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Povara luciditatii: Timothy Snyder despre Tony Judt

de Vladimir Tismaneanu     Contributors.ro
Duminică, 26 februarie 2012, 10:41 Actualitate | Opinii


Vladimir Tismaneanu
Foto: AGERPRES

Scriind despre Leszek Kolakowski, Tony Judt il numea ulitmul mare cetatean al Republicii Europene a Literelor. Aceste cuvinte il definesc si pe regretatul profesor de la New York University. In revista “Tablet” a aparut un interviu luat de Matthew Kaminski, membru al board-ului editorial de la “Wall Street Journal” profesorului Timothy Snyder de la Universitatea Yale, despre volumul de dialoguri cu Tony Judt, intitulat “Thinking the Twentieth Century”. In curand va apare la Humanitas, cu sprijinul IICCMER, volumul “The God that Failed” (Zeul care a dat gres), una din cartile amintite, evident in context contemporan, in acest remarcabil interviu despre un ilustru intelectual public, un spirit pentru care nicio ideologie politica nu are dreptul sa se pretinda universal-izbavitoare, definitiva si infailibila. Recomand, din nou, cititorilor, volumul lui Mircea Mihaies, “Ultimul Judt”, aparut anul trecut la Polirom. Este o carte scrisa din suflet, rezultatul unei iubiri intelectuale autentice. Celor care l-am cunoscut indeaproape, de la Andrei Plesu, Silviu Lupescu, Theodor Paleologu si Mihai-Razvan Ungureanu la Anca Oroveanu, Marius Lazurca, Dorian Branea si Adriana Babeti, Tony ne lipseste cat se poate de dureros.

http://www.polirom.ro/catalog/carte/ultimul-judt-4298/

Tony Judt a fost un ganditor liber, a spus multe lucruri adevarate, a spus si lucruri iritante pentru unii dintre prietenii sai. Despre adversari nu mai vorbesc, au fost legiune. Dar a facut-o mereu cu buna-credinta, fara urma de ranchiuna, de meschinarie, de fanatism ori de orbire partizana. M-am intrebat adeseori de ce a fost Tony Judt atat de generos in analizele sale cu Kolakowski si nu s-a manifestat la fel in raport cu Arthur Koestler? Cred ca, de fapt, era vorba de datoria intelectuala si chiar politica a lui Judt fata de Isaac Deutscher, istoricul britanic de origine din Polonia, biograful lui Stalin si al lui Trotki, autorul unei carti cu titlul “Heretics and Renegades” in care Koestler si Orwell erau priviti ca practicanti ai unui mysticism of cruelty. Pe scurt, asemeni lui Deutscher, lui Tony ii placeau ereticii, se mefia de cei pe care ii privea (eronat, cred eu) drept renegati, un temen insultator utilizat inca de Lenin la adresa lui Karl Kautsky. Spre onoarea sa, trebuie spus, cand David Cesarani a publicat o biografie a lui Koestler care mergea in directia character assassination, Judt a replicat devastator.

Structural non-conformist, adeseori iconoclast, Tony a respectat traditia intelectuala a disidenţei est si central europene. Dar nu a absolutizat-o, nu a fetisizat-o. Existǎ un eseu al sau, aparut prin 1994 in “TLS” in care, pe un ton cam sardonic, Tony Judt se referea la unii disidenti drept “umbre palide ale trecutului lor eroic”. Altfel spus, epigonii propriului trecut. La vremea aceea, am raspuns cu un text in revista ”Common Knowledge”, dezvoltat apoi sub forma de capitol in cartea mea “Fantasies of Salvation” (Princeton University Press, 1998, paperback 2009). Judecand retrospectiv, cred ca Tony Judt a avut (macar in parte) dreptate, nu eu. Eram pe atunci inclinat spre o anumita romantizare, preferam sa ma ocup de proverbiala jumatate plina a paharului, desi erau destul de spus despre cealalta jumatate. Adaug ca, desi cartea mea includea o polemica la adresa pozitiei sale, Tony Judt a scris superlativ despre ea.

Cartea sa “Past Imperfect” despre intelectualii francezi si pasiunea comunista ramane, sunt convins, unul din reperele durabile ale luciditatii dintr-un secol al atator iluzii, naluciri si abdicari. La fel, recomand “The Burden of Responsibility”, acel omagiu adus celor trei intelectuali, spectatori angajati (unul chiar a devenit premier in timpul Frontului Popular): Raymond Aron, Leon Blum si Albert Camus.

“Thinking the Twentieth Century,” the last book by the late NYU historian and intellectual provocateur Tony Judt, is the product of an unusual collaboration. Before Judt was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease in the summer of 2008, he was planning to follow up Postwar, a now canonical account of Europe since 1945, with a history of 20th-century social thought. But the incurable neurological disorder made it impossible for him to write.

Yale historian Timothy Snyder, author of the critically acclaimed “Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin,” and a longtime friend of Judt’s, suggested that Judt talk the book out with him, instead. Most Thursdays, for most of 2009, Snyder visited Judt’s apartment in Manhattan’s Washington Square and recorded their conversations. The men worked on the final product until a couple weeks before Judt’s death in August 2010, at the age of 62. The result mixes history and ideas, Judt’s personal journey from a young Zionist to a lapsed Marxist, and current politics. Each chapter—from the first, on Judt’s Jewish upbringing, to the last, in which he makes his argument for a renewed social democracy—begins with an extended biographical section in Judt’s words, followed by a dialogue between him and Snyder, who asks questions and offers his own thoughts.

Judt’s mind and elbows are as sharp as ever. At turns, he is biting about colleagues and ex-wives, the political right, and—no surprise to those who followed his political writing—Israel. Judt gained wide notoriety for a 2003 New York Review of Books essay that argued that to remain a democracy, Israel needs to morph “from a Jewish state into a binational one.” The New Republic subsequently dropped Judt as a contributing editor, and Judt’s career as a Francophonic, British, Jewish, New York public intellectual, so to speak, flourished. I sat down with Snyder last week in New Haven to talk about Judt, their friendship, and their new book.

A “spoken” book comes with its own logistical challenges, but this also must have been emotionally challenging. You befriended Tony Judt, who was 21 years your senior, when you were an undergraduate at Brown. As you note in the foreword, every time you saw him during the course of writing the book, he seemed to deteriorate physically.


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