MITTEL MEDIA 29/10/2008 – 9.00
Scuola Superiore di Lingue Moderne
per Interpreti e Traduttori
Università degli Studi di Trieste
Visoka šola modernih jezikov za
tolmače in prevajalce Univerze v Trstu
via/ul. Filzi, 14 Trieste/Trst – Italy
Pubblicità, giornalismo e comunicazione
nel futuro dei nostri confini
ore 9.20 Silvia Acerbi (Informest, vicepresidente)
Benvenuto e introduzione
Enrico Maria Milič e Enrico Marchetto (Direttore responsabile e Responsabile editoriale)
La storia di Euregio: la raccolta delle storie dei confini europei
Seguono le sessioni moderate da Giulio Garau (Il Piccolo) e Roberto Weber (Swg)
ore 9.45 Antonio Rocco (RadioCapodistria – RtvSlo, Responsabile della programmazione in italiano)
L’esperienza della televisione transfrontaliera
Ariella Risch (Illy, responsabile dei progetti editoriali e sponsorizzazioni)
Leggere la brand: il caso
Martin Vremec (TMedia, manager dell’agenzia transfrontaliera per la raccolta pubblicitaria )
Problemi e sfide della raccolta pubblicitaria transfrontaliera per i media
ore 11.40 Rok Sunko (Valicon, ricercatore di opinione e manager)
L’etnocentrismo nelle scelte di consumo in Slovenia e nell’ex Jugoslavia
Damien Stankiewicz (New York University, antropologo, studente PHD New York University.
Verso un media Trans-europeo
Fabio Turel (Generali, Innovation Lab)
Le comunità on-line e il problema/opportunità del multilinguismo in rete
Conclusioni e arrivederci alla festa in programma alle 20 a Capodistria
Presso le cantine di VinaKoper, Euregio organizza una grande festa per tutti gli amici del giornale e del progetto ‘euroregionale’. La partecipazione è a invito, per essere invitati scrivere a Enrico Marchetto email@example.com
Dalle ore 20
– Concerto del giovane cantautore istriano Rudi Bučar
– Reading di Milan Rakovac, Patrick Karlsen
– Degustazione di vini e buffet
– Breve presentazione del nuovo numero di Euregio
Female Slovenian workers enjoy the best conditions and are much better represented at a managerial level. Social research carried out at the International Institute of Sociology in Gorizia compares the female populations in Austria, Slovenia and Friuli Venezia Giulia (NE Italy) in the fields of economics and employment
Greater ease in finding work, less discrimination, a network of services that supports mothers. The women of Slovenia can count on the best working conditions and quality of life. This is what emerges from a doctoral thesis on the conditions enjoyed by women in the Euroregion.
‘Gender inequalities and social conditions of employed women in the Alps-Adriatic region. A comparison between Carinthia, Friuli – Venezia Giulia and Slovenia’ is the title of the work of Serena Fedel, carried out between Friuli Venezia Giulia, Slovenia and Carinthia, during a doctorate in transboundary policies in daily life, through the Institute of International Sociology in Gorizia together with a consortium of ten universities from Central and Eastern Europe.
The aim of the research and fieldwork was to analyse the approach towards gender differences in the three areas. Jumping to the work’s conclusions one discovers that Slovenia is without doubt the country where women find fewer obstacles in achieving their aims, especially economically and in the workplace. This, of course, without forgetting how these two aspects have a positive effect in the social and family spheres. But behind these conclusions there is a long piece of research that begins with the reasons that, today, produce the different outcomes, in Austria, Friuli Venezia Giulia and Slovenia. Amongst these, without doubt, is the socialist heritage of ex-Yugoslavia.
“The comparison between the three different realities – explains Serena Fedel – shows how Slovenia is more progressive in this sector, as a result of the country’s socialist past. Even in the Constitution women are called upon to work like men. As a result an entire system has been created to help women to reconcile family and professional obligations through nursery schools to the provision of canteens.
Without doubt therefore, over time, a greater sensitivity (to women’s issues) has developed”.
The Italian situation is very different. Even if there are differences, borne out in the thesis, between what takes place in Italy as a whole and in Friuli Venezia Giulia in particular. If, at a Italian level, the number of women in work is far lower than in Slovenia, in Friuli Venezia Giulia the figures are much improved, even though a larger gap between the sexes still remains.
The data, provided by Eurostat and this Italian Region’s Statistical Almanac show a level of male unemployment at 2.6% whilst that for women stands at 5.8%, set against 10.1% at a national level. In Slovenia 6.1% of men are unemployed and 7% of women. In Austria the respective figures are 4.9% and 5.5%. The reasons lie in the strong influence of the Catholic Church in the separation of the roles within the family and the laws that continue to reflect the patriarchal tradition of the Italian family. The model according to which the woman takes care of the children has brought about a more limited provision of services.
This affects the hours of the nurseries and schools which are largely incompatible with parents where both work full time. All this without looking at the terms of parental leave that guarantee only 30% of the salary.
The dissatisfaction of women regarding their position, both professionally and within the family, is also seen in the interviews carried out by Serena Fedel.
The analysis of the various pieces of legislation and the practices in the various areas have been placed alongside fieldwork through a series of interviews with Austrian, Italian and Slovene women employed by the same banking group. “The results – says Fedel – confirmed my hypothesis and the first group of women interviewed stressed the absolute incompatibility of the care services with full-time work. The Slovene situation once again proved completely different, where the system of parental leave was much more generous and, because of this, women were much better represented at a managerial level“.
Even though some change in the old family model, based on the working man and the housewife, was recorded, especially in the Region Friuli Venezia Giulia, the changes were limited to the field of work, whilst less change was seen in the division of housework: the time dedicated to housework was decidedly imbalanced (between the sexes) as were the requests for parental leave which were rather only occasionally amongst the men.
The Austrian reality, and that of Carinthia in particular, presents yet another, different set of characteristics. Here part-time work represents a widespread option for women and mothers in particular, so as to reconcile the time needed for one’s profession with that required for maternity. The possibility to go part-time, together with the generous parental leave given by employers allows women to risk leaving their careers or at least carry almost exclusively on their shoulders the responsibility for childcare and housework, but tends to increase the disparity in terms of pay (between the sexes). Female Austrian workers, in fact, can stay at home with the child until it is 30 months old and get a part-time post until the child reaches the age of seven. Serena Fedel’s analysis goes into the details. The questionnaire given to 30 female workers in Austria, Friuli Venezia Giulia and Slovenia aims to analyse the family and working conditions and their opinions on sex equality policies.
