Moacir P. de Sá Pereira on June 3rd, 2008

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Sąjūdis pin [collectplaza.lt]

There is no way I can have a bunch to say, personally, about the twentieth anniversary of the founding of Sąjūdis. After all, I was still a pre-teen born and living in the US. But I can talk about being in the wake of Sąjūdis, from the pins we got from visiting relatives (as pictured) all the way to the t-shirts that my friends and I designed and silk-screened as part of our contribution to Kaziuko Mugė in 1989. That is, even we pre-teens across the Atlantic felt what was going on, and we responded to it with gestures both creative and (to us, unproblematically) patriotic.

We had two shirts in March 1989: one was designed by Darius Lalas, and it featured a negatively composed, bold and sans-serif “FREE Lithuania NOW” along with barbed wire down the side, a sort of reference to the standard, Kronika-fueled gulag mentality of military occupation, in which the barbed wire can be best described as metaphorical, antagonistic.

The second shirt, designed by Algis Kalvaitis, was a squiggly “Sąjūdis” with rays spiraling out of the name and a Gediminaičių stulpai in a sun, sort of a psychedelic take on the pictured pin. We lined up yellow, green, and red dye on the spreader and applied all three colors at once, smearing the tricolor horizontally across the design.

So though aesthetically I didn’t really like the smearing, now I can see that it prophesied the main contribution of Sąjūdis: the establishment of a fantasy of a united Lithuanian state, acting in concert for the best interests of the population of the state. Once the Lithuanian state became a reality, the fantasy was shattered, as older organizing fantasies of unification (like the Lithuanian nationalist fantasy) overtook it and reasserted their positions of power. Of course, in the diaspora, this made perfect sense (at least to me): how on earth could an organization that had both Brazauskas and Landsbergis as members adequately represent the interests of the ethnic nation? Brazauskas was a communist!

But like I said, I was a kid. So here are a few other, better thoughts about Sąjūdis:

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