Tag Archive: Odessa


We went into the 2021 Holidays (last year) feeling the earth was finally at peace. Even with the contrived election challenge in the USA, we, the majority, knew that cooler, more intelligent heads would prevail. It seems long ago, juxtaposed against world events in Eurasia (as I call it).

Every so often, an event, or series of events takes place to remind you of just how fragile our way of life is existence is and you just hope and pray that it isn’t you or yours it happens to next! Today’s world is , unfortunately weird and you never know…until you know and even then, keep your head on the swivel to think twice…

Just when I thought we had reached the “IGY” Donald Fagan (Steely Dan) described in his 1982 often-played on-air song of the same name, here, in early 2022, came a brain-damaged, diminutive despot from Russia named like a bowel movement gas, “Putin”, who has, for the past ten months decided to conduct a cold-war-style invasion of a peaceful neighboring country! A sudden seventy year throwback! What the hell is goin’ on with his mentally-ill brain and how can the rest of the countries of the world stop him immediately? Why is it so one-sided where Russian can disrupt Ukraine infrastructure and they cannot strike back similarly?? “Stop The War, NOW!”

If it means calling Stupin’s “nuclear” threat bluff, them we must DO IT as soon as possible because the longer this drags on in Ukraine, the later more than sooner it will happen anyway! Why are the nations of the world letting him rule the roost via bullshit threats when the only language he understands is a punch in his mouth, military defeat?!

Those of you who’ve read this place for the past decade, must know that I have courted a pen-pal in Ukraine and visited another in Kyiv in 2013. This is what my friend, who I’ll call “T” for protection’s sake and who I’ve communicated with virtually for almost three (3) years, wrote me today, November 25, 2022, the day after our USA Thanksgiving holiday,
“Hi!
Happy Thanksgiving day! Great that you have your turkey and can enjoy celebration…for me I am 4 days with no electricity and have no water and no food…life is horrible right now for me…
Very sad…no internet connection most of the places in Odessa. I was lucky to find one, pay for it and write to you and sent you my warmest greetings!
Enjoy baby!
Kisses, T. “

I can hardly believe that she is going through this, here in these “modern” times! In the back of my mind and even prior to knowing her communications, I never took our way of life in the USA for-granted, as so many of my fellow countrymen seem to do; yet even now, this is imperative thinking! I implore our United States government not to turn a blind-eye to these events; to speak to the populace about them and possible ramifications and to unite with Europe and other countries to throttle Putin and his regime as we did Sadaam Hussein for much less, as soon as possible. Why is it so one-sided that only Russian can shoot missiles into Kyiv and Ukraine cannot return fire the same into Putin’s lair – or Moscow; whichever is closer?

And to you, Putin, we now know who Satin is among us it is YOU; and as President Ronald Reagan said to your country’s Mr. Gorbachev, back in 1987, I now say, “Mister Putin, Lay Down Your Inhumane Weapons!”

I welcome your positive ideas or fund-raising to get my friend over here to the USA, out of harm’s way ASAP in the comments, please… Peace.

[Some of this material is re-posted with grateful acknowledgement to a blog post by Elizabeth Abosch who I have tried to get in-touch with/link to regarding this post, unsuccessfully.] tumblr_ln79m1yqmY1qii7l6o1_500 When I was a little boy, one of the ladies who made sure that I had an after school snack and got on with my homework until my hardworking parents returned home, was our next-door neighbor, whose name was Odessa (Redus) Brown. I took the name for-granted, yet always thought “Odessa” as a regal, majestic name and I never thought to research it until my Inna, who I hope will spend the rest of my life with me as my wife, introduced me to a place in her country that she wants us to enjoy together that has an historic beach-port, called Odessa, Ukraine, two years ago. Recently, she writes: “Naphtali, check out This Unpleasant Information… By the way, yesterday there was a whole transfer on TV with participation of real girls on a similar theme…. These girls told about the histories as they were used by years… Men from USA, England, Italy, Switzerland, Australia. Men promised to marry them, met on resorts, or came to them on a visit. Or invited to itself, and after one or two months sent the women home. As, have told and have shown a photo of the man which each two years invites to itself women home in in USA under the visa of the bride. And then exposes for doors of women… And so already proceeded [has done this for] with about 10 years. Now to this to the man any more does not give embassy the sanction to invitations of the following brides. I see, the whole system of entertainments and games on feelings was already created, and it is expensive(dear) costs(stands)! I of nothing want to tell bad about you and about us. I only share with you the information and as, has thought, if You will publish this information on the BLOG. Cheerfully it is possible to spend in Odessa to American guys! [Can have a good time] You remember, two years back, you sent to me the reference from YouTube about Odessa…. Yesterday wanted to find this reference again…. But has lost…. I any more do not remember, that there spoke…. But I remember, that there there was a dirty. Also it is the truth much to our regret. But this dirty is everywhere in any city of the world. And you know it. Only it is interesting, why particular Now this time, do they began to give this more than attention?!(Why?)” Yeah, Honey, I agree. Why the sudden attention to this? And so now, please peruse parts of Ms. Abosch’s historical account. “With access to Turkey and its closeness to the rest of Europe, Odessa is an international human trafficking hub. Women and orphans from Odessa or even poorer areas like rural Moldova travel to the city to find good jobs abroad, and are promised them by traffickers before their passports are taken away and they are sold into slavery or work as prostitutes within the city.” old-map-odessa Video from a movie about Odessa: Elizabeth Abosch writes, “In wartime and in post-war Soviet film, one man made a name for himself portraying an Odessan and portraying him as a hero. That man was Mark Bernes, the first great Soviet Star and the possible creator of what I like to call, the Odessa “Hero Myth”. Bernes (who was of Jewish ancestry) became famous for his character Arkady Dzubin, first in the 1943 movie “Two Soldiers”. He spent time with troops in military hospitals who were native to Odessa, and picked up that their dialect seemed quite lazy and was accompanied by much shoulder shrugging and lip pursing. He created an archetype for “the Odessan”, a vaguely Jewish, musical, easy-going person who could calm his brothers with humor and then rise to any bravery needed….” In “Two Soldiers” he distracts a woman from a bombing raid by singing an ironic song about a fisherman, Konstantin, and his wife Sonya: “Shalandy Polnye Kefali”:”

