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Archive for October, 2012

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Trust me, we
will all come
back to
Lithuania –
to die…

By Nellie Vin, Florida

I am one who left Lithuania in 1996 after we got independence in 1990. In few years the country’s economists, with Landsbergis as the head on top, crushed all too fast (with privatization) without providing and helping with starting of small business and lowering taxes for new business people. Finally imported, cheap products from Poland killed local farmers’ business. It’s become not profitable to grow own organic healthy products and sell for Lithuanian people. Many people left to look for opportunities in other countries. Still young and older people are leaving. No one wants to wait. We need today! Not to wait on promises for a better tomorrow.

COMMENTS

Virginia Shimkute, New Zealand

 

We felt rejected, let down and my teenager's respect to Lithuania reduced
Thank you for the view – honest and direct; I didn't get Lithuanian citizenship for myself and my daughter (who was born in 1991 January in Vilnius) after 3 year long battle – we both felt rejected, let down and my teenager's respect to Lithuania somewhat reduced; you might change your mind about going back to die-i want to die in a country who accepts me and lets me live, kind regards-Virginija

 

Nellie Vin, Florida

Lithuania will remain in me no matter where I would be.
Thank you Virginia, I hear your frustration. I go, as my mother is there… Maybe not to die, but definitely Lithuania will remain in me no matter where I would be.

 

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Category : Front page

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Trust me, we will all come back to Lithuania –
to die…

By Nellie Vin, Florida

I am one who left Lithuania in 1996 after we got independence in 1990. In few years the country’s economists, with Landsbergis as the head on top, crushed all too fast (with privatization) without providing and helping with starting of small business and lowering taxes for new business people. Finally imported, cheap products from Poland killed local farmers’ business. It’s become not profitable to grow own organic healthy products and sell for Lithuanian people. Many people left to look for opportunities in other countries. Still young and older people are leaving. No one wants to wait. We need today! Not to wait on promises for a better tomorrow.

We saw that from 1990, nothing changed, even got worse. If someone makes enough money from the work the major pay came in envelopes from the company, not shown in the books, for tax purposes. This meant that if a person got 2000 LT in an envelope he was getting just 650 LT on the records. Now, what will happen when this person will be retired? What retirement payments will he get? Of course just from 650LT.

Why, in our country, we have people who became billionaires in short time? They were selling cheap retail products made in other countries. They "killed" local textile and production business in Lithuania.

Now it’s not so bad, but Grybauskaite, before the presidential election, promised dual citizenship for everyone. After getting elected she completely forgot this promise. They finally passed the bill, but just for people who left the country before 1990. Why? Was that right? Did it not contradicting with human rights? Some can make a choice, some can’t. If they have to make a choice they will lose the Lithuania Citizenship. It’s a question. My son serving in Navy in US now lost Lithuania citizenship because he just, last month, become US citizen. I am, very proud of him. He made a choice, he chose the country that gave him work.

He still very much loves his birth country Lithuania but as there is no bill yet to have dual citizenship in Lithuania, this pushed him make a choice. I, and my younger son are still waiting for the dual citizenship bill. My youngest son is a student of Jacksonville University, last year in business and management. We still are holding love and passports of Lithuania, but for how long? 

We need today to live, to learn and to make right decisions. It’s still just long years of talk. I was now in 2010 in Lithuania, spend over 6 months looking for what I can do in Lithuania to get back to live there. Contacted old friends who are in good positions in politics when we all were fighting for independence. Everyone sit in their chairs and the only one answer I got, was; we have 10 year long waiting list. What that means? To get to politician chair because it’s well paid all already busy?

I wanted just work not a chair. But to get good work you must belong to the party. I left again, because I didn't see changes over the 12 years after I left. Forgive my accent I learned English in 3 months in US because after I arrived and all my working time I didn't had time to get proper English education.

My sons did and I am very proud of them. But we made it… It’s not easy to start in the foreign country without language, friends family etc. But we make choices if we logically not see possibilities to change economic situation in Lithuania or we just see government don’t care about people of their own country, often people who were living there for generations. 

Still not easy but in US more possibilities at this moment. These are my thoughts, nothing personal. I can be wrong, but this is just my observations.

Trust me, we all want to come back … And we will get back …To die ….

COMMENTS

Virginia Shimkute, New Zealand

 

We felt rejected, let down and my teenager's respect to Lithuania reduced
Thank you for the view – honest and direct; I didn't get Lithuanian citizenship for myself and my daughter (who was born in 1991 January in Vilnius) after 3 year long battle – we both felt rejected, let down and my teenager's respect to Lithuania somewhat reduced; you might change your mind about going back to die-i want to die in a country who accepts me and lets me live, kind regards-Virginija

 

Nellie Vin, Florida

Lithuania will remain in me no matter where I would be.
Thank you Virginia, I hear your frustration. I go, as my mother is there… Maybe not to die, but definitely Lithuania will remain in me no matter where I would be.

 

Category : Lithuania today

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“Ikh bin a vilner,” Samuel
Bak declared, in Yiddish

Ellen Cassedy reporting from Washington D.C.

“Ikh bin a vilner,” Samuel Bak declared, in Yiddish, to an audience at the Lithuanian Embassy in Washington, D.C., October 15.

Echoing President John F. Kennedy’s famous statement in Berlin, the artist meant that he is from Vilna, of Vilna – and so is his abundant body of work.  

Bak was at the Embassy for the opening of an exhibition of his paintings, which powerfully evoke the city of his childhood – and its destruction during the Nazi era.   

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Category : Front page

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“Ikh bin a vilner,” Samuel
Bak declared, in Yiddish

Ellen Cassedy reporting from Washington D.C.

“Ikh bin a vilner,” Samuel Bak declared, in Yiddish, to an audience at the Lithuanian Embassy in Washington, D.C., October 15.

Echoing President John F. Kennedy’s famous statement in Berlin, the artist meant that he is from Vilna, of Vilna – and so is his abundant body of work.  

Bak was at the Embassy for the opening of an exhibition of his paintings, which powerfully evoke the city of his childhood – and its destruction during the Nazi era.

Bak was born in Vilnius (then the Polish city of Wilno) in 1933.  As a child, he was a part of the city’s vibrant Jewish community of 60,000.

“I grew up as a very conscious Litvak,” he said, “knowing that I was very privileged to be a part of the incredible riches of religious and secular Judaism in this place.”

In 1941, Bak was forced into the Vilna ghetto.  There he endured years of hardship, terror, and loss – and was recognized inside the ghetto as an artistic prodigy.  His sketches from that period survive. 

Of Bak’s family, only he and his mother survived the war.  His father and the rest of his relatives perished.  

Many of Bak’s paintings evoke the ruins of the old Jewish quarter.  Other repeated images, which depict the forces of destruction and repair, are colossal chess boards and giant damaged pears.

Bak left Vilnius after the war to study and paint in Germany, Israel, France, and Switzerland.  He lives now in the United States. 

In 2001, after more than half a century, the artist visited Vilnius.  In his memoir, Painted in Words, he writes that he feared being overwhelmed by past horrors.  Instead “a pleasant sensation settled in my soul: the Vilnius of today felt very familiar.”  As he walked through the streets, “the ancient city with its winding streets, old buildings, and many restored churches, was more beautiful than I had dared to hope.”  

Under the title “The Stations in Life,” or “Gyvenimo stotys,” Bak’s work was exhibited at the Tolerance Center of the Jewish museum in Vilnius earlier this year.  Now, the museum has announced plans to create a new Center of Litvak Culture and Art within the Jewish Community building on Pylimo Street.  A special gallery will be devoted to Bak’s work.  A movie theatre, conference center, and restaurant are also planned. 

