A shoutout to Poland today

Why Poland?

Because I spent six months last year sharing a flat (and an office) with a Polish person, as part of an experiment* in which four students were chucked into a (very small and quite gross, to start off with) flat and expected to get along. I reckon they could have filmed Big Brother there and we'd have had some choice views!

In any case, said Pole's research is on "historical memory", specifically on how people who used to live in regions acquired during World War Two identify themselves and also about the stories told by the (Polish) state to ensure people who moved into the new regions feel part of the national community. A related aspect is what happened to the people who used to live there before they got shafted in post-war boundary-drawings.

For me, this was all new--I vaguely knew borders were re-drawn after WWII in Europe but, hey, my part of the world learns/teaches youth about this war differently. All we get to read about WWII in Europe can be summed up as "Jews persecuted, Nazis bad, Allies won, Over".

So, when I got a rather pissed-off email with this news report attached (okay, I don't read everything on the Beeb daily), I thought I'd share it with PTSD reader(s), all in the name of being a newly-minted "academic blogger". It's about the opening of a new museum exhibit in Berlin about the post-WWII forced migrations.

Speaking of nationalism and national myths though, I'm still annoyed those blasted Chinese have Tibet since, really, it should be Nepal's. It was ours a long time ago and, despite their tendency to run around in maroon robes and meditate a lot, we're rather fond of the Tibetans and we'd like them back, please. It'd be something different to talk about, instead of the (potential) failure of the Government-Maoists peace talks.**

* Well, not quite a proper experiment but one that probably amused the University folks who put us up--the Pole who'd never lived away from home, the Nepali who hadn't lived at home in nearly a decade, the Spanish undergrad who had a strange liking for Berlin (and went over most weekends) and the Czech, who lived on a liquid diet and sang incomprehensible (well, obviously) songs at odd hours of the night.

** Though that, too, is fairly good news for the dissertation. Not so much for the people, I suppose, though what would I know, being thousands of miles away?


At 8/13/2006 1:21 PM, Anonymous Jenny said...

Apparently, great AU minds think alike.

At 8/15/2006 9:35 AM, Blogger Priya said...

I very much like the "great minds think alike" part :-)

It's quite surprising that we don't hear much about this aspect of WWII though--or maybe I just don't read enough!


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