Guilty Without Guilt
For 50 years now I have been carrying this “born in the USSR” stamp of Cain. It is impossible to refuse it, to wash it off, to get rid of it. It is impossible for me to wipe the memories of my childhood out at all. Whether you like it or not, you are made up of a complex mixture of times and circumstances in which you were born and matured. An Azerbaijanian born in the USSR, living in Finland, speaking and thinking in Russian, who am I? I regard myself as truly citizen of the world. There is the memory of blood and there is the memory of soul. What am I to do now with the memory, which is in violent conflict not only with the external “Russian world,” but also with the “Russian world” in me?
I was silent for a long time, I didn’t write, I couldn’t. I tried and am still trying to comprehend, rethink, understand this new reality, to determine my place in it.
I want to give myself an idea of 10 issues that are very important to me.
1) I am NOT a part of the “Russian world.
2) I cannot renounce my past. I love and respect the language in which I write.
3) I deny ANY imperial ideology.
4) My greatest value is LIFE itself. Both ideology and propaganda desecrate it.
5) Assigning Russia the laurels of victory in WWII is an insult to all countries of the anti-Hitler coalition.
6) Putin = NOT Russia. The country is infected with the virus of modern fascism = “Rashism”, deadly for Russia itself and for all mankind.
7) “The entourage makes the king.” The propagandists of the state channels of Russian television are primarily to blame for the spread of “Rashism”. I hope to see them in the dock of an international tribunal.
8) I believe that the right to choose a path, partners and self-determination is a fundamental right of any independent state – Finland and Sweden joining NATO is a consequence of inadequate behaviour of their aggressive neighbour, multiplied by the historical trauma of annexation by the USSR.
9) In 23 years of living in Finland I have NEVER encountered a manifestation of “Russophobia”, I consider this term a tool of hybrid warfare.
10) I urge you to consider the war in Ukraine unleashed by Putin’s regime as a potential third world war – dangerous for the whole world.
I do not want to multiply hatred.
The war I am waging with myself right now, I want to stop. I have realized that the hatred eating away my soul and thoughts all these three terrible months will kill the man in me. I don’t want to turn into the anti-Kamran.
I want to get back to work. To work on a new “post-covid” theatre, the theatre of a tragic crisis era, which needs both new language and new mediums, and new playwrighting.
P.S.. It is in the catharsis that the true nature of art is revealed, art that points to painful points, provokes, and heals. Wounded souls need help to return to a world without war, and I passionately wish for the victory of goodness and the triumph of humanity.
Kamran Shahmardan. Imatra. May 2022.