Hristina Tasheva

‘Encyclopedia of Pain’

I am from the Eastern Bloc and live in the Netherlands. I was once called a ‘communist’. I want to understand what this means.

At the end of the World War II, the Dutch government looked in the face of the Red Army and saw a conqueror. Dutch communists had been important in the Resistance, but were not recognized.
The opposite happened in Eastern Europe. Communists took power, nowadays considered criminal and totalitarian. Certain present politicians have ties to the former State Security Services. Old ‘communist’ governance currently causes emigration, corruption and poverty.

I visually compare Communism and Nazism. Dutch communists were sent to concentration camps. In Bulgaria, communists sent their enemies to labour camps. How do these different societies organize monuments for their victims? How to build a narrative that is critical, but ethical, and a stimulating dialogue for mutual understanding?

Georges Perec wrote in “Thoughts of Sorts”: “All utopias are depressing because they leave no room to change, to differ, to those who are ‘different’. Everything has been ordered; order reigns. Behind every utopia lies a great taxonomic design: a place for everything and every thing in its place.”