Wednesday, November 20, 2019

"Children of the Silent Revolution" – documentary review

The Berlin Wall fell on November 9, 1989 - a pivotal event which led to the fall of the Iron Curtain and the end of the Cold War. Just one day later, the Bulgarian Communist Party ousted the country’s dictatorial leader Todor Zhivkov. The date is considered the beginning of Bulgaria’s transition to democracy. A change in power without bloodshed. “No violence, no victims.” A silent revolution.

For Bulgarians, doors to the West opened overnight. Travel was no longer restricted; the future was possible elsewhere in Europe and in America. How would Bulgarians handle their newfound freedom?

The documentary film “Children of the Silent Revolution” centers on a tightknit group of eight classmates from the central Bulgarian town of Kazanlak as they finish high school in 1995 and take their first steps into a rapidly changing world. They were “18-year-old kids, drunk with youth, in love with life, and eager to grasp their future.”

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

A Cow’s Tale - short story excerpt

Many of his fellow kibbutzniks thought it a bit odd that Shimmy, the veteran and gray-haired raftan, had a favorite cow. Shimmy had worked in the refet for as long as anyone could remember and had extensive knowledge of the cows in his care, their eating habits, and their milk production capabilities. But to think that of all the animals in the herd, one cow stood out as his favorite, and possibly received his special attention, was strange to say the least.

Mazal was a special cow, or at least that was what Shimmy argued in his defense. Just look at her, he would say, and one could not help but notice Mazal’s unique coloring. She was almost an albino with her alabaster flesh and the pink coloring around her mouth and eyes. She stood out in sharp contrast from the rest of the black and white spotted Holstein herd. Only a splash of darkened flesh thrown on one of her hind legs almost as an afterthought spoiled Mazal’s stark white appearance.

There was more than just her coloring that made Mazal special, Shimmy pointed out. Her name meant ‘luck’ and she had lived up to her namesake by becoming a very productive member of the herd. The udders of the white matron provided countless liters of pure white milk in each of the three daily milkings.