[Note: time went fast, readying to leave took up all the time and this is late.]
We are almost all packed up to go, things boxed, the last minute rush of things to do before moving. At first to Matera a week, then to Piangipane, near Ravenna, to record some songs, and then via London on to the USA. Marcella goes to Belfast to try to set us up to live there. I go on the road to screen films and shoot a final essay-film on America.
[The earlier ones were Speaking Directly, 1972, and then Plain Talk & Common Sense (uncommon senses), 1987.]
Writing now from little Piangipane, near Ravenna. Here to record 19 or 20 songs. And then on to the USA after a brief stop in London. No time now really to write, so I send along some pictures. I had meant to write a letter, something a bit serious, and maybe in the next days I can find the time. But for now I send this.
Amo-te, Clarinha !
In the last month we spent 2 weeks in Berlin, taking care of a friend’s apartment while he and his wife went for a few weeks to the Baltic. It was mostly lovely, not hot, rained a bit, but nice enough to get in a lot of bicycling around the city. A good time, visiting old friends, making some new ones.
Theo & Judith
Theo Eshetu and Judith – she’s an actress, and Theo I have known since ’94, since meeting him in Rome. He has a big video installation piece up at the current Dokumenta in Kassel. All the reviews of Dokumenta cite his work as one of the best things in it.
Thomas Schulz, an artist I’ve known since ’79 or so. Way back then he was working on a sound-piece based on the English Channel “Chunnel” which was being constructed then. Powerful stuff. We had a nice long light lunch in his studio, cheese and wine and lots of talk. Fun.
Selfie on bikes.
Erika & Ulrich Gregor
Erika and Ulrich Gregor. They are retired now but used to run the Berlinale Forum, where I was a frequent guest until 1993. And they long ago started the Arsenal Kino. I’ve known them since 1977 or so. Had a nice lunch at the old Paris Bar and heard lots of interesting stories from them.
Bernd Cailloux, a writer friend. He was in a film for me way back in 1984, something I never finished, but think perhaps to return to Berlin to use the old work (it was almost finished but I had no money to wrap it up) as a kind of time-capsule and put it in the context of a new frame of present Berlin. We shall see about that! He had a lot of stories to tell as we nursed some beers – 3 hours and more of things to tell. Little wonder he is a writer!
Carmen Tartarotti, a film-video maker I have known since 81 or so. I shot a film for her in Frankfurt back then, and see her now and then since. She gave us a copy of a lovely film she recently made, Non possiamo sognare un cielo limpido. She shot in her home region of Alto Adige (Tirol), a documentary very quietly done about two very old nuns living in a convent there. She is thinking of doing a film in Istanbul and perhaps Marcella will help her.
Marcella, Francesco and John
Marcella and two new friends for us, Francesco Campitelli and John E Woods – they’re partners. Francesco is the brother of Lela, a friend we have in Matera, and teaches at a school for difficult kids in Berlin, and John is a highly regarded translator of books, German to English.
We’ll be in Ragusa another month, and then I go to the USA, for a long journey to see friends, perhaps to shoot at last a final essay film about America, and to probably say good-bye to the USA. And make some money. Marcella, for the moment will go to Belfast, where her sister Chicca lives, though perhaps she’ll join me later on the trip. I expect to be back in Europe next May, and if things work out well for Marcella, we’d be in Belfast.
More or less the coming trip – over 6 months.
Summer in Berlin.
By that time you will have had your 21st birthday. I have not seen you since you were a bit older than four years of age. We both know why. If, in the next month, you decide you’d like to see me before I go to the US, you need only contact me – here, or on my Facebook page, (https://www.facebook.com/jon.jost.9), or however you wish, and I’d get a ticket and fly to Lisboa. Otherwise it will be another year before I have a chance to see you there in Portugal. I am not getting any younger, as is normal. In the last year a handful of friends or people I have known have died: Peter Hutton, Dan Cornell, Sam Shepard – they were all younger than me. (See this for more.) As I have written before, it is important for you and your life for you to see and know me a little before it is too late. You need only let me know and I will come.
I hope you have had a wonderful summer, where ever you have been. And I hope might hear from you before I leave for America.
Teu pai, jon
Across the Rummelsburg See, where we stayed in Berlin – view from the terrace.
Amo-te, Clarinha !!
