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Kings We Are, with Wings of Dust (7)
Memories of the Shalom Salam Tour
by Anis Hamadeh
- August 2004 -

  Chapter: 0 - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - Appendix
Kapitel: 0 - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - Anhang

Chapter 7: Haviva Reik Peace Prize Award

Content: Daniel Barenboim - The Peace Prize Award - The Crocodeel from Kiel - Ideal and Reality - Cultural Identities - Falckenstein - With Jörn at the Spreebogen

Daniel Barenboim

Daniel Barenboim started his musical career approximately at the same time as Elvis, in summer 1954. Or even in August 1950, when he gave his first official concert in Buenos Aires. The debut as a pianist followed in 1952 in Vienna and Rome. Often quoted are the words of the conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler: "The eleven-year old Barenboim is a phenomenon...", and it seemed to have been a similar initial ignition like the simultaneous words of a young artist from Memphis - transmitted via radio - who sang: "That's alright Mama, that's alright for you." At that time the Barenboims have already lived for two years in the freshly founded Israel and Daniel made first recordings: Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Bartok. Some stations: in 1967 Daniel Barenboim conducted the New Philharmonia Orchestra in London, in 1973 he conducted an opera for the first time, Don Giovanni. In 1991 he became Music Director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and since 2000 he is Chief Conductor at the Staatskapelle Berlin. The music of Daniel Barenboim is appreciated in the whole world. So is his integration work beyond the realm of music. It is showing, for instance, in his cooperations with German orchestras: they always constitute a German-Israeli cooperation, too. In the early nineties he met the Palestinian thinker Edward Said by accident in a London hotel lobby and ever since they had been tied by a friendship. This led to the foundation of the "West Eastern Divan", an inter-cultural musical project, as well as to his first appearance in the Westbank, at Bir Zeit University in February 1999. The Maestro's and pianist's musical range is broad and includes Jazz and Tango, Afro-American and Brazilian music. In fall 2002 the updated version of his autobiography "A Life in Music" was published in English and Spanish. His exchange of ideas with Edward Said also is available in book form.

Daniel Barenboim received many awards, like the Spanish "Prince of Asturias Concord Prize" (2002) for the work at the West Eastern Divan together with Edward Said. The Tolerance Prize by the Protestant Academy of Tutzing (2002) for the dialogue work between Israelis and Palestinians. He is an honorary citizen of Spain and bearer of the German award Großes Bundesverdienstkreuz. On May 9 this year he received the Wolf Prize in the Knesset, a very high award. The speech, which Mr. Barenboim held at that day, and the reactions on this speech were perceived in the whole world with great attention. It can be found in English at www.daniel-barenboim.com. In it, he called for pragmatic, humanitarian and socially just solutions and against ideologies. He further quoted some excerpts from the Declaration of Israel's Independence: "The state of Israel will devote itself to the development of this country for the benefit of all its people; It will be founded on the principles of freedom, justice and peace, guided by the visions of the prophets of Israel; It will grant full equal, social and political rights to all its citizens regardless of differences of religious faith, race (sic!) or sex; It will ensure freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture." Mr. Barenboim also quoted the part in which the founding fathers of the State of Israel, who had signed the Declaration, spoke about committing themselves "to pursue peace and good relations with all neighboring states and people". The prize-winner was worried and wondered whether the Israelis can ignore the gap between the idea and the realities of Israel. Does the occupation fit this Declaration of Independence? he asked. The speech reached Ithay, Gabriella and me on the road during the tour. In the car between Halle and Vreden I read out to them what the papers had written. All the papers had reported about this event.

The first time I really got aware of Mr. Barenboim was in a Spiegel interview not too long ago. I also saw him in talkshows and always found it especially good what he said. He has often repeated that he does not believe in a military solution of the conflict. This for me is the main reference point. I did not read the dialogue between Daniel Barenboim and Edward Said yet, it is on the list. Surely I will find some hints there concerning an issue I want to know more about. For Daniel Barenboim wrote in the article "I have a dream", which was published in the German weekly paper "Die Zeit" in October 1999: "I am also in favor of letting the two countries keep their weapons. Israel has to remain valiant vis-á-vis the Arab World, Palestine - and be it for psychological reasons -, too." In the English translation on the official Barenboim homepage the statement even turns to denote active armament: "Secondly, I am in favour of arming both nations. Israel must remain vigilant against the Arab world - but so should Palestine, (at least for her own peace of mind)." It is hard for me to understand how one does not believe in a military solution while still believing in weapons. Where is the difference? Of course, it won't be possible to re-function all weapons to ploughshares over night, but peace? For example, with my neighbors I have peace. But this is not due to the fact that we were armed. I guess, if I armed myself and if my neighbor did, too, then we would start to fear each other. The danger of an outbreak of violence would strongly increase. Is it naive to think this way or is it naive to think in a different way? In his thanking speech in the Sorat Mr. Barenboim said: "There is no military solution, we know that. There is only the illusion of power, the illusion of security." Is military security an illusion now, or is it not?

The Peace Prize Award

(June 27, 2004) "The peace prize, which is named after the Kibbuz activist and resistance fighter Haviva Reik - she was executed by German soldiers in 1944 -, was awarded for the tenth time in 2004. Many of the former prize winners attended this event in the Sorat hotel in Berlin, like the Swiss Ellen Ringier, Professor Eduard Badeen und Peter Liatowitsch. Dahlia Rabin-Pelessof, former member of the Knesset and vice minister, honored with the Haviva Reik Peace Award in 1997, held the laudatio for the conductor and musician Barenboim. Among the 120 guests of the ceremony were Berlin's ruling mayor Klaus Wowereit and ARD (TV) host Sabine Christiansen. The delicious catering for the guests was prepared by the Arab and Jewish Chefs for Peace within the frame of a benefice gala dinner. The Israeli Jewish Duo Rubin and the German Palestinian writer Anis Hamadeh, who have ended their successful series of benefice concerts under the name 'Shalom - Salam' for the benefit of Givat Haviva a month earlier, provided a pleasant musical and literary frame." So in the press information.

