Pictures

Finally I could not longer resist and started to put photographs in a picasa web-album.
I am not sure that this will work – I read something about an html-link that would be automatically created and of the need to use IE. I do not like automatically created links, have no experience with html and use firefox. So I made an old-fashioned hyperlink to “my public Gallery”. There will be a lasting link on the right of the screen later.
I hope there are a few interesting pictures you can like. Maybe I tend to abstract patterns – I am simply not good in photographing people. Oh yes, and trees although I like them very well. I am not able to picture what I want to be seen or what I see. Objects and structures are easier. I am no artist of any kind, I just like to look at things and try to make this machine reproduce what I see. It’s all about perception.

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Sign of the times

I read in some blogs recently about fear, anxiety, Angst. This week was strenuous, not just work-related but in other relations too. When a friend left after a visit, these two guys were on my sofa.

The larger one to the left is an old childhood-companion. I found him while I moved to this place. The smaller black one on the right is younger. His name is Lutz and he came to me some years ago, 2000 in the summer. He was born in a kind of hospital. The bigger one has his left ear bended and he always looks a bit sad. I remember that he was able to make a sound, but he is silent now. Lutz is still outspoken.
Angst is a killer. It kills one’s elan, self-esteem, trust. To get rid of it is hard, I do not know how it works. But we did it.

Last week’s travel

My research in other people’s familyhistory brought me to northern Franconia into a small village. Here you see a view towards the house of the priest.

It was a nice day as you can imagine. To the left, where the blue car is recognizable, is the church and the graveyard. It was peaceful there. Priest and secretary were friendly. The books were good readable, I worked through the 19th century. I am going through the death-entries, back as 1700, possibly further, that depends on how far I can get at my next visit coming Monday afternoon. I will take some pictures of the landscape there.

Leitkultur and Bassam Tibi

Sorry, no updates. It was a busy week and I had to travel. When I would have time to blog I was simply too tired for it.

This week’s seminar was dedicated to the “German Leitkultur”, a phrase the Economist was not sure how to translate: “leading culture among Germans” or “German culture that leads”. It was coined by Bassam Tibi, Professor of Politics in Goettingen, describing a european canon of values (democracy, human rights, laizism, enlightment and civil society) in his 1998 book “Europa ohne Identität” (Europe without identity).
Than came election time and politicians were seeking for ammo. A bloke that is no longer in politics (he was found too stupid even for this party) grabbed the word and produced the “deutsche Leitkultur”. Miraculously it grew and floated around like a baloon, and like a baloon it was filled with hot air only: The student giving the referate was unable to come up with a strict definition, because there is none: In the end “german leitkultur” is what anybody wants to understand by it: beer and bratwurst and/or Schiller and Goethe. The word was used heavily in election time to make points at the far-right side of the voters-spectrum, because it always was used in connection with foreigners: “They” “have to accept” the Leitkultur. And nobody of this dumb politicos and loudspeakers ever gave a damn about what this blabla should mean – nobody was able to give a slightly coherent answer.
It is a very good example, how a phrase that describes a certain thing in a given theoretical connection is misunderstood and simply misused by politicans.
In the second part we had a look a the party programs here and what they say about “Kultur”. It is sobering. For the parties here culture is art and sport. End of story. One of the big “Volksparteien” simply skips it: There is a headline – and nothing follows. I realy was astonished – nothing more could be found. I expected statements or ideas or something, but there is nothing.

Bassam Tibi is a german professor for politics of syrian origin. He will be emerited in 2009 and than he will leave Germany. His website can be seen here. I recommend to have a look at this archived site too – I was not able to find a english version. In this long text Tibi explains his position, tells about his academic life and merits and how he and his colleagues were treated by Goettingen university. It is inexplicable to me how the president of a german university can use phrases of the nazi-jargon (“Schwachstellen ausmerzen” – to root out weaklings) in connection with a reorganisation of his university (“Stärkung” – strengthening) and the closing of instituts. Professor Tibi will write about it – I am sure – after 2009.
Let me put it simple: Goettingen is a university sited in the german province, exactly there. No need to go studying there.