Ποιειν Και Πραττειν - create and do

Paris 13.11.2015


Letter to friends

Dear all,

once again Paris has been gripped by violence, but this time by far more deadly than what was the case when Charlie Hebdo happened.

What to say when words seem to fail to stop senseless violence? We have discussed already in 2013 'madness of humanity' as a complex of problems once no conviction in life leads to drugs, guns and pseudo empowerment, for those who have shut themselves out of social life, they can only empower themselves for a short moment by taking the life of others and of themselves. The suicide bomber is a human being who has lost all resistance against being instrumentalized for an abstract war strategy based on the rule of terror to drive the mechanism of violence even further. Revenge upon revenge, violence as answer to more violence. One woman in the German radio 'Culture' says the common people run after official politics which has assumed a wrong foreign policy and therefore people cannot make sense of what is being decided behind closed doors.

Culture has to alter the security agenda but that is only possible if artists speak up at the countless conferences aiming to reshape culture into a mask to cover up the real hard politics. We have seen this in the way Greece was handled. No sense of solidarity but coercive measures even though such a policy does not make sense.

Today Europe reaps the failure to deal with the Greek crisis in a humane way. At the same time, the refugee problem is just one aspect of that failure. Now people run from one place to another in search of safety but where to run to when all public spaces are highly vulnerable as is any major city? Yet we have a well the mass agglomeration of a football game able to bring together 80 000 people, and this despite of all the scandals that surround the socalled beautiful game. We have also the VW scandal. That means business is being conducted with criminal energies which feed those who are inclined to turn away from the usual games being played as they are sensitive and at the same time easy victims of a kind scepticism easily a fertile ground for a readiness to embrace violence as the final answer.

The screams of despair are mixed with the tears of the parents whose children shall not come home. Michael D. Higgins noted once the sniper who killed a couple in Sarajevo was spotted, it was revealed he wore just like those he killed jeans. Uniform in clothing means also it covers up the lack of consensus on how to safeguard life.

In wishing we find in time the voice to speak up so as to prevent still others to fall victim to this mechanism of violence, I can only add that we need a language to speak with those right now willing to listen, but who are fanatics in their non conviction about life. They feel only empowered by taking life always vulnerable. It is an act of cowardice to shoot down people who are not only unarmed, but who do not suspect when in a theatre that death can stalk in at any time. It reminds of the drawing of Dürer about Apocalypse riding like the Devil through the villages of the Middle Ages to spread death like the pest. Once we refer to that, we have to ask why the early Renaissance in Italy was free of violence, while the Renaissance once it had crossed the Alps and went North, became already the announcement of the violence which was to come due to religious differences.

So let the poem speak about a language in need of so that mothers and fathers can still call their children to come home and they will so in knowing that there are those who will never return home again.


I be-heft myself to autumn leaves

and let the wind stroke my hair

as simple as the verse shall be

when Mary crosses the sea

and forever shores await her return.


Berlin 14.11.2015


Some further reflections

After the friendly match between Holland and Germany had been cancelled yesterday, and Merkel giving today a well formulated, but careful support to the secret services for making that decision of cancellation, it is clear that security has entered once more the top of the agenda.

I think one statement is true, namely when Karl Schlögel attests to, namely that citizens feel abandoned by the state despite having secret services and think tanks to protect and to advise them. That means an alteration in the quality of what constitutes still trust in political authorities acting in the name of the general and public interest has taken a turn to the worse, or to deepening mistrust. He made that statement at the conference held in Berlin Nov. 8 – 9, 2015 and addressed Europe as one risking to lose its open borders due to a fearful response to all the refugees escaping violence and seeking in Europe safety:

Karl Schlögel, historian, European University, Frankfurt, about "Cities are our hope"

Wenn man bedenkt welche Grenzen es damals, also noch vor 1989, gab, und das mit heute vergleicht, dann ist Berlin ein guter Ort zum Nachdenken über Europa als 'Grenzland'. Das Erstaunliche an 1989 ist immer noch ie gewaltfreie Übernahme der Städte, und das bezieht sich nicht nur auf die Umbenennung der Straßen. Blickt man auf die Geschichte zurück, und sieht wie Städte entstanden, aber auch ausgebombt worden sind, dann ist man erstaunt, was Städte auszuhalten vermögen! Die heutige Umwandlung der Städte hat aus Bürgern Patrioten der Polis gemacht.