Ragusa Superiore, on the upper left is where we live
The last month and a half have been busy with guests – at first Jane from New York, and then our friends Hyun-suk and Seong-hee, from Korea, and then Marcella’s sister Chicca and her companion Peter, from Belfast in Northern Ireland. We went around to Palermo, Catania, and other places nearby Ragusa. Now a little break of a few weeks, and we go to Berlin for two weeks, and finally back. But only for 6 weeks, and then we leave, still not quite sure for where. I send these now, and later I try to find time to write.
I suppose you are at the beach, or have been or will be. I hope it is lovely there and your summer is being everything you would wish.
Teu pai, jon
Church detail, PalermoStreet scene, poor immigrant part of PalermoDinner out along the harbor in Palermo, with Hyun-suk, Seong-hee, Marcella and Simon CrosbieWall, PalermoDetail of facade in Catania
Peter Murray, Chicca’s companion
Granite cafe con pannaFascist era factory facade, Catania
Peter and Chicca (Marcella’s sister) at beach near SiracusaAt fishmarket, Catania
Roof tiles from campanile of the Modica DuomoWall of Frederick’s castle in Catania
Hyun-suk and Seong-hee, in Ragusa
Man in the cloth store on Corso Italia, telling how he is closing down because there is no business
Wall in Catania
Sunset in Randello
Amo-te, Clarinha !
In the last weeks our friend Jane came to visit from New York, and we took her around a little in the area. She and Marcella went to Matera a while ago, and I am here, doing things with photos and painting, and just thinking. Marcella returns tomorrow.
At the flea market in Modica.
From a presepe in Modica, it made me think of Bresson’s Au Hazard, Balthazar
Ibla at night, from near where we live in Ragusa SuperioreFestival of S. Giorgio, patron saint of Ibla
The Duomo of ModicaDry stone fencing of the regionCountry side near Marina di Ragusa – reminds a bit of Alentejo, but olive instead of cork trees
Ceiling of storage room in masseria, scarred with the signs of work and life.
Soon it will be summer solstice, the longest day of the year up here in the northern hemisphere. I’d guess for some of the summer you are in Cabanas, enjoying the beach. With Tiago I imagine. I hope it is wonderful, the water warm, the days long and lazy.
I leave here the URL and password for a film, Nas correntes de luz da Ria Formosa, shot down there, long ago. Your voice as a small child occasionally can be heard. It, like Cabanas, is slow and languid. I will leave it available for a few weeks and then change the password. I hope you can see and enjoy. https://vimeo.com/93397774
Password: CORRENTES VIM
Amo-te, Clarinha !
Teu pai, jon
PS: The Vila do Conde festival did not invite the little film I made. So no visit to Portugal, at least for now. Here is the URL for that film, in case you’d like to see it:
Mountains as Mountains – https://vimeo.com/210105853
Chiesa Collegiata, Catania
The last week was spent going to Catania to pick up our friend Jane at the airport, and staying in the city a few days, and then to Siracusa (which I first went to with your mother, perhaps in 1996 or so). Catania is a busy and vivid city, very different from the first times I saw it – earliest in 1978. As is Siracusa, which was quite run down when there in ’96. Now, with many of its Baroque buildings restored, it is over-run with tourists and, quite honestly, not so nice.
We’re now back in Ragusa, to show Jane around the area before she and Marcella drive to Matera, and Jane moves along to Rome. I’ll stay here and paint, work on the film, and do photography. And hopefully do a final choice and lay out for a book of what are perhaps poems.
Spring is fully arrived, and I would imagine as well in Lisboa. I hope you are fully enjoying it. As I mentioned before, there’s a chance of an invitation to Vila do Conde, and if it happens we’ll surely go and visit Lisboa as well. I let you know as soon as I hear.
Teu pai, jon
Chiesa S. Nicolas
Door of Fascist Building on Piazza Bellini
Ex-Chiesa di Cavalieri Di Malta
Amo-te, Clarinha !
Ibla, from near where we live
Inside the Chiesa San Giorgio, in Ibla
Antonio D’antoni, a musician we know here. I asked him to be in the film I seem to be making here, and he said yes. Here’s one of the songs we recorded him doing this past week: https://vimeo.com/216983165
In the next weeks we have a friend from New York City coming to visit, so we’ll be taking her around to places around here – Catania, where we pick her up, and then Siracusa, and then through a few nearby towns back to Ragusa. Perhaps we go to Enna or Agrigento or other interesting places as well. We’ll be busy, and doubtless taking lots of photographs. Jane is a photographer as well.
From the cemetery here in Ragusa
25 doors in Ragusa
Spring seems almost here in Ragusa, and I would think as well in Lisboa. I recall the blooms of Bougainvillea and the Jacaranda trees, the flush of light and blue skies, and the outdoor sardine cafes, the color stains on the old walls, and everything that makes Lisboa such a wonderful place to be. The first of May just slipped by, which reminded me of the restaurant in Bairro Alto by the same name.
