In memoriam. Moisei Fishbein

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In memoriam. Moisei Fishbein

Moisei Fishbein, ukrainischer Dichter judischer Herkunft, Wasyl-Stus-Preisträger, öffentlicher Aktivist und großer Patriot der Ukraine, der die ukrainische Sprache und Kultur immer unterstützt hat. Dank seiner unermüdlichen Arbeit auf dem Gebiet der Übersetzung haben Paul Celan, Rainer Maria Rilke, Heinrich Heine und Charles Baudelaire zu uns auf Ukrainisch gesprochen.

Am 26. Mai 2020 hat der große Sohn der Ukraine die Welt verlassen. 

In memoriam von Moisei Fishbein hat der Professor der "Northwestern University" in Chicago und der Ukrainischen Freien Universität in München Yohanan Petrovsky-Stern diesen Artikel geschrieben. Wir stellen einige Auszüge Ihnen unten zur Verfügung. Der komplette Artikel auf Englisch können Sie hier finden: https://krytyka.com/en/articles/failed-redemption-and-its-deceased-messiah-loss-moisei-fishbein-december-1-1946-may-26-2020

 

A Failed Redemption and Its Deceased Messiah: The Loss of Moisei Fishbein (December 1, 1946-May 26, 2020)

YOHANAN PETROVSKY-SHTERN

Moisei Fishbein considered himself a Ukrainian Messiah[1], and his return from exile to Ukraine—an advent. He returned from exile twenty years ago to fulfill his lofty mission: to redeem the Ukrainian language from Russification, assimilation, and deprecation. Moisei, a Chernivtsi-born Jew, portrayed himself as the protector and savior of the humiliated, raped, and sacred Ukrainian language [….]

 

Exile meant silence. Yet, he produced work: he translated Maximilian Voloshyn at the request of the Ukrainian philologist George Shevelov (Yurii Sheveliov). Ihor Kachurovs’kyi, one of the top Ukrainian translators of the 20th century, commissioned him to compose a bouts-rimés for his monograph on versification [….]

He returned [to Ukraine] on the eve of the Orange Revolution, which for him became a personal apotheosis—and, subsequently, a disaster. Fishbein found himself among the proponents of the Ukrainian irredenta, peaceful and non-violent but emphatically anti-imperial [….]

The events of December 2004 brought him to Maidan and raised him onto the tribune from which the putative leaders of the Orange Revolution spoke to hundreds of thousands protesters and millions of people nationwide. Recovering from a recent stroke, Fishbein spent several days picketing on the Kyiv streets in wintry weather. He was confident that his prophecies had come true. He was overwhelmed by the hundreds of thousands of people surrounding him in Kyiv, by the several-week-long suspense while the incumbent president tried to remain in power, by the atmosphere of solidarity of people of different creeds, political ambitions, ethnic  groups, and by the unusually friendly atmosphere in Kyiv [….]

Fishbein actively campaigning in favor of opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko, then the leader of the “Our Ukraine” block. Fishbein supported him [….] because Yushchenko’s stance on Ukrainian revivalism fit with Fishbein’s own redemptive scenarios for the Ukrainian language and culture. Addressing his fellow Jews on the pages of one of the most influential Ukrainian-Jewish newspapers, Fishbein ignored Yushchenko’s political impotence [….] and courageously called on the Jews of Ukraine, in most cases Russian-speaking, conservative, and Yanukovych-supporting, to vote for Yushchenko, for genuine Ukrainian independence, for Ukrainian revivalism, and against Russian intrusion into Ukrainian affairs [….]

Once Viktor Yanukovych (today a runaway politician hiding in Russia) was announced the winner and hundreds of thousands of bewildered people streamed into the streets of Kyiv, Fishbein joined the protesters. He spent the whole week after the November election on the Maidan, sleeping just a few hours and rushing back from the left bank district of the capital to the city center. “Thank God I am not elsewhere, but here in Kyiv. I would not forgive myself if I were anywhere else,” he said. [….]

What followed was a decline and internal exile. It brought Fishbein from the heights of the Orange events to the bottom of, first, the Blue, and then, the Green reaction [….] His support of Ukrainian revivalism in all its forms, including UNA-UNSO, scared his Russian-speaking compatriots, and his unwavering commitment to Ukrainian language revival made him a persona non grata among many Russified representatives of homo sovieticus of Jewish origin.

As a betrayed prophet, Fishbein remained alone. He did not abandon his multiple attempts to protect the Ukrainian language against Ukrainophobia in all its manifestations. He ridiculed the idiotic Tabachnyk, Minister of Science and Education[2], and his ilk, insisted in rare interviews on the redemptive quality of the Ukrainian language, a sine qua non of Ukrainian independence.

 

[1] In Ukrainian, "Moisei" means Moses (Ed.).

[2] Dmytro Tabachnyk, Ukraine's minister of education and science in 2010–2014 in Viktor Yanukovych's government, infamous for his anti-Ukrainian views on Ukraine's history, language, and culture. He is currently a fugitive (believed to be in Israel) and is wanted in Ukraine in connection with allegations of embezzlement and abuse of office (Ed.).

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