Friday, December 23, 2005

Having some influence

There are pros and cons to having a "face"
I think it is a nice thing having some influence in the world. I think having influence is something people want to have. I think that this is something that makes people happy- well, it can make people happy. Or perhaps it only makes them more comfortable because they know and are secure in the fact that people are listening to them and that they are thought of in serious terms. In any case I think it is a pretty good thing to have some influence in life. Yes, I definitely think of it as a good thing.

Now one of the things that has got me thinking that I might actually have become a little influential is that I have noticed that I have been copied a bit by some of the blogs and news sources out there who are covering the Belarusian scene. I notice specifically that people have started to pick up on some of my ideas about paying attention to all kinds of arguments about the country. Or maybe it is just better to say that they are no longer simply ragging Lukashenka, endlessly venting spleens against him, saying what a rotten guy he is and actually thinking about Belarus as an actual country and not only as the backdrop for a single man.

I definitely do think that this is a good and healthy thing because I absolutely think that people have been behaving rather childishly about this most important subject. And again, and for the millionth time, I am neither saying yea or nay about the Belarusian president, it is only that I am sick to death of the unidirectional rhetoric from our pundits. They say: Lukashenka only says that he is the president and what he says goes, and to this they reply "I don’t like you please go away". And this is the totality of a political argument. And you know I have always felt that it would be much more useful should said argument actually consist of the specific problems of peoples live and some real ideas about how to make them better. I am simply tired to death of listening to local political rhetoric that simply has no platform, no drive, no future and no idealism in it. Do you think I am wrong?

And by the way, this is especially true for our “potential” opposition president, who never ever seems to say anything about his platform. OK, he is a reformer. But how, when, where, why and with who will he reform? Please explain to me what I might possibly be able to look forward to with him, even if I could vote for the man.

But in any case, I seem to have brought at least a few thoughts to the local vox populi and for this, I am happy.

However, if you are going to have a little influence in life, I really think that the most important thing to remember is that you are supposed to be a bit more responsible about things to go along with it. I mean, I hate to be too severe in my thinking or to make this sound as if I believe that every last bit of happiness that comes into your life needs to be tortured into submission by an overbearing conscience, which I have been accused of from time to time. But I just simply believe that if you are going to have some responsibility in the world that you are in fact supposed to be… you know, responsible for it. Simple as that.

So what am I getting at? Well, what I am saying is that because I seem to be getting a bit of respect from both the internet community and from my local community as well, that I find that I am in fact feeling a bit happy. I am in fact really happy that people seem to be listening to me and that they are thinking that the things that I say might in fact be reasonable and that I myself might even be a reasonable person. And I am happy because I have wanted basically nothing else of my world for as long as I can remember.

I think that when I first came here to Belarus, and this was almost four years ago, this was specifically all that I wanted from the community of Pinsk. I did NOT come here to be a “great man”. I did not come here to be G-d, the savior, Superman, a carpetbagger, a dealer in Russian brides or the man who puts Lukashenka out of office; far from it. I think all I wanted was to live peacefully here with Tatyana, sell some bikes, and write a play or two and perhaps to have a good face in the community. You see the picture I am making? It is a picture of a man who has a good face.

OK, I know I have talked about what I mean by "a face" from time to time. It just means that when people see you or speak to you that they give you some room, some respect and some understanding that you are a serious person. It’s just a way you get treated. And of course having a good face is much better than having a poor face which means people think of you as being garbage or a drunk or a loser or a sycophant or other such wonderful words that describe almost all of us from time to time. There is probably a better technical explanation, but I’ll leave that for another time.

But in any case, a good face thing is something that I had here, I mean I made one here when I first arrived, but then had taken away from me by Poland. And of course the story of how I lost this face goes that I went to Poland for a week to get a visa and on my last day there I had this off duty cop named Zaremba run his car into me. And this action angered me, as it would anyone I would assume. And you know I punched him in the mouth after which he decided to play his favorite game, a game called police corruption to ruin my life for the next 10 months. And then there was the prosecutor Wiesniakowski and the Lawyer Borus, etc, etc, etc… You have all heard this story.

