Books

The Polish Massacre

Goran Poletan

 

Allow your thoughts to travel back to a not so distant past and take a moment to imagine Europe from 100BC to 100AD, a place and time providing a true paradise for the Slavic race. The inhabitants of the region spoke one language, the language of their ancestors, believed in the same God, the God of their ancestors, and traveled freely on their borderless land, smiled upon by their glorified symbol, the Sun.

The land, thought of as a holy object belonging only to the supreme God, could not be traded, bought or sold, and hence abused or perverted in any fashion. Living in peace they were free to travel, set up camp, a home or even a new tribal territory wherever it seemed fit, however as soon as they would discover better hunting grounds or a more fertile soil, they would relocate, leaving the territory free for any other European to use under the same conditions. The same law applied to river beds, mines, the coastline and lakes.

Unlike today, trade was not the lifeblood of the region. The people, intelligent and fearless simply ravaged neighboring continents and took whatever they pleased, enriching their motherland with countless treasures. Livestock being the main food supply, shepherds could be seen either migrating to the south during the harsh winter months, or to the north, during spring, when the sunbeams colored the meadows into a vibrant green.

From the southern seas to the northern Baltic, a conglomerate of tribes occupied the land and aside from the optimistic and charming sound of birds, Nature had seen a need to give birth to a language, so wonderful, that it was in direct competition to the nightingale, a single language spoken by each and every European…

To the Beat of the Garamut

Goran Poletan

 

A large room, filled with antique books, tribal masks, war shields, daggers, arrows and countless other objects from the tribes of New Guinea, all smelling of age and mystery, gave the impression of having been deserted decades ago. However at a closer look one would notice a desk strewn with piles of papers, behind which sat a long-haired figure, on whose face the sun, wind and rain had carved deep lines. It was like seeing an ancient hardwood carving left lying around in a village. The old anthropologist, finding time between the duties that the position of a museum curator requires, was transferring onto a computer hard drive the data from field notes recorded during his adventurous expeditions, from a time when New Guinea was his entire world and its people his only family.

Bill would sigh when, in some of the old photos, he saw the familiar faces of those now dead, some from grief at what they had lost of their traditional world in the face of the modern world. On those faces he did not see so much the warrior’s headdress or the aggressive boars’ tusks protruding through their nostrils; those faces evoked in him the warmest memories of hunting adventures and swimming in rivers inhabited by crocodiles that might freeze the blood in someone else. He ignored the risks, excited by the satisfaction of discovering something new among peoples and cultures known about by very few; even those who might have heard of them could be excused for thinking they were the product of someone’s imagination.

Cannibalism in New Guinea and Melanesia was not an unusual practice and until the 1870s, very few who had the misfortune to be shipwrecked around New Guinea or the Solomon Islands survived to bring home their story from the regions where, as one missionary expressed himself: ‘men walk hand in hand with the devil.’ There was no mercy for anyone who was not a member of the community. Members of other tribes, or outsiders in general, were considered suitable only for a ritual sacrifice or a good meal…