Media Forum. The topic of the forum was very specific and important – scenario for the search for compromise.
During the opening speech, Dariga Nazarbayeva, founder and leader of the forum, as well as the eldest daughter of Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev, said that the current age is the era of uncertainty, fear and unlimited freedom, where globalisation as the peak of progress is now confronted by ideas of radicalism, nationalism and refusal of integration. She reminded of the idea of the Polish-British philosopher and sociologist Zygmunt Bauman about two major human values that drive the world. These are freedom and security. The philosopher doubted, if you can strike the right balance between two equally important values which are basic, essential for decent human life and that is: freedom and security. People need freedom and people need security. Freedom without security is hell really because it paralyzes, it’s disables from action – if you feel very, very insecure you are not able to make the proper human use of your freedom. And of security without freedom is slavery. So on two extremes – the poles of the continuum – it’s hell. We are not moving between heaven and hell, we are moving between two hells, he said.
Almost eighty years ago, the Austrian psychologist Sigmund Freud wrote that civilisation is a permanent compromise. However, the part of freedom, traded for security, is too large. This trade is a problem, because people often tend to trade their freedom for a greater safety than they actually need.
Giving an interview to the British journalist Matt Kennrad, Bauman thought that if we discussed this issue with Sigmund Freud today, he would most likely say that the society has traded too much safety into unlimited freedom. This is the reality of today, said Bauman almost a decade ago.
What trade of the basic values or what compromises should our world make today?
The debates on these issues at the forum didn‘t leave anyone indifferent. How could you be, seeing representatives of the Syrian warring parties, sitting just by several people apart, explaining their position and defending their truth, claiming that a compromise is impossible?
You also can‘t hide under any mask of indifference, listening to Shahida Tulaganova – a young and, at first sight, fragile woman, a BBC reporter and film maker, one of the producers of the Cries from Syria documentary, who walked the paths of war in Ukraine and Syria – telling a story about a Syrian mother, who had to drug her fifteen-year-old son, who got under the influence of a terrorist organisation, so that he couldn’t resist being secretly taken out of the war zone.
“I am a mother and I speak, what I saw with my own eyes and heard with my own ears. And now I’m asking you, should this woman, escaping war and saving her child, as well as her underaged son under terrorist influence, be regarded as terrorists?” asked Shahida, in her moving speech, emphasizing the fact that there are hundreds of such mothers in Syria.
That’s the ratio and price of freedom and safety in the modern day.
The Cries from Syria, featuring the Prayers for this World, performed by the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus, gives hope that the prayer will be heard: that the human freedom and safety will not require the greatest cost and that the faith that we can save ourselves and good deeds will be rewarded, will give strength in the face of indifference.
...Say a prayer for the world. Only love can save us now.
Say a prayer for the world, believe that it’s gonna be all right somehow...

 

Sincerely Yours,
Zita Tallat-Kelpšaitė
Publisher of the magazine

 

The magazine SEA has been published since 1935
International business magazine JŪRA MOPE SEA has been published since 1999
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The magazine JŪRA has been published since 1935.
International business magazine JŪRA MOPE SEA has been
published since 1999.

ISSN 1392-7825

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