The questions therefore range from the level of satisfaction felt towards parental leave to that on the role given to women in their respective families, through to the level of satisfaction with the services provided by their employers. If the Austrian and Slovene women show that flexible working hours and the opportunities for leave represent the positive side of the equation, the female Italian workers’ responses illustrate a series of difficulties. “Being a woman penalises you, inasmuch as you can be as good as the men, but the men are preferred. Compared to a men you have more things to worry about: there’s not only the work but also the children, the house… even if you put in the same effort, you risk coming out worse…”, one reads in the interviews. Going on: “The differences in treatment are there for all to see”, summing up with those who believe that “the thing is all quite open and above board… because it’s women who have children and that’s why they are discriminated against in the world of work.
There are women who have children and manage to make a career for themselves but it’s difficult and they have to fight harder to get where they are and then hold their position…”. x
“My daughter will learn Czech, right from the start, because we live a few metres from the border, because it is natural and logical, because to grow up bilingual represents a richness”. The experience of a life on the border between Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic: adopting bilingualism as an education policy and an antidote to prejudice and non-communication
To reach Ostriz from the north, a few hundred metres from both Poland and the Czech Republic, you pass through Kunnerwitz, Hagenwerded, Schönau-Berzdorf an der Eigen and other anonymous and apparently uninhabited villages, where the pretty houses in a rural German style, are mixed with a touch of more functional Socialist post-war aesthetics.
Here you find huge council housing ‘barracks’ in the open countryside. But not only that. You can come upon a disused nuclear power plant flanked by the ordered blades of a wind farm – a sign of changing times.
Further on, miles from anywhere, stands an inert monster as high as a ten-storey house, an industrial digger – that seems to belong in Fritz Lang’s film ‘Metropolis’ – that, during the happy days of the DDR, excavated coal from underground. Or perhaps encounter an old Volkswagen van passing slowly through the village. Equipped with loudspeakers, to a melancholy musical accompaniment, blares out propaganda for the German National Party (NPD) – none other than the neo-Nazi party.
This corner of Germany is surreal for one who has not grown up here. It is a poor corner, one of the poorest of the poor former East Germany, a victim of the end of the coal era, like other regions in Europe such as the regions of Charleroi and Mons-Borinage in Belgium. As sometimes happens, the decay in the economic and socio-cultural fabric, along with its proximity to the border have encouraged the development of nationalistic, often extremist and sometimes racist sentiments. With 40% unemployment and two borders, the party of extreme right, the German heir to the concentration camps, this is not a hard area to make converts. “Germany for the Germans!” caws the old-timer in the van to the apparently empty houses and Soviet-style blocks.
Landscapes change and borders do too, but the situation which one meets puts forward themes that are already familiar. Borders and national identity, a history of national and regional conflicts, World War II and cultural stereotypes; a history of misunderstandings and an ignorance of one another, together with a history of barriers such as language, the main agent in the construction and maintenance of identity, diversity and prejudice.
I went to speak about this with Dr. Gellrich, in the heart of Ostriz, in a graceful Samaritan nunnery, less than ten metres from the river that separates Germany and Poland. Her name is Regina and she grew up, studied and worked in this border region of eastern Saxony behind the Iron Curtain, when in school she learned Russian and only Russian. She was not taught Czech or Polish. Regina tells me she loves the Czech Republic. “Why?” I ask. Her answer is simple and spontaneous: “Because I went there on holiday with my parents there – it being the only one, or one of the few states where you could go abroad without a third degree grilling by an officer of STASI!” This insight comes from personal experience, it’s direct.
We are back in the ‘80s and Regina attends the school in Zittau, her town. In interactions with the Czechoslovakian neighbours, even just going to buy meat or get petrol, Regina feels uncomfortable, unable to speak a word of Czech. Yet everyone on the other side speaks German, at least a little, for business you understand. But that’s not the point, she says. Language is not just communication: “a kilo of meat, a tankful of petrol.” Language mediates and reflects stereotypes and prejudices that underlie an asymmetrical relationship: “It’s you (either Polish or Czechoslovakian) the poor neighbours (or worse)”, “you that you must learn German.” Hence the decision to attend an evening course in the Czech language learning with difficulty, but enough to allow, even knowing only a little, to “open a new world: people have begun to interact with me in a different way, to open doors, to be more friendly”, she says. One discovers the value of language as an instrument for interaction and cooperation.
Shortly before the fall of the Wall in 1988, Regina gave birth to Susanna and thinks: “my daughter will learn
Czech, right from the start, because we live a few metres from the border, because it is natural and logical, because to grow up bilingual represents a richness”. It introduces a second important element: diversity and bilingualism as richness. At this time Czech is not taught in the schools or kindergartens, and it is a problem to learn it. But the solution can be found nearby, a few kilometres away. This is Regina’s idea, to put Susanna in a Czechoslovakian kindergarten. She makes contacts, takes on the bureaucracy, clashes with the prejudices of those who blurt out a shocked “But WHY?” or those who tell her “you don’t want to send your little one to THEM, do you?”. Even the teachers are against it.
But obviously the twenty years of holidays that have gone before are stronger than the nay-sayers. Susanna ends up attending the nursery school across the borders at Hradek nad Nisou in Czechoslovakia where all three borders meet and close to her home in Zittau in Germany. The experience proves positive, and the little girl adapts quickly and is happy at the nursery. Thus was born the idea of a formal cooperation between the border regions, so that other children can repeat Susanna’s experience.
At that time Regina has just finished a doctorate in mathematics with a thesis on ‘Mathematical models of fluids dynamics’ at Kennewitz and returns to Zittau, where they had promised her a permanent position. The Berlin Wall falls, however and Germany reunites, and many things change. Amongst the changes is the structure of the University of Zittau: there is now no place for Dr. Gellrich. Regina finds herself with a temporary job and her child at a nursery school that they want to close. She successfully leads the Parents’ Association in the fight to keep it open. Enriched with this experience, she manages to get a job as administrator in a German non-governmental organisation called Children Care, which among its many projects, promotes cross-border cooperation. She is the contact with the authorities. Her daughter at that time is already attending the nursery across the border and Regina then decides to proceed with a model of cooperation based on her personal experience.
She moves from Children Care to Pontes, an agency that works to develop cross-border cooperation between the Czech Republic, Saxony and Poland in the field of education. It is interesting to note that the association – and the ideas – have arisen in a spontaneous, bottom-up fashion from the needs of individuals or small groups of individuals, a model that has subsequently found support and form in institutions and the Euroregion Neisse-Nisa-Nysa.
