Communication Front 2000 Book, "Crossing Points East-West"

A collage

Jane Brake, Jenna Collins, Rupert Francis


method of this work: literary montage. I have nothing to say. Only to show. I will make off with nothing valuable and allow myself no clever turns of phrase. Only the refuse and waste: which I will not inventory but instead allow to come into their own in the only way possible… to discover the crystal of the total event in the analysis of small individual elements.

Walter Benjamin, Gesammelte Schriften V, pp. 574-575.

Main vocabulary of over 475,000 words, including medical, technical, legal, and business terms, as well as slang and general expressions
Instant reverse translation, Vector Ultima spell-checking system, 200 popular American idioms, English irregular verbs
Over 1200 commonly used and emergency phrases
4 lines display, Advanced word recognition system
128K bilingual organizer, High-speed data communication with PC
Word game, Currency conversion, Metric conversion, World Time Clock, AAA batteries, Size (mm) 145x95x15, (in) 6”x4”x0.6”
One-year warranty.
Talking Voice Speaking Pocket Electronic Hand Held Digital Translator Dictionary Computer Organizer
$245.95 ENGLISH-BULGARIAN and vice versa!
ENGLISH voice function


In the textual space of chat rooms, MOOs, and e-mail, I can only communicate with like-language speakers. I am privileged that a lot of other people speak English. What if I were from an aboriginal tribe, speaking a dialect of which there are only 120 speakers still surviving? What will be lost when no one speaks that dialect? Soon software will automatically translate for us. What will we lose when we no longer engage with a foreign language? For trying on a different language is trying on the headspace of another. (RF)

What was dreamed of as final freedom is nothing but another status symbol. I was working with Afghani refugees during an Internet awareness workshop. After a difficult conversation we realised that with an English keyboard there was no way to type in the URL or search for relevant words. The refugee was rendered mute by the computer. No voice, no call, no response.

Middlesbrough, January 2001.

The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.

26. Wittgenstein, L. (1921) Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus.

Trans. D. F. Pears and B. F. McGuiness (London; Routledge), and also trans. C. K. Ogden.


The tourist moves on purpose… The purpose is new experience… tourists want to immerse in the strange and bizarre element… They choose the elements to jump into according to how queer, but also how innocuous, they are… the strange is tame… this makes the world… obedient to the tourists’ wishes and whims, ready to oblige; but also pleasingly pliable, kneaded by the tourists’ desire, made and remade with one purpose in mind: to excite, please and amuse…

Zigmunt Bauman, From Pilgrim to Tourist, Moderna Tider, September 1994, p. 29, quoted in The Disoriented Tourist: The Figuration of the Tourist in Contemporary Cultural Critique, Eeva Jokinen and Soile Veijola.

In the morning I tried on Fatima’s hijab. She wound the heavy black cloth twice around my head and pinned it across my mouth, so that only my eyes were visible. She laughed at me and I asked questions, which Nadia translated. Don’t you get too hot? Don’t you trip up all the time? How do you recognise your friends? How can you hear what people are saying to you? How do you turn your head to check for traffic when you cross the road? Fatima said she wouldn’t feel at all comfortable if she went out without her veil. Later K. told me how women used to wear the veil so they could conceal the provisions and weapons they carried to the maquis during the revolution. And also how a woman might welcome the anonymity it provided, when meeting a lover, or working as a prostitute… Later that day we heard the news of the death of President Boumedienne. As night fell processions began that would last all night, and for the next three days. I lay in bed imagining the map of the town, suggested by the footsteps and the cries of the mourners. I wondered if I should be afraid… to be here, and in the middle of something I understood very little.

Guelma, Algeria, December 1979.

The clothing of the peasant women is warm and comfortable for winter wear, but must be found intolerably hot and heavy in summer. Only the sturdy frame of a Bulgarian could, I believe, easily support the weight of the full gala costume, with the ponderous silver ornaments worn on head, neck, waist and wrists. Indeed, I have never found it possible to wear for more than half an hour at a time the costume I had obtained at Salonika with the object of using it as a fancy ball dress.

Lucy Garnett, Balkan Homelife, London, 1917.

How often have you longed to fully experience the world; to escape into the exotic East; lose yourself in the vast expanses of the West; or simply be refreshed by the sheer vitality of the North?… Explore these new products and you’ll find a unique choice of ingredients from the four corners of the world for you to experience in many exciting new ways.

Boots promotional literature.

