jueves, 22 de septiembre de 2016

Gori, birthplace of Stalin

Hugh Bonneville and Jessica Hynes find themselves travelling to Gori (Georgia), Stalin's birthplace.

Self-study activity:
Watch the video and answer the questions below.

1 What does Hugh say about the road?
2 What does Hugh want to see in Gori?
3 What is the message in the inscription Jessica reads?
4 What is the surprising thing you can see in the shower?
5 Why is Hugh concerned when he leaves the museums?
6 What did the minister of culture write about the museum?
7 Who wrote the message in the visitors' book Hugh reads out?

I don't want to tempt fate, but this is a remarkably good road.
You've blown it now, Hugh.
They're driving to a small town called Gori whose place in history relies solely on the fact that it's the birthplace of communist dictator Joseph Stalin.
So, Gori, where we're going to, Stalin's birthplace, there's a museum. I'd be interested to see how honest an account or how much of the rest of the world's view of Stalin is included in the museum in his birthplace.
A huge memorial has been built around the house where Stalin was born and several surrounding blocks flattened to make way for the museum dedicated to Gori's favourite son.
So, this is Stalin's house, literally kind of sitting on its own in the middle of nowhere. There's something really exciting about coming somewhere like this. It's such living history, and imagining Stalin as a little boy looking at exactly this, all the notches on the wood. Wonder if there's any initials.
JV was here.
You can go inside.
It's incredible to think of him sort of sitting at that table and kind of... living here.
So, this carriage used to belong to the Tsar and was appropriated by Stalin. There's even a bar for the shower. There was a meeting of the Allied commanders of Stalin and Churchill and Roosevelt on a train. I wonder if it was this one. You definitely feel ghosts in here, you do, when you consider what Stalin meant for millions and millions of people.
Hugh searches the museum for some answers. But comes away more concerned about its omissions.
I think my thoughts about this place are solidifying. I feel quite angry now. There's a statement downstairs from the minister of culture, I guess it is, saying that this museum is being left as it was, as part of an objective history of his life and his birthplace. It's not. This is a shrine to Stalin really, I feel, and I don't think I could put it any better than… This is the visitors' book I've been looking at and there's a couple from New York who wrote this:
How can you expect the world to support you in your just struggle against the Russians if you have no courage to judge Stalin and his crimes against humanity?
Yeah, that's pretty much it.

1 it's remarkably good
2 a museum
3 JV was here
4 a bar  
5 because of its omissions 
6 it is an objective history of Stalin's life and his birthplace
7 a couple from New York