Monday, May 16, 2016

Birobidzhan and the Jewish Autonomous Oblast

I almost feel like I'm getting ready to tell you about "James and the Giant Peach," or "Sigmund and the Sea Monsters" here. But, no, this is about Birobidzhan and the Jewish Autonomous Oblast. Whether or not you can pronounce it. Try it now: Биробиджан, Еврейская автономная област. See, wasn't that easy?

Once upon a time, there were a shitload of Zionists (there still are, but this is relating to their initial quest). This shitload of Zionists wanted to establish a homeland in Palestine in the 20s and 30s, because their whole deal said they were originally there many, many moons ago, and because the shit was really getting ready to hit the fan where a grand bulk of the shitload of Zionists lived. And besides, God.

One day the Mighty Emperor Stalin decided that maybe he could somehow corral the shitload of Zionists. So he offered them, before they even started taking over a chunk of Palestine, a righteous slice of virgin land in the Glorious Kingdom of the Soviet Union, which he was the boss of. He told them they didn't have to take nothin' over; they could just move there and live long and prosper. And he told them that they could speak Yiddish, not Hebrew, which many of them spoke already. And he told them that they didn't even need to be from his Glorious Kingdom that he was the boss of. They could be from anywhere. And they could even be from under the sea if they wanted (OK, he never really said that, but it probably would have been cool).

"Hmmmm", said the shitload of Zionists, in seven-part harmony with phasal diatonics, all stopping on cue (no, not really...there were no harmonies, they didn't all stop to ponder at the same time, and there is no such damned thing as phasal diatonics. Now, PHRASAL diatonics, that's a different story). "Sounds interesting...but can ya sweeten the deal?"

"Sure," said Emperor Stalin of the Glorious Kingdom (even though he would be pissed as shit at referring to the Proletarian Workers' Paradise of the Soviet Union as a fucking 'kingdom'.) I'll throw in private land ownership, and a free pony (no, there was no free pony. People had to wait for Emperor Vermin Supreme to come along for that to happen. But the private land ownership thing was for real).

"Hmmmm," said the shitload of Zionists again, this time in thirteen-part harmony with modified tonal structures relating to ambiguous polyphonous metafiltered structures of fractally limited submetabolic fields of perception (No, not in the least, but whatever). "Tell ya what, Mighty Emperor dude. What if some of us give it a shot and see how it goes?"

"Ok, here is my final offer. I'll throw in no anti-Semitism. There, at least. And, to sweeten the deal, I'll make it an AUTONOMOUS oblast, which doesn't even exist up to this point."

Well, this sounded like a pretty good deal to many of the shitload of Zionists. But not to most of them. A lot thought that this Mighty Emperor dude had a pretty, pretty, pretty spotty record on being cool throughout his Glorious Kingdom. And, God. He wasn't even diddly-squat on God. So most of them went with Plan A, which was the Palestine thing. We all know how that turned out.

But a significant number of people decided to spark up the Jewish Autonomous Oblast. So, in the 1930s, many started moving there. And some Swiss architect dude created The Matrix that they all lived in. But, the deal was, this was a mosquito-infested swamp with bitterly cold winters, even if The Matrix looked super-bitchin'.

So, word got back that this was one harshy buzz. But not until 1948, when tons of people had moved there, which was the height of the Jewish settlement into this God-forsaken frozen hell-swamp (OK, it's not really that bad. Really. I'm there now.). And, coincidentally, that was the same year that most of the shitload of Zionists made an Israel thing out of Palestine. And it was, like, warm there.

So most of the shitload of Zionists slowed down on moving to Биробиджан, and decided to move to the new Israel thing instead. And Биробиджан never again reached what it had been at its peak of Jewish population. But, true to his word, the Mighty Emperor Stalin didn't fuck with them at all there, though he fucked with them just about everywhere else that he could.

Like all Mighty Emperors do, one day the Mighty Emperor Stalin took a shit and died. His deal with Биробиджан, Еврейская автономная област, lived on, but in the 1950s, people pretty much stopped settling there. It picked up a little for a while, but it's been hemorrhaging people, and now only five percent of the people living in Биробиджан are Jewish, though the culture is protected and encouraged. 

So everybody living there is living happily ever after (whatever the fuck that means), though one day they will all take a shit and die. Probably not at the same time. The end.

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