From an Empty Mirror

My name is nothing.

The dramatic irony in birth is a dark thing. The victim steps into the vampire’s lair / the child enters the world. Me, I was born a year before the Revolution. Communist warhorses attempted to educate me; Cartoon Network succeeded. It’ll be another thirty years before the reins of power grace my generation, the first to have missed the Socialist Republic of Romania. I’ll probably pass that time writing bullshit about video games.

But there is a problem, an absence like a missing tooth. I hold up the mirror of video game art and show it my face — and my face does not appear. I tell it my name and it answers with mute unconcern. Like the vampire Dracula, I am invisible to a query of my own existence, so the character’s appropriation is a fitting metaphor of what it means not to mean. 

To wit: the most popular Romanian character ever leads the very Japanese Castlevania, a series in which western european warriors repeatedly assassinate him. Konami didn’t appreciate what they were working with. They should have made the Belmonts Russian, Ottoman, Austrohungarian, Romanian. The character originated in history, history should crush him. It would have tied the narrative with a beautiful and deeply bitter bow.

If one doesn’t exist in art, one doesn’t exist. A popular argument for the colonization of Ukraine holds that the Ukrainian language never existed, ergo neither did its people. It’s that important. 

I don’t assign blame. And there is no responsibility but that of the speaker. I merely look at history and observe how it apportions wealth and power in disproportion. No surprise that Civilization’s main actors are former empires, and rarely the peoples they colonized. There is so much to say, so much to scream about.

By Andrei Filote

Andrei Filote lives and writes between the Alps and the sea. You can tweet him @letominor.

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