PUBLISHER’S WORD. Signs and Words

 

 

This year we celebrate at least several dates that are related to the sea or maritime activity. JŪRA MOPE SEA international business magazine, the origins of which date back to 1935, celebrates the 20th anniversary of its rebirth in 1999, which took place after several attempts to revive it. The 20th anniversary is also celebrated by KLASCO private stevedoring company, established in the territory, which was formerly known as Klaipėda trade port. Another intensively growing stevedoring company – Klaipėda Container Terminal – celebrates its 25th anniversary. Lithuanian sailors mark the 30th anniversary of the trip across the Atlantic, completed by three yachts – Lietuva, Audra and Dailė. Lithuanian Sea Museum, cherishing and promoting maritime culture counts its 40th anniversary. Western Shipyard, which has been operating in Lithuania the longest, celebrated its 50th anniversary early this year. And the annual Sea Festival, reborn and held without interruptions, has reached its 60th edition. It is also worth noting that it has already been 85 years since the very first Day of the Sea, officially held as a Lithuanian state holiday.

According to historians, the first signs of Lithuania, positioning or at least aiming to position itself as a maritime state, emerged much earlier – back in the 18th-19th c., as well as early and late 20th c.

The period between 1934 and 1939 has left many important signs in the Lithuanian maritime history. Perhaps the national maritime patriotism was also encouraged by geopolitical motives and the sense of the approaching threat. It became clear rather fast that the threat was real – the seeds of fascism in Europe have grown into a threatening baobab. Thus, Lithuania’s decisive steps towards the sea, the fiery and inspiring speech of the President Antanas Smetona, delivered in Klaipėda and Šventoji, as well as the oath to the Sea as if encouraged the men and women of Lithuania for a long struggle. The men rushed to build the national fleet, while the women, by the initiative of the intelligentsia of Kaunas, have gathered into a Lithuanian women’s union to support the national fleet and took up the task of introducing the society to the sea, its importance to the country, as well as raising charity for the establishment of a Lithuanian fleet. The organisation supported the sea scouts and seafaring students, also have greatly contributed to the publishing of Jūra magazine, founded by the Lithuanian Seamen’s Union in 1935. Lithuanian women’s union raised funds to support the national fleet and purchased a yacht for training yachtsmen and teaching youth. Unfortunately, the fate of the yacht Budys was tragic. Just like the Lithuanian maritime hopes, she sank at the sea gate.

These – large and small – were the signs that marked the fairway to the sea gate that Lithuania was supposed to pass into the wide world.

But these aspirations were not destined to come true – in 1939 Klaipėda was marked with swastikas and the theatre balcony echoed with Fuhrer’s words. While the Communism that followed, thoroughly cut and broke down all of the national goals.

Several decades later, in 1989, Lithuanian yachts were already stronger, the yachtsmen – better prepared and, perhaps, braver, passing the sea gate and raising the Lithuanian flag (which was still illegal back in the day), reached the shores of New York, welcomed by their fellow countrymen, homesick and waiting for live news from their homeland, rising for Independence. The yachtsmen brought them lots of letters and the Jūra magazine, which had been reborn for the first time in fifty years and published in Klaipėda under difficult conditions of the Soviet Union’s economic blockade.

The dawn of Independence also bred the ideas of the Lithuanian women’s union to support the national fleet. These were fostered by active women of Klaipėda, who contributed to the preparations of the Lithuanian yachts’ journey across the Atlantic. All that has been remembered during the 30th anniversary of this journey.

Almost at the same time some different memories emerged. The Open Spirit 2019 international mine hunting and sweeping operation, implemented by NATO and led by the Lithuanian Naval Force in the Lithuanian and Latvian waters, found and neutralised a dozen naval mines. A few of them were located in the major seaway, which leads to the port of Klaipėda.

The number of naval mines, left after World War I in 1914-1918 (making them already older than a century today), was more than 55 thousand. The signs of death, deployed during World War II, which began 80 years ago, were twice as many – 95 thousand naval mines and 16 thousand other objects. Despite the many years of international effort to free the Baltic Sea from the wraiths of death, lying on the bottom of the sea, it is estimated that the numbers in the water remain above 80 thousand. Many of such open wounds can be found not only in the Baltic, but also the North and other seas.

These are the signs of the two world wars.

The tension that the modern-day world lives under today is as great as eighty or thirty years ago, when Lithuania started raising the first flags of freedom.

What do we use to temper our bravery and strengthen our spirit in repelling the notions of threat today? What signs do we attempt to establish?

The organisers of the world EXPO 2020 announced their theme of ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’. What could be more positive than connecting our minds, wisdom, the best of ideas and hard-working hands to create a peaceful, safe and sustainable future for our planet? The world has responded to the call. The global exhibition, which will open the next autumn in the United Arab Emirates and take place for six months, will be participated by more than 180 states bringing their ideas for the future, including Lithuania, currently deciding, which image, suggested by our artists, would be best to represent our country.

However, sometimes it seems that the current politics and life are more about words than signs. Perhaps the flow of words, as well as pompous and unreal promises, released into the public using various means by the modern-day public figures, attempting to get to the helm of larger or smaller politics, are also a way of fighting reality? A reality of boats, full of refugees, attempting to reach Europe, but sinking to the bottom of the seas, or burning sanctuaries, as well as historical and artistic heritage, which survived for millennia and now disappear under ruins, and the finger of Madness, touching the nuclear missile launching button, eager to press it down?

Perhaps it is words that we use to hide from these notions and fears?

Art always meets the most sensitive of people’s feelings. It predicts, reflects, interprets and transforms the reality in a way. Sometimes it uses drastic means to tell the truth, which hurts and lures at the same time. Perhaps that is why the Ukrainian nation, tired of the internal and external war, false prophets and false promises, have elected an actor, pretending to be a president, who tells the drastic truth, as the president of their country.

Lithuania is lured by the theatre as well. The international theatre festival, which takes place in Klaipėda for almost a month, attracts attention even under the heat of the elections of the European Parliament and the Lithuanian President. All spaces of the drama theatre showcase several plays in a day, with crowds of audiences and more than fifty talent-seeking producers, coming from various parts of the world, going deeper into the reality that is transformed with signs of art.

The actual reality with the unsolved issues of Brexit, migration, terrorism, climate change, war, peace and many others is waiting behind the door. The audience of the Global theatre of politics is looking forward the performances of the new European Parliament, the new presidents, elected in several countries and heirs to the throne.

 

Sincerely Yours,

Zita Tallat-Kelpšaitė

Publisher of JŪRA MOPE SEA magazine since 1999

 

The magazine SEA has been published since 1935
International business magazine JŪRA MOPE SEA has been published since 1999
The first magazine in Eurasia in the four languages: English, Chinese, Russian and Lithuanian


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Publisher:

Ltd. Juru informacijos centras


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

ISSN 1392-7825

2017 © www.jura.lt