Europa als 'Grenzland' entstand Dank von Schengen, doch jetzt kommen die Flüchtlinge nicht aus dem Osten, sondern aus dem Süden. Was ist festzustellen:

- aus offenen Grenzen wird Angst

- die Gewalt ist auf diesen Kontinent zurück gekehrt

- viele glauben Europa sei überrumpelt, darum auch bereits verloren

Folglich geht ein Gespenst um, und zwar die der Panik. Viele Bürger fühlen sich nicht mehr sicher, so als seien sie vom Staat in Stich gelassen, und das trotz all den Geheimdiensten und "think tanks" die den Staat schützen und beraten sollen.

Die beste Politik ist immer noch die Dinge beim Namen zu nennen. Hier hat der Philosoph Ernst Bloch dazu einen wichtigen Rat erteilt, und zwar um die Realität wahrzunehmen, dafür solle man sich die eigene Ratlosigkeit eingestehen.

Es sei auch an Hölderlin zu erinnern, der sagte da wo Gefahr ist, wächst auch das Rettende.

Das Abschaffen der Grenzen innerhalb von Europa ist der Endpunkt einer langen Geschichte des Zivilisationsprozesses. Die Geschichte Europas kann sich jetzt innerhalb eines gemeinsamen, homogenen Raumes entfalten.

Sodann soll es ja, Grenzen geben, wenn es etwas zu verteidigen gibt. Doch allzu oft wird das Bild von Europa als 'Festung' evoziert, doch was ist das, wenn nicht eine Formel zwecks Denunziation. Eben weil Europa ist jetzt stark umkämpft, hat das die Städte in Schlachtfelder verwandelt. Es gibt den Inbegriff von 'urban warfare', aber auch die verlassenen Infrastrukturen.

Wie verwundbar Städte im Grunde genommen es sind, das wurde klar in New York 911, Madrid 2004, London 2005, und Paris 2015 (Charlie Hebdo).

Die Stadt besteht aus öffentliche Räume. Wenn die aufgegeben werden, dann herrscht nur das Schrecken. Und vieles wird in Schutt und Asche verwandelt.

Mit den Flüchtlingen entstehen neue Städte bestehend aus Containern und Zelten. Es ist die Folge einer Geopolitik die viele Menschen in die Flucht jagt. Sie stimmen ab wie einst ehemalige DDR Bürger mit den Füssen, um in den Westen zu gelangen als die Mauer noch stand. Es macht deutlich, dass die Karte Europas neu gezeichnet werden muss. Es entstehen nämlich neue Orte von Bedeutung u.a. Münchner Hauptbahnhof oder der Eingang zum Tunnel in Calais.

Kurz zusammen gefasst, Europäische Städte sind nicht obsolet, aber statt Athen kann es durchaus heissen "learning from Munich!"

 If one considers the borders which existed then, that is before 1989, and when one compares it with the state of affairs today, then Berlin is a good place to reflect about 'Europe as borderland'. The surprising element of 1989 was the non violent way in which cities were seized, and that applies not only to how streets were renamed. If one looks back over history, and if one sees how cities were created, but also bombed out, then one is astonished what cities can withstand. Today's transformation of cities has made out of ciitzens patriots of the Polis.

Europe as 'borderland' came about thanks to Schengen, but now refugees come no longer from the East, but from the South. What is to be observed:

- open borders have produced fear

- violence has returned to this continent

- many believe Europe has been overrun, hence is lost

Hence a ghost is hauting Europe, that of panic. Many citizens feel no longer secure, as if they have been abandoned by the state, and that despite of all the security forces and "think tanks" which ought to protect and to advise the state.

