By Guido Snel
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Additional info for Alter Ego: Twenty Confronting Views on the European Experience
I’d meet elders who had fought against the Nazis, and during the socialist era were persecuted, as non-communist combatants. In the best cases they were forgotten. I visited them, as they were fascinating narrators. They lived in their mountain solitude, often isolated, individualistic. Some even fought against the communists, and for us young oppositionists in the muddy Seventies that was something absolutely wonderful! They’re all dead now. We interviewed them, but our notes were not preserved.
That would be like reading some strange science fiction, or Orwellian novel, when you realise that until fifteen years ago, this land was surrounded by barbed wire. That is completely unbelievable. I can’t imagine it! Now I have the feeling that I would not be able to survive even one day in such a place. Psychically. Yet, it was also a time of unbelievable humour and delight. One would live with friends in the kitchen and country houses somewhere in the forgotten countryside! Even though a lot of time would be taken up by discussions about who was locked up and which one of us was an agent, there was something unbelievably interesting and valuable, something for which there is simply no time or place in a modern society organised by business.
Let me explain it. When you called me the other day and said that you would like to interview me for your newspaper, and that our main topic would be the expansion of the EU, I quickly said yes. ’ ‘I am sorry,’ I said. ‘I did not mean to make your life difficult or unpleasant’. TO IMPERSONAL RECEIVER: OPPOSITE OF Albahari laughed. ‘No, it was not COMMUNICATION you who made my life miserable at that point. It was I. I realised that, by inviting me, and probably others, to talk about that expansion, you were 48 in fact confirming your own prejudices – that we who have not yet become a part of the European Union are really different from you, and that we need time to conform to your standards, to become more like you.