Archive for July, 2015

THE BATTLES WON AND LOST

July 23, 2015

Duke Wellington believed that the battle of Waterloo had been won on the playing fields of Eton. IMHO, the future of Ukraine will be won in classrooms and lecture rooms. However, the strength of character, daring and pluck, which were decisive for the joint Anglo-German victory in 1815, seem to be next in importance to the Ukrainians. In the bygone ages as well as in the recent past the Ukrainians proved that they possess the stamina needed. What they really lack is integrity and noble-mindedness. Having been eternal survivors and having their elite continuously vacuumed by dominant nations, the Ukrainians developed in themselves readiness for compromise, adaptability, contrivance, expediency, etc.

As a former educator, I know from my own experience how ruinous it was for a young person to be taught high ideals at high school (pls excuse the tautology), and then face hard reality of the adult world after the graduation party. As a former dean at an institution of higher learning I know how inventive Ukrainian parents could be while pushing their progeny into universities. The higher the parents’ position in the bureaucratic hierarchy was, the more impudent and pushy they were. As a rule, heads of universities who were responsible for the admission procedure, were rather pliable to the pressure. And not only to the intimidation of the stick, but to the lure of the carrot too. Incidentally, I say “were pliable”, but shouldn’t I use the Present Tense and say: “are pliable”? When I happen to drop in at university buildings nowadays and when I see their shining interior and state-of-the-art equipment, I can guess very well where all that comes from because I know the Ukrainian GDP and the budget share allotted for the Ukrainian education. I only think: if that much is channeled from the parents for universities’ needs, how much more is deposited in the pockets of the administrators who supervise the students’ admission! And then, how many of those who really deserve to be admitted, stayed overboard just because their places were taken over by the applicants from more “moneyed” and more influential families!

I heaved a sigh of relief when the written External Independent Evaluation (EIE) was introduced in Ukraine for all university entrants in 2008 instead of the universities arranging their own sets of mostly oral examinations. In those days (2008) it looked like it was impossible for the university admission boards to play the swindling shell-game of proving that a good answer was poor and a poor answer was good. But that didn’t last long. A much more corrupted regime came to power with the election of Viktor Yanukovych as President, and the new Minster of Education diluted the EIE by adding “diploma points” to the total evaluation score of each entrant. Also, quite a number of universities received the right to conclude whether an applicant fits to be their student … again by oral questioning. As a result, the impartiality of the EIE was eroded at both ends: at high school where bribed teachers were giving inflated marks to students, and at universities – by examiners who finally “regulated” the admission by assigning the applicants the “necessary” number of points.

This year’s EIE was expected to be really objective. And it was! The head of the EIE is known by his honest and uncompromising stand. In his interviews after the external evaluation he emphasized that the maximum of objectivity had been achieved – no matter how much pressure was exerted on him and his colleagues – even by high-positioned authorities. A bolt from the blue came two days ago when the General Prosecutor’s Office uncovered an “organized criminal organization” within the EIE Center. The members of the alleged criminal group allegedly infiltrated the electronic data base of the Center and are said to have been rigging the results of the EIE. Charges are laid against all those who occupy senior positions in the EIE Center including Ihor Likarchuk, the head of the Center.

I know our General Prosecutor’s Office, just as I know the Ukrainian courts, judges, the Ukrainian militia and other law-enforcing bodies. After the Maidan events in 2014 they never disappeared, they were never punished for their crimes. They keep sitting in their chairs and hating those who are trying to reform the country. It may seem surprising that the General Prosecutor’s Office undertakes the investigation of an educational body at this time (the first time after year 2002). But it’s no surprise at all, if you consider that an offspring of a very important bureaucrat may have failed his/her EIE this year because of the objectivity of the test. That is why, instead of looking for the murderers of the Heavenly Hundred in February 2014, or sorting out the smuggling at the Ukrainian border, or screening the old guard for their cooperation with the former regime, the General Prosecutor’s Office (supported by President Poroshenko’s meaningful silence) go at what was the HOPE.

I know one thing: if this battle on the educational field is won by the old guard, Ukraine will lose the battle in the East. Or, maybe, it should not even try to defend its independence then. I have no wish to live in a corrupted Little Russia — even if it is independent.

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“PLUTO” AND “ПЛУТ“

July 19, 2015
'You sound familiar. Haven't I swindled you once before?'

‘You sound familiar. Haven’t I swindled you once before?’