The Duo Rubin and me sat together with other guests at one of the ten or twelve tables and we followed the course of the things which happened. There was a lot to see. Next to me sat Antje, who I have known since school days and who lives in Magdeburg, not far from Berlin. It was an opportunity to see her again. Sabine Christiansen passed by our table, she is the most known German talkshow host. The Chefs for Peace (Talli Inbal, Ibrahim Abu Seir, Joseph N.Asfour, Kevork Alemian) came in with a terrine of hummus and eggplant with parsley sauce, followed by a pumpkin soup with coriander. Before the event there had been a press conference at which the Chefs had said: "We use our knives only in the kitchen, to prepare delicious dishes with them." During and after the prize award we had stuffed lamb cutlets with figs on mujaddara and Mediterranean fish filets with red pepper and ginger. Champagne soup with berries, puff pastry and a Rose water sorbet, and finally coffee with Guraybeh. Somebody from the other table asked me what Guraybeh is, but I had to pass. It was something with almonds, I think. Unfortunately, I am quite a dilletante in the nutrition department, my current eating habits are a catastrophe. The Chef of the Sorat hotel and and TV cook Rainer Strobel also participated in preparing the menu.

Mister Barenboim only arrived when the first dish was already on the tables. Meanwile I recited the "Crocodeel from Kiel". When he entered, the people stood up and applauded. How may it feel when everybody around you is super nice and you only look into grinning faces and shining eyes? There will be a high pressure due to the expectations. You are brought into a role which you have to fit. But I guess that Mr. Barenboim felt comfortable in this company, for he said in his speech: "The importance of this award for me is that Givat Haviva is a symbol for the necessity to fight against ignorance." His speech, by the way, was by far the best one of the day. He talked about music and orchestra as examples of peaceful structures. Nice was: "Head and heart really are inseparable, and you cannot play music emotionally only, and you also cannot play music rationally only. Because when you separate between the two, then it is not music anymore." He was the only one who mentioned the wall, or the separation device or however this thing may be called. The central quote from the speech is: "In Berlin we know about the meaning of a wall and one must not forget that. And this wall, which now is being built in Israel, is not only a humiliation for the Palestinians, it really is the greatest danger for Israel. And it is time that we all listen to the way responsible people talk about what we must do for the Palstinians. The Palestinians do not need us, they will go their own way. With or without us. And Israel will, to my mind, achieve real security and strength on the day when there will be the courage to produce the necessary gestures and facts which will lead to acceptance by the Palestinians. The only security and the only strength for Israel and for the Jewish people is the acceptance by the neighbors. If we don't manage to achieve this, not the Palestinians are in danger, but really the future of the state of Israel. "

This was exactly how I assessed the situation as well, so I applauded at this point. Not few others also did. As the ceremony, the speeches, addresses and words of thank were bilingual, German and Hebrew, we had a translator, Michael Sternheimer, who unconspiciously talked with a low voice into a microphone which he covered with a newspaper. Via a headset the audience could listen to the respective translation. Daniel Barenboim had announced to speak in two languages, but then remained speaking German. Next to a document he was delivered a painting which had been created just for him. As was mentioned at the press conference, the painter knew Mister Barenboim and he had introduced several elements in the painting the true meaning of which would disclose for the Maestro only. It was delivered by Dr. Sarah Osacky-Lazar, head of the research department of Givat Haviva, and Mohammad Darawshe, spokesman of Givat Haviva. He said in his speech: "The prize was awarded to Maestro Barenboim for his manyfold and longtime work, for the peace talks of the Israelis as a partner, and he has pursued something and he saw: there is an alternative to the conflict. Out of an understanding of peace Maestro Barenboim has become an embassador of peace, an embassador of change and a spokesman for thousands of people on both sides of the trench; they are entering a dialogue and concern themselves with peace. Impossible is peace without an end of occupation. Without genuine equality it is not possible. It is not possible to have peace without good intentions." Mister Darawshe - an Arab - spoke Hebrew. He lives near Afula. There are some people living in this area which we both know. He was the only one who mentioned the occupation at all. Sarah Osacky-Lazar said in her contribution: "Maybe it is music: the universal language which is sunken in all phantastic things and helping us over the difficulties in everyday life. Very determined is the personality of Daniel Barenboim, his courage and his straightforwardness, his ability to say everything he wants without fear, without political correctness, it is the freedom spirit of the creative, of the creating individual. This may be the reason for Maestro Daniel Barenboim and his friend Eduard Saïd - whom I had the honor to meet during his stay in Israel - to shake hands for cooperation in this torn, hurt region. To let sounds fall between the Jewish and the Palestinian youth in a time of blood, to start with giving them hope."

There were further speeches which I liked, so the one of the representative of the Palestinian General Directory in Germany, Abdullah Hijazi. In it he said: "You, Mister Barenboim, are today awarded with the Haviva Reik Peace Prize for your engagement in the reconciliation between Palestinians and Israelis, yes between Arabs and Jews. I cannot think of a more deserving award winner. I am glad to be able to thank you on this occasion as a Palestinian from Nablus for the things which you are doing in my homeland in your work with young Palestinians! With your work, with the establishment of a youth orchestra, you are planting a young tender plant of hope. For the young people who are traumatized and coined by the violence which they experience in everyday life. Therefore, venerable Mister Daniel Barenboim, I want to express my special and cordial thanks to you today." And Dagmar Schmidt, the parliamentary legislator and chairwoman of Givat Haviva Germany: "Unmeasurable in its effect is (...) the engagement of our award winner Daniel Barenboim on the spot. He is providing an example for us showing us how to bring young people on the right way. Not only the acquisition of knowledge about a musical instrument, the discovering of the own abilities, maybe even talents, but also the playing together within a unity, coin young people and make them search for a straight path in self-awareness. The one who finds his or her acknowledgement in the applause for production will not be looking for it in destruction." The address of Dr. Ellen Ringier from Switzerland - a former award winner - was nice, too. In it she said: "Givat Haviva beyond doubt is living a dream: peace between Israel and Palestine. And you and me and all of us, we are living this dream as well. Just like millions of Arabs and Jews are devoting themselves to one dream every night: peace between Israel and Palestine." Mrs. Ringier recited the poem of a child and imagined peace, visualized it. It was not as intellectual as other contributions, but close to earth, without flourishes.

The rest of the speeches and addresses I did not like too much, partly found them even destructive. The laudatio of the Israeli politician Dalia Pelossof-Rabin dealt with resuming the path of Oslo. It remained abstract. Similarly in the greeting address of Gavri Bar-Gil, General Secretary of the Kibbuz movement HaArzti. He calls Oslo a philosophy and says: "More and more Israelis and more and more Palestinians understand that there is no other way (than Oslo), and therefore we have many reasons to be optimistic, despite all the difficulties we are confronted with. We are closer than ever before to the goal for which we all are fighting." Sounded of tired paroles and desparation.