Speaking of the new center, museum director Markas Zingeris said, “We need to reestablish the Jewish narrative in Lithuania, but we also need to reestablish our common humanity.  Art is a way to do that – and Bak is universal.”   



Ellen Cassedy

Ellen Cassedy traces her Jewish family roots to Rokiskis and Siauliai.

Her book, We Are Here: Memories of the Lithuanian Holocaust, will appear in Lithuanian in 2013 under the title Mes esame čia: Atsiminimai apie holokaustą Lietuvoje.   

 

 

 


Samuel Bak 

File:Bak-portrait 450.jpg 

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Samuel Bak (born 12 August 1933) is a Lithuanian-born Jewish painter and writer who survived the Holocaust.

 

Childhood

Born on August 12, 1933 in Vilna - Vilnius, Lithuania, Bak was recognized from an early age as possessing extraordinary artistic talent. He describes his family as "secular, but proud of their Jewishidentity." Immediately following the German invasion of Poland in September 1939, Vilna and the whole East of Poland was attacked by the USSR. After one month though, the Soviets retreated, giving back the city to the Republic of Lithuania. An estimated 30,000 Jews found refuge in the city.

As Vilna came under German occupation on June 24, 1941, Bak and his family had to move into the Vilna Ghetto. At the age of nine, he had his first exhibition inside the ghetto, even as massive executions and murders perpetrated by the Nazis and their Lithuanian collaborators took place almost every day. Bak and his mother escaped the destruction of the Vilna Ghetto by seeking refuge in aBenedictine convent. They were helped by a Catholic nun named Maria Mikulska, and spent most of their time there in an attic.

By the end of the war, Samuel and his mother were the only members of his extensive family to survive. His father, Jonas, was shot by the Germans in July 1944, only a few days before Samuel's own liberation. As Bak described the situation, "when in 1944 the Soviets liberated us, we were two among two hundred of Vilna's survivors--from a community that had counted 70 or 80 thousand." Bak and his mother as pre-war Polish citizens were allowed to leave Soviet-occupied Vilna and travel to central Poland, at first settling briefly in Łódź. They soon left Poland for good and traveled into the American occupied zone of Germany. From 1945 to 1948, he and his mother lived in Displaced Persons camps in Germany. He spent most of this period at the Landsberg am Lech DP camp in Germany. It was there he painted a self-portrait shortly before repudiating his Bar Mitzvah ceremony. Bak also studied painting in Munich during this period, and painted "A Mother and Son", 1947, which evokes some of his dark memories of the Holocaust and escape from Soviet-occupied Poland.

In 1948, he and his mother immigrated to Israel, and four years later he studied art at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem. Bak spent most of his time in Israel studying and living in a modest flat in Tel Aviv and did not paint very much during that period.[1]

 

Biography

The Family, oil on canvas, 1974

§     1933 On 12 August, Samuel Bak is born to an educated, cultured middle-class family in Vilna.

§     1941 On 24 June, the Germans occupy Vilna and order the Jews to wear the yellow Jewish Badge. Bak, aged eight, is charged with preparing badges for his parents and extended family.

§     1941 On 6 September, the deportation of Jews to the Vilna Ghetto is initiated. Samuel’s father is sent to a labor camp while the child and his mother flee the ghetto to the home of Janina Rushkevich, his grandfather’s sister who had been baptized in her youth. Janina finds shelter for the family in the city’s Benedictine convent, where the nun Marija Mikulska takes the child under her wing and supplies him with paint and paper.

§     1941 When the Germans suspect the convent of collaborating with Soviet forces, they place it under military jurisdiction. The Bak family is forced to flee again, returning to the Vilna Ghetto.

§     1943 In March, the poets Avrom Sutzkever and Szmerke Kaczerginski invite the nine-year-old Bak to participate in an exhibition organized in the ghetto. Sensing that their end is near, the poets decide to deposit the Pinkas, the official record of the Jewish community, into the hands of Bak in the hope that they both survive. Paper is a precious commodity and the white pages of the Pinkasbeckon the young artist: he uses them to satisfy his craving to draw. Over the next two years, Samuel fills the page margins and empty pages of the Pinkas.

§     1943 Bak’s father is sent to the forced labor camp HKP 526, named after a unit of the Wehrmacht’s Engineering Corps (Heeres Kraftfahr Park). Samuel and his mother are sent to the camp later, upon the liquidation of the ghetto, on 24 September.

§     1944 On 27 March, a children’s Aktion takes place in the camp in which 250 children are sent to their death. Bak’s mother takes advantage of the confusion in the camp to flee while Samuel hides under a bed in the living quarters of one of the camp buildings. A few days later, his father smuggles him out of the camp in a sack of sawdust. Outside, by a pre-arranged signal, he links up with a woman waving his mother’s scarf. Janina Rushkevitch saved the family again, sending her maid with the mother’s scarf to fetch the child. Samuel and his mother are forced to look for shelter. Again, they make their way to the Benedictine convent, where they find shelter for 11 months, until liberation.

§     1944 On 2-3 July, forced laborers rounded up at the city’s camps, among them his father, are shot to death in Ponary, ten days before Vilna’s liberation.

§     1944 After liberation, Bak takes art lessons with academician Professor Serafinovicz, who cultivated the boy’s natural draftsmanship by having him draw from broken plaster casts. As pre-war Polish citizens, the family has the right to return to Poland and so move to Lodz. Bak continues his art studies with Professor Richtarski, an impressionist artist.

§     1945 After a short time in Berlin, Samuel and his mother arrive at the Landsberg Displaced Persons Camp. They are greeted by survivor Natan Markowsky, who holds a senior position in the camp’s administration, and will later become Samuel’s stepfather.

§     1945 Bak is sent to Munich to study with Professor Blocherer. He frequents the city’s museums and becomes familiar with German expressionism.

§     1947 David Ben-Gurion visits Bad Reichenhall, where an exhibition of the art of the child prodigy, Samuel Bak, is organized in his honor. Bak’s art is published in the Hebrew newspaper, Davar HaShavuah, and the Yiddish Forverts in New York.

§     1948 Aged fifteen, Samuel arrives in Israel aboard the “Pan York”, carrying with him many artworks from the Landsberg DP camp.

§     1952 Prior to military service, he studies for one year at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem.

§     1953–1956 Military service in the Israel Defense Forces.

§     1955 Meets Peter Frye, then one of Israel’s most prominent theater directors, who prompts him to design backdrops and costumes.

§     1956 Moves to Paris and enrolls at the École Nationale des Beaux-Arts. Receives the first prize of the American-Israeli Cultural Foundation.

§     1959 Moves to Rome. That summer has a solo exhibition at the Robert Schneider Gallery in Rome and exhibits at the Carnegie International in Pittsburgh.

§     1964 Exhibits at the Venice Biennale.

§     1966–1974 Returns to Israel.

§     1974–1977 Lives and works in New York.

§     1977–1980 Lives and works in Israel.

§     1980–1984 Lives and works in Paris.

§     1984–1993 Lives and works in Lausanne, Switzerland.

§     1993 Settles in Boston, Massachusetts and is represented by Pucker Gallery.

§     2001 Bak returns to Vilna for the first time. During the following years he often visits his hometown.[2]

§     2001 Publication of his book Painted in Words: A Memoir, ISBN 0-253-34048-9, which has been printed in four languages.

§     2002 Receives the Herkomer Cultural Prize in Landsberg, Germany.

 

Artistic style and influences

While Bak's work is complex and difficult to characterize, a few themes stand out:

§     In Childhood Memories, 1975, the pear, possibly the fruit of knowledge, evokes the loss of paradise and discovery of war. Pear trees are also ubiquitous in many areas of Europe, especially Vilna, where Bak grew up.

