Tuesday, January 11, 2011

More Drakulic

"Individualism is flourishing in one respect in Eastern Europe: It is visible only in the ruthless accumulation of capital. Perhaps a chance to make money, a chance those people never had before, is indeed a condition to developing the first-person singular. Why, then, have I used 'we' and 'us' so frequently in this book? Because a common denominator is still discernible, and still connects us all, often against our will. It is not only our communist past, but also the way we would like to escape from it, the direction in which we want to go. It's our longing for Europe and all that it stand for.
Or, rather, what we imagine Europe stands for. I believe you can see this common denominator if you take a close look at the price of bananas, at our bad teeth and public toilets, or at our yards on the outskirts of big cities. Indeed, you can see it merely by taking a walk on any boulevard in any capital, be it Tirana or Budapest, Prague or Warsaw. Somewhere there will be a hotel, a cinema, a bar, a restaurant, a cafe or a simple hole in the wall, named, for our desire, Europe."

Drakulic, Slavenka. 1996. Cafe Europa: Life After Communism. New York: Penguin. Pp. 4-5.

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