29 July 2006

Latvia — Where the Dead Do Business


Latvia has the fourth highest suicide rate on the planet. In one of my cynical moods, I once suggested that Daugavpils market itself as "Suicide Capital of the World"... the rate in Latgola has been far higher than the rate in the country as a whole, and Daugavpils was suicide central during the transition from Soviet gloom to laissez-faire. The rate has been coming down, though (whether the decline is due to previous proficiency with razors, rope, or Russian gas, spectacular economic growth, or the exodus of potential suicides to the Emerald Isle is perhaps debatable), and Daugavpils has since been rebranding itself as the birthplace of Mark Rothko (a suicide).

If despair is rampant in this depressed region -- employment opportunities are apparently plentiful in the afterlife. Dienas Bizness reports that the number of dead people registered as the owners and executives of Latvian firms has risen by 1789 deceased persons in the last two and a half months. Money laundering and fraud seem to be the most lucrative fields to get into once beyond the grave...


Geneviève Vidal-de Guillebon's fine text, Mark Rothko -- The Artist of the Red Night is available online in French and English. Flickr has an interesting group called ROTHKOesque.

The photograph was taken last autumn in the old Jewish cemetery in Subate.

5 Comments:

Blogger Stefan said...

How about vote farming? Since elections are coming in Latvia, I am wondering to what extent dead souls come back from the grave to vote in Latvia, too. . .

29 July, 2006 15:06  
Blogger Redwine said...

Stefan, the dead(souls) seem to be very patriotic and loyal citizens: they voted here. We should respect more our asncestors; once in the grave I won't hurry to vote.

Peteri, blame it on the global warming: life changed. In Timis county for example, 70 truck drivers are "legally" blind: one must understand them, as blind people don't have to pay taxes, they enjoy some facilities, etc.

In Budapest, 70,000 copies of a certain local newspaper in Chinese are sold to 20,000 people: that one person buys 3,5 examples of the same newspaper, well, in China everything is Chinese, even the emperor is...

However, another genetic anomalia is that they simply don't die, not of natural causes at least: while many Chinese children were born in Budapest, almost nobody needed a death certificate, and the number of Chinese citizens in Hungary hasn't changed much despite of the high immigration and birth rate: the police wonders why. I don't. Some are simply ...immortal.

29 July, 2006 16:02  
Blogger jams o donnell said...

I do like the pic of the Jewus cemetary.. excellent shot, Peteris. So that is where Rothko is from. I did not know he was Latvian. There is something about his work I love -it has a hypnotic quality.

29 July, 2006 20:58  
Blogger jams o donnell said...

The Irish tradition was "Vote early, vote often" but there were certainly occasions where the dead arose to cast their votes... "Dead man voting in the green isle" so to speak!

29 July, 2006 23:58  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi dear friend, how can I load a picture here?

27 December, 2006 21:14  

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