Regina’s idea is to develop a transnational network of education in the triangle between Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic, starting from a model based on her own experience. It was decided to start with the kindergartens. “On the one hand we want to offer people the opportunity to enroll their children in kindergartens across the border and on the other to ensure that in the German kindergartens in the region there are two teachers present, one a German native speaker, the other speaking Czech (or Polish)” she says. They are also producing books and games for bilingual kindergartens, helping to organise meetings and language courses for parents, children’s parties, holidays, and various other activities, where parents can get to meet ‘the other half’. The project has developed so rapidly that Regina’s second daughter, Juliane born in 1994, has been able to take advantage of new educational system.
Susanna is growing and about to start primary school, but there are no schools that can offer bilingual education. Thus was born then the idea of creating a more structured cooperation, not only limited to kindergartens but that would cover a child’s entire education. They therefore organise schools where Czech and German (or Polish and German) children can attend together, and where the teaching and the lessons take place in both languages and the educational programmes are developed through mutual agreement. Some schools are equipped with dormitories, where the children stay during the week, returning home to their families at the weekend. Juliane now attends one of these schools and I wanted to talk to her and to hear about her experience. Juliane is now a young girl and is full of enthusiasm for her magnificent school, her magnificent classmates, the magnificent Czech Republic and the wonderful language she is learning. Speaking with her you begin to realise that she is not simply learning a language other than her own, but is growing up in a multicultural environment, where she is learning to confront the differences. “Some of my friends who do not attend the ‘mixed’ school think that the Czechs are dangerous, bad, and a bunch of thieves; and the Czechs think that the Germans are closed and unable to come into contact with them. I don’t like prejudice and I know that it’s not like that.” Juliane is now almost perfectly bilingual and it seems quite natural to her to live or work in the Czech Republic, if life should ever offer her the chance. This is not just some little thing in a region where unemployment is among the highest in Germany and she and her schoolmates will enjoy better job opportunities as a result of their training, born of this long-lasting transnational cooperation of which Regina is one of the architects.
This highlights the last aspect of cooperation in the field of language and education, the socio-economic one. I ask Regina what she would like to achieve in the future, and of her dreams. “That this cultural cooperation project can sweep away cultural stereotypes that still imprison much of the population divided by the three borders”. For example there is a very interesting project involving the Universities of Zittau, Liberec and Wrozlaw. It seeks to allow young Germans in the region to choose to live and work in the Czech Republic – “So close and so similar in spirit to the former East Germany”, rather than in faraway – and foreign – West Germany. Dreams of an administrator of the NGO Pontes, but also those of a mother who lived on the other side of the Iron Curtain and who spent her holidays in Czechoslovakia. x
Fabrizio Pizzioli is a researcher at the Fonds National de la Recherche Scientifique (FNRS) at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium. He has spent 8 years working on language and cognition. He is currently studying the neural basis of language in adults, the learning of language in children and diseases of language.
He is also concerned with cross-linguistic differences and learning in bilingual children.
This week there will be two presentations of the issue #3 of Euregio. Both will be organised in Triest. Here are the details:
Thursday, h. 18. At Caffè San Marco, the journalist Edoardo Kanzian organises a debate focussed on the presentation of Euregio. Talks will be given by: Enrico Maria Milič (managing director of Euregio), Julius Franzot (writer and translator), Rosalba Trevisani (UNESCO Centre, Triest), Roberto Ambrosi (researcher in Pedagogy at the University of Triest), Stefano Amadeo (researcher in International Law at the University of Triest).
Saturday, h. 20.30. At the ‘Gardens of Via San Michele’, a short presentation given by Enrico Maria Milič will be followed by a concert by the band ‘Arnoux’.
At both events, copies and stickers of Euregio#3 will be distributed freely.
The story of Inacio Binchende, an ‘afro-slovene’ who divides his time between his businesses and appearing on TV as an African in national costume.
Inacio Binchende was born in Mansôa, Guinea-Bissau. He came to Slovenia in 1986. Having become a Bachelor of Forest Science, he obtained an MA in Economics. He runs his own import business and has opened an affiliate in his homeland in order to facilitate economic co-operation with Guinea-Bissau. He gives presentations on his mother country in the African Centre in Slovenia. Inacio’s anonimity came to an end when he started acting in Boris Kobal’s comedy ‘Africa or On Our Own Land’, which mocks a typical Slovene family. By accepting the role of Janez Belina (‘John White’) in Kobal’s comedy series ‘Poper’ (‘Pepper’) produced by Televizija Koper-Capodistria, he has become famous right across Slovenia. He lives with a Slovene and has a 13-year-old son.
Q What has brought you to Slovenia?
A My studies. In 1986, I won a Guinea-Bissau scholarship awarded within the programme of international co-operation with Yugoslavia. I graduated in forest science, and then obtained an MA in economics. Q What did you know about Slovenia before your arrival?
A Nothing. I knew only a few things about Yugoslavia, mostly general data and some stuff about Tito. I started to get interested in it after I had received the scholarship. Q What about the language?
A My Slovene lessons started in Ljubljana. For half a year, the foreign students were learning only the language. Q What did you find most unusual, maybe even shocking, upon your arrival?
A My first stop was Belgrade where we were assigned to our universities. I came to Slovenia by train and was very surprised to see that everyone was wearing the same thing: jeans. That was not the case at home. When it was snowing, I didn’t go to classes. When I saw piles of snow outside, I went back to sleep, being totally sure that people stayed at home in such weather. Q When getting used to our lifestyle, what did you find most interesting and easy, and what most difficult?
A I had no trouble adapting myself. With my fellow countrymen living here, I didn’t find it difficult to integrate myself into the society. It was unusual, though, that people would stare at me in the street. Until I got used to it, I often asked them what was wrong. Q Has it ever happened to you that you witnessed intolerance because you were different?
A I can’t remember any direct act of intolerance during the times of the ex Yugoslavia. Most probably the authorities didn’t allow them, I can’t say for sure. Some nasty things, however, did happen after Slovenia gained independence. I was physically attacked by a group of skinheads. Slovenia has been much more open lately, and so maybe it’s getting less intolerant. Q What about Slovenes? What do they know about others? Does it often happen that they don’t know where Guinea-Bissau is located or which language is spoken there?
