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The Dangers Of Iron Curtain Tourism

The Dangers Of Iron Curtain Tourism

In 1962, the Sovietization of Eastern Europe was at its height. It was hard enough to get into Czechoslovakia (we had to wait three hours at the border), but getting out was where things got dicey. From a watchtower, a guard had seen me take pictures of the Iron Curtain, and asked me to open my camera at the border crossing. I lost the last 5 to 6 photographs on the film roll — but the guard was pretty clear that refusal to comply could mean losing way more than that.

This is one of the pictures I managed to save. The baroque houses on the main square of Telc, in southern Moravia, were miraculously spared by the wars and are today a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Society

Parenthood And The Pressure Of Always Having To Be Doing Better

As a father myself, I'm now better able to understand the pressures my own dad faced. It's helped me face my own internal demands to constantly be more productive and do better.

Photo of a father with a son on his shoulders

Father and son in the streets of Madrid, Spain

Ignacio Pereyra*

-Essay-

When I was a child — I must have been around eight or so — whenever we headed with my mom and grandma to my aunt's country house in Don Torcuato, outside of Buenos Aires, there was the joy of summer plans. Spending the day outdoors, playing soccer in the field, being in the swimming pool and eating delicious food.

But when I focus on the moment, something like a painful thorn appears in the background: from the back window of the car I see my dad standing on the sidewalk waving us goodbye. Sometimes he would stay at home. “I have to work” was the line he used.

Maybe one of my older siblings would also stay behind with him, but I'm sure there were no children left around because we were all enthusiastic about going to my aunt’s. For a long time in his life, for my old man, those summer days must have been the closest he came to being alone, in silence (which he liked so much) and in calm, considering that he was the father of seven. But I can only see this and say it out loud today.

Over the years, the scene repeated itself: the destination changed — it could be a birthday or a family reunion. The thorn was no longer invisible but began to be uncomfortable as, being older, my interpretation of the events changed. When words were absent, I started to guess what might be happening — and we know how random guessing can be.

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