no. 7 (2012)

Stories From Countries Which Are no More

In 1989 Poland bordered three countries. Just a few years later none of them existed. During this memorable autumn Milan Kundera’s dream was being fulfilled: that the countries from our part of Europe return from the East, where they wrongly found themselves, to where they should be – if not in the West then at least in the Centre.

Countries liberated from unwanted (?) relationships appeared on the map. Back then, Drago Jančar commented: “Exhausting talks are already going on, predatory spouses are already moving their property to a safe place, newspapers calculate on every page who contributed how much to the marriage, how much the parties gained, who will pay and how much to the other party before leaving.” We know how different these separations were, and in what circumstances Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, the GDR, and the USSR became history. Common sense suggested that it had to be so, for these countries were wrongly structured from the start, Jančar argued, but still – and here the writer became somewhat hesitant – we spent quite a chunk of our lives with them and in them! Jančar went even further and confessed: “It’s a bit unpleasant when I think about the time I might find myself exclusively among my beloved Slovenes,” which must have sounded a bit provocative back then.

And today? Does the time elapsed help us to have a sober judgement? Or does it colour our memories with nostalgia?

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