Archive for August 10th, 2017

August 10, 2017

a note on a visit to Ukraine

When I ended up in Turkey during the coup (or, as locals insistently say, coup attempt), some friends implored me to leave. Yet Istanbul has such a place in the European imagination that people could understand why I stayed. In fact, the -phobias and -isms that really drive me away from Turkey existed before the coup and the friendships and experiences that draw me back to Istanbul (which are not part of the international social imagination of the city) persisted after the coup.

It has not been the same with Ukraine. Kyiv lacks the cultural cachet of even Warsaw, let alone Budapest or Prague or Berlin or Paris. Sadly, despite the mountains, steppes and Black Sea, Transcarpathian cuisine, café culture and drinking culture, as well as a more traditional artistic cultural renaissance that has been achieved amidst crisis and conflict, friends and colleagues have repeatedly asked why I am here.

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