And also of heartfelt interest, Ms. Abosch continues, “Perhaps his most famous song as the Odessan Arkady Dzubin was “Dark Night”, which became the unofficial anthem for Soviet citizens and soldiers barely surviving World War Two. The song is about a soldier who believes no harm can come to him as long as his wife and new baby still wait for him…

The lyrics are, “Dark night, only bullets whistling over the steppe, Only the wind humming in the woods, dim stars twinkle. In the dark night, darling, I know, I’m not sleeping, And in the crib, you secretly wipe away a tear. How I love the depth of your gentle eyes, How do I want him to press my lips against you! Dark Night divides us, my love, And a disturbing, black steppe lie between us. I believe in you In my sweetheart, This belief is the bullet Dark night … Happily me I am confident in mortal combat: I know you will meet with my love To me no matter what. Death is not terrible. With time it’s time to meet. Here and now She whirls on me. You got me waiting And the cradle, And so, I know, with me Nothing will happen!” Maybe a bit more than many other famous cites in the world, Odessa is fueled by the myths surrounding it which shape perceptions about the place to this very day. Ms. Abosch’s blog from 2012 is concise, precise and enlightening – sometimes sadly so. 29_Odessa_de_Ribas_monument Here is one more sample video and song with great classic pictures of “the city of the steps” that she brought to light, “I Remember Mother Odessa” (“Odessa Mama”): “Whoever has not been In the beautiful city of Odessa Has not seen the world And knows nothing of progress Who cares for Vienna of Paris, They’re puddles, jokes, no comparison Only in Odessa is A Paradise, I say. There in a restaurant They serve you beer And with it a bite Of fresh skrumbli Bashmala and balik And with them a shashlik With a good glass of wine – What could be better? Oh, Mother Odessa, You’re forever dear to me. Oh, Mother Odessa, How I long for thee! Oh, Mother Odessa, Who can forget you? Oh, Mother Odessa, I see you no more. Oh, Mother Odessa, I long for you and vow: Your avenues, promenades Are light, beautiful. The cafes, the boulevards, One can never forget. The carriages, the gypsies, The tumult, ta-ra-ram, The hotels, the young ladies Still are on my mind. Oh, Mother Odessa, You’re forever dear to me. Oh, Mother Odessa, How I long for thee! Oh, Mother Odessa, Who can forget you? Oh, Mother Odessa, I long for you and vow: Ay, ay, ay, ay, ay, One cannot forget. Ay, ay, ay, ay, ay, How I should like to see you again! Hop tidl dam ti stidl didl dam ti….. Oh, Odessa-Odessa Mother, You are the most beautiful panorama; Everyone treasured you dearly. The cabarets, restaurants, You will still remember today Who knows what has become of you? Odessa, Odessa, I long for you” It is amazing that Odessa still is controversial and standing today; I guess they wouldn’t have it any other way. I encourage you to read Ms. Abosch’s whole piece here, http://odessahistory-eabosch2012.blogspot.com/2012_04_01_archive.html Out of respect for her brilliant research and blog, I shan’t devote more space to it than I already have, in order to peek your curiosity.

I feel this is a lesson in how stereotypical thinking ruins reputations on both sides of any argument. It reminds me of the rolled eyes, doubting looks, behind-my-back whispers that I am being “tricked” or scammed, that I notice when I tell some people about my relationship with Inna, inferring that she isn’t “real” or is “stringing me along”. Being a black American, I know first-hand how stereotypes, painted with a broad brush, can distort the perception of a whole people – or country.

I also can hear my late father commenting how black Americans and Jews have many more similarities historically than most people realize. A story about Jews hiding in a Ukrainian cave comes to light here: After you’ve absorbed her blog, please come back here to comment. Maybe we can get Elizabeth herself to weigh-in!

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