Tuesday, June 19, 2007

It's about…

I don't know a soul who's not been battered
I don't have a friend who feels at ease
I don't know a dream that's not been shattered
or driven to its knees
But it's all right, it's all right
We've lived so well so long
Still, when I think of the road
we're traveling on
I wonder what went wrong
I can't help it, I wonder what went wrong
From "American Tune" by Paul Simon
What is being had?

I have been asking this question a lot lately. Passing that five year mark has been tough on me. I have the interesting situation of both watching the possibility of the statute of limitations running out on attempting for some Polish justice, but at the same time in my heart I do not believe there is any justice in Poland to hope for. I mean how do you sue the entire justice system? How do you convince a judge that a judge is guilty when other judges have apparently refused to even allow my side of the case to be heard.

    Dear Adam,

    I know you're not blogging for your health, but in reading the blog entries relating to the Polish mess I am struck by your rage. I am more struck by your rage than I am by the injustice of what happened to you, and the injustice of it f-in' sucks. But I am having to fill in for myself the sense of injustice because your rage is in the way.

    Not that you have no right to be seriously pissed, but you have to give the rage a context. And you have got to stop being angry at Poles in general. It's not valid, there are some that are very nice and kind people. (Picture yourself listening to or reading an anti-Semitic rant by someone who was done wrong by one or more people who are Jews, and think what your personal reaction to it would be.)

    Reorganize your material and rewrite. This may or may not be a book, but if it isn't it's a series of articles or essays. It's already not a new story, which means it's not news unless you have some recent developments. Research who could have an interest in publishing this -- RFE/RL? Others?

    A movie could be interesting. Alan Bates in "The Fixer" suddenly appeared in my head.

    Frankly, I think the story of what an American is doing living in post-glasnost/perestroika Belarus is more interesting, maybe because I never encountered any other Americans who'd even thought of doing it, let alone who were actually doing it. I don't even know any Americans who've been there more than once, and even they are quite few.

    You need an editor, regardless.
So I do this blog. It is interesting and I meet some interesting people because of it. But I am not convinced that I am really any closer to solving the being had problem then I was when I started?

    I just took a look at the site - and still say that when I go to www.beinghad.com i shouldnt have to click on anything to get to the main message you are trying to get across - which is your news section (right?). It's still all very confusing when I hit the main page - I think you have too many links between the left and right sections - maybe try to consolidate some of them...

    all this stuff: It's about Lies
    It's about Corruption
    It's about Freedom
    It's about Fighting for what is Right
    It's about Belarus
    It's about Poland
    It's about Bikes
    It's about the Blogs
    It's about Being Had

    should be somehow incorporate in the top middle section where it says "trying to get it straight since..." The middle section of your first page is your most important real estate and its not being used (in my opinion) to capture the audience.
I mean, what I am trying to do is to make an injustice public and to have my chance at some satisfaction. I know the issue gets clouded when I add in that I moved to Belarus. I don't really think that this should matter but I know that it does. There are attitudes and misunderstanding to go along with the embargoes and sanctions and all of a sudden, I am more political than I ever intended to be and worse, people have a built in excuse not to listen to me.

    You got what you deserve. When you lay with dogs you get up with fleas. When you go to live with cannibals don't be surprised to find yourself in their soup. Such imnmature idiocy to ask for money to prove something to the most anti=Semitic goyim in European history, while Jewish kids in Israel, mutilated by bombings, with their parents killed or wounded don't know how to pay for basic expenses. You are big and healthy enough to earn money for your own legal expenses. Are you single mother with four kids? Why are you shnorring?
I don't think it is really like I have hit a wall, per se. It is just more like, I am torn by the relevancy. I want to move on, I just can't understand what I am doing wrong. Where is the key? What is the answer?

    I like the idea of your appeal to establish a fund for legal fees and gather that legal aid for righteous claims as to people subjected to foreign abuse and state oppression which invariably is always 'dressed up' as a criminal prosecution is not yet readily available in Belarus.
    Your case, as I am aware, is highly relevant, extraordinary and exceptional as the abuse you have suffered at the behest of officials acting for the state (i.e. Poland) is excessively disproportionate and offensive to the common standards of decency. My advice is that it is worth a try to approach the Authorities in Belarus and petition your concept to them.
So I ask you: what can I do? How do I break this open? I am open to suggestions.

More soon…

15 Comments:

Anonymous Jenna said...

I think what you have been doing has been just fine. You are reaching people. You are saying good things. And I believe you have become a real voice in Belarusian issues. I think you have made a lot of people reconsider their notions about who Belarus is and occasionally who the west is as well. Just keep doing what you are doing. All will be ok.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007  
Anonymous John Q Law said...