Here I busy myself with taking many photographs, a bit of painting (trying to get back in the mental space for it), and films. Marcella just finished the almost final edit of a long new film on dance, Again and Again, with Korean choreographer Ahn Eun me as she developed a new work. And started shooting one here, some kind of essay-film. If all goes well we’ll be invited to the Yamagata festival (where you went in 1997), and then to Korea. If…
And another “if” is that I sent a small short film to the festival in Vila do Conde, and should it be invited I’d plan to pass through Lisboa – perhaps to screen some films at the Cinemateca, but mostly, if at all possible, to see you.
I say this, as recently a friend of mine, Dan Cornell, aged 70, seemingly in good health, died in Butte, apparently in his sleep. Such things are a reminder (as were the deaths of a few other friends of mine last year, both younger than me by a few years) that at this age, even if one appears to be well and healthy, death may arrive any time. As I have written you now a handful of times, I think it is important for you and your life, now and in the future, that we meet. My time, whatever it is, grows shorter with each day. For some thoughts on this, see here.
Some time ago I said I would tell you what happened after you were taken, in legal terms “abducted” and then held in Portugal by your mother, with the collusion of the juvenile authorities there. Despite having twice violated Italian and international law, committing perjury in court, chronically violating the terms of her temporary custody of you, your mother was in due time given permanent custody of you, the terms of which she violated immediately. My “right” to see you was simply broken, and since that time I have been unable to see you, mail sent to you was returned. Teresa behaved like a text-book example of the parental alienator. I am rather sure that she, and probably the rest of her family, either simply never spoke of me, or if they did, they spoke very ill of me, and most likely told you many false things, supposedly about me. That would be rather normal in a case like this.
In 2001, once it became clear that under the situation that you and I both faced, I began a long two year effort to secure your rights though the Portuguese political system. I wrote letters to the juvenile authorities, to the Procurador Geral, and on up to the Prime Minister, at the time, António Guterres, and then José Manuel Barroso, and to the President Jorge Sampaio. I gathered e-mail lists for the Judiciary, Juvenile Authorities, and Executive and sent them hundreds of letters, most of the “open letters.” In many cases I received responses – the normal governmental denial of everything – from the Prime Minister on down. I frontally accused them of corruption, and naturally they politely denied it.
I did the same with journalists and reporters, and sent 100’s of letters to the newspapers. In one case I was interviewed, and the reporter ended her commentary saying in effect that Mr. Jost does not know that one is not allowed to say the government is corrupt. [Unfortunately I cannot find a copy of this article in my digital archive here, nor on line’ it was by a journalist, Adriana Vale, in O Independente.]
At the time in Portugal it was taboo to say out loud that the government was corrupt, and I was told by some that I was “crazy” and that I should simply be quiet.
a Sampaio, Barroso, Souto Moura, Celeste Cardona e outros.
1, Sept. 2003
Para: Jorge Sampaio, Presidente, Durão Barroso, Primeiro-Ministro, Adriano Machado Souto Moura, Procurador-geral, Celeste Cardona, Ministra da Justiça, Juíz Magalhães, Tribunal da Relação de Lisboa, Juiz Sapateiro, membro do Conselho Superior de Magistratura, Rui Machado e Moura, Juiz
Em Junho de 2002 foi-vos solicitado que conduzissem Portugal ao cumprimento das suas próprias leis, e também ao cumprimento da convenção internacional da qual é signatário e à qual é legalmente vinculado, a Convenção de Haia sobre os Aspectos Civis do Sequestro Internacional de Crianças, face às acções flagrantemente ilegais dos Tribunais de Portugal, do Procurador Geral e do Presidente da República no que diz respeito ao rapto da minha filha, Clara Jost, da sua residência em Roma em 2 de Novembro de 2001, por Teresa Villaverde.
Ficaram de sobreaviso que no caso de não cumprirem a vossa obrigação legal, moral e ética e conduzirem Portugal a tais caminhos de legalidade, e no caso de ser necessário como forma de assegurar os meus direitos legais bem como os da minha filha, o Governo de Portugal seria destituído. Em tal altura, todos vós e o sistema político que representam, foram apontados, e com certeza, como sistematicamente e institucionalmente corruptos. Estava seguro em tal altura que imaginavam a possibilidade do colapso do vosso governo como um assunto inconcebível e não equacionável. Na altura afastaram as acusações de corrupção de uma maneira típica de todos os sistemas corruptos e seus funcionários.
