Friday, November 02, 2007

But on the other hand...

The Ministry of Education in Minsk
It's about 3:00 in the morning and I am here at the computer trying to make sense of things. I had a hard time getting yesterday's blog out which is probably why I printed that excerpt. Sometimes it is hard to think of what I want to write about for these blogs. Writing about things personally is one thing, but what to share publicly is another.

I remember writing that story and the incident that it portrays but it reads much different in retrospect than it did when I wrote it. I see a lot of things between Tanya and myself which come out. Maybe the perspective has changed over time or maybe it is because our living situation is much, much different than what it was, but I certainly see some elements in there which are really big now but at the time I simply thought of as normal. Probably this is because of how I view the general context of my life now as opposed to how I viewed it then. In any case I am much, much more cynical now.

I have been reading back through the STORY blogs lately. Terrible. Not all of it but so much of it. Trying to put a real perspective on all of that should take some real thinking. I guess this is called putting a spin on things. But blogging is such an odd form: It is not like book writing in which you control both the internal elements as well as the over-all flow, blogging is backwards journal writing and the relevance of what you write about is determined not only by content but by the passing of time. And of course it all develops in reverse. The positives consist of the ability to comment on things publicly within a short period of time and of course, that opinions can be made public. But there are also a lot of negatives such as losing interesting things into the sea as the next entries get logged. I guess there are ways to get around this such as changing the lead page format to more of a newspaper style or maybe a link based page or pages but basically blogging amounts to a public format for new ideas which, bloom and die in a matter of seconds. I suppose all media has this same short life span these days. Maybe all of everything in our world only has relevance for a few seconds now but for me in my quest for a return to normalcy in my life, I wonder if continuing in the format is really worth the trouble.

I need relevance. I need relevance in my life badly. Or maybe I just need to be living a relevant life rather than this rather stupid imitation of existence I have now. I am not really living, I am waiting. Always, always, always waiting. I am not saying that I don't do anything, it is just that there are such overwhelming limits on what I can actually do from the position I am in that it amounts to sitting in prison. On my part, I feel that what I want is not only NOT unreasonable, but in fact wildly beneficial. But I am not without opposition and this makes it even more difficult. Circumstances can be strange, life is complicated and a simple living wage is very hard to come by. But I am trying to get my life in order once and for all here in Pinsk; it is simply not that easy at all.

Maybe I should just write the book here on the blog. That would be interesting to do; a chapter a day or so, commentary helping the edit. Or maybe I should stay with what I am doing but set in place some rules about not holding back for anyone: I write what I want to write when I want to write it. I am talking here about dealing with the educational bureaucracy and that I chose not to cover the story as it evolved. As of the moment I am not sure I made the right choice here. I made the same decision in allowing for my dealings with the Jewish community to go by unrecognized. Of course there is no law that says I need to make my whole life public. On the other hand, I have been making so much of everything public that not doing so might have been a bad choice. Again, it is hard to say.

The educational bureaucracy…

But this business with the educational bureaucracy has been different because several people have asked to know more about this. I also had people asking about what was going on with me and the Jewish community but my dealings with the educational system have generated much more interest. Of course I know that these people only want to hear great negativity about the Republic of Belarus. They say that they care for me, but this is bullshit; what they want is dirt and proof that Belarus is a corrupt prison and is therefore worthy of being attacked. We all know about the corrupt, lower forms of life that inhabit paper pushing circles. Wiesniakowski, the Polish prosecutor was one of these. Judge Zurawska was one of these as well. But before I go off on anybody locally, I wanted to let them be who they are without any unnecessary manipulation. Let them show me there is method to their madness. On the other hand, probably I should have been true to myself and exactly covered every minute. Maybe I should have made it clear that I do write about these things and that accountability is in fact what it is all about.

Probably I have not been writing about it specifically because I don't admire a hateful perspective. The people who are holding my life in their (adjective purposely left out) hands may in fact be corrupt and reprehensible abusers of power and in some cases truly might be insane, but if I start blabbing about them while they are in what is supposedly a serious decision making process, I would be influencing the situation in an unfair manner. Ideally they should be going about the process of getting my documents in order in fairness and with reason and herefore my writing about my meetings could be construed as a threat on my part. On the other hand, accountability is a reasonable request and exposure of dirty dealings would of course be helpful to others who might also have been suppressed.

As I write these words I understand that I have much real experience with un-fairness from the Belarusian side over the last four years but inevitably I just want the job on merit and talent and not because politicked my way into it or bribed or cajoled a bureaucrat. I want credibility. How can one have real relevance without credibility? Maybe I should never have held back a single word, but maybe this blog was supposed to be about Poland's failure and not the failures of Belarus.

The truth is that I really don't care if they like me or what their prejudices are as far as Americans or Jews or whatever I am to them, I just wish to be allowed to help the kids of this town communicate with the world better. I think I am qualified for that position and I think that by focusing on the kids and their future rather than the bureaucrats and their jobs, there might be the possibility of better results. And frankly, the results insofar as local children's ability to speak English is concerned are pure crap. I would think making that future as bright as possible should be what this is all about but I am becoming doubtful that this is the case. And worse, I am starting to think that the opposite is the truth here. I am not saying that all of the teachers I have met believe in this but I am saying that it might be an intrisic part of the educational bureaucracy.

So it is hard to say what is right and wrong. We foolish idiots who still believe in morals and ethics sometimes have to take it on the chin. Maybe this is also true for Noam Chomsky, freedom of speech types too. But as of the moment I am waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting. I'll get things sorted out eventually.


Anonymous John Q Law said...

You know Adam I have been reading you for a while and I still don't get it. You have been there for five years now and you still never seem to be on an even keel or even have what you want. Why do you stay? I know you have a daughter. I know you have a wife and a farm. But is this really enough? If all they give you is crap, if they don't respect you by now, there is something really wrong. Maybe it is time t cut your losses and go try something different somewhere else.

Saturday, November 03, 2007  
Blogger BEING HAD said...

Maybe you are right. Let's see what happens.

Saturday, November 03, 2007  
Anonymous John Q Law said...

I am serious. Why don't you just come back to america for a while and see how things go for you here? Come talk to our friends and family. Maybe you have a better future her than you think.

Saturday, November 03, 2007  
Blogger BEING HAD said...

Look John, I am not going to sit here and say that I never think about it, or that I wouldn't ever do this or that. It is just not this way for me right here and right now. To my mind, the life that I would like to lead is possible from exactly where I am. And really, when we think about what we do with our time in the world, unless you are completely locked into your deal and are happy with your circumstances there should always be room for growth. I think that helping the young people here is very satisfying for me. I like the thought of doing something for the place I live, it is really all I ever wanted to do and frankly, even though everything here seems to be hatred these days, I still believe there are some positive things that could come from it socially. I also actually like teaching and could very easily make a living from it as well (which unfortunately is all the education people ever think of).

I don't know- there is a lot more to this and had at least some of what I had planned worked out I would not have been so whiny over the last couple of months about money and all. But at the bottom line I have what I have. There were a few people who decided to assault my character and really, all it was personal maliciousness and gamesmanship and if they hadn't decided to be shitty about things, all would have been fine for everybody, especially the kids. We have a specific culture for our bureaucrats here and though sometimes I think they are trying to win medals in the asshole Olympics, people here at least outwardly hold them in high regard no matter how high (as in on drugs) they seem to be. And don't think I don't get a lot of crap because I am American as well. Lots of people believe what they see on Television and think that I am their chance to win the cold war. But hey, if it weren't for stupid people, how would we ever recognize the smart ones, right?

Saturday, November 03, 2007  

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