Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
The French is very good. This is a quick translation into English that won't do justice to it. You can then compare with the Greek...

...But when the last Youth section got caught, Security fingered me as district secretary and I was up for a second trial. Only it was the time when they'd sworn to liquidate us, I already had three death sentences on my head along with two life sentences and a few odds and ends, we were still in isolation in the Yendi-Koulè jails, and they were stringing us along from one reprieve to the next to break us. You can imagine what it's like, every few days at dawn, getting your clothes together and hearing the army jeeps bringing the firing squad, then the keys in the door, then that goddamn rustling of papers, the roll call, in a slow, loud voice... Today, nobody from our group, but they took Mastro-Stèfanos and two resistance fighters. Stèfanos was a guy from my cell, strong and good-looking with a great heart. Now when I drink in a tavern with a beaten-earth floor, I quietly pour a glass of wine or oùzo on the ground for him. Because I still have immense bitterness in my heart, when I think of him. Not because of his death -- so many of you departed, the best among us -- but because he went to his execution filled with unbearable and hidden bitterness. You know what it does to be in their hands, in the slaughterhouse that is the Council of War, without a single place to set your eyes on? To be surrounded by these indifferent faces that are in a hurry to liquidate you so they can get to their lunch, while you are so full, so heavy with tenderness and despair? You know you are going to die, you feel deep down the need to set your gaze on a being who is close to you, to leave behind you a precise memory, to take away with you an image that belongs to you of this world you are leaving...

And Mastro-Stèfanos before the Council of War, all alone. His wife came to ask him for a divorce, seeing as how she'd found a serious guy to rebuild her life with and so on. That thanks to this other guy's influence she'd got their two children into an orphanage. As he said goodbye to me, his eyes were wet. Everything's all right, comrade, and don't forget History... When they threw him into our cell, a hole as black as hell, we made room for him, he sat down moaning softly. They'd demolished him during the interrogation, but the three days he stayed with us, he even found the courage to joke. OK comrade, we suffer, but History will write our names -- even if it's on toilet paper. Of course, Stèfanos, don't worry, History will make something of us.

Thanks for this, Balkan Identity.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Dec 29th, 2012 at 10:27:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wow, thank you for taking the time to translate from French! I could have done it directly to English but I figured it would be nice to have a translation to French as well. It does seem pretty good actually and transmits the sense of the original.

Btw, I was wondering how he translated the last sentence which is the joke part. The crude literal English translation goes like this:
"Ok comrade, we suffer, but certainly History will write about us, even it is on her balls she will write about us ... Mastro-Stefane, History is female, she has no balls. She will find for us comrade, don't worry"

which essentially plays on two common phrases in greece using the verb write.

Orthodoxy is not a religion.

by BalkanIdentity (balkanid _ at _ google.com) on Sat Dec 29th, 2012 at 10:45:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The French uses a cruder term for toilet paper (I might have translated it "arse-wipes"). But it doesn't say "balls" and leaves out the reference to History as female.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Dec 29th, 2012 at 11:06:03 AM EST
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I wonder if Alan Moore, the comic book writer, had read that. It is very reminiscent of his biography of Valerie Susan Page (although the comic version is so much more powerful than the mere prose)

I don't know who you are.  Please believe.  There is no way I can convince you that this is not one of their tricks, but I don't care.  I am me, and I don't know who you are but I love you.

I have a pencil, a little one they did not find.  I am a woman.  I hid it inside me.

Perhaps I won't be able to write again, so this is a long letter about my life.  It is the only autobiography I will ever write and oh God I'm writing it on toilet paper.....

it ends

My mother said I broke her heart, but it was my integrity that was important.  Is that so selfish?  It sells for so little, but it's all we have left in this place.  It is the very last inch of us, but within that inch we are free.

I imagine I'll die quite soon.

It is strange that my life should end in such a terrible place, but for three years I had roses and I apologised to nobody.

I shall die here.  Every inch of me shall perish.  Except one.

 An inch.  It's small and its fragile and its the only thing in the world that's worth having.

We must never lose it, or sell it, or give it away.  We must never let them take it from us.

I don't know who you are, or whether you're a man or woman.  I may never see you.  I will never hug you or cry with you or get drunk with you.  But I love you.

I hope that you escape this place.  I hope that the world turns and that things get better, and that one day people have roses again.

I wish I could kiss you.

It is from V for Vendetta, which I believe is becoming quite influential in some places

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Dec 30th, 2012 at 01:00:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The parallels are indeed interesting. It is always mind boggling how much pain we humans have inflicted on each other - institutionalized in so many ways from prisons to inquisitions.

As the poet says, pain is human but we are not human only to be in pain...

Orthodoxy is not a religion.

by BalkanIdentity (balkanid _ at _ google.com) on Wed Jan 2nd, 2013 at 06:25:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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