The best politics is still to name things by their name- Here the philosopher Ernst Bloch gave the important advise, that it is wise to admit one's own loss of orientation or helplessness.

One can recall a saying by Hölderlin, that where is danger, there grows as well the rescue.

The removal of borders within Europe was the final point of a long history as a process of civilization. The history of Europe can unfold itself now within this common, homogeneous space.

Yes, borders should exit when there is something worthy to be defended. But all too often the image of Europe as a 'fortress' is evoziert, but what is this, if not a cheap way to denounce the continent. Because there has started a hard fight about Europe, cities have been turned into battle fields. There does exist the concept of 'urban warfare', but there are as well all those abandoned infrastructures.

How vulnerable are basically cities, that became evident in New York 911, Madrid 2004, London 2005, and Paris 2015 (meant is Charlie Hebdo).

The city exists because of its public spaces. Once they have been abandoned, then horror rules. An much is transformed into ruins and ashes.

With the refugees new cities are created. They consist of containers or are made out of tents. It is the result of geopolitics which forces many people to flee. They vote with their feet like the former East German citizens who tried to reach the West on foot as long as the wall stood. It makes evident that the map of Europe has to be redrawn anew. For new places of meaning are being created such as the main train station in Munich or the entrance to the tunnel in Calais.

A brief resume is that European cities are not obsolete, but instead of Athens the main slogan can be really "learning from Munich."


This quote is a part of the documentation of the conference which took place in Berlin Nov. 8 and 9, and which ended with Donald Tusk giving his speech "About Europe". See http://poieinkaiprattein.org/conferences-symposiums-workshops/europe-its-values-its-citizens-berlin-a-soul-for-europe-nov-2015/


Those who point out all the failures to prevent the attack in Paris is due to Western foreign policy, they uphold as well a thesis that all sorts of valuable lessons at school, whether now about history or of the arts, have been upheld or neglected, and this with disastrous consequences as exemplified by those who grew up in the West but turn against this society by joining ISIS and returning ready to inflict as much damage as possible before they blow up themselves. In reminder of the suicide bombers who haunted Israel 2001-2002, predictions have it that they will turn Europe to become like Israel, a state haunted by fear and ready to enact even more security measures all for the sake of a fake peace.

Still, as long as we are human beings with a conscience, there is nothing automatic about how we go about to change things. To do it with violence and this with the sole purpose to kill as if the West is such a horrible enemy which does not deserve any less, and especially if this is done by those who grew up in the West, then an absurd turn of development requires another explanation. Likewise it does not make much sense to send out again more troops and order planes to drop bombs, all in order to silence the fears of those who are due to a privileged life are out of touch with human reality.

Most telling is the response of a friend living in France who wrote the following:

"about Paris... 

I am not frightened. I refuse to lose my liberties, thus we have to continue to live normally, for all the Parisian which are frightened!

I am very angry, not against Daesh, I ignore them, I despise them, but against all the CAC40, Google, Facebook, Apple, IBM, all the rich which refuse to share their wealth and which, therefore, prevent us from educating our children correctly. They are the collaborators of Daesh! Because of them, Daesh can to use our lost children! 

I am sad for all the victims, including the kamikazes who are French and Belgian children that we did not know how to save from the claws of the horror and from those who are the fanatics!"

Surely this failure requires more explanations and honest admittances of these failures, rather than offer merely an one sided criticism of politics, as if everything is solely the fault of Capitalism, i.e. of profit orientated corporations, and the European Union deserving nothing better than to collapse.

Instead we need to stand up to a Europe, and do so in the name of democracy. It can be done by promoting a literacy which overcomes all kinds of cynicism (forms of resignation).

Hatto Fischer

Berlin 18.11.2015

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