A People are different. And so they also differ in their knowledge of other countries. They don’t really know a lot about them. When I mention my homeland, they perceive it as anything but a real African country. It’s a small country, indeed, slightly larger than Slovenia, and yet its population is smaller. Interestingly, we speak as many as 25 languages. Q What do multilingualism and multiculturalism look like there?
A There are 23 ethnic groups in Guinea-Bissau, each possessing its own characteristics. The majority of them are of Bantu origin, yet they are very different. The situation is really diverse. Our languages are so different from one another that we don’t understand each other. Our lingua franca are Creole and Portuguese. Q Why did you decide to stay in Slovenia?
A I intended to go back after graduation. But then I got the opportunity to continue my studies at Master’s level. Then arrived my son and so I stayed. Q Guinea-Bissau is far from here. How often do you visit your relatives and homeland?
A At first, it was only rarely that I went home, now I go more and more often. My father and sister and brothers live there. Q What do they think about your life in Europe?
A My sister has studied in Italy, so Europe is nothing special to her. My brothers have been keeping track of my life here and they know it’s very different. Back at home, communication between people is much more direct. Here it’s much more difficult to establish contacts. People are individualists. Africa is home to the collective spirit. Q What habits have you kept?
A I haven’t given up any good habit, I just practice them at home. Elsewhere I adapt myself to the Slovene environment. I’ve integrated myself well into the society, but I haven’t become completely assimilated. Q Does food count as a habit?
A It does, indeed. At home, I like to boil rice and fish, our national dish. Q You have a son. What do you teach him?
A I often tell him about life in Guinea-Bissau, its people. I teach him to be aware of ‘being different’ and warn him that he will meet all kinds of people, some of whom might react to him differently. I’d like that certain remarks wouldn’t hurt him. He has to think that his roots are not only in Slovenia but also in Africa. Q Have you already taken him to your homeland?
A We are going there this year. Q A few years ago, we could watch you on stage and TV. How did you make it there?
A I played an African in Boris Kobal’s comedy. Nobody wanted to perform on stage, so Kobal offered the role to me. I found it interesting, so I accepted it. And then I kept working with him for his TV series. Q What do you think about the name you were given – Janez Belina (John White)?
A I found it a good parody of an African dressed in traditional Slovene costume. And the idea behind this character was interesting. People are not used to an African in Slovene garb. Just think of my son. People ask him what he is, and he says he’s a Slovene. And they tell him: “C’mon, stop joking!” Q If you were asked about your identity, what would you say?
A I always say that I’m from Guinea-Bissau. I cannot lose or change the things I got from my childhood. Slovenia is my second homeland, I’ve been here for a long time. I feel well in both countries and see this as an advantage. x
The myth of a united Europe a century ago: the rise of Ludwig Von Bruck, founder of the Austrian Lloyd navigation company and lynchpin in the economic, cultural and social growth of the regions around the Upper Adriatic
The sea throws back shimmering golden reflections, millions of rustling ears in a field on fire.
This is the second afternoon in a row that Ludwig spends, one minute sitting, the next lying on a pier down in the port, next to a red-hot iron mooring bollard. His forehead and shirtless chest are pearled with sweat, his Nordic skin reddened but not satisfied by its exposure to the full, unequivocally Mediterranean sun.
He’s trying to read an edition of Herder that his father, a bookbinder from the Rhineland, has made for him as a good luck token for his adventure. The prose is inherently knotty, and the reading made all the more tricky by the glaring whiteness of pages in the sunlight. But with his eyelids reduced to the narrowest slit, Ludwig stubbornly reads on.
Herder’s history of philosophy is like an electric shock; and Ludwig realises this even though he’s very young. Or perhaps precisely because he is so young he can feel the irresistible, dark charm of the pages. The fascination that comes with the words of prophets announcing an impending storm; when they are announcing the truth.
Ludwig reads about the Roman Empire, destroyed by its inability to hold together the different nations that made it up; punished for having repressed them, for having underestimated the strength of their development and not having understood that their cause was invincible. Superior, even holy, because it coincided with the idea of freedom.
Freedom and nationhood, merged together in a single myth, in a single poem. Herder, thinks Ludwig sarcastically, is perhaps the only contemporary thinker of our time. The only one to have developed a convincing idea on the direction taken by history here and now, in Europe at the beginning of the nineteenth century, and who understands what is driving it’s engine of progress.
Stretching, he rises to his feet. The stopover in Triest will last until the flow of volunteers into his band of freedom fighters dries up. Ten days, perhaps a few more, split between the pier and ‘This too a Philosophy of History’, hand-stitched for him by his father. Then, God willing, he would have given his help to Greek rebellion. After centuries of anxious barbarism, Greece is calling to arms her spiritual children, scattered around the world. A nation to liberate, far away across a glittering sea in his mind’s eye.
Hiding behind a load of carob beans, Ludwig gets rid of his trousers and dives into the water.
But the Greek project was not to God’s liking, it would seem. The political refugees returning from there (some as stowaways, some, the lucky ones on rafts, that, nine times out of ten, get smashed on some Dalmatian reef) tell of indiscriminate massacres, cynical agreements between the powers and idealists sent to the slaughterhouse.
The last batch of volunteers fails to materialise and so Ludwig does not leave but decides to stay on in Triest and thus becomes ‘von Bruck’.
Since then there’s been no nation to free – but a lot of prose and poetry. He is immediately employed by an insurance agency, a sector then undergoing very strong expansion. The boy is up to the job, alert and self-confident. Ten years later and he is already the director of that agency. Ten years later still and he’s the main organizer and founder of the Austrian insurance company Lloyd, as well as the chairman of its board of directors. Another ten years pass and Lloyd has turned into one of the most powerful trade and navigation companies in Europe, going from three ships initially to twenty and each day transporting tons of people, goods and mail throughout the Mediterranean, from Greece to Egypt and Turkey, expanding to open agencies in Calcutta, Bombay, Ceylon, Singapore and Canton.
Now, Lloyd is the most significant economic hub of the Hapsburg monarchy. From within, its managers develop the idea of a ‘natural’ link between the Middle East and the area of central Europe through the agency of Lloyd, via Triest.
On May 12th 1847, in what had now become his city, von Bruck delivers a speech at the tenth anniversary of the company’s foundation before the annual general meeting of the shareholders. The central concepts are ‘pragmatism’, ‘confidence’ and ‘progress’.
It has not always gone so smoothly. During the first two years of commercial activity debts are about to destroy his plaything and the company only saved thanks to the generous help of the state.
A reluctant intervention, which indicates an overall relationship between the government of Vienna and Lloyd which is more than a little stormy and radically contradictory.