§     The possibility of repair, the repair of a broken world, tikkun olam, is an important meaning contained in many of his still life works.

§     Bak's childhood frustration with the story of Genesis, and his admiration for the genius of Michelangelo, blend in his post-Holocaust visiting of this theme.

§     Another artist whose influence is readily seen in Bak's works, such as Angel of the Travelers, 1987, is Albrecht Dürer.

§     Still lifes—in times when life is never still, never sufficiently protected, nor granted to everyone—attracted him as a metaphor full of symbolic implications.

§     Chess as a theme of life has always fascinated Bak. In the DP camps and in Israel, he often played chess with his stepfather Markusha. Underground II, 1997, portrays chess pieces in a sunken, subterranean evocation of the Vilna ghetto.

§     A solitary boy can also be seen in his works. The boy represents his murdered childhood friend, Samek Epstein, and the memory of himself as a child during the Shoah.

§     In Bak’s 2011 series featuring Adam and Eve (which comprised 125 paintings, drawings and mixed media works), the artist casts the first couple as lone survivors of a biblical narrative of a God who birthed humanity and promised never to destroy it. Unable to make good on the greatest of all literary promises, God becomes another one of the relics that displaced persons carry around with them in the disorienting aftermath of world war. Viewers often describe Bak as a tragedian, but if classical tragedy describes the fall of royal families, Bak narrates the disintegration and disillusion of the chosen people. Bak draws upon the biblical heroes of the Genesis story, yet he is more preoccupied with the visual legacy of the creation story as immortalized by Italian and North Renaissance artists.[3]A a collection of images from the Adam and Eve series can be viewed here.

 

Present

Now 77, the artist continues to deal with the artistic expression of the destruction and dehumanization which make up his childhood memories. He speaks about what are deemed to be the unspeakable atrocities of the Holocaust, though he hesitates to limit the boundaries of his art to the post-Holocaust genre. He creates a visual language to remind the world of its most desperate moments. A collection of Samuel Bak's works are on permanent display at Pucker Gallery in Boston, Massachusetts and many exhibitions of his artwork are held in leading international museums and galleries.

 

Selected publications

§     Samuel Bak, Paintings of the Last Decade, A. Kaufman and Paul T. Nagano. Aberbach, New York, 1974.

§     Samuel Bak, Monuments to Our Dreams, Rolf Kallenbach. Limes Verlag, Weisbaden & Munich, 1977.

§     Samuel Bak, The Past Continues, Samuel Bak and Paul T. Nagano. David R. Godine, Boston, 1988.

§     Chess as Metaphor in the Art of Samuel Bak, Jean Louis Cornuz. Pucker Art Publications, Boston & C.A. Olsommer, Montreux, 1991.

§     Ewiges Licht (Landsberg: A Memoir 1944-1948), Samuel Bak. Jewish Museum, Frankfurt, Germany, 1996.

§     Landscapes of Jewish Experience, Lawrence Langer. Pucker Art Publications, Boston & University Press of New England, Hanover, 1997.

§     Samuel Bak – Retrospective, Bad Frankenhausen Museum, Bad Frankenhausen, Germany, 1998.

§     The Game Continues: Chess in the Art of Samuel Bak, Pucker Art Publications, Boston & Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 2000.

§     In A Different Light: The Book of Genesis in the Art of Samuel Bak, Lawrence Langer. Pucker Art Publications, Boston & University of Washington Press, Seattle, 2001.

§     The Art of Speaking About the Unspeakable, TV Film by Rob Cooper. Pucker Art Publications, Boston, 2001.

§     Between Worlds: Paintings and Drawings by Samuel Bak from 1946-2001, Pucker Art Publications, Boston, 2002.

§     Painted in Words: A Memoir, Samuel Bak. Pucker Art Publications, Boston & Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 2002.

§     Samuel Bak: Painter of Questions, TV Film by Christa Singer. Toronto, Canada, 2003.

§     New Perceptions of Old Appearances in the Art of Samuel Bak, Lawrence Langer. Pucker Art Publications, Boston & Syracuse University Press, Syracuse, 2005.

§     Samuel Bak: Life Thereafter, Eva Atlan and Peter Junk. Felix Nussbaum Haus & Rasch, Verlag, Bramsche, Osnabrueck, Germany, 2006.

§     Return to Vilna in the Art of Samuel Bak, Lawrence Langer. Pucker Art Publications, Boston & Syracuse University Press, Syracuse, 2007.

§     Representing the Irreparable: The Shoah, the Bible, and the Art of Samuel Bak, Danna Nolan Fewell, Gary A. Phillips and Yvonne Sherwood, Eds. Pucker Art Publications, Boston, and Syracuse University Press, Syracuse, 2008.

§     Icon of Loss: The Haunting Child of Samuel Bak, Danna Nolan Fewell and Gary A. Phillips. Pucker Art Publications, Boston, and Syracuse University Press, Syracuse, 2009.

 

Selected museum exhibitions

§     Bezalel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel – 1963

§     Tel Aviv Museum, Tel Aviv, Israel – 1963

§     Rose Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA – 1976

§     Germanisches National Museum, Nuremberg, Germany – 1977

§     Heidelberg Museum, Heidelberg, Germany – 1977

§     Haifa University, Haifa, Israel – 1978

§     Kunstmuseum, Düsseldorf, Germany – 1978

§     Rheinisches Landesmuseum, Bonn, Germany – 1978

§     Kunstmuseum, Wiesbaden, Germany – 1979

§     Stadtgalerie Bamberg, Villa Dessauer, Germany – 1988

§     Koffler Center for the Arts, Toronto, Canada – 1990

§     Dürer Museum, Nuremberg, Germany – 1991

§     Temple Judea Museum, Philadelphia, PA – 1991

§     Jüdisches Museum, Stadt Frankfurt am Main, Germany – 1993

§     Hebrew Union College, Jewish Institute of Religion, New York, NY – 1994

§     Janice Charach Epstein Museum and Gallery, West Bloomfield, MI – 1994

§     National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education, Seton Hall College, Greensburg, PA – 1995

§     Spertus Museum, Chicago, IL – 1995

§     B’Nai B’Rith Klutznick National Jewish Museum, Washington, DC – 1997

§     Holocaust Museum Houston, Houston, TX – 1997

§     Panorama Museum, Bad Frankenhausen, Germany – 1998

§     National Museum of Lithuania, Vilnius, Lithuania – 2001

§     Snite Museum of Art, Notre Dame University, Notre Dame, IN – 2001

§     Florida Holocaust Museum, Saint Petersburg, FL – 2001, 2007, 2009

§     Canton Museum of Art, Canton, OH – 2002

§     Clark University, Worcester, MA – 2002

§     Neues Stadtmuseum, Landsberg am Lech, Germany – 2002

§     University of Scranton, Scranton, PA – 2003

§     City Hall Gallery, Orlando, FL – 2004

§     Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX – 2004

§     Tweed Museum of Art, University of Minnesota, Duluth, MN – 2004

§     Felix Nussbaum Haus, Osnabrueck, Germany – 2006

§     University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH – 2006

§     Yad Vashem Museum, Jerusalem, Israel – 2006

§     Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL – 2008

§     Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art, Tulsa, OK – 2008

§     Keene State College, Cohen Holocaust Center, Keene, NH – 2008

§     Brown University, John Hay Library, Providence, RI – 2009

§     Wabash College, Eric Dean Gallery, Crawfordsville, IN – 2009

§     DePauw University, The Janet Prindle Institute for Ethics, Greencastle, IN – 2009

§     Drew University, Korn Gallery and University Library, Madison, NJ – 2009

§     Queensborough Community College, Holocaust Resource Center, Bayside, NY – 2009, 2010

§     Holocaust Memorial Center, Zekelman Family Campus, Farmington Hills, MI – 2010

§     Holocaust Museum Houston, Houston, TX - 2012

 

External links

§     Pucker Gallery

§     Boca Raton Museum of Art

§     Facing History and Ourselves

§     Syracuse University Press

§     University of Minnesota, Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies

§     Yad Vashem, The Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority

 

References

1.    ^ Painted in Words: A Memoir, Samuel Bak. Indiana University Press, Bloomington, Indiana, 2002. ISBN 0-253-34048-9.