The ruling mayor of Berlin, Klaus Wowereit, said in his speech: "Berlin takes an interest in the events in the Middle East! We mourn the many people who die day by day, and I also say these suicide assaults are so terrible, because they attempt to destroy a public life. Israel is used to defend its borders, to be confronted with military. But that children, that women commit suicide assaults in such a manner is a huge danger for every public life and for every public freedom. And especially we as Germans, and also as Berliners, know that we will always support the right of Israel's existance and peace in the Middle East and will do so with all emphasis." With this speech the mayor of Berlin did not only offend me, but also some other guests, as I found out later in talks. The effect of his statement is as if one would talk about the British society and judge it only by their soccer hooligans: "As long as there are these hooligans there will be no peace with England!" This is exactly the method to mute both the Palestinian (pseudo-) government and - and foremost - the Palestinian civil society. It prevents peace from the outset while feeding the war. There was no word of Wowereit's on Israeli violence. Instead, he mentions the "right of existance" (obviously including the human rights violations) of Israel, and only after it he mentions peace. Spontaneously I had to think about the fact the we Germans abolished a specific stanza of our national anthem for specific reasons and that I find that this is the right decision.

The greeting address by Federal President Johannes Rau appeared to me to be immaterial: "Two weeks ago I opened a conference of the political foundations in Berlin in which Israelis and Palestinians thought about and discussed the way to peace. This meeting did not proceed in consent, either - to put it carefully. Yet all the participants of the conference agreed on the fact that peace is only possible when both, Palestinians and Israelis, get back to dialogue, when they recognize the partner for peace in the other. Those, who want peace, need allies on both sides. That there are such people, colleagues and fighters for peace, this is what Daniel Barenboim's work has impressively proven." Herr Rau also wrote: "For the tour of the Duo Rubin, who will play for you today, I have taken the patronage", which sounded as if I had been the parsley in Shalom - Salam, or the stuffing. It hurt me. Maybe for Shalom - Salam we should call ourselves the Trio Emerald...

The words of the two Prime Ministers and former prize winners Sigmar Gabriel ("Still the spiral of violence is turning in Israel, one time motivated by the one side, another time by the other side, and it keeps this beautiful country in fear and horror. With his courage, his tolerance, intellectuality and his fearlessness Daniel Barenboim is a role-model for all of us.") and Kurt Beck ("Respect for human freedom and the tie to our fundamental values - those are the suppositions of tolerance. And tolerance is a condition for peace. It is best experienced and practised in personal encounters. You, dear Mister Barenboim, have made many of such encounters possible via the 'world language' of music.") were admittedly nice, yet I did not sense them to be progressive. The rhetorical "one time by the one side, another time by the other" implies two equal parties, and those do not exist.

Subsequent to the prize award we had our joint appearance. Before that, the Duo Rubin played a piece for piano and cello. They were quite excited, especially Gabriella whose first remark in her introduction was that she was quite excited. She addressed Mr. Barenboim directly and told him about how during her studies in Hungary she had listened to his recordings which at the time had been hard to get hold of, and about how important Daniel Barenboim has been for them in their lives. He listened closely to them and I was happy for the Duo Rubin about this joyful experience. Our joint appearance consisted of the three poems out of Loving Jay (The Secret of Time, The Gateless Gate, Amphibians), they were divided by Bach sequences. Unfortunately, Mr. Barenboim was already gone then. The poetry was well received, two people came up to me right after the reading asking for the book, among them one of the celebrities.

But this was not Sabine Christiansen. Mrs. Christiansen had been to Palestine and Israel recently. There she collected new information about the situation on the spot, and it also led to her appearance at the Barenboim event. I found that it was an elegant gesture. It was the first time I saw her and I only did so from a distance, just as I did not go to Mr. Barenboim, as there had been a lot of people standing around him and there was nothing specific I wanted to tell him, other than my presence and my applause.

The Crocodeel from Kiel

Had somebody told me a month earlier that on that day I would see Daniel Barenboim and read "Das Krokodil aus Kiel" for him, I would hardly have believed it. But it really happened to be that way. I had just finished writing the crocodile, seven rhymed episodes. The Maestro was expected in the hall of the Sorat hotel, the people already sat at the ten or twelve tables and the first dish just came in. Alex Elsohn, who had coordinated and organized the whole performance, said if I wanted I could read the crocodile now, to avoid a pause at that moment. So it happened. The crocodeel from Kiel had an enormous meal. This was easy to explain: without nutrition it felt pain. I read it into an orange microphone from TV channel 2 and into a blue one from the Bavarian Broadcast, and a third one. It was also filmed. What the people from Kiel would have thought about that, I wondered, had they had an interest in this event. Kiel never had a crocodile, says an inborn juvenile. But his brother emphasizes long and strong financial crises... There was a woman from Kiel attending, Barbara, who is an in-law to one of the Chefs for Peace and who was celebrating with us. Daniel Barenboim did not hear the crocodile, though. No, wait, Alex told me later that he escorted him from the entrance and that Mister Barenboim asked who was reading there. When Alex told him he allegedly said that he had heard about me before. Well, this could mean anything.

The wind blows mild, the wind blows wild, the crocodile loves every child. The big green crocodeel would eat its favorite meal, would rob and cheat and steal, I think this can't be real. It had a stunning appetite, from dawn till dusk and through the night. So don't you lose your heads and hide under your beds! When I read it (in German) I had the feeling that the audience partly was a bit amazed about the choice of the genre. Which genre is this, anyway? I found it adequate for the occasion, as it sizzled in from a side-door so green and fresh. How quick the hours with play and style, thought the hungry crocodile. To my left I saw the translator trying to bring it into Hebrew simultaneously. I had forgotten about him, should have warned him before. When the story was over I passed him by on my way back to the seat. I had to laugh, tapped on his shoulders and admitted that I did not make it too easy for him. He grinned. Some time later he asked me if I had one of these crocodiles for him. This was a nice compliment.

