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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Roger Cohen: Times of Upheaval

Speaking about age, I could say I am as old as NATO (even if it was born when I was already four). Well, it's not as simple. The first forty and something years I lived on the other side of the planet, dreaming how life would have been were geography more generous with Romania. Vienna and West Berlin, I was dreaming at them, so close and untouchable. I visited Bratislava, they said Vienna could be seen on clear days. I visited East Berlin and I was in the Fernsehturm, it was doing a complete rotation in one hour, I could enjoy the view of the West. Life was going on, with ups and downs, with happy moments and unhappy ones. When 1989 came, I was older than forty, younger than fifty. I found this splendid line in today's column of Roger Cohen (he in turn quotes Martin Amis), in your mid-forties you have your first crisis of mortality (death will not ignore me) ; and 10 years later you have your first crisis of age (my body whispers that death is already intrigued by me); but something very interesting happens to you in between: life thickens out again, there is an enormous and unsuspected presence within your being - this presence is your past.

So, when 1989 came I had my past within me, helping me consider things. Years have passed since that 1989, and little by little I realized that life was more complicated than I had dreamed, more nuanced, right and wrong were not always situated on their obvious sides.

Today the world lives other times of upheaval, a new generation came to age, and our past should help us to be nuanced and to realize the changes. But past also can deceive you (especially when you are as old as NATO) today the frame of the world is different. Past is a too good friend who will try everything to keep you close.

You should read this column of Roger Cohen from today's NY Times

(Zoon Politikon)



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