2.    ^ Samuel Bak: Life Thereafter, Eva Atlan and Peter Junk. Felix Nussbaum Haus & Rasch, Verlag, Bramsche, Osnabrueck, Germany, 2006, p. 84. ISBN 3-926235-26-8.

3.    ^ Samuel Bak’s Adam and Eve: On Holocaust and Beauty, Maya Balakirsky Katz. Pucker Art Publications, Boston, 2011, p. 2.

Category : Litvak forum

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First time in Lithuanian
American Community:
3rd waver (trečia bangė)
becomes President

The new LAC President
Sigita Šimkuvienė-Rosen

Photo: Rasa Paulauskaite Dooling

In a meeting held in Atlanta Georgia on the 28 and 29th of September 2012, the Lithuanian American Community made history by appointing its first ever 3rd Waver (Trečia Bangė) as President. The XX session of LAC elected Sigita Šimkuvienė-Rosen a recent immigrant to the highest office. Sigita came to the USA just eleven years ago and has been very active in LAC circles. The 3rd wave refers to the Lithuanian Émigrés who left Lithuania after independence - up to now most Lithuanian exile organizations have been run by the 2nd Wave which refers to those who left during WWII. Sigita broke the mold. Sigita lives in New Haven Connecticut. She takes charge of the largest Lithuanian diaspora organization in the world.

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Category : Opinions

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Sigita has such passion, energy and drive to move people of the communities in the right direction

The Hartford Lithuanian American Community is very familiar with Sigita Simkuviene-Rosen the newly elected President. She will do extremely well in all duties she assumes in this organization. Sigita has such passion, energy and drive to move people of the communities in the right direction. We extend our Congratulations and best wishes!

Irene Petkaitis

Category : Opinions

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Why has moving from socialism to capitalism proven so disappointing for Russians, and so rewarding for those in the former Soviet-controlled Baltic states?

The answer lies in the two fundamental requirements for the transformation from socialist repression to a free-market capitalist economy. First, a thoughtful, transparent and unbiased privatization process is required to make the move from state-controlled socialism. Second, the rule of law must be enforced against corruption.
Russia’s transition from socialism to capitalism failed on both counts. In an ill-considered privatization process, vouchers exchangeable for shares in huge oil, mining, and other industrial companies were distributed to citizens who had no concept of private ownership. Chaos reigned as some people even traded vouchers for shots of vodka in bars; many vouchers were bought for a pittance by men who instantly became fabulously wealthy. Several Russians told us that these so-called oligarchs gained their private jets, yachts and international palaces “over the backs of the Russian people,” thus becoming symbols of capitalism’s failure.

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Category : News

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Guardian Angels
– do they exist?


Guardian angel, by Pietro da Cortona, 1656

Some weekend thoughts
by Irene Simanavicius, Toronto

“Guardian Angels.....ethereal beings who we feel and sometimes see....who snatch us from the brink of disaster and give us subtle advice.....who watch over us while we go about our mundane activities......what a wonderful concept!  The concept has been in the supernatural spectrum since ancient times.  However, today Angels are inherently a highly religious phenomenon, and the implied concept of Angels is indirect communication with God himself.” 
The concept of Guardian Angels has likely been around since the dawn of mankind.  It is a concept that has been embraced in some form by virtually every religion since the beginning of religion itself.  The modern day depictions of winged beings sitting on clouds and playing harps comes to mind in pretty much all of us when we think of our Guardian Angel, or of Angels in general.  In the mainstream psyche, we generally equate Guardian Angels as a spiritual being with our best interests at heart whose purpose is to serve us without interfering with our free will.  The modern marketplace solidifies this with angel statuettes, jewelry, wall hangings, plaques and every kind of Angel paraphernalia imaginable at every turn.  Classic movies involve Angel themes, most notably in "A Wonderful Life" where an Angel gently shows a mortal man the positive impact he has had on the lives of others, thus turning his own life around.
So what are Guardian Angels?  Are they real?  Are they figments of our collective imaginations?  Are they something in the realm of paranormal like ghosts?  Is there any proof that they exist? Are they agents of God?  Can we see them?  What do they look like?  Can we talk to them? 

Read more…

Category : Front page

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Guardian Angels
– do they exist?


Guardian angel, by Pietro da Cortona, 1656

Some weekend thoughts
by Irene Simanavicius, Toronto

“Guardian Angels.....ethereal beings who we feel and sometimes see....who snatch us from the brink of disaster and give us subtle advice.....who watch over us while we go about our mundane activities......what a wonderful concept!  The concept has been in the supernatural spectrum since ancient times.  However, today Angels are inherently a highly religious phenomenon, and the implied concept of Angels is indirect communication with God himself.” 

The concept of Guardian Angels has likely been around since the dawn of mankind.  It is a concept that has been embraced in some form by virtually every religion since the beginning of religion itself.  The modern day depictions of winged beings sitting on clouds and playing harps comes to mind in pretty much all of us when we think of our Guardian Angel, or of Angels in general.  In the mainstream psyche, we generally equate Guardian Angels as a spiritual being with our best interests at heart whose purpose is to serve us without interfering with our free will.  The modern marketplace solidifies this with angel statuettes, jewelry, wall hangings, plaques and every kind of Angel paraphernalia imaginable at every turn.  Classic movies involve Angel themes, most notably in "A Wonderful Life" where an Angel gently shows a mortal man the positive impact he has had on the lives of others, thus turning his own life around.

So what are Guardian Angels?  Are they real?  Are they figments of our collective imaginations?  Are they something in the realm of paranormal like ghosts?  Is there any proof that they exist? Are they agents of God?  Can we see them?  What do they look like?  Can we talk to them? 

WHAT ARE GUARDIAN ANGELS?( taken from Time magazine)

There are several different trains of thought on this matter so here goes...                   

Guardian Angels are Sent by God to Guide and Protect:  This is by far the most prevalent theory today, and no proof is needed by those who embrace this concept.  It's simply a matter of faith.  The Bible actually says very little specifically about Guardian Angels, other than little kids may be more attuned than we are....
Matthew 18:10 states, "See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven."” 

Indeed, little kids in their innocence probably provide more anecdotal evidence of Angels or Guardian Angels than all adults combined.  This is significant religious-wise and spiritual-wise.  Once we get older, it seems we are no longer open to or aware of the possibility of a Guardian Angel, and in and of itself this is testament for how hardened and jaded we become spiritually as we age.  But is the Bible really referring to little kids?  It could be we are all little kids in God's view - otherwise no adult would ever experience the sensation of seeing their guardian Angel.   In many religions, Guardian Angels are not directly related to us, but rather are entities that have never lived human life.  They are wise, pure, compassionate, and non-judgmental.  They can guide, but cannot interfere with our free will.  Often, they are portrayed as lower-echelon beings in the heavenly hierarchy, as opposed to more powerful Angels such as the Archangels.  As such they are intermediaries or messengers between us and our Creator.  They inhabit a higher plane of existence than we do, and have abilities to morph into many forms, including the human form when necessary.  Each Angel is assigned to one of us at birth to guard us and look out for our best interests, regardless of how we conduct our lives.  They see the good in us whether or not we believe in them or live pure lives, and they accompany us to our heavenly destination after death.  Encountering one's Guardian Angel is a life-changing experience, and for those who have, their existence is a matter of pure faith with no other proof needed.  Those who truly believe claim that they can simply call on their Guardian Angel and a response will come if they watch for it, such as finding an open book with a passage that relates to the problem.    