In the course of the three days which I had the honor to lodge in the Sorat I distributed about twenty crocodile magazines. It was brandnew, only the press in Kiel knew about it, the cultural council and a couple of people in Kiel who happened to see one of the Croco stickers stuck on a traffic-light. The "Kieler Woche" (Kiel Week) had still been going on, a famous German event with regattas and music, and the day before I had written "The Crocodile on the Kieler Woche" when I, in the very night when the last part was completed, went for a stroll through the city distributing a couple of crocodile magazines to the local scene. It was fun. Such activities I regarded as constituting one of the pleasant duties of a writer. For some hours it had been as if I belonged to this place. I have always been dreaming of belonging somewhere. Since this years, even since last year, the attempts became more and more successful. I really belonged to Shalom Salam. Without having to deny myself. Without having to stop growing.

The night before the prize award we had already sat together at a large table, the Chefs for Peace, Alex Elsohn, Dagmar Schmidt, Martin Forberg, Michael Krebs and Petra, the event manager Rafael Brown, who had also contributed to the idea of the peace prize, Gavri Bar-Gil from the Kibbuz movement, Mohammad Darawshe and Sarah Osacky-Lazar from Givat Haviva, the hotel manager Michael Eiser and his wife, Reuven from the Golan Heights Winery, Rainer Strobel, the continuously merry chef of the Sorat who from time to time appeared from out of his kitchen to joke with his colleagues, and I probably have forgotton some people. I think Stefan. In the middle of the dinner, Alex, Talli Inbal and me left to drive to another hotel where Mrs. Ringier expected us. She had come from Switzerland with some friends. We came in when the desert was served, a composition of tiramisu with big deco. We were introduced and sat at the head of the table where there were reservation cards with our names on them. I actually had no idea about what would expect me there. The conversation was in English, because Talli does not speak German. She is Israeli and has a fish restaurant of her own near Haifa. Last year she had been to Germany, too, participating in an event in Niedersachsen. It is courageous of her, because she lost relatives in Germany during the war. I did not enter the conversation at Mrs. Ringier's table and do not even recall a lot of it as I had enough to do with perceiving the people in front of me at the table. It was a noble society and a big hotel. We were received very cordially. When we had to return I gave a crocodile to Mrs. Ringier and one to her friend. Back in the Sorat we resumed eating. Our meals had been stored for us. It was a happy circle. Again I realized that I had been alone for a long time, because I was not used to such a lot of simultaneous impressions. I distributed the remaining crocodiles and read out the end of the last part to Dagmar Schmidt: "Thus the reptile's farewell was throughout ambivalent: Some people were glad about it, others mourned the friend. Croco became in the end a historical legend, just like Jack the Ripper, Lassie dog or Flipper."

I was really happy to have Croco with me, for he had refreshingly little to do with the Middle East conflict. When you engage yourself too long only in "the thing" you get mad. When we had a barbecue together at Stefan's home on the evening after the prize award Alex showed me the bar-tender and told me that this man owned a real crocodile. Sure, I thought, who doesn't? But it was really true. The man had a twirled moustache. He said that his wife and he are so fond of crocodiles that they keep one in their home, in a room of its own with all kinds of exotic things in it, so that the reptile feels comfortable. His wife confirmed this assertion. I handed them a copy and in turn he filled my glass with absinth.

Ideal and Reality

In the last months and years a number of prominent Israeli observers has, partly in sharp words, drawn the general attention to the negative development of the country, among them Avraham Burg, Jossi Beilin, and Moshe Zuckermann. The discrepancy between the clishé of the "asylum of all Jews" and the real, acting state has grown through the years and decades. Both are called Israel. Daniel Barenboim had said: "The only security and the only power for Israel and for the Jewish people is the acceptance by the neighbors. If we fail to achieve this not the Palestinians are in danger, but really the future of the state of Israel." I wondered how many people in the hall had understood what he meant by this. THAT he meant it like this. That THIS state in this form could vanish, because it is destroying itself. In matters of force Israel is stronger, that's undisputed. They have atomic bombs and a well-equipped army. One has to acknowledge this fact. There is no military power which could compete with Israel. One should rather start with the fact that the Israelis are not happy. This surely is much easier for me than for Palestinians who do not live in a safe country like Germany, but in Palestine and Israel, in the war zone.

Israelis and Jews apparently carry a heavy load with the cliché of the valiant/vigilant Jew. To not take anything. To secure the own existance. It is a stereotype, a role. It is clear where it comes from, and yet it can never be a success when clichés are substituted with counter-clichés. One only moves away from the human who does not let himself be pressed into roles. Moreover, the role of the valiant Jew consequently needs a complementary role, for there has to be someone against whom they are valiant. The existance of the Palestinians must be puzzling the Israelis completely, for the Palestinians on the one hand fit the needed complementary role well, on the other hand nobody can understand the Palestinians better than Jews or Israelis, respectively. For if there is a party fighting for its right of existance, then it is the Palestinians. It is hardly denied that they do not possess souvereignty and that they live either under occupation, or in exile, or in the state of Israel where they are discriminated because of their not being Jewish. As long as Jews are pressed into clichés or press themselves into them, they are isolated, alien, exclusive. And thus the finding of their identity fails, too. Genuine identity necessarily needs freedom for its growth, it is impossible to have it declared from above. Even if you have atomic bombs. If the new Israel (whatever name it may bear) has a Jewish character, then it will be because of free Jews who live there. And not, because it is written on a piece of paper.

But it is not enough to confirm that Israel is collapsing because of the incompatibility of ideal and reality. Mister Barenboim stressed in his speech that change has to originate in ourselves: "Maybe the worst thing in our society today is that we tolerate people's silence and people's inactivity. Always with the argument that it must come from somewhere else. It never comes from anywhere else. It never came from God, it never came from the kings, never from the presidents, it always came from the people." When this madness is over there finally will be safety for Israelis/Jews in the country, just like for everybody else. Security comes from the inside, not from the outside. Several speakers in the Sorat hotel had emphasized this, Mr. Barenboim and also Mrs. Pelossof-Rabin. The Palestinians have put up with the existance of the state of Israel years ago, this is a known fact. Even many of the extremists, on whom the cameras are directed. But most of all the civil society on which no cameras are directed, because it does not fit the (needed counter-)cliché. Israel's right of existance has or had factually not been questioned anymore for a long time. The Israelis had already made it to take a stand among the neighboring countries. But they did not know how to continue. And now? How does a valiant person make peace? A strong need for security came into being after the horrors of the Holocaust and the new virtue of valor went along with it. There had not been a sufficient communication between Germans and Jews, because the society until today does not know how to deal with guilt. It is living according to material measures and does not understand much of healing processes, it rather scratches the old wounds open instead, for they are itching so, and even expects attention for this. The German Jewish conflict is not mastered at all yet. It is still there. This control drama was carried over to the Palestinians long ago. The war between Israelis and Palestinians, no: Arabs, largely is a result of the unmastered German-Jewish past. In my estimation (and I certainly am concerned with the matter, because I want to understand why my relatives are being discriminated) it is a continuation of World War II in the form of a control drama and has nothing to do with any Palestinians. Had the Jewish state been established in South America, what would have happened differently there?