Washing up on beaches, the transient, unlanguaged body floats in a sea of contempt and misunderstanding, the tunes and smells and foods and richness of other cultures… cringing from the outside looking in, the other, the enemy… Life in the home country couldn’t be that bad, could it? The stream and the drip, the holding camps where children have been born and grown up knowing only the compound, and parents wait for forms to be processed.

Middlesbrough, January 2001.

I became very aware of myself as a Londoner whilst on holiday in Corsica, aged 15. A sunburnt German Youth wore a t-shirt proclaiming

‘Good boys go to heaven, bad boys go to London.’

Tourism results from a basic binary division between the ordinary/everyday and the extraordinary. Tourist experiences involve some aspect or element which induces pleasurable experiences which are, by comparison with the everyday, out of the ordinary… This is not to say that other elements of the production of the tourist experience will not make the typical tourist feel that he or she is ‘home from home,’ not too much ‘out of place.’ But potential objects of the tourist gaze must be different in some way or other…

The Tourist Gaze, John Urry, 1990, p. 11.

The classical model of culture is not only descriptively unserviceable, but also normatively dangerous and untenable. What is called for today is a departure from this concept and to think of cultures beyond the contraposition of ownness and foreignness – ‘beyond the heterogeneous and the own,’ as Adorno once put it.

The Puzzling Form of Cultures Today, Wolfgang Welsch, 1999, in: Spaces of Culture, edited by Mike Featherstone and Scott Lash, 1999, p. 195-196.

The heritage assets of land and culture are the very foundations of [our] civilisation, and these assets are increasingly becoming the basis for our economic prosperity… The distinction between… the real and the unreal, became blurred when the commercial world entered the cultural arena with a different set of… values concerned with product development… and marketing strategies.

Cultural Tourism, edited by J. M. Fladmark, pp. XIII-XIV.

One of the transformations most commonly associated with globalization is time-space compression, that is to say, the social process by which phenomena speed up and spread out across the globe… there is the transnational capitalist class, really in charge of the time-space compression and capable of turning it to its own advantage. On the other hand the subordinate classes and groups such as migrant workers and refugees, that are also doing a lot of physical moving but not at all in charge of the time-space compression. Between corporate executives and immigrants and refugees, tourists represent a third mode of production of time-space compression.

Bonaventura de Sousa Santos, Towards a Multicultural Conception of Human Rights, in: Spaces of Culture, edited by Mike Featherstone and Scott Lash, 1999, p. 217.

When you spend years in other countries, and are of mixed parentage, there is a slight identity crisis which comes about at some point. People say they are English, German, Australian, I am all of these, yet none.

For what one cannot do in one’s own Western environment, where to try to live out the grand dream of a successful quest is only to keep coming up against one’s own mediocrity and the world’s corruption and degradation, one can do abroad. Isn’t it possible in India to do everything, be anything, go anywhere with impunity?

Edward Said, Kim by Rudyard Kipling, 1987, p. 42.


Les préjugés les plus fréquents

Cliquez sur le sujet de votre choix

Il n’y a pas de soleil en Bulgarie
La Bulgarie a la mentalité communiste
On se perd facilement en Bulgarie
On risque de se faire arnaquer en Bulgarie
Des connaissances gardent un mauvais souvenir de la Bulgarie
Le voyage vers ou en Bulgarie présente des risques
Les Bulgares sont inhospitaliers et peu fréquentables
La Bulgarie n’est pas un bon endroit pour la drague!
On mange mal en Bulgarie
On ne fait pas ce qu’on veut en Bulgarie, c’est comme en Russie, les allées et venues sont surveillées…

[in English:]

The most frequent prejudices

Click on the topic of you choice

There is no sun in Bulgaria
Bulgaria has a communist mentality
You easily get lost in Bulgaria
You risk getting robbed in Bulgaria
Some acquaintances of ours have bad memories of Bulgaria
Travelling to or within Bulgaria represents a risk
Bulgarians are inhospitable and hard to get in touch with
Bulgaria is not a good place for flirting!
The food in Bulgaria is bad
You cannot do what you please in Bulgaria. It’s like in Russia, all your whereabouts are observed…


It was in Cetinje in August 1900, that I first picked up the thread of the Balkan Tangle, little thinking how deeply enmeshed I should later become, and still less how this tangle would ultimately affect the whole world. Chance or the Fates took me Near Eastward… The doctor who insisted upon my having two months holiday every year was kinder than he knew. ‘Take them in quite a new place’ he said. ‘Get right away no matter where, so long as the change is complete’… I boarded the Austrian Lloyd steamer at Trieste and with high hopes but weakened health, started for the ports of the Eastern Adriatic.

Edith Durham, Twenty Years of Balkan Tangle, London, 1920.