Guardian Angels are Deceased Relatives Who Watch Over Us:  Many people who have had encounters with Guardian Angels report the distinct feeling that the Angel was not a stranger at all and that it was a recognizable deceased relative.  This is a comforting theory on several levels, as it implies life after death and a continued relationship with our loved ones even after they are gone.  Various polls actually seem to indicate that slightly more people perceive their Guardian Angels as being close family members than unidentified heavenly beings.  Who better to watch out for our best interests than someone who knows us well, like a parent or grandparent? There are many stories of people perceiving a close family member shielding them in a car crash or warning them of impending danger. One thing is crystal clear -  we all form strong bonds in this life that likely do transcend the bounds of this earthly existence, and whether or not we become Angels for those who remain after we die, those bonds are tangible and everlasting. It is therefore definitely a possibility that the Creator would give chosen relatives the power to intervene in our lives in some circumstances. 

Guardian Angels are a Projection of Our Higher Selves:  We all think we know ourselves, but our actual selves are much more complex than we think.  This is the concept of the soul and of spirituality.  We all sometimes feel and think things that are outside the bounds of what we have experienced in our existence on this plane, suggesting that there is more to us than there appears on the surface.  As you exist now, you are but a small part of a much larger and more complex being.  You have higher selves and lower selves, all existing within the same soul.  Some refer to it as being "multidimensional" or as existing on "different vibration planes."   As it pertains to Guardian Angels, in this scenario, you would be your own Guardian Angel, with all the resources necessary.  The help and knowledge that your Angel extends to you would actually come from within your own vast inner knowledge and wisdom that lies untapped in your daily life.  Your higher self is attuned to your situation and knows what is best for you. This is the essence of a very complex concept that is discussed in more detail on other areas of this site and won't be repeated here.

Guardian Angels are in the Here and Now - They are People Who Come and Go  Throughout Our Lives:  We've all experienced it - we are in a mess and can't find a way out when someone comes into our lives and provides the solution.  Sometimes they stay and sometimes they don't, but they etch a place in our memories and are never forgotten.  We have to move away momentarily from the purely religious implications of Guardian Angels to process this concept, and there are other sources with intriguing ideas on the subject. 

In the Jane Roberts/Seth material, Seth states "The teachers within your system are those in their last reincarnation, and other personalities who have left the system but have been assigned to help those still within it.  The system also includes some fragment personalities that are entering for the first time, as well as those in later reincarnations."  This is a far-reaching statement that tends to ring true.  We all know people who are spiritually or intellectually superior to us, and we all know people who are spiritually or intellectually inferior to us.  The most memorable people in our lives beyond our own families are usually those on the extreme ends of this spectrum, either good or bad.  Essentially, all the people in our lives are in our lives for a reason, and the ones who change us and help us grow are the ones who knowingly or unknowingly act as our Guardian Angels.  They are Angels in human form, and even if one thinks of Angels as purely ethereal heavenly beings or as deceased relatives looking after us, there's still room for the possibility that the phenomenon could manifest in the here and now and in the people we encounter in our day-to-day life. In fact, the Bible refers to this very thing with regard to our Angels:  "Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it."

WHAT DOES A GUARDIAN ANGEL LOOK LIKE?

The Bible doesn't really say all that much about what Angels look like, but most often portrays them as taking on a human form (mostly men), sometimes indistinguishable from other humans.  Sometimes they have wings and sometimes not, and sometimes their appearance is so shockingly bright that they frighten those who see them. Other forms are mentioned too, such Angels appearing in a burning bush or in a tower of clouds or fire.  From all the Bible accounts, the inference is that Angels can take on whatever form that suits their purposes.  In practical life, most of us will never see our Angel materialize, nor will we hear our Angel speak.  Our proof will be in the omens and signs we see after asking for help in a pure and unselfish way. CAN WE TALK TO OUR GUARDIAN ANGELS? 

By all accounts, yes, regardless of which theory above you happen to subscribe to.  There are literally millions of accounts of people talking to their Guardian Angels, many even by name.  Obviously, if someone you know is knowingly or unknowingly acting as your Angel, you are already talking to them without even realizing it.  But for the vast majority who subscribe to the spiritual, nature of Angels from heaven, there is a lot of advice out there about how to contact them and ask for help. 

A loved one is dying.  The sick room is full of machinery droning on endlessly with a kind of white noise.  The attendant has dozed off, but suddenly awakens, and in the dim morning light notices a figure standing near the dying person.  Startled and frightened, the attendant is frozen in awe.  The figure is wearing a long, dark, flowing robe, much like the robes worn by ancient monks, but no face or extremities can be seen.  It seems to be in a meditation-type state.  The dying person takes a few labored breaths, and finally exhales for the last time.  At that moment, the figure is gone....

Unfortunately, Angels do not make themselves known to everyone, nor do they always reveal themselves when specifically called.  The proof of their existence is therefore a very personal thing that is closely intertwined with the fundamental religious beliefs of each individual.  The conviction that Angels exist appears to happen little by little - in dreams, in the wonderment of nature, in sudden realizations and déjà vu, in intuitions, and even as happenstance coincidences. 

So basically, no, there is no concrete proof that Angels do exist, though millions have experienced this phenomenon and have unshakable belief.  For those with no God and no spiritual beliefs, trying to convince them of the existence of Angels is not possible.  For the rest of us, all we need to do is open up spiritually and the answer will very likely come to us at an unexpected moment, maybe even in a dream.

Many people feel that those lucky coincidences we all experience in life are the results of little nudges from our Angel.  For instance, deciding to stop at a store you don't usually go into and finding a 20 dollar bill in the parking lot.  The consensus seems to be that Angels can give us hints and omens, but will stop short of interfering with free will.  Even if you have never asked for help specifically, you may get it anyway through sudden insights or coincidences.  However, if you do consciously ask for help, you should make yourself open to the answers, which may come in a variety of ways.  You might see something in print, such as in a book or newspaper or even on a truck or bus or billboard.  Someone might offhandedly say something that gives you the answer or you might see on TV or hear it on the radio.  Generally, find a quiet place and ask, and then watch for signs.  The word "Angel" literally means "Messenger."  Pay attention to your own messages - it's just that simple.

Next time you are walking or driving and you hear your name being called out, pat heed. Once you realize there isn’t anyone there, you are just being called by your angel.
One last note…let’s not forget the most universally recognized ghost or spirit entity of all time, the Grim Reaper - the Angel of Death - a frequent apparition experienced by virtually every culture and religion since Biblical times. 

But that is a whole other story.

As a last word, your Angel probably won't help you pick winning lottery numbers or get revenge on someone who has wronged you, because those are selfish pursuits.  But for those who wish to enrich their lives, or who are depressed or hopeless, or have a big problem with no obvious way out, a little talk with your Guardian Angel might just give you the tools to live a richer, happier life!

