Search

kafkaestblog

It is a whirlwind in here

Tag

justice

A Tale Of Franz Kafka For Labor Day

Franz Kafka  (in the daytime) was a government employee who looked after the welfare of workers for the Imperial Government. He was on the side of the workers. Among other things, he is credited with inventing the hard hat. And, in once case where he had to oppose a worker in a dispute, he hired – out of his own pocket – a lawyer who was better than Kafka to defend the man. The man got his money.

In my novel about him, Kafka In The Castle, he has an encounter with a worker who needs assistance. This is how he would react.



16 February 1917

              There was a commotion at the office today. It was late morning, and from far below, coming up the stairwell, I could hear a voice bellowing: “Doktor Kafka. Doktor Kafka.” It was a terrible voice, full of blood and darkness.

I got from my desk and went to the door. There were other voices, trying to calm, saying: “He can’t be disturbed.” But the voice was louder, more horrible, close in the corridor.  “Doktor Kafka – for the love of God.”   My secretary wanted me to stay inside, hoping the man would just move along the corridor until the police were summoned. But – I was curious; the man had my name, and his voice was … terrified.

     I opened the door and stood in front of it.  “I’m Kafka,” I said. The man lunged at me, and went to his knees.  “Doktor Kafka?” he said.  “Yes, I’m Kafka.” He reached out, grabbing for my hand.  “Jesus, Jesus, for the love of Jesus – they say that you’ll help me.” 

He was a heavy man, and looked as if he had the strength to pull off doors, yet the tears burst from his eyes.  “I can get no work. I fell from a bridge, and my back is twisted and in pain.” He slumped against the wall, looking at my eyes.  “I have a family, Doktor Kafka. A baby not a year old.” 

“You were working on this bridge?” I asked.  “Yes.” His voice slid down his throat. “I was helping repair the surface.”  “Then you deserve your insurance. Why can’t you get it?” He straightened up, and tried to stand. “I have to fill in papers; the doctor can see no wounds; the foreman said I drank; because my brother is a thief, I am not to be trusted.” I held out my hand, and he slowly stood. “I’m telling you the truth, Doktor Kafka.”  “If that is so,” I said, “you’ll get the money due you.”  “I’m so tired,” he said.

     I gave instructions to those standing around – no other work was to be done until this man’s case was decided. I took him to my office, where he sat.

He sat – practically without a word – for five hours.

I summoned a prominent doctor to look at him. The doctor prodded, and the man screamed. Officials from his village were telephoned. I helped him with the details on the forms. His truth was in his pain. He left our stony building with money in his hand, and his worth restored.

The people who assisted me had smiles on their faces. A man had needed their help.

Dominion Day With Frolicking Beavers In Canada

canada2b52bcents2b1948

Canada is – rightfully – taking a beating with the renewed (certainly not *new*) information and revelations of the horrendous treatment done to our First Nation citizens. This is not only historic, but contemporary, Justice can not help but come too late, But Justice must come.

I will re-post this this story that centres around the country I live in. The human is just an observer.

We know that Canada Day is really Dominion Day.

But – that said – there is still no better symbol for Canada than the industrious beaver. But even hard-working beavers hard-working beavers need their time at play. This is what I saw.

I was walking along the river and heard the strangest noise.

It was one of those noises which, when I found out what It was, sounded exactly as it should. A beaver was chewing at a branch on the bank of the river.

First there were small rolling noises, as the branch went through its hands.

Then the ‘gnaw gnaw gnaw’.

And then the turning noise and the cycles were repeated.

This went on fifteen minutes or so, until the beaver and I both heard noises in the river.We both saw another beaver approaching.

The beaver-at-gnaw quickly went in her direction (though I can only guess which sex was which). They swam toward each other, then rubbed faces. The approaching beaver made small bawling noises like a young calf. They rubbed bodies and sniffed each other. They then swam in different directions.

This performance – the swimming away, the languid circling, the approaches – went on for twenty minutes. A couple of times the ‘gnawing’ beaver clambered over the over beaver’s back, but this lasted just a few seconds. The beaver that had first approached rubbed noses once again, then made the bawling sounds one more time.

I never appreciated how large beavers are until one of them came up on the bank. The water was clear enough to see their feet and tail move underwater (I wonder if the portion out of the water might have the 1/10 proportion of an iceberg). The sun was setting and they became difficult to see.

However they decided to part anyway. One began to go down river toward the harbour and one headed to the other shore.

Perhaps they had just had a date. Perhaps they had just arranged for a date. Whatever the case, I had the distinct impression they were more than friends.

Trump & SCOTUS Walk Into A Bar

panorama_of_united_states_supreme_court_building_at_dusk

~ You are being scurrilous, Mr. President.

~ What?

~ Insulting.

~ After what you Marble Palace bastards did to me?

~ Not us.

~ Then who?

~ The US.

~ What?

~ The Law, Mr. President. Of the Land.

~ I put some of you bastards in place.

~ But you can’t put the Law in its place.

~ I’m POTUS. I’m above the law.

~ Not above. Or below. Or equal.

~ I’ve got Power.

~ Not before the Law.

~ I’m the Leader. Elected by the people.

~ Before the Law, you are but E Pluribus Unum.

~ What does that mean?

~ You don’t know?

~ Why should I?

~ It’s on all the money.

Joe-the-Knife is Dead

beans-of-erinyes
[The Three Erinyes]
Dead
(I am informed)
 
As a door nail.
 
His quietus made.
 
Turned to ashes.
 
Tough food for worms.
 
Done as dinner.
 
 
Yet I murmur:
 
 
“Poe-et-ic justice”
 
“Couldn’t have happened to a …”
 
“Bon Voyage!”
 
“Write if you get work”
 
“Karma is a bitch”
 
“The Three Erinyes
Tisiphone
Megaera
Alecto
All descended.”
 
“Justice prevailed”
 
“The Devil takes his own”
 
But
 
They do say
 
‘If you can’t say anything nice…”
 
 
[And I can’t
‘Cause I knew the son-of-a-bitch
Only too, too well
And
Anyway
Saying more would
Just be
Overkill]
So
… sure
I’ll refrain
 
And keep
My thoughts
To myself.

WHEN THE GOVERNMENT HATES YOU

Regardless of whether it is fascist, communist or capitalist, all governments hate Franz Kafka.

Kafka, despite his reputation as a depressing malcontent, was an honest humanist. He didn’t belabour the philosophy, he just lived the life. Two stories from his real life stand out which show his basic decency. These are told by other people, for Kafka did not blow his own horn. However, I suspect he did not even think he had done anything special.    

When Kafka first met Oskar Baum, who became a lifelong friend, he bowed his head when he shook hands. This was the formal custom of the day. Oskar felt Kafka’s hair graze his head, which was the only way he could tell that Kafka bowed, because Oskar was blind. To Kafka, the fact that the other man was sightless was no reason not to treat him with the full dignity he would express to any other.      

Later in life, Kafka worked as a lawyer for the Worker’s Accident Insurance Institute for the Kingdom of Bohemia in Prague. This organization was an odd blend of a government and private insurance ‘company’, that paid benefits to injured workers. Although Kafka’s main job was as an administrator, he did sometimes find himself representing the Institute in a court of law.  

On one occasion, he was acting against a worker who was refused benefits for an injury. Kafka believed the worker deserved his benefits, but he would do no less than his best to win the case. His solution was to, from his own pocket, hire an excellent lawyer for the worker. Kafka put forward the best case he could, yet lost. He was greatly pleased.

DE

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