Cultural Identities

On the evening after the peace prize award we gathered in the lobby of the Sorat hotel and waited for the cars which would bring us to Stefan's home, outside Berlin, where we had a barbecue. The Chefs for Peace were very tired, but said that they would wake up again later. The ride took about an hour. The party was a success, there were many people from different cultures. They ate together and chatted. I talked to several people, among them Mrs. Osacky-Lazar who speaks good Arabic. She is a historian and told me that maybe she wanted to write about her own history. I tried to encourage her. She would surely have a lot to recount. I told her I would read it. While the barbecue was sizzling in front of the door to the garden and while the plates were filled we turned to talk about music, and when she heard that I am a songwriter she wanted to hear a song. Stefan went and borrowed a guitar from his neighbor and handed it over to me. I was not too sure if it was a good idea, but what should I do? I played "Wie oft wirst du es noch tun". Unfortunately, I had not tuned the guitar correctly which I only noticed when it was too late. I made it through the song, but felt a bit embarrassed. Next to me sat a jolly Dutchman who asked me if I could play "Proud Mary" by Creedence Clearwater Revival / Ike and Tina Turner. Of course I can play "Proud Mary". I tuned the instrument, this time correctly, and started with the intro. The Dutchman sang quite well, I accompanied him and sang the second voice in the chorus. I have no idea how this man came to our goup, I think nobody exactly knew. But it was good to also have someone from the Netherlands with us. It was the second time during the tour. There had been another one in Wesel, he approached us short before the performance in the dressing room and was rich in words. He had some plans with us, but couldn't articulate them exactly.

With "Proud Mary" the cultural differences between East and West within the goup became apparant, because there were some people for whom this song belonged to the collective memory and others who did not know the song and who were amazed that we memorized the lyrics, the Dutchman and me. Meanwhile, Mohammad Darawshe sat in the adjacent room watching the soccer results. By the end of the gathering I danced with Barbara from Kiel. I had not danced for years, except alone. With Martin Forberg I talked longer than with anybody else. With him I could chat until the cows come home. Sometimes during these months there had been times when we could just not end the conversation. Politically, we do not share every single view, but in major issues we agree. We talked about politics and I also asked him what his favorite music was. On the way back to Berlin we kept talking all the time. I stressed the point that the latent definition of Jews in the public discourse according to which Jews are potential victims of anti-Semitism, is a negative and demarcating definition which cannot have positive effects on Jewish identity. He told me that he had seen Fatima Mernissi passing by in the Sorat hotel earlier in the day. He reminded me that there had just been a conference in the city on Arab media. So it was Kai Hafez, the professor for Islamic Studies, whom I had seen in the lobby of the Sorat. I had not been sure first. What a coincidence.

During the tour I had been so often and intensively together with Jews and Israelis as rarely before. After all these experiences I had gained new associations with the concept "Jewish". There had been things which for example Ithay and Mister Eiser from the Sorat and Mister Ben Hur from Daimler seemed to have in common. It is hard to put it into words, at least, I can't. Maybe later. It is, at any rate, different from the notion of "Jewish" in the Jewish paper Hagalil, for instance. In one of their newsletters I read in August 2004: "What could be more Jewish than the discourse, the dialectical discourse, the dialectical discussion, the perpetual questioning of the own self and everything else and the own positions, the constant reflection, the dispute which lets people cross borders with words, the challenge which results from unsanctioned speeches, sharpening the antennas for dangers and chances?... Dialogue, discourse. Dialectics... A continuous struggle and argumentation, which despite all the reproaches never questions the common basis..." This is a cliché, the cliché of the dialectical Jew. Paul Spiegel uses it, too, when he calls the Jews "a democratic little people" (see chapter 3). This cliché goes together with the notion of Israel being "the only democracy in the Middle East". Indeed there exist democratic elements in Israel, like elections and pluralism, as well as anti-democratic ones, like occupation, war law, custody of kin (Sippenhaft), torture, killings, disregard of UN resolutions, theft, arbitrary action and segregation.

There are certain characteristics where I sometimes think: Typical Arab! Typical German! Typical American! Typical Israeli/Jewish! Typical Palestinian! Typical British! These are generalisations and typifications and probably everybody has such conceptions. Whenever these characteristics I discover in my mind are negative, I question them principally: what gives me the idea? Which specifications from which situations do I single out here and why? Which part of my individual personality is activated here? All this is part of the confrontation with cultures and civilisations. The "typical" is a sword with two edges. There was an instance where I felt insulted for a short time, because I had been invited to a thing "and also a genuine Palestinian from Ramallah". I suddenly felt inferior. Two edges also has the word "more Palestinian than the Palestinians" about which I mentioned in the beginning that I regarded it as nice only when it came from within the own family and this also only because it gives me the feeling of being accepted. When I compare it with "more German than the Germans" I realize that such concepts don't work. At the same time we need certain clichés to be able to grasp the complexity of cultural identities.

What is the secret of cultural and country-related collective identities? I have been dealing with this issue for a long time. I bear a name which is conspicuous in my surroundings. Which a lot of people cannot pronounce properly. I am German, for I grew up and was socialized in Germany, from kindergarten to school and non-military service to the masters degree. Yet I look beyond Germany, because my father grew up in Palestine and my mother was born in Königsberg. Because I grew up with the music from New Orleans and Memphis. Because I have trained my humor with British comedy cassettes and also have a longing for France. Because I love Alexandria and played chess in Baghdad on the Tigris riverside. Because the world is so unbelievably rich, full of wonders and amiable people and things.