***Please note, these are not my beliefs, just open observations. In my life this has been a wonderful topic to approach others on their thoughts and their opinions. Especially interesting, because Angels are revered all over the world and with different stories within each culture.****

Category : Health & wellbeing

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Wondering if Lithuania is going to become closer to Moscow

The opposition wins parliamentary elections, but intrigue remains

By Ihor SAMOKYSH, The Day, Kiev

After the first round of parliamentary elections in Lithuania that took place these days, a lot of people are wondering if the country is going to become closer to Moscow, or if it will happen the other way around. According to the preliminary results, Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius’ conservative party Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats is only the third, with 15.02 percent of votes (13 seats). This happened despite the fact that the conservatives had fought financial crisis rather successfully, which earned them recognition and respect from the EU and IMF for “frugality and discipline.” Nevertheless, ordinary people resented Kubilius’ belt-tightening policy and were disappointed by it. Lithuanians believed the populism of the left and voted for them. According to the data provided by the Central Election Commission, the Labor Party, headed by the millionaire of Russian descent Viktor Uspaskich, got 19.87 percent of votes (17 seats), and the Social Democratic Party received 18.44 percent of votes (15 seats). A total of seven parties are going to form the new parliament.

The Vilnius-based political expert Lauras BIELINIS said in his telephone interview to The Day that the result of these elections can be viewed as positive. “All main parties, left as well as right ones, got approximately even numbers of votes. So, the Seimas (Parliament) will not be overwhelmed by one dominant political force. All important matters should be solved jointly, through mutual concessions, if needed.”

Read more...

Category : News

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Russian political analyst:
Uspaskikh – our man
in Lithuania

As it often happens during a crisis, the opposition won parliamentary election in Lithuania. Even though there is a run-off to be held soon, the distribution of political powers is more or less clear: the helm is returning to the leftists, says Russian political analyst Vadim Dubnov as reported in RIA Novosti.

The election leader Labour Party is planning the future coalition already; most likely it will be cooperating with the Social Democrats, who are close to them in their beliefs, reports LETA/ELTA.

Labour Party's leader Viktor Uspaskikh makes a history of our man in Lithuania, but not in the utilitarian sense which Lithuanian conspiracy followers and Russian patriots stress, believing that it was actually pro-Russian forces that won in Lithuania with the help of Uspaskikh.

Lithuania's province votes for Uspaskikh because they believe: this is why he is a millionaire – he has to share with his fellow citizens, says the Russian analyst in his article.

"Uspaskikh is a very typical story of becoming rich in a poor but cozy European country. The Social Democrats there are no longer called "ex-communists" even though, it seems that they are the last heirs of the communist party () these heirs are regular favorites of all election, including the recent one," Dubnov says.

Viktor Uspaskikh is a very Lithuanian story. And he is a very much our person in Lithuania. It is very likely that it will be him whom Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite will be forced to allow forming a new government," the political analyst says in his article.

Read more...

Category : News

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"Welcome home to
where you belong,
dear Lithuania"

I found this one on internet today, referring to last Sunday’s Lithuanian elections, with the following picture caption: "WELCOME HOME TO WHERE YOU BELONG, DEAR LITHUANIA"

What do you think. dear VilNews readers? Is this where we are heading now, when the newly elected Russia-friendly leaders take over the steering wheel?


Ineta Ilgunaitė Jonusas This is nauseating!


Thomas Danielsen Democracy… You get what you deserve!?!?


Peter Treska what democracy? Still under the hand of the Russians......


Vyto Be Lithuanians seem fated to 2 choices: Smetona's mistakes or Communist Utopia. Never the sensible centrist middleground...


Rajinder Chaudhary People Deserve the Government they elect and if they decided to opt for the brawn instead of the brain, this is what one would get.


Irene Simanavicius KRIKEY!!! Is there a time machine somewhere?


Warren Thompson 
They've never quite got used to the idea of an independent Lithuania 


Matilda Allen 
I think, that it's just a matter time and "Russian's" will try to get back Lithuania, for a simple reason,- port and exit to waters, geographical position of the country, nothing else. To manage the lands, you have to have an exit to the waters...


Ingrid Baronaite Hammoud 
I'm afraid it is true.. Just the name of Paksas makes me choke.. Labor party in coalition with Paksas plus Venckienes party.. They really could make impressing mess, but the opposition won't permit it.. At least I hope so:)...Just it's so sad instead of going forward, we’re gonna waste time on fighting obstacles...

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Category : Opinions

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Lithuanians
in the World

VilNews will from time to time present Lithuanians who have left the home country and made some kind of career abroad. We are this time not so much looking for celebrity articles, more for some unusual life stories describing Lithuanians who have settled somewhere in the world. Send us your story!

From Šiauliai to USA,
Africa and New Zealand


Virginia Shimkute with her daughters, Roberta who now considers
Africa her home, and Arune who has happily settled in the U.S.

Letter from Virginia Shimkute, New Zealand

I am currently living in Bay Of Islands, New Zealand, popular tourist destination, working in hospitality, tourism business for over 2 years. It’s been a drastic change in last 3 years, not only moving countries but change of career as well. From corporate world-offices, board meetings, pressurised job which does give you security to totally opposite: I am now my own boss in a holiday destination environment, watching dolphins swimming by, fish, boats and birds, always in the open air. Mind you – no securities.

In a week or two I will be opening a brand new impressive shop on a waterfront – selling New Zealand’s locally produced delicacies – Manuka honey, exquisite chocolate, cheeses-all supplied by local producers. Exciting and busy time.

Back a bit-was born and brought up in Siauliai, northern Lithuania. I had excellent teachers and received a very good education. Later I studied in Vilnius and got to love that special city. After receiving a diploma in programming, I went back to Siauliai for work. Few years later moved with family to Vilnius.

First overseas trip happened in 1990, to USA. Strange experience of a totally different world, different values compared to Lithuania.

After less than a year, due to family commitments, I returned to Vilnius in early January 1991.

Most memorable night which I will never forget – 13th of January 1991. Picture me: 9 months pregnant, just returned from the “smiley, cheery, bright Americas”, all alone at night in my central Vilnius flat, tanks rolling by. My dog was trembling with fear, trying to fit on my lap-only company I had. My husband had left for Siauliai to bring my mom who was supposed to be helping with the new arrival – my baby. Sad night for all of Lithuania. Happy ending later – new life commenced 25 of January.

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Category : Front page

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From Šiauliai to USA,
Africa and New Zealand


Virginia Shimkute with her daughters, Roberta who now considers
Africa her home, and Arune who has happily settled in the U.S.

Letter from Virginia Shimkute, New Zealand

I am currently living in Bay Of Islands, New Zealand, popular tourist destination, working in hospitality, tourism business for over 2 years. It’s been a drastic change in last 3 years, not only moving countries but change of career as well. From corporate world-offices, board meetings, pressurised job which does give you security to totally opposite: I am now my own boss in a holiday destination environment, watching dolphins swimming by, fish, boats and birds, always in the open air. Mind you – no securities.

In a week or two I will be opening a brand new impressive shop on a waterfront – selling New Zealand’s locally produced delicacies – Manuka honey, exquisite chocolate, cheeses-all supplied by local producers. Exciting and busy time.

Back a bit-was born and brought up in Siauliai, northern Lithuania. I had excellent teachers and received a very good education. Later I studied in Vilnius and got to love that special city. After receiving a diploma in programming, I went back to Siauliai for work. Few years later moved with family to Vilnius.

First overseas trip happened in 1990, to USA. Strange experience of a totally different world, different values compared to Lithuania.

After less than a year, due to family commitments, I returned to Vilnius in early January 1991.

Most memorable night which I will never forget – 13th of January 1991. Picture me: 9 months pregnant, just returned from the “smiley, cheery, bright Americas”, all alone at night in my central Vilnius flat, tanks rolling by. My dog was trembling with fear, trying to fit on my lap-only company I had. My husband had left for Siauliai to bring my mom who was supposed to be helping with the new arrival – my baby. Sad night for all of Lithuania. Happy ending later – new life commenced 25 of January.

Left for South Africa in 1993.Children were 3 and 10 years old. Settled there and lived for next 16 years, raised my two girls in Johannesburg. My Lithuanian education came in real handy and I was able to get good jobs despite that unemployment rate was high, especially when I moved to Port Elizabeth in year 2000.