But you see when I eventually could come back to Pinsk I did not any longer have this “good face”. I did not have the respect of the locals any more because I had become a liar by virtue of simply no longer being able to fulfill my promises that I had made a year earlier. And this most horrible secondary effect from Warsaw has had a huge influence on my life over the last while. I won’t recount here the stories of the endless poverty, having to work two summers ago in my field without proper tools, having the only food that I had to eat coming directly from said field in the form of cabbage and new potatoes.

But I am not going to talk about this now. And the reason is that I feel a little bit... happy. Things are a little better at the moment. Life is really not so horrible. I have got a little support going for me at the moment, but more importantly than the support, is that I seem to have some people by the ears! And this is a very good thing.

But again, what to do about it? Because you know, in modern Belarus, I am really not all that certain that being anywhere near the center of attention is at all a good thing. In fact, I am defiantly thinking that this is in no way a wise thing to be doing, all of this ear taking. I mean the fact of the matter is that I hate being the center of attention and I always have. And the more I think about it, I am not even sure it is a safe thing, being the center of attention. I mean, I write the plays, but I am not an actor!

But what am I supposed to do about it? I have already begun this thing. And fortunately or unfortunately, I have, during the doing of this thing, caught some people’s attention. It is here, you are reading it. And for some stupid reason, some sense of absolutely useless responsibility, I have been going on with it.

So anyway, what can I say? Thank you for listening. And I am going to continue on. It has become a responsibility, because some people have shown that they are reading me. And so I will respect and accept that responsibility. And for this trust, I will do my best never to let you down or to cheat you. And, other than posting alternative pictures of satellites from time to time, I will do my best never to say anything I know of as a lie. Or I other words, I agree to be responsible.

Actually, I just did something responsible: I got the blog out on time for a change.

More soon…

As an after thought, I have actually put a different chapter of the book up on the book site. This one concerns the day Zaremba’s daughter gave testimony to the court. Crazy times they were in general, but this day was one of the most out there. Have a look. And thanks again for reading me.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Moishe said...

From the last part of your blog where you say about the thing in Poland ruining your face etc. I think the most important face of a person has to be his heart. If you are trying your best, this is ok and you don’t have to give a dime about what people think about you. The face of a person is the honesty of a person. I think that Poland should not have had an effect on you as a person at all. More so now that you realize to how low and corrupt people can get this should make you want to be the better person. So I think you should thank the Poles for giving you such an important lesson in life through their sick behaviour. Any lesson in life is worth more than any money in the world.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005  
Blogger BEING HAD said...

Thanks for the comment. And for the most part, I think I agree with you. But there are two points I worth arguing. The first is that face to me is not self esteem but what you get from the outside. It is how people perceive you. All you get on the inside is to enjoy the results of having made a good one. The second is that much more important than liking one’s self (in this argument) is that we all need to understand that we are not islands unto ourselves and that we really should not be forgetful of our connection to and needs of others. Having one’s face damages by slander can perhaps be shrugged off internally because of a higher moral and situational understanding (or because you have the money to insulate and comfort yourself), but having people think poorly of you because of what they see as either a character flaw or because of something they think you did or might do, makes life harder. For me, I know losing a year of my life to those cretins was something I did not deserve and was not about “me” as much as it was bad luck at being caught up by a lowrent thief, but my ability to simply pop back up was dependant on my ability to do business here and to be with people in a comfortable fashion, and this is what I lost.

Oh, and about lessons in life: You must know that they all cost something and that if you fail to learn the lesson the first time, you have to pay again. And believe me I learned about Poland. You won’t see me there any time soon except in a suit, sitting next a great white shark of an international lawyer and surrounded by press.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005  

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