One can gain cultural identities in a way similar to an actor or actress when they learn a role. Of course the role must fit and be authentic, otherwise it is no fun. But usually we acquire such identities in everyday life. From my studies and numerous experiences in Arab countries and with Arabs I have caught up with my Arab identity, so to speak. My first Arabic I learned with sixteen, in the Mustansiriya University (destroyed partly or totally by the Americans in 2003). The teachers only talked in Arabic, right from the start, and they played the first words for us as we did not have any vocabulary yet. We were a class of foreigners who learned Arabic, among us students from varying age groups and from five continents. It is not an easy identity for me, for I need a different kind of freedom from the one which is common in Arab societies. I have a lot to criticize in the East. Especially in the questions of violence and magisterial structures I sometimes have problems with the mainstream opinion of the East. Moreover, there is the phenomenon - like probably in all cultures - that you sometimes are accepted better when you only know a couple of words of the language. But as soon as you speak well the mistakes become the object of attention. Since my father and I have settled our conflict, however, it has become easier for me. Sometimes I feel more comfortable with Arabs than with Germans, because I experience Arabs on certain levels as being more ready for communication and more spiritual than Germans. They mostly understand my religious feelings better, no matter if they are Muslims, Christians or Jews. Concerning the historical reference, though, this I have acquired by myself. The Arab Islamic Middle Ages, for example, with their thinkers and poets, this has become part of my own collective history, like the European. I guess basically I am a conqueror.

I also have an American, an English, a French identity. Also an Israeli identity. A couple of years ago on the internet I read an appeal to Foreign Minister Fischer calling him to increase his engagement for peace in Israel/Palestine, on the Hagalil board. Hagalil is a Jewish German newspaper based in Munich which often works together with the "taz", the newspaper "die tageszeitung". Hagalil had published a lot of items that horrified me. But this appeal aroused my interest and I read through some of the postings, wanted to know what kind of people they were. I read in a mixture of goodwill, intelligence and also aggression. Some of the contributions were discriminating, so I entered the mailing list and made my comments for a couple of days. Quickly I got a feedback, both in public and behind the scene. Nice that you are here! two or three people wrote me, then the discussion will become more balanced. You probably won't like it here for a long time, said others. Apparantly, there had been "attempts" by Palestinians before me. The purpose of my stay was to show that Palestinians exist and that they are human beings, just like Jews and Israelis. It was rather exhausting and demanded high concentration and attention. It did not take long until some specialists had chased some quotes from my homepage about the Central Counsil through the public: "Look, this is the guy." So I had to install a discoursive security wall. Extremely tiring. Then I posted "Words for Both", a piece to which this public had inspired me. Someone suggested I could go to Uri (Avnery).

At that moment something peculiar happened: a new identity rose up in me. My consciousness altered. I had absorbed this collective and formally went conform with it. I had the notion that the script in the mailing list was stylish. I recognized a style in this collective, a culture which I could acquire. It is very hard to describe this with words, it had not been an intellectual process. As if some contact nerves in my brains got newly connected, as if streets were created in my consciousness. I was Israeli now. The thought frightened me at first. I rationalized this fear and it was not justified. My personality was stable, there was no need to be afraid of corruption. I realized that as an Israeli I was a Jew and that "Israeli" did not really explain much. It was merely a form to bring some apprehensible structures to Judaism, it was an attempt, a sketch, a place which was set for identity to be found. My principles and views have not changed in the least during this process, on the contrary, they were only strengthened. But I left the mailing list soon afterwards, for it had been too exhausting and there was no development in the discusion, either. With a piece of literature I got out of the whole thing, there was nothing left to do there. Until today, however, I receive the Hagalil newsletters uncalled per email, they probably miss me.


(August 6, 2004) During the past weeks I had been busy writing down the tour memories. Now the book was almost finished. The manuscript laid beneath me in the sun. An entering ferry-boat violently honked at some swimmers who stayed in the water in the vicinity of the pier. It was a light day. A cool wind blew across the beach, I put my black T-shirt on again. Falckenstein. It was the right decision to come back here today, after having given a concert yesterday in the summer camp of the "Federation of the Democratic Working Class Associations" (DIDF). This roof organisation was founded 25 years ago with the aim to represent the interests of the Turkish workers in Germany in an organized way. About 300 young people from all over Germany had come together for a long week in Kiel/Falckenstein, in the very north of Germany. There was a cultural and an academic program, including camp-fire music, and I was invited from Attac circles. (And when I say "Attac" I mean the network, not the cadre.) It was my pleasure and I also needed practise. I also played the brandnew song, "Give Your Lonely Heart Away", of which Björn had said it was one of my best. Together with Björn Högsdal from AssembleArt I was currently recording the crocodile jingle, he is a rapper and writer and he organizes cultural events in Kiel with growing success.

There really is a strange thing about inspiration: on Friday I received a mail from Nina (name changed by editor) after five years. On Saturday something dragged me to pick up the guitar, by evening time I had found some themes and at two o'clock in the morning the song was finished without me having the intention to write anything, at all. Like in the old days. For two years I had not composed a single song. Nina actually is not completely in the wrong place here, as she was also involved in the creation of "Wie oft wirst du es noch tun". How does she do that? We should start a business together and share the dough. But this was something I was forbidden to further think about, and I didn't want to, either. I analyzed myself. Was not a hundred per cent happy. There were several things I was concerned with, most of all this manuscript. Could I finish it now? Above me a seagull croaked. In front of me the waves, behind me the hill with the forest, the area of the summer camp. I put my hand on the front page of the manuscript and closed my eyes. Was there anything left to add? Did I not forget important things, was I fair in the more critical passages?

In my mind I went through all the pages. Originally, I wanted to have written more about conflict solutions. But this would mean to write about the family, for in the end the major event which ever since has been giving me hope and which has brought me to the conviction that every conflict can be solved was the settlement with my parents after five years of substantial conflict. But this would imply writing about my sisters and the German relatives and I did not want that. To be fair one has to make clear that "every conflict can be solved" does not mean the same as "every conflict will indeed be solved", not even that every conflict should be solved.

I also wanted to write something about aggression management, but I skip this now, like I skip the story of an American friend who after September 11 changed in a drastic manner, developing an alienating nationalism matched with enemy thinking. I saw parallels to some of the topics of the tour memories, concerning the idealisation of valiant states. The Sudan I at least wanted to mention, because for months the fact has been shocking me that the UN and the world are so completely failing, after that they did have the chance to learn. So many people die every day, it is a terrible scandal! I am convinced that even for such grave conflicts there are nonviolent solutions. If people just agreed on shared values. This is the supposition and it is quite realistic, according to my experiences. To reach this we need dialogues and signs of trust. At this thought I noticed an urge to continue "Omega 5", the novel which deals with an alternative form of society with a nonviolent tradition.

