Agata Tuszyńska: The world must cry

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As one of the authors of the collective cover of “Le Grand Tour”. Through the eyes of European writers: “I was allowed a free world. The last two weeks seemed like a lifetime since I was on the road. Suddenly, opportunities for travel, meetings, speeches, blocked by the pandemic, which is still everywhere. Most importantly, he met in Berlin with Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who wanted to learn from the writers how the pulse of Europe is beating and how the Old Continent has changed its form and cultural land.

We face another problem: to accept hundreds of thousands of refugees from Ukraine, people in need, to escape the war. This must be met. Diligently. This is a test of our humanity. Is it different between borders? At the children’s book fair in Bologna, the Ukrainian stand stood separately. Lonely and lonely. I know, I’m not fair, it has become a symbol of Ukraine’s status for me. Apparently invited to the table, close to our western neighbors, but far away. On my own. Yes, despite aid and declarations, despite international agreements and real supplies of weapons, equipment and medicines.

There are many external signs of support in Berlin. Ukrainian flags at the main refugee camp, museum buildings and the city library. Venice looks at its grandeur. There is no silence on Ukraine. Paris sometimes demonstrates, good people help. A drop in the ocean. Poles eagerly take on the role of state, which puts the burden of caring for refugees on their shoulders. At least we deserve good words again in the world. Israel has been listening to its terrorist attacks for the past three weeks. They do not have enough empathy for other victims.

Dinner in Venice, Peggy Guggenheim’s treasures, bagels in the Chancellor’s, hummus in Jerusalem … I look at Picasso, sunset in Jaffa, rich St. Marek and I can’t choke with joy. Is it a matter of age or circumstances? How far is it possible to include the evil of the world? The farther you go, the easier it is to avoid damage.

Support words, words and deeds. It is also a daily life that is transformed by shopping, classes, cycling trips, vernissages, opera performances and meetings in restaurants. Life has its rights. I don’t know anyone who can drink champagne, eat sturgeon and listen to a symphony orchestra in the Warsaw ghetto. Wiera Gran Sztuka cafe’s audience was moved by the existence of the wall and the closure of the Jewish neighborhood. Everyone needs them.

I would like to write: let the world cry. If he cannot stop the dictator and his army, he must protest loudly and despair. In the meantime, we watch the massacre on TV, then eat dinner, go for a walk and drink weight loss. We are not in the middle of events. The war in Ukraine touches us with its repercussions combined with geographical proximity.


I thought about it on Saturday on the hot beach of Tel Aviv. Morning sun, boys playing football, comets, girls in colored towels, crowds at tables in the sand. Then suddenly the fog began to fall. Thick and blue. Gray and sticky. Contours of the sea, avenues, skyscrapers and the horizon. For a quarter of an hour, he covered everything, covering it with a waterproof coat. I thought, continuing on the little piece of paper in my pen that looked like a curtain of mourning. I spoke with Irit Amiel, who died more than a year ago and I miss this place more than anywhere else.

My mother’s peer, Irit, taught me courage for years. He left Poland, built a house on the promised land, built a beautiful family, and finally began to write about “burned” people like him … This country was built by such people. They gave him their strength and confidence in the future. Sometimes at the expense of the past, which they have to face for years in silence. Without them, Israel seems soulless to me.

The Witnesses left. We will have to fight the Holocaust alone, without building the reality on the eve. There are no instructions. The experience of war is weakening. For a long time, Israel did not want the memories of the survivors. He did not allow the stories of the victims – they violated the story of the modern state, based on the power and strength of survival. In the ethics of heroism. “Sheep slaughter” did not fit this picture. They did not want to bear the burden of the Holocaust, especially since the country had to be fought again and again. Fight, because Jews can be brave.

Survivors built their new lands. There are no places to hide under the bright sun and no nightmares in the basement. Years later, they stopped talking. According to Irit, all the “charred” had a load on their backs. They left themselves late. I have listened to them many times. Now there are not many left. Without them, it will be even more difficult for me to understand cruelty. They were a guarantee of survival.

A bluish fog left the sky in Tel Aviv. I read about Bucza, Hostomel and Irpień. Civilians brutally killed by Russian soldiers, women raped and burned, children killed, bullets in the back of the head. “From people to people …”. This is the new Srebrenica, someone says. Well, Irit, you don’t care anymore. The end of this world? Or just his forecast?

Agata Tuszyńska (Photo: Kajus Pyrz / KLK)

We invite you to every two weeks for the next column of Agata Tuszyńska.

Agata Tuszyńska – writer, poet, correspondent. He is the author of the biographies of Isaac Bashevis Singer, Irena Krzywicka and Wiera Gran, as well as his personal “Family History of Anxiety” and “Lessons from Loss”. In recent years, she has published, among others: “Accused: Wiera Gran” (2010), “Shulzun’s Bride” (2015), “Dachshund” (2016), “Personal Luggage. After March” (2018), “Mother Always Returns” “(2020) and” Teachings to Lose. After 15 Years “(2021). His last book in May, Żongler. Romain Gary”. Laureate of the award of the Polish PEN Club. Pruszinski for high achievements in the field of reporting and non-fiction. In 2015, she was awarded the silver medal “For Service to Culture” – Gloria Artis. His books have been translated into several languages.

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