Most Ukrainians make their utility payments after they find in their physical mail-boxes paper copies of bills for the gas, water, electricity, etc. they consumed during the previous month. The next step is to fill out the blanks in the bills with the updated figures and, taking the required sum, go to the nearest bank and pay in cash.

This month many Kyivans received faked bills. The bills looked quite identical to what the consumers usually get, with one exception only: the account the utility money had to be transferred to was different. A lot of people paid. Who will check on the long line of digits representing the account? The act of swindling was discovered after a few days when thousands of people had already transferred their hryvnyas, which they earned by the sweat of their brow, to a fly-by-night company. I had good luck because my wife, who usually keeps track of how much of which kind of utility has been used and who fills in the bills before I go to the bank and pay, has been away from Kyiv for the last ten days and is arriving only today.

However, my wife didn’t avoid the experience of being taken in either. As she told me by phone the day before yesterday, she had received a strange sms which contained three numbers. Soon afterwards a gentleman called and said the numbers were his access codes (for an internet purchase?) which had been sent by mistake to my wife’s mobile, and he asked her to dictate the numbers to him. Our family’s policy has always been to help people out when help is needed. The numbers were dictated, and … hey presto, all the money had disappeared from my wife’s mobile account. Not a big amount actually, but the feeling of insecurity was sudden and painful.

I googled the words “swindle”, “money” and “cell-phone” and found, for one, that the Chinese had posted a 50-page pdf-brochure on how mobile phones may be abused – not only for cheating people out of their money, but also for purposes of harassment, retrieval of personal information, cheating at examinations, dissemination of unhealthy information, and even…value-added service customization traps (don’t know what it is!).

In another part of the world (Britain) one may very easily lose huge sums of money when connecting to a wi-fi in a coffee shop, or a similar place. Should you use the connection to check on your bank account, your bank details and codes may be “vacuumed” by a guy who is sitting in this very coffee shop with a lap-top on his table. It may turn out that the (free!) wi-fi was created by himself, or he may have accessed your smartphone because your Bluetooth was on (the process of collecting the information this way is called “bluejacking” or “bluesnarfing” – from the slangy word “snarf” meaning “eat, drink, devour”).

In order to show just how easy it is — and quite how trusting people are — a security firm decided to set up its own wi-fii networks on the streets of London to prove how much data it could capture. The firm sent the head of security research to tour the capital on a bicycle equipped with its own wi-fi generator, under various names: ‘FreePublicWifi’, ‘Free Internet’, and even, somewhat cheekily, ‘DO NOT CONNECT’. Within three hours, 2,907 people had connected to his network. One hundred and three of those used it to access a banking service. Had the security chap been a criminal, he could have easily accessed their accounts and helped himself to their money. Even if he had skimmed just £100 from each account, he would have made over £10,000 — not bad for a morning’s work!

‘This willingness to connect to any wireless network is like shouting your personal or company information out of the nearest window and being surprised when someone abuses it,’ says the security officer (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2620969/How-thieves-use-mobile-bank-account-dodgy-public-WiFi-connections-bluesnarfing.html)

Not long ago I watched a television programme about monkeys and wondered how inventive they could be while cheating each other. And when now I hear that images of the dwarf planet Pluto have been received on Earth from a distance of some 7.5 billion kilometers, I think that many of us, earthlings, having reached out as far as Pluto, have remained, morally, on the level of “Monkey the Cheater “ (by a mere coincidence, the name “Pluto” sounds very similar to the Russian “плут” [ploot], meaning “a rogue, a cheat, a crook, a swindler.” :-))

THE PHOTOGENIC NEW POLICE OFFICERS PATROLLING KYIV’S STREETS

July 9, 2015


2015-07-09ukr_police_carEarly yesterday morning, when going to the railway station in a cab through the sleepy Kyiv, I saw a snow-white car with the word POLICE on it and the light-bar blinking on top. The car was moving along a deserted street – slowly and importantly. To my remark about how impressive the police car looked, the cab driver said with a kind of courteous respect: “They are just doing their job –the way it must be done.” I was surprised. Until that moment I had never heard any driver speaking so deferentially about the police, moreover, about the traffic police. Actually, the word “police” was new: before, the Ukrainian streets were patrolled by the “militia.” That is why I thought it worthwhile to repost a BBC blog (author:
Mike Wendling) the moment I came across it.
2015-07-09ukrainepolice1a 2015-07-09ukrainepolice2a 2015-07-09ukrainepolice3aUkraine is trying to reform its police service, and the efforts – which include the hiring of a number of young and photogenic new officers – have reaped some unexpected rewards online.