For a while it seemed that I have settled in Port Elizabeth – good job at Continental Tyres, comfortable house. But there was this nagging feeling of dissatisfaction and a need of a new challenge – South Africa seemed not good enough as a location anymore.

Arune, my older daughter, moved to USA and settled there.

Just as my younger, Roberta, finished school – we decided to go on a trip to New Zealand. Came here in February 2009, travelled all over New Zealand, did some fantastic pleasant work in blueberry orchards picking blueberries – loved it here and decided to stay for longer. And I’m still here, 3 years later.

Bay of Islands is one of the most beautiful parts of New Zealand though it is very scenic all over.
Will I stay here for good? I hope so. Though wish my children wouldn’t be so far away. Brother with family settled in USA, Roberta returned to Africa, and Arune is in America. We do see each other, visit and have get-togethers in one continent or the other.

I am happy with where I am and all the travels I had done, happy that I was able to get up and go when I have a desire to do so. Have one wish left – to visit Lithuania with my both children, show them all my favourite places, show them how beautiful and special is the country where they were born – so  they can place images to the stories they heard about Lithuania. And I hope they will not be disappointed.

Category : Blog archive

OPINIONS

Have your say. Send to:
editor@VilNews.com


By Dr. Boris Vytautas Bakunas,
Ph. D., Chicago

A wave of unity sweeps the international Lithuanian community on March 11th every year as Lithuanians celebrated the anniversary of the Lithuanian Parliament's declaration of independence from the Soviet Union in 1990. However, the sense of national unity engendered by the celebration could be short-lived.

Human beings have a strong tendency to overgeneralize and succumb to stereotypical us-them distinctions that can shatter even the strongest bonds. We need only search the internet to find examples of divisive thinking at work:

- "50 years of Soviet rule has ruined an entire generation of Lithuanian.

- "Those who fled Lithuania during World II were cowards -- and now they come back, flaunt their wealth, and tell us 'true Lithuanians' how to live."

- "Lithuanians who work abroad have abandoned their homeland and should be deprived of their Lithuanian citizenship."

Could such stereotypical, emotionally-charged accusations be one of the main reasons why relations between Lithuania's diaspora groups and their countrymen back home have become strained?

Read more...
* * *


Text: Saulene Valskyte

In Lithuania Christmas Eve is a family event and the New Year's Eve a great party with friends!
Lithuanian say "Kaip sutiksi naujus metus, taip juos ir praleisi" (the way you'll meet the new year is the way you will spend it). So everyone is trying to spend New Year's Eve with friend and have as much fun as possible.

Lithuanian New Year's traditions are very similar to those in other countries, and actually were similar since many years ago. Also, the traditional Lithuanian New Years Eve party was very similar to other big celebrations throughout the year.

The New Year's Eve table is quite similar to the Christmas Eve table, but without straws under the tablecloth, and now including meat dishes. A tradition that definitely hasn't changes is that everybody is trying not to fell asleep before midnight. It was said that if you oversleep the midnight point you will be lazy all the upcoming year. People were also trying to get up early on the first day of the new year, because waking up late also meant a very lazy and unfortunate year.

During the New Year celebration people were dancing, singing, playing games and doing magic to guess the future. People didn't drink much of alcohol, especially was that the case for women.

Here are some advices from elders:
- During the New Year, be very nice and listen to relatives - what you are during New Year Eve, you will be throughout the year.

- During to the New Year Eve, try not to fall, because if this happens, next year you will be unhappy.

- If in the start of the New Year, the first news are good - then the year will be successful. If not - the year will be problematic.

New year predictions
* If during New Year eve it's snowing - then it will be bad weather all year round. If the day is fine - one can expect good harvest.
* If New Year's night is cold and starry - look forward to a good summer!
* If the during New Year Eve trees are covered with frost - then it will be a good year. If it is wet weather on New Year's Eve, one can expect a year where many will die and dangerous epidemics occur.
* If the first day of the new year is snowy - the upcoming year will see many young people die. If the night is snowy - mostly old people will die.
* If the New Year time is cold - then Easter will be warm.
* If during New Year there are a lot of birds in your homestead - then all year around there will be many guests and the year will be fun.

Read more...
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* * *
VilNews
Christmas greetings
from Vilnius


* * *
Ukraine won the historic
and epic battle for the
future
By Leonidas Donskis
Kaunas
Philosopher, political theorist, historian of
ideas, social analyst, and political
commentator

Immediately after Russia stepped in Syria, we understood that it is time to sum up the convoluted and long story about Ukraine and the EU - a story of pride and prejudice which has a chance to become a story of a new vision regained after self-inflicted blindness.

Ukraine was and continues to be perceived by the EU political class as a sort of grey zone with its immense potential and possibilities for the future, yet deeply embedded and trapped in No Man's Land with all of its troubled past, post-Soviet traumas, ambiguities, insecurities, corruption, social divisions, and despair. Why worry for what has yet to emerge as a new actor of world history in terms of nation-building, European identity, and deeper commitments to transparency and free market economy?

Right? Wrong. No matter how troubled Ukraine's economic and political reality could be, the country has already passed the point of no return. Even if Vladimir Putin retains his leverage of power to blackmail Ukraine and the West in terms of Ukraine's zero chances to accede to NATO due to the problems of territorial integrity, occupation and annexation of Crimea, and mayhem or a frozen conflict in the Donbas region, Ukraine will never return to Russia's zone of influence. It could be deprived of the chances to join NATO or the EU in the coming years or decades, yet there are no forces on earth to make present Ukraine part of the Eurasia project fostered by Putin.

Read more...
* * *
Watch this video if you
want to learn about the
new, scary propaganda
war between Russia,
The West and the
Baltic States!


* * *
90% of all Lithuanians
believe their government
is corrupt
Lithuania is perceived to be the country with the most widespread government corruption, according to an international survey involving almost 40 countries.

Read more...
* * *
Lithuanian medical
students say no to
bribes for doctors

On International Anticorruption Day, the Special Investigation Service shifted their attention to medical institutions, where citizens encounter bribery most often. Doctors blame citizens for giving bribes while patients complain that, without bribes, they won't receive proper medical attention. Campaigners against corruption say that bribery would disappear if medical institutions themselves were to take resolute actions against corruption and made an effort to take care of their patients.

Read more...
* * *
Doing business in Lithuania

By Grant Arthur Gochin
California - USA

Lithuania emerged from the yoke of the Soviet Union a mere 25 years ago. Since then, Lithuania has attempted to model upon other European nations, joining NATO, Schengen, and the EU. But, has the Soviet Union left Lithuania?

During Soviet times, government was administered for the people in control, not for the local population, court decisions were decreed, they were not the administration of justice, and academia was the domain of ideologues. 25 years of freedom and openness should have put those bad experiences behind Lithuania, but that is not so.

Today, it is a matter of expectation that court pronouncements will be governed by ideological dictates. Few, if any Lithuanians expect real justice to be effected. For foreign companies, doing business in Lithuania is almost impossible in a situation where business people do not expect rule of law, so, surely Government would be a refuge of competence?

Lithuanian Government has not emerged from Soviet styles. In an attempt to devolve power, Lithuania has created a myriad of fiefdoms of power, each speaking in the name of the Government, each its own centralized power base of ideology.

Read more...
* * *
Greetings from Wales!
By Anita Šovaitė-Woronycz
Chepstow, Wales

Think of a nation in northern Europe whose population is around the 3 million mark a land of song, of rivers, lakes, forests, rolling green hills, beautiful coastline a land where mushrooms grow ready for the picking, a land with a passion for preserving its ancient language and culture.

