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In Search Of America

By       Message Mark Sashine       (Page 1 of 3 pages)     Permalink

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(The disconnected line of thoughts after 20 years in the country)


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And until you understand:

Death for new Life counts,

You will be the grumpy guest,

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On the hostile grounds.


W.  Goethe


We have two family holidays: March 22 and May 31.  On March 22, 1989 we flew from Russia to Austria. On May 31, 1989 we flew from the Leonardo Da Vinchi Airport in Rome to New York. The movie they ran on the flight was  Coming to America  and I had to explain to my fellow- immigrants the difference between  the Big Mac and  Big Mic (Yes,  I knew that!). At the same time I did not know who Edie Murphy or Arsenio Hall were. BTW, what happened to old Arsenio? Haven’t heard of him lately.

Every first- generation immigrant faces two powerful temptations: to write about thyself and to criticize.   Those two trends are connected and come from the ‘chez nous’ syndrome, which means ‘where we are from’.  This syndrome is very colorfully described in the novel ‘The Exile’ by Lyon Feichtwanger. That is where we are from (Russia, Poland, Ukraine, Germany, Hungary, etc.)  women are prettier,  culture is more colorful, men are more manly,  food is better, children are more adorable and dogs are dogs, not some cherished species with special  food and doctors. I am not sure  about Asian Americans but  my recent encounters with the Hindu folks reveal the ‘chez nous’ syndrome in all its glory. Remember that former colonel of the Iranian army in the  House of Sand and Fog?

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It is good that my fellow- Americans  do not read the ethnic Russian- Jewish newspapers. Otherwise they would  drown themselves in the ‘chez nous’.  Narcissism flourishes in   all kinds of reminiscences  where every  Rabinovich  currently residing on the Brighton Beach is an A- bomb scientist and if it were  not for    Lieberman or Cogan Russia would have never defeated Hitler. Ok, Monty and Ike helped, but  that’s it.  And of course, Russia is doomed after all those Cogans, Rabinoviches and Epsteins had left her for good.  Nothing  good  can happen in the country without those people.  Everything good  which happened before was their achievement and only theirs, history be damned.   And, of course, they all are suddenly very  Jeeeeeewish. All those former committed atheists, militant young pioneers, skeptics and agnostics- all of them  quote Torah like crazy and  find their ancient Jewish  ancestors  as if they all are related to those famous gees that once saved Rome from the invasion. I would dare to say that if they could they would perform a mass self- circumcision in public and send the pieces of skin to Israel to  show their unequivocal support. All of that, of course is presented in a very bad Russian language which is rather sad on its own.  I have to cut those people some slack though.  They  follow the examples. Fairly recently the total imbecile was our President  for 8 years and his cronies were all vampires. In Russia the executive tandem  Putin- Medvedev  is called by the Russians ‘Our two-headed leadership.’ In Israel a former bouncer and petty gangster is going to become a Foreign Minister. You  can quote Brodsky from  his  Letters  To The Roman Friend:

Postum, do you remember the governor’s sister?

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The writer is 57 years old, semi- retired engineer, PhD, PE, CEM. I write fiction on a regular basis and I am also 10 years on OEN.

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