No ano seguinte, a vasta corrupção que envolveu o Governo e as estruturas judicias de Portugal, e consequentemente a sociedade civil amplamente infectada pelas duas primeiras mencionadas, foi revelada – apesar dos constantes esforços em escondê-la e negá-la.
Ninguém, excepto aqueles como vós – homens e mulheres gritantemente corruptos de carácter moral nulo – podem dizer hoje ao Povo português e afirmar que Portugal não é uma sociedade profundamente corrupta, e gravemente ferida face a essa mesma corrupção.
É uma corrupção da qual cada um de vós é total participante e cúmplice, e pela qual são de todo responsáveis. É vossa a vergonha, e decerto que a história de Portugal vos lembrará apenas no vosso falhanço gritante face às vossas obrigações, e que apenas se distinguiram pela enorme fraqueza moral do Governo a que presidem.
Em Junho deste ano, 2003, foi-vos de novo exigido e requerido que levassem Portugal ao respectivo cumprimento das suas leis e das suas obrigações internacionais, e que fizessem com que Clara Jost fosse restituída ao seu pai, de acordo com o disposto na Convenção de Haia. Foram informados de que no caso de fracassarem em tal, seriam utilizados meios e agentes de forma a assegurar que a Justiça fosse levada directamente até às vossas portas.
A divulgação de documentos confidenciais da Casa Pia, mostrando a directa cumplicidade das partes envolvidas na administração desta Instituição numa tentativa de encobrir os mais abissais crimes do vosso governo, e evidenciando também a clara cumplicidade do dr. Pedro Strecht, nomeado pelo Governo para presidir a comissão destinada a investigar os crimes cometidos na Instituição, não passa de um sinal transparente e directo de que a corrupção que infecta todo o sistema governativo e judicial Português é dirigida dos mais altos níveis. Mostra também o vazio moral e ético que vos trespassa: face à mais óbvia evidência da participação de Catalina Pestana e de Pedro Strecht numa conspiração institucionalizada com o fim de proteger altos membros do Governo – passado e presente – nem uma simples personalidade da classe política exigiu que Pestana fosse demitida da sua posição, ou que Strecht fosse igualmente demitido, apesar das provas claras das suas posições amplamente comprometidas.
Ao invés, e por toda a classe política, surgiu apenas um silêncio acompanhado de esforços claros para suprimir os media e controlar as fugas de informação que surgissem para o público português.
A razão para o vosso comportamento é clara: a mesma corrupção que vos rodeia, também vos envolve: são uma parte dela e não podem denunciar este caso óbvio sem arriscarem uma consequente exposição da vossa própria cumplicidade e crimes.
No futuro imediato, documentos de outras instituições do governo e dos tribunais portugueses serão revelados, e denunciarão a total corrupção que envolve todo o sistema, bem como denunciará o vosso papel pessoal nessa mesma corrupção.
A desgraça que vos rodeia é da vossa própria criação: a desgraça de pessoas imorais e sem nenhuns valores éticos; a desgraça de pessoas que não conseguem, desde as suas posições institucionais de “autoridade”, falarem ao povo português uma única palavra honesta.
As únicas palavras honestas que deveriam produzir falar seria uma confissão que, através de vocês, e do sistema que conduzem, e da corrupção que vocês representam, Portugal foi guiado para o seu ponto mais baixo na história moderna, e que vocês, pessoalmente, são total e completamente responsáveis por esta situação degradante.
A sordidez da Casa Pia.
A sordidez do caso Moderna.
A degradação de 400 000 hectares ardidos nos fogos de Verão, muitos dos quais ateados por pequenos criminosos que seguiram exemplos de puro roubo aos mais altos níveis governamentais: Paulo Portas, António Guterres e cada um de vós.
A sordidez da maior taxa de SIDA na Europa, e em constante crescimento.
A pior economia da Europa comunitária, e ainda a deteriorar-se (o desemprego subiu 28% num simples mês).
Uma infra-estrutura física à beira do colapso.
A sordidez da vossa incompetência face à miríade de problemas profundos que invadem Portugal, sendo que todos são consequência directa da flagrante corrupção que submergiu a sociedade política, judicial e civil de Portugal nas últimas décadas.
Uma sordidez assinalada pelo comportamento totalmente evasivo que os principais líderes portugueses têm evidenciado nos passados 17 meses, como o desastre que criaram, que tem sido evidenciado publicamente; o silêncio de culpa, a incapacidade para a mínima auto-honestidade face à catástrofe a que conduziram Portugal.