Not only are Ukrainian police notoriously corrupt, but they also played a violent role in last year’s dramatic events in Maidan Square, where more than 100 people were killed before president Viktor Yanukovych was eventually ousted from power.

As a result, the new administration in Kiev has been trying to reform the force – changing its name and uniforms, enlisting US and Canadian trainers, firing older officers and hiring 2,000 new ones – a quarter of them female.

The new force started patrolling the streets of the Ukrainian capital over the weekend and since then they’ve been a big hit on social media, with many people sharing photos taken with the new recruits. Many of the selfies were being posted on Facebook pages.  And the hashtag#KyivPolice has been used more than 3,500 times on Twitter in the past week.

“Time will tell if the [police] reform will work or not. But the fact that there are people who sincerely believe in the ‘serve and protect’ thing, makes me really happy,” said Facebook user Kira Kirilenko.

A well-known Ukrainian actor and TV personality, Antin Mukharskiy, shared a story about a group of, as he put it “traditional policemen” who were shouting and swearing underneath his window. “A patrol arrived in three minutes and traditional policemen started to disperse like elementary school students … When my wife thanked [the new officers] from the balcony, they replied: ‘From now on, we will always take care of you.'”

And a popular coffee shop even offered free hot drinks to police officers via a Facebook post that has been liked more than 5,000 times.

But despite the PR boost, there is still some scepticism as to whether the reforms will stamp out corruption. One poll indicated that four-fifths of Ukrainians believe the fight against corruption is not working.

“A feast for the eyes. All the traffic was staring at and waving to #kyivpolice, and we almost missed the green lights,” said journalist Oksana Denysova, who posted a picture of two police cars. But she ended her post with a note of caution: “Do not let us down, darlings.”

Reporting by Dmytro Zotsenko, BBC Monitoring‏

Blog by Mike Wendling 

 

A PAGE FROM MY WORD-BOOK

July 9, 2015

Being aware that language and politics are interdependent and remembering a phrase “there are no facts, but only interpretations,” which is attributed to Friedrich Nietzsche, I looked through some English-language Russian media to discover what should be actually understood by non-Russians when they visit those news outlets, or how “vatniks” (pro-Putin rednecks, reactionary and bigoted) understand them.

The left part of the vocabulary column is a dictionary word, the right part contains an implication/connotation that accompanies the word or the expression as it is used in the “Russian” context.

 

Russia Putinland
United Russia Putin’s party (earlier names: bolsheviks, CPSU)
Great Patriotic war WWII
rebels Putin-supported separatists
Russian court kangaroo court
no Russian soldiers in Ukraine Putin’s soldiers in Ukraine
Russia-Greek cooperation “Will you walk into my parlor?”
Russian intelligentsia Russian skeptics and cynics
NGOs “foreign agents”
blogger an individual “foreign agent” in Putinland to be monitored daily by members of the United Russia
the Internet a “CIA invention”
McDonald’s a “cesspool of American culture”
elections appointments
yoga practice another macho gimmick of Putin
nuclear war a stick wielded by modern Neanderthals

 

So far the above lexical units with their new definitions may be termed as nonce-words, or “flashes-in-the-pan”, i.e. words that are only ‘candidates” to be included in official dictionaries if political tendencies crystalize them into solid meanings. Hopefully, dictionary users will never see them as full-fledged words.

UN FAUX AMI…

July 9, 2015

2015-07- False FriendsA false friend… And not only of a translator.

Why Ukrainians Are Speaking More Ukrainian

July 7, 2015

This is a repost of Ievgen Vorobiov’s article which appeared in Foreign Policy on June 26, 2015. The author does well placing the functioning of present-day Ukrainian in the social context. Although, the road of the Ukrainian language to the hearts and minds of the Ukrainians may be more bumpy than described by the author, the tendency is well perceived.

  • Ievgen Vorobiov is a trade policy analyst based in Ukraine. His research deals with EU-Ukraine relations and the Ukraine-Russia conflict.

It’s been 16 months since the first Ukrainian soldier was shot by Russian troops in soon-to-be occupied Crimea. Since then, Russia’s ongoing war against Ukraine has presented the country’s Russian-speaking population with some tricky questions about identity.

