2014

The Czech Culture of Corruption

The Czech playwright and dissident Vaclav Havel popularized the notion of “living in truth.” He was dismayed at the degree to which lies had permeated Czechoslovak society under Communism. It wasn’t only government and Party officials who lied about history, the economy, the state of human rights, the opposition Charter 77 movement, and so on.… Continue reading The Czech Culture of Corruption

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2013

Trial Upon Trial

The story starts out simply enough: “Someone must have traduced Joseph K., for without having done anything wrong he was arrested one fine morning.” What follows, in Franz Kafka’s The Trial, is absurd, a comedy of errors, except that it is not funny and the ending can’t be more tragic. Joseph K. is subjected to… Continue reading Trial Upon Trial

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Inside Outsiders

In explaining the fall of Communism, most analysts talk about pressure from the inside (dissidents) coupled with pressure from the outside (Gorbachev, Reagan). But equally important were the inside-outsiders.  These were people from the region who found themselves in other countries as a result of war, uprising, or other dislocations. The Hungarian-born financier George Soros… Continue reading Inside Outsiders

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