Doesn't that sound suspiciously like Lithuania? Ah, but I didn't mention the mountains of Snowdonia, which would give the game away.

I'm talking about Wales, that part of the UK which Lithuanians used to call "Valija", but later named "Velsas" (why?). Wales, the nation which has welcomed two Lithuanian heads of state to its shores - firstly Professor Vytautas Landsbergis, who has paid several visits and, more recently, President Dalia Grybauskaitė who attended the 2014 NATO summit which was held in Newport, South Wales.
MADE IN WALES -
ENGLISH VERSION OF THE
AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF
VYTAUTAS LANDSBERGIS.

Read more...
* * *
IS IT POSSIBLE TO
COMMENT ON OUR
ARTICLES? :-)
Read Cassandra's article HERE

Read Rugile's article HERE

Did you know there is a comment field right after every article we publish? If you read the two above posts, you will see that they both have received many comments. Also YOU are welcome with your comments. To all our articles!
* * *

Greetings from Toronto
By Antanas Sileika,
Toronto, Canada

Toronto was a major postwar settlement centre for Lithuanian Displaced Persons, and to this day there are two Catholic parishes and one Lutheran one, as well as a Lithuanian House, retirement home, and nursing home. A new wave of immigrants has showed interest in sports.

Although Lithuanian activities have thinned over the decades as that postwar generation died out, the Lithuanian Martyrs' parish hall is crowded with many, many hundreds of visitors who come to the Lithuanian cemetery for All Souls' Day. Similarly, the Franciscan parish has standing room only for Christmas Eve mass.

Although I am firmly embedded in the literary culture of Canada, my themes are usually Lithuanian, and I'll be in Kaunas and Vilnius in mid-November 2015 to give talks about the Lithuanian translations of my novels and short stories, which I write in English.

If you have the Lithuanian language, come by to one of the talks listed in the links below. And if you don't, you can read more about my work at
www.anatanassileika.com

http://www.vdu.lt/lt/rasytojas-antanas-sileika-pristatys-savo-kuryba/
https://leu.lt/lt/lf/lf_naujienos/kvieciame-i-rasytojo-59hc.html
* * *

As long as VilNews exists,
there is hope for the future
Professor Irena Veisaite, Chairwoman of our Honorary Council, asked us to convey her heartfelt greetings to the other Council Members and to all readers of VilNews.

"My love and best wishes to all. As long as VilNews exists, there is hope for the future,"" she writes.

Irena Veisaite means very much for our publication, and we do hereby thank her for the support and wise commitment she always shows.

You can read our interview with her
HERE.
* * *
EU-Russia:
Facing a new reality

By Vygaudas Ušackas
EU Ambassador to the Russian Federation

Dear readers of VilNews,

It's great to see this online resource for people interested in Baltic affairs. I congratulate the editors. From my position as EU Ambassador to Russia, allow me to share some observations.

For a number of years, the EU and Russia had assumed the existence of a strategic partnership, based on the convergence of values, economic integration and increasingly open markets and a modernisation agenda for society.

Our agenda was positive and ambitious. We looked at Russia as a country ready to converge with "European values", a country likely to embrace both the basic principles of democratic government and a liberal concept of the world order. It was believed this would bring our relations to a new level, covering the whole spectrum of the EU's strategic relationship with Russia.

Read more...
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The likelihood of Putin
invading Lithuania
By Mikhail Iossel
Professor of English at Concordia University, Canada
Founding Director at Summer Literary Seminars

The likelihood of Putin's invading Lithuania or fomenting a Donbass-style counterfeit pro-Russian uprising there, at this point, in my strong opinion, is no higher than that of his attacking Portugal, say, or Ecuador. Regardless of whether he might or might not, in principle, be interested in the insane idea of expanding Russia's geographic boundaries to those of the former USSR (and I for one do not believe that has ever been his goal), he knows this would be entirely unfeasible, both in near- and long-term historical perspective, for a variety of reasons. It is not going to happen. There will be no restoration of the Soviet Union as a geopolitical entity.

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Are all Lithuanian energy
problems now resolved?
By Dr. Stasys Backaitis,
P.E., CSMP, SAE Fellow Member of Central and Eastern European Coalition, Washington, D.C., USA

Lithuania's Energy Timeline - from total dependence to independence

Lithuania as a country does not have significant energy resources. Energy consuming infrastructure after WWII was small and totally supported by energy imports from Russia.

First nuclear reactor begins power generation at Ignalina in 1983, the second reactor in 1987. Iganlina generates enough electricity to cover Lithuania's needs and about 50%.for export. As, prerequisite for membership in EU, Ignalina ceases all nuclear power generation in 2009

The Klaipėda Sea terminal begins Russia's oil export operations in 1959 and imports in 1994.

Mazeikiu Nafta (current ORLEAN Lietuva) begins operation of oil refinery in 1980.

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Have Lithuanian ties across
the Baltic Sea become
stronger in recent years?
By Eitvydas Bajarunas
Ambassador to Sweden

My answer to affirmative "yes". Yes, Lithuanian ties across the Baltic Sea become as never before solid in recent years. For me the biggest achievement of Lithuania in the Baltic Sea region during recent years is boosting Baltic and Nordic ties. And not because of mere accident - Nordic direction was Lithuania's strategic choice.

The two decades that have passed since regaining Lithuania's independence can be described as a "building boom". From the wreckage of a captive Soviet republic, a generation of Lithuanians have built a modern European state, and are now helping construct a Nordic-Baltic community replete with institutions intended to promote political coordination and foster a trans-Baltic regional identity. Indeed, a "Nordic-Baltic community" - I will explain later in my text the meaning of this catch-phrase.

Since the restoration of Lithuania's independence 25 years ago, we have continuously felt a strong support from Nordic countries. Nordics in particular were among the countries supporting Lithuania's and Baltic States' striving towards independence. Take example of Iceland, country which recognized Lithuania in February of 1991, well in advance of other countries. Yet another example - Swedish Ambassador was the first ambassador accredited to Lithuania in 1991. The other countries followed suit. When we restored our statehood, Nordic Countries became champions in promoting Baltic integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions. To large degree thanks Nordic Countries, massive transformations occurred in Lithuania since then, Lithuania became fully-fledged member of the EU and NATO, and we joined the Eurozone on 1 January 2015.

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It's the economy, stupid *
By Valdas (Val) Samonis,
PhD, CPC

n his article, Val Samonis takes a comparative policy look at the Lithuanian economy during the period 2000-2015. He argues that the LT policy response (a radical and classical austerity) was wrong and unenlightened because it coincided with strong and continuing deflationary forces in the EU and the global economy which forces were predictable, given the right policy guidance. Also, he makes a point that LT austerity, and the resulting sharp drop in GDP and employment in LT, stimulated emigration of young people (and the related worsening of other demographics) which processes took huge dimensions thereby undercutting even the future enlightened efforts to get out of the middle-income growth trap by LT. Consequently, the country is now on the trajectory (development path) similar to that of a dog that chases its own tail. A strong effort by new generation of policymakers is badly needed to jolt the country out of that wrong trajectory and to offer the chance of escaping the middle-income growth trap via innovations.

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Have you heard about the
South African "Pencil Test"?
By Karina Simonson

If you are not South African, then, probably, you haven't. It is a test performed in South Africa during the apartheid regime and was used, together with the other ways, to determine racial identity, distinguishing whites from coloureds and blacks. That repressive test was very close to Nazi implemented ways to separate Jews from Aryans. Could you now imagine a Lithuanian mother, performing it on her own child?

But that is exactly what happened to me when I came back from South Africa. I will tell you how.

Read more...
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Click HERE to read previous opinion letters >



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