“I’m afraid of speaking Russian now, because Putin might want to protect me” — that became the frequently repeated joke last year after the Russian president made it clear he considered Russian-speakers in Ukraine to be endangered by Kiev’s new government.

Now many Russian speakers in Ukraine — who live primarily in the country’s east and in large cities — are demonstratively turning to Ukrainian as a badge of self-identification. A concise tutorial on how to switch from Russian to Ukrainian, written by a Kiev blogger, has earned thousands of shares and reposts. Patriotic Russian-speakers in Kiev and big eastern cities are pledging on social networks to speak Ukrainian to their children, hoping to make the next generation more fluent and natural speakers of their native tongue.

For the first time in decades, speaking Ukrainian is seen as fashionable rather than backward.

Ukraine’s strong civil society has also been an important factor in “socializing” the country’s adult population into using Ukrainian. Amid the dire lack of state-funded support for life-long education, dozens of organizations and initiatives teach the language to adults across the country. Activists say the bulk of their students came in the wake of the Euromaidan revolution and the beginning of the Russian-Ukrainian war. Most of the students, says an organizer of the biggest course in Kiev, are 30-to-50-somethings. Free Ukrainian courses have mushroomed in big, mostly Russian-speaking cities such as Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhzhia, Kharkiv, Kramatorsk and Odessa. However, they’ve also popped up in Lviv and Vinnytsia, Ukrainian-speaking cities where many people displaced from Crimea and the east have settled.

The media landscape is also unmistakably becoming more Ukrainian. Granted, the traditional media are still somewhat dominated by Russian: two of the top three TV channels broadcast their evening news and most entertainment programs in Russian. Most high-circulation weekly magazines are published in Russian. However, the emergence of powerful Internet-based news outlets is bucking the trend. Ukrainian-language web-based TV, most notably Hromadske TV and Espreso, have few Russian-language competitors of comparable quality, although the former has started to produce programs in Russian.

Since over half of Ukrainians regularly use the Internet, the social media is turning into another channel of “Ukrainization,” especially of the middle class. Top bloggers writing in Ukrainian on Facebook and Twitter are boosting their follower bases, and many Ukrainian Internet users are starting to abandon platforms based in Russia, such as VK, the Russian equivalent of Facebook. A controversy over Facebook blocking Ukrainian-created content, allegedly by Russian citizens staffing tech support teams in Dublin, provoked calls to write more in Ukrainian as a way to insulate the “Ukrainian” blogosphere from Russian interference. Discussing politics in Ukrainian makes it harder for Russian trolls to chip in.

The gravitational pull of the Ukrainian language is making a mark on business, too.

For the first time, Ukrainian pop music is selling better than Russian. A popular chain of coffee shops, Lviv Handmade Chocolate, has made waitresses and baristas that serve customers only in Ukrainian into a signature policy, yet the chain is popular across the whole country. Roman Matys, a Ukrainian activist, campaigns for companies to include labels and documentation in Ukrainian in addition to Russian, and several large companies have yielded to his group’s petitions.

For the past twenty years, state education policy has been to promote Ukrainian in schools without directly impending the use of Russian. Ukraine’s post-Soviet governments, even pro-Russian ones, treated secondary education in Ukrainian as a generous concession to national-minded activists. While only 47 percent of Ukrainian schools taught in Ukrainian at the end of Soviet rule in the 1980s, that rate steadily increased to 75 percent in 2004 and 86 percent in 2013. And as Ukrainian has become the principal teaching language at leading universities, schoolkids and their parents perceive it as more of a priority, even if they use Russian at home.

The trend was not reversed even after the passage of the 2012 “language law,” which provided for greater use of Russian on the regional level. Legislative initiatives pertaining to the language use have been politicized since the Maidan revolution as well. Parliament’s attempt to repeal the controversial language law in February 2014 (which was rejected by a presidential veto) was used as a rallying call by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine is still a bilingual country. But the Ukrainization phenomenon is not just anecdotal — survey data shows that, in the last decade, the country’s linguistic landscape has undergone a visible change. In 2005, 42 percent of Ukrainians claimed that they spoke mostly Ukrainian at home. By 2011, 53 percent said hey spoke it in their everyday lives. Since most of them are perfectly fluent in Russian as well, the 11 percent upsurge, representing at least 5 million people, reflects the share of Ukrainian society that has switched from Russian to Ukrainian. The Euromaidan revolution and conflict with Russia accelerated that trend: a poll conducted in May 2015 shows that almost 60 percent of the population prefer to use Ukrainian in everyday communication.