What do you want, a medal?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007  
Blogger BEING HAD said...

Yes.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007  
Anonymous Linda said...

I'm not trying to minimize the significance of what happened to you in Poland or of what you observed/experienced while there. I'm just not sure it's THE most significant aspect of what's been going on with you over the past few years.

You're a 40-ish American guy who's been living in Belarus for five years. You're not like those Brits who were buying up the Bulgarian countryside, planning on making a killing in real estate as soon as Bulgaria joined the EU. What took you there, and why?

You're in-country, not traveling or vacationing but trying to make a living, trying to survive. You've reconnected with your spiritual heritage. You've made a family with a local woman. What is it about you that made it possible for you to do that? What is it about her that made it possible for her to become involved with a foreign man?

These are just some of the many questions that have arisen for me as I've been reading your blog and our correspondence.

I know that political correctness is not a Belarusian thing, or an FSU thing. But harping on evil Polaki isn't the same thing as working to expose institutionalized corruption, anti-Semitism, and the like in Poland after having a personal experience of it.
You don't want people making excuses for your anger, do you?

I think you want them to be indignant about your tribulations and I'm not sure that tarring all Poles with the same brush will accomplish that, especially if you are appealing to Western sensibilities. (And you are, because there's no extra money in Belarus and if there were, nobody would be giving it to you for badmouthing Polaki because they can do that themselves or hear it from their friends or relatives for free.)

Keep writing, Adam. In a way you *are* blogging for your health. But think about putting things into context.

Most Westerners who went through what you did in Poland would have hightailed it home from Eastern Europe as soon as they could manage it. You didn't. Why?

Why are you exploring your Jewishness amidst the ruins of Russian Jewry instead of in New York or Israel?

What keeps you there? It isn't Tanya, or even Anya, though Anya's existence is evidence of whatever the real reasons are.

You have a lot to say and I'm not sure you even realize the full extent of it. Think about it.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007  
Anonymous Steve R said...

I have a suggestion: If you really want to get serious about this, you have got to start writing letters to every single person in the world who might help you. You need to make a list of attorneys in both Europe and Poland and introduce yourself and your case. You have to make a mailer for all of the print and television media. You have to contact all of the legal help organizations and ask them what you can do. You need to start writing letters to Polish politicians and EU guys who can make things happen. I don't know if you have done this or not, but it seems as though you are just passively sitting there waiting for the world to acknowledge you. You wrote the book. This is a plus. You posted the case. This is a plus. You make your blog and the beinghad times and the Polish corruption page. This is a plus. But if you don't get this in front of the people who it needs to be in front of, you are just spitting in the wind.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007  
Blogger Mary Ellen said...

I don't think it is really like I have hit a wall, per se. It is just more like, I am torn by the relevancy. I want to move on, I just can't understand what I am doing wrong. Where is the key? What is the answer?

I'm not sure where it is you want to move on to? You've made an incredible impact on those who visit your blog. You have not only been able to get your message out as to the injustice that you received in Poland and you didn't choose to do it the easy way. Like Linda said, you could have just thrown up your arms and come back to the US, but instead you took the more difficult task of fighting for your honor. Or am I reading more into Being Had than is there? Sometimes it's the seed that is planted that is important. It may seem to lay dormant for a long time, but it will eventually sprout and produce fruit. IMO, every time you write about your experience, you are watering that seed. (Oh geez...that sounded almost too Biblical, sorry!)

A wise man(or was it a wise guy?) once told me that some people blog to express their feelings, write about something that's important to them, and make new friends. I think you've achieved that, no? You've opened the eyes to those who have read your blog to the needless suffering that you endured at the hands of the Polish justice system. Isn't that enough to make you feel relevant? You haven't done anything wrong, you are just taking on a fight of epic proportions and doing it with an army of one.

Personally, if it were me, I would be going after the US government for not doing more to protect you. I think that angers me more than anything. Maybe you are slaying the wrong dragon?

Also, IMO, the essays that you write about your everyday life in Belarus is what keeps me coming back to your blog. It's almost like reading a novel that I love so much I don't want it to end. The way you express yourself goes well beyond the typical blogger.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007  
Blogger Mary Ellen said...

OK...while I was typing, Steve R put up a comment. Ignore me and listen to him, he makes more sense. ;-)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007  
Anonymous Steve R said...

Thanks Mary Ellen. And I agree with you about taking the fight to the Americans. They probably pay better anyway.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007  
Anonymous Lee said...

I could not agree more in what was said. I love your daily writing on what is happening in your life and I know that is what interests me most. And I have too say that what happened in Poland 5 years ago is over. There is nothing that will correct what occurred. You think you are addressing American justice; there is no recourse. It is time to move on to what you have and what you can do. Take his advise. It truly makes sense.