The whole of the Hapsburg monarchy’s foreign economic and trade policy is frozen in the framework developed by Metternich in the 1820s to restore an order which had been shocked by the meteor Napoleon. It is a policy which states that it is based on the principle of balance within Europe, but in reality pursues nothing more than the existing status quo.
Vienna, the pivot of this Continental iceberg, stays on its feet thanks to the Austrian props in place in the West: in northern Italy – Lombardy and the Veneto. Liberalism and nationalism are genuine threats and ‘blasphemies’ that the palace of ice looks on as potentially fatal.
Perhaps because he had read Herder, perhaps because as a romantic boy he believed passionately in his message, von Bruck realizes that his ‘child’, his company of the restoration has no future; that beneath the surface of the continent huge forces are about to be unleashed, spurred on by liberal and nationalist ‘blasphemies.’ And those who are orchestrating these forces in Italy and Germany are merely dust-devils, flashpoints for a potentially far more destructive hurricane directed at European peace and the survival of the monarchy. Von Bruck knows that wheels as large as these, once in motion, crush everything in their path. Of course, one should not go along with these ideas. What you must do is run ahead of them and channel them into a vision that is equally, if not more, grandiose and ambitious. How clever.
Vienna must understand that, for her, the West is now a lost cause, that Lombardy and the Veneto are lost, and that it is imperative that she look to the East, ridding herself of her Metternich straitjacket and riding the wave of capitalism and free trade. To do this she already has a branch that knows how to take up the weapon of trade as well being able to look eastward. Lloyd.
And if in Vienna immobility reigns, then one must go there and shake things up. If the centre does not respond, the periphery will occupy it and become the centre in its turn. If the State reacts confusedly, with projects at odds with your own, take the State in hand and bend it to your will.
In 1849 von Bruck was appointed Minister for Trade.
Early in July 1847, Richard Cobden, leader of the British liberals, is visiting Triest. An official banquet is organised in his honour. And of course, the master of ceremonies can only be von Bruck himself.
With a phlegmatic calm, but conscious of having the eyes of the government fixed upon him, von Bruck delivers a speech in favor of free trade and prudent only in its form.
Immediately after he finishes speaking he gives the floor to Francesco Dall’Ongaro, a young and fairly successful playwright in Venice and along the coast who harbours nationalist ideas and sympathies. He hopes that Italy will join a commercial league, a prelude to policy of aggregation that would include Triest. Von Bruck stops him halfway through his speech. He rises to his feet and thunders: “We are cosmopolitan, we have nothing to do with Italian nationality or German for that matter! Our nation is Triest.”
Total confusion breaks out and the diners are is now split into two parties. A punch-up is only narrowly avoided. A shocked Richard Cobden acts as peacemaker.
Speaking out that day in a nervous atmosphere that encourages open challenges is von Bruck. But also Ludwig.
To von Bruck one must not touch Triest. In the architecture of his plan, breaking the territorial continuity between the city and Central Europe is like removing the card, without which the whole castle will tumble down.
But within him he remains Ludwig, the boy who wanted to leave for Greece in the name of the freedom of nations. Why ‘Yes!’ to Greece, why ‘Yes!’ to Germany but ‘Yes, but only in part, without Triest’? Is Triest not predominantly an Italian city ethnically? Is it not that powerhouse of Italians that has pushed him to learn the local dialect and sign himself â€œCarlo Lodovicoâ€ in his private papers?
The inconsistency is obvious. Thence comes the perfect twist, the intellectual kidney-punch that makes him cry out: “Triest is a nation”. To preserve in its autonomy, like all the others. A city-nation itself, with, in addition, a very special role.
The point is that the European markets are expanding, fuelled by a solid and demanding middle class. There are increasingly wide mouths needing to be filled with raw materials from the East, and the channel between these two worlds is the sea that, by its very name, lies in the middle: the Mediterranean. With a port that works as an exchange valve: Triest.
For von Bruck the middle class, divided vertically by nationality, resting in fact on a shared horizontal plane, which is that of its consumption and daily requirements.
He looks beyond this, he looks ahead.
In addition to any national peculiarities, he sees a society of producers and consumers united in the same needs, but not only this – even sharing the same values and lifestyle, in the fundamentals of a material and spiritual civilization. He looks forward, because it seems clear that the physical and cultural environment in which this civilization expresses itself is in power, and, God willing, right across the continent. The vision of von Bruck, in a word, a united Europe.
And the only hope that the Viennese Empire has to escape the fate of Rome is to drive civil and economic growth in its component nations to its maximum. Certainly not by ignoring them or setting one against the other, but by harmonising them in a pragmatic goal – associating them with a future of shared development.
Only in this way, will Austria remain the centre of a peaceful and confederate Europe, that Ludwig von Bruck has always called: Mitteleuropa.
But the project was only to God’s liking a century later. Perhaps… x
Author of this story: Patrick Karlsen He is a PhD student of contemporary history at the University of Triest researching on the relationship between the Italian Communist Party and the border of the northern Adriatic. An essayist and poet, he writes for many regional and national titles in Italy.
If you are in Triest tomorrow, let’s meet! You’llget a free copy of the new issue of ‘Euregio’ and how many Euregio stickers you want… I will be there to drink some orange juice or coffee with some friends.
See you tomorrow, Friday 8 August, at 10.30 at Caffé San MarcoCaffé Tommaseo in Triest, Italy Euroregion! (we discovered that Caffé San Marco is closed!!!)
Life on the islands of Åland: a special place for autonomy, pacifism and cooperation. A territorial entity lying between Finland and Sweden and taken as model for the resolution of ethnic conflicts in Europe
Some years ago I visited the Åland Islands (pronounced: Oland; Ahvenanmaa is the name in Finnish), a small archipelago located in the Baltic Sea between Sweden and Finland.
The summer was very bright, as often happens so far north. Magnificent views of the islands of Kökar, or the smaller Källskär, across whose peaceful horizons the Swedish-speaking Finnish author Tove Jannson wrote some of her books.
But in addition to the landscapes, I was impressed to discover that the identity of Åland’s inhabitants also comes through the realities on the islands, its autonomy, peace and disarmament. The name of Åland had appeared as an example for a political solution in the negotiations (but then blocked) on the status of Kosovo, but also for the separatist republics within both Georgia (Abkhazia and South Ossetia) and Azerbaijan (Nagorno-Karabakh). This is not the first time that the archipelago has been proposed as a model for solving inter-ethnic conflicts, or those between a majority and a minority within the same territory.