This burgeoning popularity of Ukrainian, especially among the youth and the middle class, is having unifying effects on the country’s social structures. It facilitates social mobility between the east and the west. Many western Ukrainian students are bringing their Ukrainian to universities in Kiev and the big eastern cities. Young IT and service professionals who move from Kharkiv or Dnipropetrovsk to Lviv tend to bring Ukrainian into their everyday lives, despite Lviv’s tolerance for Russian speakers.

The revival of Ukrainian is only one of many societal upshots in the Ukrainian-Russian war. Yet, as Ukrainian-savvy children come of age and the middle class starts to pay more for Ukrainian products and services, it may well become one of the most durable ones. Along with the blue-and-yellow flag and the embroidered traditional shirts so often seen in the streets in this trying time for Ukraine, the Ukrainian language is set to become a cherished, and practiced, national symbol.

 

WHAT IS KINDNESS?

July 5, 2015

2015-07-05A small article in today’s Ukrainian paper tells about a customer who, pulling into a drive-thru, ordered a regular coffee for herself and also paid for the coffee of the customer in the car behind her, though she didn’t know that second customer at all. When told about the gift by the coffee server, customer two, overwhelmed by gratitude, paid for the drink of another driver right behind him. The “chain of kindness” (actually, that was the title of the article) got longer and longer and remained unbroken for quite some time.

I don’t understand two things about the chain. First, how does a customer paying for the one in the car after him know what that driver is going to order? Even if the drive-thru sold only coffee, couldn’t it be that the next in the line would like to order two coffees and not one?

And second: an act of charity is done by the first person only. All the others – technically – pay each for their own coffee. The real charity would be if every customer, starting from customer two, paid for himself/herself AND bought another coffee for one of those babushkas whom we often see in underpasses at metro entrances. So much more that drive-thru restaurants are usually located near metro stations.

SEWING MACHINE

July 4, 2015

From the translator: Viktor Teren is a modern Ukrainian writer. I know him personally. In the 1900s, when I was politically active, I regularly met him at all sorts of gatherings. The extract below is taken from Viktor Teren’s latest book FORTUNE-TELLING ON A LAMB. I liked the episode and thought that it was worth being posted.

2015-07-04Viktor TerenThis dog started following me. It was black and short, with a broad snout. It used to recognize me from afar the moment I appeared at the metro exit, and it would immediately dash towards me. It had met me in that friendly way even before I began bringing it something to eat. And when one day I gave it his first sausage, the dog seemed to look at me reproachfully, as if saying, “Please, know, it’s not because of the food that I follow you.”

At that time I thought I must have met the dog some time before. Not a day or two before, but long ago, and, maybe, not in Kyiv. Was it when I was a pupil packing my ink-stained book-bag to go to school in the morning, and the dog ran into my room, and I remembered it? The dog wasn’t particularly active in the expression of its love – it neither fawned around me, nor jumped on to me, but I felt its presence and I knew I would see it again when I came back from school. Or was it just a figment of my imagination? So many years had passed, and, of course, no dog would have lived as long as that. A dog’s life is short as a dog leash.

I told my friend Agnessa about the dog. Agnessa was a real expert as far as canine breeds went (once she owned a Basset Hound – the name sounded Greek to me!), and she said my dog might be an Austrian Pinscher: all Austrian Pinschers are short-haired and their heads look like oblong pears.   She admitted that those dogs must also have white spots on them, which served to indicate that they were well cared for. But, as in my case, when the dog was stray and used to sleep in dirt, the white spots weren’t particularly important.

Certainly, the dog was glad that I had relocated to a neighborhood in Rusanivka where it lived. A dairy plant nearby was also a great place, and the dog had nothing to complain about. Now it had me too. When it trotted after me, people could think that it had me as its owner, like all those dogs with collars and leashes – they also had owners that walked their dogs along the canal. Collars and leashes showed that dogs belonged to a privileged caste – a kind of mollycoddles who didn’t have to fight for survival, but who had plenty to eat and drink, and there were rugs spread under their food bowls.