Any events from the tour that I forgot to mention? Maybe that we were recorded by Babel TV during the extra concert in the Jewish highschool in Berlin. I talked to the man from Babel TV and he told me that it is a Jewish program which transmits seminars and concerts and the like. At this performance in Berlin I had a little press experience of which I did not tell. Before the show we were interviewed and photographed. The photoprapher showed us into poses: turn it like this, now like that. And you now please with the chin to this side etc. After about twenty photos I couldn't stand it anymore. I apologized and went out on the corridor where I took a deep breath. Then - to the relief of the Duo Rubin - I re-entered, murmuring something about basically having quit with the times of taking orders, yet being willed to be constructive. We continued and it was no problem. About the Duo Rubin I did not write all the things I witnessed, but only relevant things for the purpose of the book and some human impressions. This has to be considered while reading, in case some things should sound distanced. Oh yes, here is something I forgot to mention: when one evening in Berlin I had said goodnight to Ithay and Gabriella, on my way to bed, I asked Ithay if I could take this half a bottle of water from the table, for the night. Ithay replied: "Of course, I don't belong to those folks who take the water from the Palestinians." I found that remarkably funny.

What else? Should the Chefs for Peace interview, which I had just conducted, be part of this book? Well, no, it already can be found at Anis Online. Reuven from the Golan Heights Winery, this was an interesting encounter, after all, he is working on occupied territory. He said, when the circumstances in Golan change he won't have a problem with leaving to Israel, if it was serving the purpose of peace. That was acceptable. Concerning the project "children teach children" in Givat Haviva I forgot to note that I like "children learn from children" better, for it does not sound so didactic. I don't really believe in didacticism, it often is close to magisterial thinking. Who teaches dominates, who learns obeys. It does not have to be this way, but we find it a lot in real life, sometimes it happens consciously, other times unconsciously. I don't exclude myself here, which is one of the reasons why I like to work artistically best. So much for the supplements. What about the politically relevant parts of the manuscript? Again I went through the book from cover to cover. Some of the passages I had revised several times already. I wanted to write it in a way that I could reach the public with it and at the same time not hide any relevant opinion and analysis of mine. Was this possible at all? I did not know. The wheel would turn, no doubt. My karma would change with the publication of the manuscript. Where to? I did not know. A good friend, Sabine Yacoub, was reading the last chapters now, before I would mail them to the main participants of the tour. I decided to leave the manuscript after that for a week and to put it online on the anniversary of Elvis's death on August 16. It had to get out. I wanted to go ahead.

I packed the manuscript back into the rucksack, drank some Cola, shook the sand from the sheet and folded it. The tank was full again after this bath in the sun. Ten minutes later I found myself back in the camp and looked around. Between the twelve-people shacks there were some tables and chairs. They had a snackbar, and a professor was giving a lecture in Turkish on Greek mythology in the middle of the square. At the end of the corridor between the bungalows pictures were exhibited and a couple of people were painting at a long table. There also was the painter who had been with us yesterday night until the end at about two o'clock. Together with Andrea and Uwe from the multi-cultural band Colibri, whom I had joined several times, we had for some hours played and sung beneath the stage after the concert. Gregor was with us, too, Andrea's husband, and a couple of young people who listened and talked to us. Before, on stage, I had sung a couple of songs together with Andrea, taking the chance of her visit. So now I found this painter again, he was just brushing a Che Guevara on an arm. The camp in some points was clearly Socialist. I wondered what these kids knew about Che Guevara. In the end this was hardly connected with their real lives, there was little more than the icon which remained. Would Che bring them to freedom and unfolding? When I saw all those young people Givat Haviva came to my mind. The young folks were quite the same everywhere in the world. They had similar wishes, fears, abilities, questions, needs. I guess it is the idealism and the solidarity principle which connect me sometimes with the so-called left spectrum. But I am not left, because I don't believe in Klassenkampf. Not in this way, at any rate. My political direction is called Nonviolent Egalitarian Liberalism, I wrote the "New Pages" for explanation and detail, they are online.

Peter Gingold on the youth camp of the DIDF youth in Kiel 2004, foto de.indymedia.org
(The photo does not immediately correspond to the text.)
I sat down next to the painter with the long hair. He was about 50 and counseled the young people who were painting at the table. There also sat Selvi, she was another one of those who had been with us yesterday until the end. She was from Frankfurt, probably a school student, and she seemed to be a bit bored. I asked her about her languages. Among the camp participants there was a majority of Turkish rooted people, yet the mother languages varied, depending on whether they were born and/or raised in Germany or in Turkey. Selvi went to school in Turkey, but her German by now had become her main language. She was perfect for the idea I just got. "Could you translate something short for me into Turkish?" I asked her, and she replied: "Sure." I took my clipboard out of the rucksack and wrote: "Kinds of Love: To rule wants human love. To heal wants divine love. Kings we are, with wings of dust." She thought about it for a moment, then she added below: "Sevginin Türleri: Hüküm etmek istiyor insanlik sevgisi. Yaralari sarmak istiyor tanrilik sevgisi. Krallariz biz, kanatlari tozdan olan." (There is an "i" without a dot in it which I cannot reproduce on the keyboard.)

We discussed the translation for a moment; I know some Turkish, not much. We also talked about the content of the poem and she understood what I explained to her about the wings of dust. Selvi mentioned that there were many Kurds here, too, and that we could try to get a Kurdish translation. At that I suggested to be consequent and to stroll through the camp to see how many languages we could get together. And so we did. First we encountered Dutch people. They apparently were everywhere: "Soorten Liefde: Heersen wil de menselijke liefte. Helen wil de goddelijke liefte. Koningen zijn wij, met vleugels van stof."
On a bank-table-combination made of stone we saw two women, one was Spanish: "Las Formas del Amor: Dominar quiere el amor humano. Curar quiere el amor divino. Reyes somos nosotros, con alas de polvo." The other French: "Les Arts de l'Amour: C'est régner que veut l'amour humain. C'est guérir que veut l'amour divin. Nous sommes des rois, aux ailes de poussière." I asked her, whether there was a way to bring the kings in the French translation to the top of the line, but there wasn't. In the meantime some people had gathered around us. They wanted to know what we were doing there. Volunteers came for Vietnamese, Kurdish and Russian, but they had to pass. The Spanish girl asked me from where she knew me. Now I had to pass. "Didn't you use to participate in the poetry slam in Kiel in former times?" Yes, so I did. "I recognized your voice", she said. An African with a cool pair of sunglasses approached us. People had called him to us, as he knew an exotic language. First he wrote it in Portuguese, while exchanging views with the Spanish girl and the French girl: "Maneras du Amor: Dominar quero a amor humana. Curar quero a amor du deus. Nos somus reies con alas polvu." After that he hesitatingly added a version in the language Lingala: "Ba ndenge ya bolingo: Bolingo na biso ya batu ya mokili elingi ko domine. Bolingo ya nzambe elingi ko sekua biso. Biso tosali ba rois na mapapu ya poussiére." I think people speak this in Kongo, I cannot really remember. He told us about his relatives in Zaire, who speak Portuguese. The world is full of surprises... Selvi and I strolled on, looking for Kurdish and Polish. I supplemented the German: "Arten der Liebe: Herrschen will die menschliche Liebe. Heilen will die göttliche Liebe. Könige sind wir, mit Flügeln aus Staub." (Of course I supplemented the English here in reality, having started with the German.) I also wrote an Arabic version into the list:

