Phillip Greenacre

Phillip Greenacre is a British translator who has spent most of his life abroad - in the United States, Barcelona, Poland, and Tbilisi, Georgia.

YALTA
an excerpt from the short story

“We will never forget Yalta!!” screamed Henryk. ”Never! Never! Never!"

“Not interested,” said Max again.

“Yalta! Yalta! Yalta!"

“Look. You bore me,” sighed the younger man as he reached for the clippers on the windowsill and began to cut his nails. “Your country bores me. Every week, I hear the same self-pitying, whining babble. I’ve heard it a thousand times before. No one cares about Yalta. It happened 60 years ago. It’s a dead treaty, a scrap of paper, an historical irrelevance. You are an historical irrelevance. And what’s all this Western Civilization lark, anyway? I mean, what have the Poles ever done for Western Civilization? Copernicus? He’s a German. Chopin? Basically French. Madam Curie? Basically French, too. Po- lanski? A Frenchman, a Jew, certainly not Polish. I mean, there’s nobody really, is there? Absolutely nobody.”

“Blasphemy! Blasphemy! If I were younger I would take you outside right now, you little....you little...” Henryk shook his fist, wildly, demonstratively, vertically.

“So that just about leaves you Poles with the Pope then, doesn’t it?” Max sighed once more, “and, look, to be honest, who gives a damn about the Pope? No one. I mean, well, what was he? A senile priest who added nothing to the liturgy, saved not a single life, started no wars, won no battles, signed no treaties, invented nothing. Absolutely nothing. Sweet Fuck all. Do you under- stand me? Sweet Fuck All.”

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