It is obvious that the conflicts that have broken out in recent years in Europe, especially those related to ethnicity, are extremely difficult to solve and present very complex issues. It is also true that the population of Åland is small: just 26,000 people, virtually all Swedish-speaking. Of these, 11,000 live in Mariehamn, the capital, with another 13,000 in the countryside and a further 2,000 on the islands. A mere 80 out of the 6,429 islands and islets that make up the archipelago are inhabited.
The example of Åland has, however, become a reference point for the provision of conditions that safeguard the cultural and linguistic rights of a homogeneous minority within the sovereignty of a state with a different majority.
The islands lie at the centre of a small Euroregion which also includes other coastal archipelagos belonging to Sweden and Finland.
A bit of history
Belonging to the Kingdom of Sweden until the Napoleonic Wars of 1808-1809 when it passed to Russia, the Åland islands were integrated into the Grand Duchy of Finland, which at the time enjoyed a semi-autonomous status within the Czarist Empire. For the Russians they represented an important strategic bulwark in the Baltic and were manned as a outpost during the Crimean War. Following the Treaty of Paris (1856) the islands were subject to demilitarisation.
In December 1917, after the October Revolution, Finland became independent. For obvious political, linguistic and cultural reasons the islanders wished to opt for reunification with Sweden. Instead, they only wrested the status of autonomy from the Finnish Parliament in 1920, a status they considered inadeguate.
The issue was settled in 1921 by the newly-formed League of Nations (the forerunner of the United Nations, the UN), whose Council decided in favour of a Finnish Åland. The islands, however, were granted very broad autonomy which guaranteed language rights and confirmed the area’s demilitarisation and neutrality. As a result of the Autonomy Act (1922), revised twice (in 1951 and 1993), Åland enjoys one of the highest degrees of self-governance in Europe.
The Parliament, opened in 1978, is actually a small three-storey building in the capital Mariehamn. There sit the 40 members and visiting it you appreciate the almost family atmosphere that surrounds it. Stripped of any formalities and wearing a simple blue shirt, Roger Nordlund, now President of the Parliament and, at the time of my visit, Vice-President of the Government of Islands (the Landskapsstyrelse), said: “Finland handles foreign policy, criminal law, the courts, currency and a part of taxation, while we administer the share that goes to local communities. The Lagting, the Åland Parliament has jurisdiction over everything else. The archipelago also has a fixed representative in the Finnish Parliament and the name ‘Åland’ also appears on the (Finnish) passports of its inhabitants. The Act stipulates that the only official language is Swedish, although in the courts citizens can also submit their applications in Finnish.
The economy of the islands, which in 1954 got its own flag and has been issuing its own stamps since 1984, is based on the shipbuilding industry, trade and tourism. “Forestry is more important for Finland” adds Nordlund.
On 1st July 1999 a directive of the European Union (EU) came into force which saw the disappearance of duty-free areas, where it had been possible to buy all sorts of goods without paying VAT. One of the few exceptions to the ruling is Åland”.
The giant ferries of the ‘Vikingâ’ and ‘Silja’ shipping companies connecting Finland and Sweden, as well as the smallest company, ‘Eckerö’, are registered in Mariehamn. Traffic through Åland involving the enormous ships has greatly increased in recent years, from Stockholm to Turku, but also connecting the Swedish capital and Helsinki. Tallinn in Estonia is also now on the routes.
Ticket prices are low because most of the revenue, about 75%, comes from duty-free purchases on the ships. The focus is on alcohol which is expensive on the mainland. An overnight journey on one of these ferries, which in fact are genuine cruise ships with bars, clubs, discos, and saunas, only confirms the Nordic reputation as hardened drinkers, especiallyÂ weekends which witness scenes that hardly bear description.
“To preserve this condition a special protocol was signed with the EU, which cannot be modified by Brussels directives, so that the duty-free status remains in force even after 1999. It was too important to our economy. The Åland islands have thus acquired the status of a ‘special territory’ which remains excluded from the harmonisation of taxation rules. They have been able to maintain the duty-free, creating a de facto customs barrier to union with the rest of the EU that puts producers in the archipelago at a disadvantage. Clearly, however, the move seems worth it, a fact confirmed by referendum in which 74% of the islanders were in favour of entry into the EU.
“In the future I think we will depend increasingly on tourism, focusing mainly on quality“, continues Nordlund. “As in other Nordic countries, the flagship of Åland is the natural environment, especially for cycling, fishing or camping, but the tourist season is very short and confined to the summer months. For the rest of the year the ferries are still needed, with a ‘short stop-off’ in the islands allowing them to retain their duty-free status.”
On Åland, if the truth be told, ties with Finland are not so strong. Knowing only Finnish it would be impossible to get by, although in Helsinki there is bilingualism and although elsewhere in the country Swedish is the second official language, only 6% of the 5 million Finns have Swedish as their mother tongue. “We know we are Finnish citizens, but we are very close to Sweden, as far as linguistic and cultural issues are concerned. People here watch Swedish TV and read Swedish newspapers. In general relations with Finland are good, although on some occasions we have differing opinions, but this is a perfectly normal struggle between the centre and the periphery. With regard to monetary union, there is no advantage for us as long as Sweden remain outside the Euro-zone as an important slice of our trade is done with them.” The inhabitants of Åland therefore look more towards Stockholm, although there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that the current state of affairs represents the best option for them.
A substantial part of the taxes levied is spent on education, and to ensure that schools and shops survive even on the smaller islands which are at risk of total depopulation. In addition, one third of the islands students continue their education in Finland, the rest go to Sweden. Most return home after completing their studies, but many stay away. “In the 1950’s everyone who left emigrated to Sweden. Some of their children, who came here on vacation in the summer, have decided to return.” stresses Nordlund.
Given all the peculiarities of the archipelago, the law on residence is very strict. “I have lost my rights to live on Åland, although I was born there and still own my father’s house there.” confesses Erland Eklund, professor at the Swedish University of Social Sciences in Helsinki, “This happens if you live away from the islands for more than five years, as was the case with me.
In 1921 the demilitarization of Åland took place. No installations, activities or military personnel may be stationed on its territory, even exercises are not permitted, and the Finnish navy cannot enter the territorial waters around the islands. In addition, for many years young islanders have been exempt from military service if they have been resident on the islands since the age of 12.
After ten years of discussions on how to tackle the study of peace from both a theoretical and practical perspective, the ‘Ålands Fredsinstitut’ – the Åland Islands Peace Institute – was created in 1992.