Thursday, June 21, 2007  
Anonymous Edward W said...

I have been carrying on reading your blog every so often, and you latest article prompted me to write in again.
Personally I am a bit bored of the poland story - btw have you thought of going to a european court? (The hague etc.)
However your insights into Belarus make very interesting reading - both the politics and the personal stories and they are what is keeping me coming back to your site.
Keep up the work - you can change the world....

Thursday, June 21, 2007  
Blogger BEING HAD said...

But what about social justice or one's contribution to the world he lives in? If I remove Poland, to me, there is no point in writing the blog at all. It implies that I came to Belarus simply to write about it which makes my whole life a lie, and this is not the case. I only started this blog BECAUSE Poland happened. This situation would be different if I had already been a blogger (I was not) or if I had left Belarus and wanted to write about what my experiences had been. Or even if I had come to Belarus for a short period of time such as for work or even an extended vacation. But I can't justify writing about my life except that it has been made more difficult BECAUSE of what had happened to me. Yes, there are occasional insights into what it is like out here, I am glad you like this, but all of this is being written from a perspective of someone who was disallowed from having the business he wanted or even a normal social status because of being held back from coming here and being slandered. Having to work my way out of the ditch I was tossed into has taken all of four years and I still have not been able to make much headway. Sure, it is harder in Belarus; no question here. But to be dropped from a position of acceptance to a position of being an ass has made it impossible.

I might also point out that if people are not willing to do what they can to change things that are in fact wrong, there will be no change and others will suffer the same fate. And this is the case with Poland. Just look at the corruption page. Three hundred and 30 something entries from the last five years alone!!

All I can say is that I understand the point: It is more interesting to listen to amusing stories from some idiot's life than it is to think about social injustice. But I am saying there is more to life than amusing one's self.

Thursday, June 21, 2007  
Anonymous John Q Law said...

If you are serious about pursuing this, you are in the wrong place. Fighting Poland would require being in Poland. Understandably, you might not receive so much support from the legal sector but you might popularly. Or at the least, you probably need to go back to the states for a while. This is both because of how Belarus is seen politically and because being there would show you are actually an American rather than someone who went away and got what he disearved. Not that I think this way, but people do.

Thursday, June 21, 2007  
Anonymous Jenna said...

I think you need to be proud of what you have done. You said that you have had a lot of readers and that the newspaper is popular. This means that your message has gotten out to a lot of people. You took on a pretty big project as Linda said. Your body of work is actually pretty impressive. Maybe just keep doing what you are doing and try not to let yourself get down too much.

But I also agree with John that if you really wanted to have made a real impact you needed to have gone home. You made your choice and stayed for your family and to be where you wanted to be. A lot of these comments say that they like what you have written about Belarus. There might be something in it for you eventually that you have never heard of yet.

And what's with the champagne?

Thursday, June 21, 2007  
Blogger BEING HAD said...

I appreciate what you are saying but it is an issue for me and it doesn’t seem to ever want to go away. When I wrote the book I really thought that it would be something special or interesting but no agents even really wanted to look at it except for those who wanted money. They couldn't imagine how it could be a popular subject.

It has taken me a really long time to even feel like I am a human being again. I feel like I have a chance right now. We will see what happens in a couple of months.

But I think what all of these comments have taught me is that you do need to move on, but also you do need to be as serious as you can about things. Maybe what I am looking at is to continue as I have but to add in a little extra research and perhaps a deeper mailing program and go after the media more. That movie Linda mentioned would be cool. I don't think I am going back to Poland any time soon as John and Steve suggested and I have no immediate plans for returning to the states, but then again, you never know.

At the bottom line though, if you want something you got to make it happen yourself; nobody is going to do anything for you for free. I had actually hoped for a little more money than that has come in. That would have made things more flexible for sure. But that doesn't mean that there is nothing that can be done. I guess it is time to do something some real thinking, find some new ideas and see what I can make from them.

This was a pretty introspective couple of days. Hope it didn't bother everyone too much. I guess it's time to get back to work.

And the champagne is great. They make it here. Try it some time.

Thursday, June 21, 2007  
Anonymous Linda said...

the Poland thing is running you. What I'm concerned about is that if you don't put it into context/perspective it's going to continue to eat you and interfere with bigger and better things. Can you back-burner it for a bit and focus on other stuff until you can deal with it in a more reasoned fashion? Just a suggestion from someone who knows all too well what it is to obsess, and who is also expert at compartmentalizing when it's necessary and/or useful.

Well, you have to do what you have to do.

Friday, June 22, 2007  

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