“The very activity of taking pictures is soothing, and assuages general feelings of disorientation that are likely to be exacerbated by travel.… [Taking pictures] gives shape to experience: stop, take a photograph, and move on. The method especially appeals to people handicapped by a ruthless work ethic – Germans, Japanese, and Americans. Using a camera appeases the anxiety which the work-driven feel about not working when they are on vacation and supposed to be having fun.”

On Photography, Susan Sontag, 1977, Anchor Books. ISBN 0-385-26706-1.


limit your claim to fear,  prepare, provide no evidence. consider your failure, your limited credibility. and cast doubt. And consider your limited credibility, your inconclusive evidence. Then, despite your claim, claim, and then claim. Then consider your claim not well founded, embellish and alter and invent and consider your limited liability. see no reason why you provided no evidence, no opinion. limit your claim to fear

consider the fleeing person and see no reason to condone escape. understand united nations conventions and feel aware, feel observed, and feel noted, then claim, and claim again to have faked your account.

Manchester, England, August 2000

(audio script, extracts from UK Home Office correspondence with asylum seekers)

Interior minister Jack Straw said Thursday he had received reports of an exodus of gypsies from the Czech Republic and Slovakia and warned them they would not be welcome if they sought asylum in Britain. “We have reports that Czech and Slovak Romas are on the move in Eastern Europe,” Straw said in a statement. “Britain is taking a firm line and will not be a soft touch for illegal immigrants with no right to asylum. My message is: do not think you will get through.”

London, England, April 1998 (Copyright News Service).

The bodies of 58 people were found in the back of a lorry supposedly carrying tomatoes at the port of Dover yesterday. The lorry had crossed the channel in a P&O Stena Line Ferry from the Belgian port of Zeebrugge on the hottest day of the year with temperatures reaching 30 degrees centigrade (86 Fahrenheit). The 54 men and 4 women are thought to be of Chinese origin. Two survivors, both men, have been taken to hospital. They were too traumatised to be questioned. Speaking in the Commons Jack Straw said: “This terrible tragedy must serve as a stark warning to others, who might be tempted to place their fate in the hands of organised traffickers…”

Dover, England, July 2000.

A group of asylum seekers have gone on hunger strike – because they claim British grub isn’t good enough for them. The refugees, mainly from Eastern Europe and Africa, say they won’t eat nosh like bangers and mash. Now the bunch – living here at taxpayers’ expense – want more handouts so they can buy foreign food. One said yesterday: “The meals here are the most disgusting I’ve ever had. We get sliced bread instead of the rice and pasta we are used to. A lot of the time we have boiled potatoes with meat and gravy, but we can’t eat that because it’s not what we normally have. We’re political refugees who didn’t want to come here and we should be given the food we had back home.”

Refugees snub our bangers and mash!

Exclusive by John Mahoney, Daily Star, Saturday Jan 27, 2001.

Homesickness is not an intellectual disease. I feel it through my body. A longing for something outside my grasp, something out of view, out of ear shot. It is not the same as the desire to be in your own bed, or in your favourite chair by the fire, watching tv in your mother tongue. It is not something that disappears when we cross the boundary into familiar territory. I have suffered from homesickness in my own home. It seems to have something to do with oneness, with wanting to gather up all the fragments of your life and be whole. To fully know and be fully known…

Manchester, England, January 2001.

Crossing Points

In practice, the resettlement story (with a few ‘ideal village’ exceptions) continues to be one of callousness and broken promises. Some people have been given land, others haven’t. Some have land that is stony and uncultivable. Some have land that is irredeemably water-logged. Some have been driven out by landowners who sold land to the Government but haven’t been paid yet.

The Greater Common Good, Arundathi Roy, April 1999, <>.

When I missed my flight home because I couldn’t read the piece of paper stuck to the bus stop sign, (that said the bus stop had moved) I felt free. I could disappear. Start a new persona. People would wonder what happened to their employee, their friend, their colleague, their associate, their ex-lover, their mentor. People disappear all the time. Depending on your world view, the missing person can be a victim or a revolutionary. How does one leave a whole identity behind?


He met her at the border
in the waiting space between two lives
before them, a future without signposts,
roots naked of earth
language is all they carry
across the line
there is nothing to declare/safely
the Wasteland air too spare
to nurture truth
silence sharp as
double-headed arrows
protects the history
that they dress in foreign clothes
of the new country they inhabit

they turn their faces
blank as the pages
of forged ID


Excerpt from Bordercrossing by Joyoti Grech.

Tazi statiq na bylgarski / This text in Bulgarian
Back to Contents in English