The identity of the inhabitants of the archipelago, stimulated by the various peculiarities and helped by their own symbols, has strengthened over time. Today almost all the islanders consider themselves as simply inhabitants of Åland rather than Finnish or Swedish. “The local identity passes ever more frequently through aspects such as autonomy and neutrality” explains Sia Spiliopoulou Åkermark, Director of the Institute, speaking on the phone to me. With a Greek father and Swedish mother, she is an expert in international law.
“There is a certain pride in belonging to a demilitarised region” she continues. “You can see this from the way tourist attractions such as the fortress of Bomarsund, the Russian base built in 1852 and destroyed by the British and the French in the Crimean War, are presented, emphasising that this was the last conflict fought on the islands.”
The example of Åland for the resolution of conflicts should be set against the context in which its current status arose. “At the time of the Crimean War it was not easy, but all parties involved were open to compromise. Even in modern conflicts, an agreement can only be reached with this precondition.”
The Institute is working on EU projects that promote Baltic cooperation, carrying out studies. These are often comparative and related to the archipelagoâ€™s peculiarities such as demilitarisation, cooperation on security at European level, the rights and participation of minorities, autonomy – studies that it then publishes. It has also created a network of non-governmental organisations in the Baltic region, mostly in Lithuania, Belarus and the Russian territory of Kaliningrad, especially catering for young people and women in difficulty.
One of the current internal challenges involves immigration. “Until now the islands have remained ethnically homogeneous, but new inputs to the system are required. The average age of the population is rising and there is a need for young people, including foreigners, to come and live here, but decisions involving immigration are not in the hands of the local autonomous Parliament but are made by the Finnish state. Here as well there is a need for mediation.”
The population does not know the legal details and conditions of the islands autonomy but realises their uniqueness. “The system foresees “motors” that will always keep open the possibility of negotiations and discussions. The Governor is a representative of the Finnish state, but appointed on the advice of the President of the Parliament of Åland and there is also a joint delegation consisting of representatives of the two parties. The third level comes through the adherence to EU legislation.” concludes the director. “The limits of autonomy are therefore continually re-negotiated, and this is one of the keys to the success of Åland.” x
Author of this story: Alessandro Gori
Alessandro Gori (born in Udine, Italy in 1970) as an independent journalist has published photos and articles in ten different languages in daily newspapers and magazines in 15 countries on a wide range of themes. He specialises in the Balkans, the former Soviet Union, Northern Europe and Latin America.
40 years of the history of borders in the life of the writer Drago JanÄar, who doesn’t believe in multiculturalism but DOES believe in culture “because by definition men of culture are curious, open and given to accepting the culture of others without renouncing their own”
Q You were born in Maribor, a town lying along the Drava river, halfway between Vienna and the Adriatic. For 30 years, you have been living in Ljubljana, but you are still attached to Maribor and you often find yourself travelling to Triest where your recent books have earned you a warm welcome.
How do the landscape and your mood change on your way to Triest?
A I get very excited when I come to Triest and see my novel ‘Northern Lights’ or ‘Ringing in My Head’ or the collection of short stories ‘Joyceâ€™s Pupil’ in bookshops. Now I feel more at home in Triest than before. Itâ€™s not that Triest didnâ€™t feel like home before – since the 1970s, this diagonal between Maribor and Triest, the old Central European route Vienna-Triest, has served as a link to a more open world. At the end of this road was a geographically open space, as well as a city characterized by cultural and political openness. At that time, I often met with Boris Pahor who wasnâ€™t as famous as today. Later I realised, and I hope that the inhabitants of Triest wonâ€™t find themselves offended, that Triest, too, had its provincial dimensions manifested not only in its aversion to Slovenes and other foreigners, but also in the fact that its cultural vibrancy was not as strong as that of Ljubljana. Despite this recognition of Triestâ€™s darker sides, I still remember the journeys from Maribor through Ljubljana, the centre where I became recognised as a writer, to Triest a sort of cross-section of life that then extends itself to many other European and American cities. Q You have mentioned the Central European area. Is this not only a ‘meteorological phenomenon’ as it used to be called in the past?
A Central Europe (Mitteleuropa) is no longer such an interesting notion as it was in the time when it was promoted by Claudio Magris, GyÃ¶rgy KonrÃ¡d and other intellectuals, as well as people living behind the so-called Iron Curtain. Yugoslavia wasnâ€™t situated behind the real Iron Curtain: in the mid-1960s, we were allowed to travel beyond its borders with our passports if they had not been taken away – as mine was – and so we lived in a fairly open world. The discussion on Central Europe and on how to transcend borders was an attempt to overcome the wire barriers between Czechoslovakia and Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Austria, mine fields and guards. There existed a farily closed world, and the discussion on Central Europe was an attempt to open the borders and space in order to get an area where cultures could function more freely and where – and now we come to meteorology and to something Iâ€™ve written elsewhere – people and ideas could move round the globe as the clouds float across the sky. Q And so weâ€™ve come to mobility. Now we are part of Europe, which is more important than Central Europe, as well as of a globalised world. Does mobility stand for rapid changes in the environment and the adaptation to new cultural patterns?
A Central Europe is not only a phenomenon from a certain historical moment, that is the 1980s, or a cultural phenomenon and a goal we had. It is first and foremost a geographical and historical notion. We share our history. We saw conflicts, as well as periods of good co-operation. We lived in the same countries, but then the borders started changing. I believe that Central Europe still exists. People who witnessed all these drastic historic shifts and changes in borders lived differently to people elsewhere. This part of Europe is different, just as Mediterranean Europe differs from Northern Europe. The issues of globalisation, rapid changes and so on have strengthened my belief that first we have to show interest in our local characteristics and only then in establishing ties between large regional and national entities. At the same time, we also have to cherish memories of excellent things and catastrophes that this area has witnessed, which makes it interesting, original and special. Q You are an advocate of storytelling, of stories that we give to one another, with the aim of getting to know one another better. Here’s an example: your short story ‘Joyceâ€™s Pupil’, which has given the title to your entire book of short fiction, talks about Boris Furlan from Triest.
A Precisely this story about Boris Furlan, Joyceâ€™s pupil, talks about the continual change of cultures and places he underwent: he moved from Ljubljana to Triest, ZÃ¼rich, and London, to return to Ljubljana, find himself in prison, and then moved to a village in the Gorenjska region. Furlan saw different ideological systems and states, he experienced Fascism, cherished hopes in Communism only to be disappointed â€¦ He travelled around and experienced changes as only a few Europeans did. The writer often finds himself in the role of such an observer. Q There is no end to conflicts. Why is it so difficult to foster dialogue between people, even between neighbours, why does xenophobia keep resurrecting itself in new forms?