***

That night I was sitting on a bench at the canal. I didn’t want to go home. The moon was slowly rising, and the water shone like tinted glass. The dog was at my side. Generally, it was a good companion, but with one limitation only: it never missed an opportunity to become caught in a scuffle with other dogs. This time it stood a few steps away from me listening warily to some hardly audible noise. The dog was black, sleek, with a long breast and its belly drawn in. All of a sudden I understood why it seemed to me that I had seen the dog before. While it was now standing with his side turned to me, the dog had the shape of a sewing machine Singer as I remembered it from my childhood. The outline of the machine was imprinted in my memory and had been with me all the time.

“Singer”, called I, “are you Singer?”

The dog wagged its tail. It hadn’t yet been called that way, and the name might sound unusual.

I knew that the sewing machine had been bought for my Mom by her dad (my Grandpa). Mom was eager to attend school, but her father knew better: four years of elementary education was enough for a girl, he said. One day he threw her outdoor boots on to the attic – for her not to go to school but to stay at home, and he carried in this machine which he had procured somewhere. He said that sewing was a most important activity for a young maiden – coming second after marriage.

Mom became a skillful modiste. In those days we said “modiste”, not “seamstress.” “Modiste” sounded more refined and was associated with fashion.

When the Germans came during the war, Mom stuck the sewing machine into a bag, put the bag in a chest and dug it in the garden – she was afraid the Germans might take the machine away.

After the Red Army returned, Mom unearthed the chest and began to sew clothes again for half of the villagers. The other half was taken care of by Nahum. I cannot remember Nahum’s patronymic name, but everybody called him “Nyoma”, and he called himself “Nyoma” too.

Once our family didn’t manage to pay some tax, and executors were to arrive from the regional center to seize our property. Someone warned Mom of their arrival, and she did with the machine just what she had done to it under the German rule. The old story was repeated.

It looked as if guerilla tactics was applied to our sewing machine – it was regularly hidden outside and then brought back into the house again. When the machine was in the room, it was usually placed on the table at the window where there was more light.

One day Mom’s brother Petro was to be put on trial because some beetles had been found in the grain stored at the collective farm. We were advised to hire a lawyer, but lawyers were too expensive for us, and Mom let Nyoma know through other people that she wanted to sell her sewing machine to him. Parting with the machine was hard, but that was a small loss when we thought what could happen to Petro.

Nyoma bought the sewing machine without bargaining. First, Singer was a brand, and second, this way he was getting rid of his competitor. After Nyoma paid the money and left, Mom started weeping as if someone of our own had just died and had been taken out of the house.

And then, after three days… Nyoma, his face framed in sidelocks, suddenly appeared at our place. In his hands he held a heavy thing wrapped in a cloth.

“Maria,” Nyoma addressed my Mom solemnly, “I’ve brought you your sewing machine. It’s yours, not mine. Take it back.

“But…,”   Mom began fussing about the room, “…we have spent the money.”

“Maria, don’t talk about the money. I have come here to say what my old Beila says. And she says ‘Nyoma, take the machine back to those children, don’t make them hungry. So, Nyoma has brought the machine back. Here it is. I haven’t even taken my needles out of it.”

Nyoma’s needles were special: they were thin and didn’t break.

What Nyoma did was unheard of – he had bought the machine and he brought it back.

From that moment I have liked the Jewish people.

And they have liked me.

One autumn I was about to be imprisoned – I was charged with being a ”Ukrainian bourgeois nationalist.” My literary writings were not accepted for publication, I got kicked out of work, and the KGB men regularly invited me to their office for questioning. So, the poet Abram Isaacovych Kaznelson, having put all his war-time medals on to his jacket, went to the Central Party Committee to speak for me. When he was walking there, he held his head and sported his awards as solemnly as Nyoma, his ethnic brother, did when speaking to us.

Well… the functionaries at the Party Committee turned a deaf ear to what the famous poet said in my defense, and eventually I was transported in a paddy wagon to prison, but that’s another story.

… It’s already dark at night. We have just sent page layouts of the magazine to the printing office, and now we can relax. It looks like we are in for a free ride tomorrow. I am having a little shut-eye on the sofa, and it seems to me that from the table at the window, where there’s more light, I hear our sewing machine ticking evenly. I find all this so comfortable, as I have never found it before. I realize that what I do now is important: the layouts, the printing office, my relocation. However, all that isn’t the main point. The most important thing is that the sewing machine is ticking and Mom is working at it.

Lo! A yelp at the door and I am woken up from my slumber.

“Go to bed, Singer!”

Where there’s room for one, there will be room for two. Enough space here for two of us. After all, I decided that Singer would stay with me.


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