Sochi-Malaparte

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In the paper today, there was an article about the race to save stray dogs in Sochi, before the opening of the Winter Olympics. “Get the strays off the streets, or we will shoot them,” is the word from the officials.  This follows articles during the past week about security concerns for the games:  they are being held near a war zone, and terrorism in the region is common.  Putin, Chechnya, mega-waste-projects…a great day for sport!

The article brought to mind a passage in, Kaputt, the harrowing account of WWII on the eastern front written by Curzio Malaparte.  He is with German SS troops somewhere near the Soviet border, deep in winter snow.  The Germans are preparing for a battle in a location favorable to them when suddenly the place is filled with the sound of barking dogs.  The Germans go crazy with fear, the officers ordering the men to shoot every dog immediately as they run towards their lines.

The Russians have starved the dogs so that when released, they will run furiously towards the German soldiers, looking for food.  Some of them have explosives strapped to their backs with wires attached that stick straight up.  When the dogs with explosives run beneath a tank or truck, the wire brushes the metal, triggering the bomb.  Vehicles start exploding all over the place.

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9 Responses to Sochi-Malaparte

  1. Guy Savage says:

    I saw some of the articles about the dog-slaughter prior to the Olympics glitz. Terrible.

    I haven’t read Kaputt yet but now I see what I have to look ‘forward’ to….

  2. Man of Roma says:

    I think I visited Casa Malaparte, on the Isle of Capri, which is not open to the public now. But I am not sure if I dreamed it or not. I may have only watched it from a distance.

    • Lichanos says:

      I think it’s undergoing restoration now. It’s featured in Godard’s film, Contempt. Quite a setting!!

      What do Italians think of Malaparte today, or do they not think of him at all?

  3. Man of Roma says:

    What do Italians think of him … I guess more the latter.

    Very much known until the 50’s 60’s, perhaps (my father valued him), he was later more or less forgotten. I think Gramsci’s biting judgement on him was influential. He wrote in his Prison’s notebooks that Malaparte was a superficial writer, a man of “rampant careerism, immense vanity and chameleon snobbery” plus a ‘grandchild of Padre Bresciani’, one of G’s categories for intellectuals who, after 19th-century Bresciani – are insincere, Jesuitic manipulators (Jesuitic in a broad and derogatory sense, Malaparte was a Lutheran), politically biased.

  4. troutsky says:

    It seems like I read somewhere that they trained dolphins to do underwater demolition of some kind. Explosives strapped to their backs?

  5. Lichanos says:

    True, or memories of the The Incredible Mr. Limpet??

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