Rasha Abbas, Dan Boehl, Maxi Obexer, Sînziana Păltineanu, Anzhelina Polonskaya

Texts about Work

Rasha Abbas

Miserable Work Chronicles

When I was invited to take part in a workshop on “Chronicles of Work,” the first idea that came to me was to write about the experience of working under circumstances that strip work of its productive value and transform it into an instrument of enslavement and domination. This has happened frequently throughout history, with work being one of the favorite values dictators use to harness the workforce in constructing a repressive state. Until the day I left Damascus, the following statement could still be found on the walls there: “The working hand is the mightiest hand in the Baathist State.” This phrase has been one of the elder Assad’s famous quotes ever since he seized power 40 years ago. Of course the worker’s hand was not actually the powerful one; the punching fist was always the mightiest hand in the Baathist state. But it was crucial that people be anaesthetized with words like these in order to motivate them to work silently, without so much as a whimper of complaint.
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Dan Boehl

emoemoji : dancing

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Maxi Obexer

In My Father’s Ashes

Sînziana Păltineanu

In Defense of a Storyteller

At two o’clock on Monday, a person appeared in the middle of the parking lot, as if from nowhere. He was wearing an orange jacket and ordinary blue jeans. He stared at the little green tree in front of him and touched one of the leaves – it was probably his first contact with spring that year. He then went to the next tree, which was a little leafier, and circled it in wonder. He had nothing of the scientific curiosity of a botanist. He was not staring at the tree to conquer or to know, but merely to sense. A white and red braiding hung from a bough, but it remained unnoticed. The man was not familiar with the fluttering Bulgarian symbol of spring. It did not bother him, nor did it make him think of the wishes someone may have ceremoniously muttered in secret when attaching the symbol to a blossoming branch. Had he been interested only in linguistics, Saussure’s tree might have completely overshadowed his spring experience. But, fortunately, the man in orange genuinely responded only to colors and textures.
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Anzhelina Polonskaya

Blacker than White

Could it really all be in vain,
and the snow’s crape will meet you again and again –
no color ‘s blacker than white.

You set down your bags,
you see the dog covered in blood,
and you think, “I’m home.”

Your mother stands in the doorway, kissing
your tresses, at the thin line of your forehead,
missing the spot and slipping – 
tiny, like a little girl.

And the snow drifts down, as if not noticing you,
but someone is looking through the shutters,
someone is looking through the shutters,
silently staring.

And each return
“was it really all for naught”,
gets less painful – it barely burns.

The crape of fresh snow.
How fitting for a land
you entered off the gangplank.

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