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Emergency Meeting

Galina Briskin's story posted on September 08, 2012 at 11:20 am. Galina emigrated from Moscow, USSR to San Diego, United States in 1979

The year is 1948,the beginning of the new waive of antisemitism in Russia after  the Second World War. The place is the Moscow University, Foreign Languages Department. The students are called for an emergency meeting to expel Michael Rosengerg, a Jewish student, from the University and the Young Communist Leage(Komsomol). The meeting like this one were very typical for this time. M.Rosenberg was the son of an American communist who had emigrated to the Soviet Union for political reasons. All political immigrants who sincerely believed in communist ideas were later arrested as spies and sent to GULAG. Most of them lost their illusions and believes in communist ideology.  


         "One day, all of the students were invited to attend an emergency meeting. The students took their places in a big conference room usually used for theater performances. A committee of about ten people sat at a table on the stage. The auditorium was overflowing, some students stood along the walls.


The chairman of the meeting took the microphone and declared that it was an extraordinary meeting when all the students were invited to discuss the outrageous behavior of the student, Michael Rosenberg. Student Rosenberg was called to the stage for the “trial.” He was a short, slim boy with a mass of black curly hair and big glasses disproportionate to his small body. A girl that he had dated had written a letter to the Komsomol organization in which she accused him of rape. The agenda of the meeting was to punish him for his shameful behavior and expel him from the institute. The committee also called the girl. She was a huge blonde with big hips and bosom. When she entered the stage, there was laughter from the students because there was such a funny mismatch between the couple.


The chairman read a letter from the girl and addressed Rosenberg:“Do you admit that you used force to have sexual intercourse with Olga Ivanova?”“


No, she invited me to her house and had told me on the phone that her parents were not in town.”


“So, you decided to take advantage of the situation and forced her to do this.”


“I did not force her. We sat on the sofa and started to kiss. Then she took off her blouse and bra and asked me to kiss her breast,” he said.


 “It does not mean anything. She did not provoke you to have sex with her'.


“Not directly. But she did not resist when I took off her underwear and started to kiss other places,” he said, absolutely confused.


“We are not interested what places you kissed, Comrade Rosenberg, but eventually you raped her.”


“When you say ‘raped her,’ you mean that she did not want this. But she whispered in my ear, ‘do it, do it’ and I did.


There was hysterical laughter in the room. Paulina was shocked. The meeting looked like a farce.The chairman called for order and called a witness who was Rosenberg’s best friend.


“Comrade Popov, how long have you known Rosenberg?”


“I’ve known him for four years, since we started to study here.”


“What can you tell the meeting about this guy?” The so-called best friend had a lot of information about Rosenberg.


“He told me that he came to the Soviet Union with his family when he was three years old. His father was an American communist and he was Jewish. He had immigrated to the Soviet Union from the United States because of his political ideas.”


“Did he tell you that he liked America more than the Soviet Union and would like to go back?” asked the woman from the committee.


“Not directly. But the way he spoke of America showed that he liked the capitalist society more.”


“What makes you think so?’ continued the woman. It was such an impression that they wanted to accuse this poor Jewish boy of some other crimes.


“When he spoke about America, he recollected some stories of his childhood and never mentioned about the lynching of Negroes, or unemployment, or crimes and gangs in that country. He only told me about his bicycle, his house with the swimming pool and a zoo that he visited with his parents. He said nothing about the evils of the capitalist society.”


“How old was he when he left America?” shouted one of the participants of the meeting.


“Three years old,” answered Rosenberg. “So, how could he be so politically oriented at this age in order to discuss this with his friend?” shouted the same student.


The committee members shifted in their seats because they were losing control over the situation.“Let’s go back to the main subject of our meeting. We have a complaint about intolerable behavior of Comrade Rosenberg, and we suggest expelling him from the Komsomol organization and from college. If somebody wants to add something, you can say now,” said the chairman.


A tall man, second-year student, came up to the microphone. “This story reminds me very much of the following joke: There was a trial. A village boy was sued for the rape of a village girl. The judge asked the girl to tell the court how it happened. The girl said that she was walking in the forest when she saw a young man. They were talking and then he hugged her, pushed her to a tree and raped her. ‘Did he pull you to the ground?’ asked the judge. ‘No, he raped me standing against the tree.’ Then the judge said, ‘You both come here and stand next to each other.’ When the judge saw that the boy was very short and reached only the girl’s shoulder, he said ‘How did he do it when he is much shorter than you?’ And the girl answered: ‘I bent my knees a little bit to help him.’


I think that we try to condemn Rosenberg of the same crime.”There was a storm of applause in the room. Nonetheless, Rosenberg was expelled from the Komsomol and college. Paulina could not sleep that night because it was evident that Rosenberg did not rape the girl, and everything had been fabricated. But why? What did they want from that poor Jewish student? Paulina remembered the time of arrests and persecutions when Father had been arrested and how his case had been fabricated. Can it be repeated again? It seemed to be frightening."


 This is an except from G.Briskina's book "JOURNEY FROM RUSSIA".


 


2 Comments

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Esther:

oh, those 'emergency meetings' --the Soviets' style to humiliate us. No difference whether it is 1948 or 1978 -- we all stood at the 'executioner's" podiums and listened to their anti-semitic rants. good thing you documented such event.

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Ridho:

The producers are cotnniug on misinformation and the economic situation to stick it to the actors over the New Media issues. People don't understand what's at stake for the actors as we move into the on-line entertainment age. The producers want to bust the union, cut out major parts of the residuals for new media shows. Actors depend on residuals for up to 50% of their income. When DVD's first came in, when when videotape first came in, the SAG cut the studios a break to see what happens. They regretted both moves later. They do not want to be fooled again.

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