"أنواع الحب: الحكم هو مراد الحب البشري. الشفاء هو مراد الحب الإلهي. إننا ملوك بأجنحة من تراب."

In front of the snack-bar we found the expert for Kurdish, whom we had been looking for all the time, as he had been recommended to us by several individuals. We showed him the list with the by now nine versions and he said he only could Zaza, a dialect close to Kurdish, varying from the two Kurdish languages/dialects Kurmanci and Sorani. Fine, I replied, do it in Zaza. He frowned a little and exchanged views with a friend. They took the Turkish translation as a basis. I fetched two chairs for them and shoved theminto their knees from behind. They sat and went on discussing. Suddenly a lot of folks were standing around us, among them one who I had seen before watching the backgammon players advising them in words and gestures. Now he bent over the paper with the same look on his face, involving himself in the same manner. The result was the poem in Zaza: "Eshke Rengan: Najeno hüküm bikero êshkê insanan. Najeno birinan bipeso êshkê heke. Ma kralime, puru ma nelerao." (The "sh" originally is an "s" with a snake underneath it). They tried it in Kurdish for a while, but couldn't make it to come to a translation. Someone tried Greek, but managed to do the middle sentence only: "To kalo theli i agapi ton theon." Better than nothing. I thanked Selvi, who had a lot of fun and whose name means "cypress", then I declared the mission as successfully accomplished.

Back home I wondered how to finish the book. And where? Certainly not here in Kiel. In the book I still was in the Sorat hotel in Berlin. The last hours there I spent with Jörn. Jörn! Of course. Alright, here is what happened:

With Jörn at the Spreebogen

(June 28, 2004) The next morning started late, I took my time and then checked out. A bill for the minibar, oh. I thought it was included. At the breakfast buffet I was the last one, as usual. I met the Chefs for Peace in the lobby, they were about to go for a tour through the city. In passing I also saw Michael Eiser, the hotel manager, and said goodbye, as I did not expect to meet him again before my departure. Alex Elsohn was sitting at the computer in the lobby and showed me first photos from the Barenboim event. I had made a reservation for the three o'clock train to Kiel, no need to be hectic. Jörn had already called saying he was on the way. I wanted to wait for him outside at the Spreebogen. (NB: the Spree is a river in Berlin, and "Bogen" means curve). It was sunny with windy spells. As a good democrat I greeted in the direction of our Ministry of Interior which is situated directly opposite the Sorat. I wandered along the Spree, smoked, and it seemed to take longer than expected until Jörn arrived. I noticed a memorial monument, between hotel and ministry, the sculpture of a man. Albrecht Haushofer (1903 - 1945), professor for political geography, author, read the tablet underneath his portrait. He was murdered by the Nazis short before the end of the war in the Moabit quarter. Haushofer wrote the Moabit Sonnets. Three of them are exhibited around the monument in metal tabloids. One deals with brown rats in a river, another one with homeland feelings. The third one I copied. At the end of the event I had taken the name-plate of Daniel Barenboim's from his table, because I had no paper and because it was a relic. On the backside I now wrote Haushofer's poem:

Schuld (Guilt)

Ich trage leicht an dem, was das Gericht
I carry with ease what the court
Mir Schuld benennen wird: an Plan und Sorgen
will call my guilt: plan and troubles
Verbrecher wär ich, hätt ich für das Morgen
Criminal I'd be, did I not for the people's tomorrow
des Volkes nicht geplant aus eigner Pflicht
plan, out of my own duty

Doch schuldig bin ich. Anders als ihr denkt!
Yet guilty I am. Differently from what you think!
Ich musste früher meine Pflicht erkennen,
I had to recognize my duty earlier,
Ich musste schärfer Unheil Unheil nennen,
I had to call harm harm more sharply,
Mein Urteil hab ich viel zu lang gelenkt...
My judgement for much too long have I guided...

Ich klage mich in meinem Herzen an:
I accuse myself in my heart:
Ich habe mein Gewissen lang betrogen,
I have betrayed my conscience for a long time,
Ich hab mich selbst und andere belogen -
I have lied to myself and to others -

Ich kannte früh des Jammers ganze Bahn.
I knew early misery's whole course.
Ich hab gewarnt - nicht hart genug und klar!
I have warned - not hard enough and clear!
Und heute weiß ich, was ich schuldig war.
And today I know what I was guilty of.

Heavy stuff. I read it out to Jörn when we took a walk a short while later, in the park on the other side of the street. Jörn found it rather astonishing that someone wrote sonnets in such a situation, choosing a solid, traditional form in all this chaos. In the other poem, the one about the homeland, I had discovered a kind of nature-related patriotism which today is not common anymore, and I pondered on nationalism, patriotism, love of the homeland and country-related identity. It was good to see Jörn again. He talked about journeys and encounters of his recent past, about community experiences and soccer games. We were sitting in the children's playground and drank Cola. Jörn Hagenloch for me is one of the greatest living poets in Germany. When I told him that he started to laugh loudly, but I replied that he did write the most precise love poem of all times. And indeed, there was little he could hold against this fact. It is a jewel in the history of literature and I am happy to be able to present it here. This poem contains everything: longing, passion, hope, innoscense, humor, philosophy, relationship drama. Despite the fact that it only consists of six little words. This is precision. This is poetry:

"Ich und du,
dann wär Ruh."

"Me and you, that would do."
(Literally: "Me and you, then there would be calm.")



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