Este é o vosso legado.
A corrupção que rodeia o caso do sequestro da minha filha por Teresa Villaverde, onde uma família de influência conseguiu contornar a lei nos seus próprios interesses, para corromper os tribunais e os gabinetes do poder executivo, é exactamente a mesma corrupção vista nos abusos criminosos e imorais da Casa Pia, e a vergonhosa venialidade e ilegalidades expostas no caso Moderna. Não é coincidência que o dr. Strecht tenha sido citado no tribunal de Rui Machado e Moura como um “perito” e que, alegadamente, forneça “aconselhamento”, altamente contrário à moderna prática pedopsiquiátrica; o mesmo dr. Strecht que enviou crianças abusadas directamente para o controlo de “Bibi”.
Na mesma quotidiana corrupção que trespassa o povo de Portugal faz décadas, e que os levou à conclusão que nada pode ser feita, e que em vez de modificar a situação é melhor para eles entenderem essa corrupção – numa aceitação passiva, como no incendiar de vastas parcelas de terra esperando uma compensação dos seguros, no não pagamento atempado dos impostos, em actos e comportamentos anti-sociais que demonstram um cansaço espiritual face à constante corrupção que exala das instituições formais da sociedade.
A taxa elevada de toxicodependentes, SIDA, o número elevado de mortes devidas ao tráfico, aos abusos sexuais, constitui um espelho directo da substância podre que é igualmente demonstrada aos mais altos níveis da sociedade de Portugal.
É uma corrupção moral, política, ética e legal gigantesca que invadiu por completo a sociedade, graças ao completo fracasso daqueles que supostamente a deveriam guiar:
eles claramente guiam-na, e o resultado dessa direcção está à vista de todos.
Exijo de novo que Portugal seja conduzido ao cumprimento das suas próprias leis e dos acordos internacionais aos quais está obrigado, e – demasiado tarde para evitar danos de uma vida inteira para a minha filha – restituírem Clara a sua casa.
Agentes e meios continuarão a ser empregues para levar uma justiça apropriada a todos aqueles que se uniram para violarem as leis que supostamente deveriam fazer cumprir, no caso de Clara Jost, e em imensos outros casos nos quais as “autoridades” de Portugal são de facto os criminosos.
A JUSTIÇA SERÁ LEVADA, POR INTEIRO, ÀS VOSSAS PORTAS, PELOS CRIMES QUE COMETERAM CONTRA A MINHA FILHA, E CONTRA A MINHA PESSOA, E CONTRA O POVO PORTUGUÊS.
Below is what it looked like as an e-mail. It went to many hundreds of people in the government and the press. It is one of very many such postings and letters written in the period 2001 – 2004 and sent widely through Portuguese society.
I note that if one checks the Portuguese newspapers, when I began this effort in 2001, one will find virtually nothing regarding the general corruption of the government and society of Portugal. However after I openly – as in these emails and letters, and discussions with the press – accused the government of corruption, within a year or so, it became a visible and generally open and public matter. Perhaps that had something to do with me, most likely along with the many blatant and sordid things happening in Portugal which the government attempted but failed to fully hide. Such as the case of Casa Pia in which the child psychiatrist Pedro Strecht – who is/was Teresa’s “friend” and advisor, both on her film Os Mutantes and also in her case with you, and whom I believe probably saw you – was involved, and not in a good manner.
I worked on this process of attempting to secure your and my rights, more or less full-time, from mid-2001 until late 2004. At that point it was hardly a taboo any more to speak of corruption in Portugal, though the corruption did not stop (instead it arrived in full force in the United States, and today in America our corruption makes Portugal’s look as small as Portugal is.) But, sadly for me, I accomplished nothing in securing our rights, as daughter and father. Instead your mother continued to violate the terms of her custody, and continually blocked all contact between us. The authorities in Portugal never did a thing about that.
I will save all these letters for you, in case at some time in your life you wish to see them, though seeing just a few is really all you need to know.
Clara in Japan, October 1997
That is enough for this time. In a bit I will send some snapshots of Ragusa and this part of Sicily. In a few weeks a friend from New York City will come to visit and we’ll be doing a bit of travel with her. Lots to see.
Hope spring is lovely there, as I know it can be, and that your work at school is enjoyable and you are learning a lot. I will let you know if indeed we are headed to Vila do Conde and Lisboa.
From the cemetery in RagusaCollage of Ragusa
Amo-te, Clarinha !