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Twenty-Two Viermenska Street

June 29, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 142

In the heart of the city a beautiful building with a crumbling facade But one may question whether the deterioration of the structure enhances its aesthetic value or whether it is merely a symptom of a proud city that is really in decline

Its interior is gutted as it is now owned by the people who had lived there during the Soviet eraNamed after Armenia for the people who had been residents as its inhabitants were once absolutely multifold The street had been part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire But this had been before the Nazi invasion and the Polish-Soviet WarAt this time, this area of the city had been inhabited by Poles, Polish Jews Ukrainians, Armenians, Russians, Tatars and othersAs it once had a Polish majority to some people the city appears to be a smaller version of nearby Krakow as the countless number of weekly Polish tourists will surely attest So it is not surprising that the city has many pronunciations Lviv, Lvov and Lemberg are among its many names

But when I think about this specific building on a streetwhere I lived, I cannot help but think of the profound culture that had once been there And if only the walls could talk I would know so much more Now shrewd landlords try to rent to foreign guests as they sign fancy contracts to protect themselves should the local currency fall The street is now surrounded by pubs and cafes where people swill their vodka and drink their local beer I wouldn't call the people friendly because in fact they really aren't But they like to call themselves West Ukrainians to distinguish themselves from the people in the East Afterall they are Ukrainian speakers whereas the lingua franca is different from the Russian that is spoken just across the way Many people like to identify themselves as European and seem to have selective memories of the distant past

But as I am now removed from an environment that I had lived for a relatively short but significant period of time, I thank the community and my neighbors for allowing meto understand a local point of view In some respects I understand their perceptions as they express the suffering that they had experienced at the hand of the maddening Soviet But I am also deeply disturbed by the lack of compassion and hostility that many people express for the vast majority of people who had once lived in this historic city Many people were summarily deported and executed during the bloody Second World War.

Gerald Marchewka is an American freelance writer who had lived in Lviv, Ukraine. Gerald's most recent book, "Straight from the Heaven's: Li Bai's Poetry in Retrospect" featuring the illustrations of Seb Fowler is now for sale on Lulu.com Questions about Gerald's other project may be referred to geraldmarchewka@yahoo.com

Source: EzineArticles
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