Sunday, October 16, 2011


I cycle through Berlin. It's warm, the sun shines brightly, and I've spend hours already, in search for the perfect place to sip some coffee and read. I cycle past large buildings that carry memories of times that I can't recall. The Reichstag, the Brandenburg Gate. All of East Berlin. I stop at the Topography of Terror, a corridor where once the headquarters of the SS and the secret State Police stood and where now the remains of the walls still bear witness to remind us of that time. A few blocks away I wander through the maze of pillars of the Holocaust Memorial, where silence comes and goes between the heavy concrete blocks. The diaries and letters that are displayed below recall familiar images that are still intriguing, sickening and disturbing.

Later, on a terrace in the sun, I loose myself into the harsh world of José Saramago, who describes in his book Blindness how, after an unexplained blindness epedimic first the government, and then the crowd reacts. The nasty, degrading and violent world he describes makes me forget about the sun. The fear that governs and that accepts inhuman behavior so easily, the power that is abused as quickly as possible by anyone who holds it, the indifference and brutal violence that people apply when they apparently feel forced to do so, it's all not really encouraging. The few attempts of compassion can not compete with the trouble that is accepted by the masses, but also implemented by them. It's every man for himself.

When I go online a little later I see the images of New York. Here, a big mass of people makes its voice heard, to challenge systems that are larger than they are. While the media is silent I see police officers with sticks strike bystanders, I see how people are dragged over the ground, how the crowd talks with one voice. I'm looking for coverage online, but time and again, I can only find videos and personal stories that seek their way to the rest of the world through modern media.

Afterwards, it's always easy to talk about such things like who is the villain and who is the hero. As is presented in films too. I wonder how the resistance during the Second World War was seen by the masses back then. As heroes? Or as crazy people, who did not know what they were doing? I think of the woman who stands up against the abuses in the city of the blind: the only one who can see when the rest has been blinded. The protests in the Middle East were seen as a new, fresh and hopeful movement, but no-one speaks about what is happening right now. First, thousands of people have to get arrested, beaten and humiliated. Only after more people move to the streets, and all around the world they raise their voices, the media start talking about it. I wish I could already look back on these times.