This week, I got a penpaling-postcard from a Mexican woman living in the U.S., with two questions for me to answer. One was: “Tell me about the these small joys there are if you are German.” Small joys of being German? Are there some? It was one of these questions that I seriously had to think about. I ended up neglecting “joys” but speaking of “advantages”, about having (in comparison to other countries) a high-living standard, about the absense of poverty, about the feeling of safety…
There are people who will disagree with me. People who live on the streets. Children who never have been on vacation because their parents do not have enough money. The young woman who was raped by 12 to 15 men in Freiburg about two weeks ago (yes, most of them apparently non-German men). Other victims of violence (both by non-German AND German people).
There are scratches in these “small German joys” but let’s face the truth: We have good lives, to some extent very good lives. One hundred years ago, I wouldn’t have had the chance to go to school for 13 years, getting two university-degrees, living on my own, earning my own money, to spend it the way I want. My brother would have been in the trenches for four years, if he had survive any of the battles in the West and in the East. My sister-in-law could have died in childbed. Would my parents still be alive?
This was life in Germany 100 years ago. How is life in other parts of the world today? What are these people’s “small joys”?
Later, many years later, when this story was told so many times, when many laughters were shared among the two, family and friends (and sometimes strangers), this evening was a happy one. When it happened, it wasn’t. (However, maybe she should have listened more carefully. On the phone, he had said “Wir gehen ins Scala”, not “Wir gehen in die Scala”. Always these small differences in German language, he said later with a big smile. Do you teach German or do I? She stayed silent. And tried to stay cool when people around her in the small cinema – all dressed in petticots and jeans, in the style of the late 50ies – looked at her because she was dressed for the opera, and not for the latest James Dean-movie.)
No, he didn’t want to take her to THE Scala (in Milano, by the way, several 1.000 kilometres away) but the Scala, their favourite movie-theatre.
This was in 1958. They have never been to Milano but visit the Scala in Ludwigsburg at least twice a month. (Kissing is a way more interesting in the small independet Scala).
the tram stopped. last station on the line. the tram constructur asked her to leave the tram. it wasn’t night. but she felt lost. felt blind. felt as if she couldn’t see the light.
in far distance, there was a tower. vaguely, she remembered its name. “fernmeldeturm”. something with “melden”. get in contact with. she needed contact. with whom she didn’t know. the word ‘contact’ was all she needed to know. to walk. to arrive. somewhere.
the strange images on the wall caught her eye. a fox. a boy. a girl. a wolf. human beings as her. she felt connected. wanted to settle down. didn’t care her new home was in the middle of nowhere. in the back yard of normal life.
she didn’t know normal life. a wolf in children’ clothing was normal for her. there are times when she’s the same. when being a child isn’t allowed. when they send her on the street to beg. to steal. to do other things. that she doesn’t want to remember. but that her body remembers.
born in another country. in another time. in another family. and she could be the teenanger with the orange rucksack full of things for a funny sunday among friends. and not the small girl. who doesn’t know her age. who hasn’t any rucksack. only a full bag. in her head. on her body. of dirty memories.
You know when I left my flat in the morning to take some pictures for this blog entry, I was like writing a f* off-entry. To shout at these idiots who marched on the streets of Chemnitz the last days, screaming “Wir sind das Volk” to demonstrate that their “Volk” was violated by Merkel & Co. but actually showing how just f* empty their brains are (if they even some). But then we I returned, I decide to leave it like that; only posting pictures to show not what they do but what will happen if we don’t stop them and what happened because others weren’t stopped. No coincidence, that yesterday, in 1939 World War Two started.
And regarding younger German history a.k.a. younger German shame: If you have the chance, then watch “Wir sind jung. Wir sind stark” by Burhan Qurbani (2014).
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged Auschwitz, Überfall auf Polen, Birkenwald, Chemnitz, Dachau, Deuschland deine Zukunft, Holocaust, Mannheim, Neuengamme, Rostock-Lichtenhagen, World War Two, Zweiter Weltkrieg
and for those who want to spend Sunday evening a bit more serious – here some latest pics from MA-Luisenpark
#regarding the amount of storks I see recently, I should be pregnant with up to 20 babies
#ha, good one ;-)
i looove that woman:
#would look the same in that video
#na, I would fall of the sofa within a second
#and break my ankles
Love – turn the word around and skip away a -v for a -r and there’s Erol, the guy you lost your virginity on. Steal away the -e and the -r and buy a pair of a -f and an -o and you feel again the fool you’ve been that night. The -f feels ashamed and runs away and is replaced by a -c/ for forming cool: a) the way he was that night (a living James Dean with darker hair and these cute Sommersprossen) b) how cool that night was (yes, it was minus whatever Fahrenheit in that old mustang) c) cool like he acted the day after. One -o and the -l find other words to rely on and change places with a -m and and -e. Come never close to me again. CO(²) – the dead air that leaves your lungs and flies away//ME – for all the beauty that stays behind when all the sh* that love can evoke has gone.
With constant temperatures over 30 degrees, I can’t think about something else than grabbing a book and enjoy summer time on my balcony or in MA-Luisenpark by escaping to a different world. Which book from your country would you recommend me for my journey?
To get some inspiration for your answer – what I can re-read over and over again is:
– poetry book “Megalomanic” (Shamshad Khan) > words words words worth reading a thousand times
– “Guantanamo Boy” (Anna Perera) > a teenage-book but a must-have for adults as well
– anything by Elizabth George > a good thrill with an execellent thriller
– “Wir sehen uns am Meer” (Dorit Rabinyan) > hearttaking/heartbreaking lovel playing in the West and in the East
– “Kabale und Liebe” (Friedrich Schiller) > “Sturm und Drang”-literature at its best
There’s some American/UK pop song on her i-pod playing – “I’ll be there for you” – when she’s somewhere she hasn’t been before. The princess shoes on her feet start to camouflage with the street they walk on, from white and pink to a certain trace of brown and grey. The female singer dies sreaming “I’ll be there for you. Say you’ll be there too” when she’s there. Her body is, her mind isn’t. How could it be? She’s in her early 20ies, voted Putin last time, never heard of Gulag-stories, now she’s here to film a podcast about a backyard-theatre that needs to move every week because of his plays’ contents. It doesn’t help that the music changes and a 80ies rock band sings about love that feels like Independence Day.