A Neighbours are not strangers to one another. I spent half of my life in the vicinity of the Slovene-Austrian border where people used to live in harmony, share the same stories, fight together against the Turks, drought and grasshoppers, convene sessions in the town hall â€¦ And then the divisions began. We were divided by culture, however paradoxical this may sound. Slovenes were justified in raising the issue of the rights of the Slovene language, in turning to our brothers in Prague or even in faraway Moscow. And so we grew apart, only to find ourselves in the 20th century that brought us national and ideological conflicts and new states. If misunderstandings still arise, they are caused by the past, by deep frustrations on both sides of the border. They thrive in Istria, Primorska and Triest, as well as in northern part of Slovenia, in Maribor. Everywhere there are memories of the things that happened before, during and after war. Some people believe that these misunderstandings, which generate new conflicts and problems in communication, can be solved by forgetting the past and focusing on the future. On the contrary, we have to be familiar with these things, with all the tragic events, from the Trieste trials against the Slovenes to the killing of the foibe that happened after WWII. This will make our dialogue easier. Greater curiosity and openness are the preconditions for better understanding. Iâ€™d dare to say that they are more often found on the Slovene side. We are familiar with Italian history and culture, which is logical as theirs is an ancient culture, while Italians living along the border are not familiar with Slovene culture. Things have been getting better lately. To know the past, culture and interests of your neighbours is a fundamental thing. Q Which most probably applies to new immigrants as well.
A In principle, this is the same story, yet we are afraid to face it as it is somehow material in nature. An increasing number of immigrants means increased pressure on public services. People who have lived here for long time and have paid taxes find it difficult to accept that. I would say that it will be easier to overcome cultural differences. Other issues will have to be solved by politics: how to integrate immigrants into society, how to ensure them access to public services without making the local population furious or bad-tempered. Q You believe in intercultural dialogue, which is now on the agenda of European politicians. All of a sudden, culture matters.
A Brussels bureaucracy is often obsessed with a certain topic, at the moment its intercultural dialogue. Yet this is not a new topic. The idea emerged at least 15 or 20 years ago under the term ‘multiculturalism’. In my opinion, we donâ€™t need multiculturalism or intercultural dialogue. What we need is culture since cultural people are, by definition, curious and open, and accept another culture without renouncing their own. By saying intercultural dialogue, we imply that there are two very different cultures, which might be indeed the case, but by saying so, we have addressed the subject from two separate sides. Cultural dialogue or dialogue on culture would be a better way of putting it. Q When writing about European soul, you refer to Jacques Delors … What kind of soul does Europe need?
A I quoted a passage in which Delors referred above all to culture. If it wants to become a living organism, Europe cannot only be a sum of interests, which it still is. New states that have joined Europe with enthusiasm, including Slovenia, are well aware that Europe is interested in new markets, and would like to enter that market and partake in progress and welfare. This is a good basis, which functions well, but it is not an organism that would survive major friction. Such a Europe can fall apart. The soul of Europe is culture, into which we should integrate its tradition. The latter encompasses Christianity, which was the first to establish Europe as a united area, the Enlightenment, which placed man, the citizen at its centre, as well as the achievements of the French Revolution, and even uncontaminated socialist achievements such as the welfare state and solidarity. All these elements make the history of Europe, its soul, which is, of course, also reflected in modern philosophical and artistic phenomena. Q You claim that literature plays an important role in the sphere of culture. However, globalization has many side effects, from the spread of instant culture to reverence for internet and multimedia communicationâ€¦ How can literature compete with them?
A In my opinion, it no longer can and this battle has been lost. Literature will most probably survive in more elite circles. I canâ€™t imagine that literature with its abundance of stories, metaphors and associations would not survive, as it meets the needs of our deeper being, just like religion or certain social activities. Literature will no longer be the phenomenon that would change the world or had an impact on it as it did in the 20th century. Q Do you believe that writing is a mission? How can a writer be socially engaged – you yourself differentiate between fiction writing and writing for newspapers or magazines – how can a writer make himself useful?
A I think it is enough to write stories or poems to be a useful person. Oscar Wilde once said that art is the most useless thing in the world. But paradoxically, he claims that without art people would lead more miserable lives. Without some form of art, they would not live at all. Thatâ€™s why literature matters. It cannot replace sermons or social solutions, what it can do is to help man understand himself, the world, other stories with which he can juxtapose his own experience and the wealth of language. Thereâ€™s no need to be a socially engaged writer. I am one because thatâ€™s my way of responding to things. Q How do you view translation? On what does it depend?
A It will never be possible to translate everything into all languages. Well, technically yes, but whoâ€™d be interested in that? The pressure of minor Central European nations to win recognition has its limits. We canâ€™t expect that everyone knows all Slovene literature, just like we donâ€™t know the literature of others. Of course, we have to strive to have as mush translated as possible. People are getting more curious. However, once the Slovene presidency to the EU is over, the increased interest in Slovenia will return to normal. Q What is the descriptive desire that you mention in ‘Joyceâ€™s Pupil’ when Boris Furlan cannot describe a lamp owing to language problems? What does it stand for in your writing?
A This is a very important question. All at once, I realised that this is the motto of my writing, this wish to describe things, to label them with words; the lamp, relations between two people, the connection of love, social questions, nature. All at once, I became aware that the ‘descriptive desire’, as Furlan puts it, can be also found in my desire to write. In the story, Joyce tells his pupil to describe an oil lamp. Furlans says that he feels emptiness in his head, which turns into the central metaphor of the short story, as he will feel that same emptiness when sentenced to death at his trial in Ljubljana. This is a metaphor for the mystery of literature. Words, passionate descriptions, theyâ€™re all stronger than the acts of saving the world even if writers can be socially engaged. Literature is stronger. Joyce left Triest because of WWI; according to Furlan, he got scared, while Furlan, a Slovene from Triest and an advocate of liberal values, stood up to Fascism, was sentenced, escaped to Ljubljana, came into conflict with Communism and was sentenced as an English spyâ€¦ The emptiness in his head is the emptiness arising from saving the world. There was something he didnâ€™t understand. He was sure Joyce was a weirdo because of his descriptive desire. These are two principles that I leave open: setting the world to rights and describing it. x
Facts and Ideas of collaboration between the Adriatic and the Danube