Recently I read two seemingly contradictory ‘letters to the editor’ in a daily paper, I frequent regularly: “We always claimed that the boom of the East is really happening in the West,” a citizen from Wittstock in Brandenburg wrote. A reader from a city in North-Rhine-Westphalia, on the other hand, criticized my party DIE LINKE for a “policy which focuses too strongly on the Eastern Germany.”
“Today’s political and social conditions are highly unjust and therefore, we need to fight them with the greatest energy possible.” And: “Performance needs to be worthwhile again”. These are not quotations from the Social Democratic candidate for chancellor, Martin Schulz.
The German singer Rio Reiser once envisioned his hypothetical kingdom with these lyrics: “I’d travel the world including the USA, I’d like to bite Ronald Reagans calves like a doggie. I would change my crown daily, would bathe twice. The German Army would only play the pop charts…”.
The German teacher Friedrich Froebel founded an educational establishment in the East-German Keilhau, Thuringia, about two hundred years ago. His credo at the time: “Children shall not be safeguarded or indoctrinated, but shall happily grow in the sunlight, gain strength and develop.” And 200 years later? Well, today we can hardly ignore the encompassing concern of society for our offspring.
“The residents of the East German village Unterleuten didn’t read the papers, didn’t watch TV, didn’t use the World Wide Web. Politicians didn’t pay attention to Unterleuten – why would Unterleuten pay attention to politics? The village was missing stores, doctors, clergymen, the postal service, a pharmacy, as well as a school – it didn’t have sewerage either.” Juli Zeh hereby hits the bull’s eye.