On the traces of my country’s identity

On the traces of my country’s identity

„Silence, please “, is what I said when I was standing in front of the curious faces of 8th class students. I did it in a different way than normally. I knew I had to give everything or nothing, otherwise I would get lost in the pubescent crowd. In fact, I don’t know what exactly was different this time, but I could read from the reaction of the students, that there must have been something different, as from one second to another the class was entirely silent. Some students were surprisingly lifting their heads, others looking a bit confused, but everyone was indeed silent, listening to what I was going to say.

I have the feeling that I am biologically disadvantaged. I’m small and my voice is tiny. So, neither my physique, nor my voice create the impression of authority and leadership. I never was a leader, and probably I’ll never be. I’m rather being led by others, or I am trying to resist and criticize the leadership. From time to time though, I tried to grove myself into that new position – the place in front of a class.

And this was where I stood now. However, enjoying the second of silence, what happened next was as well unexpected: a Nazi salute. One boy in the last row decisively stretched his arm in the air. He looked me in the eyes. A smile widened his face. Rapidly he pulled the arm downwards. I was unable to say anything, neither to behave in a certain way. Yes, I was somehow shocked. Gladly, the boy sat in the last row, so that his action did not distract the class or take my authority away. The impact of the Nazi salute was not a social one (related to the classes’ reaction), but a personal one. It touched me, as it would probably not have touched any Romanian. The reason was my historical background, the background of my people – the background of the German people.

I feel that I, as a German, wish to emancipate myself from the past. This doesn’t mean that I want to forget, nor to make people forget what happened, but it means that I want to relocate, to redefine my German identity. I want to redefine patriotism and pride, because I believe that to a certain extent patriotism is precious for the development of one’s identity as well as for the development of a nation’s identity. I don’t want to reduce myself to my people’s past, as I don’t like to be reduced to it by others. When I am not able to promote my country’s beauty, which it has indeed, I realise that I lack some pride, because I’m partly reducing my German identity to the past. When I’m not able to appreciate my country’s language, my country’s mentalities, it’s because I associate a huge part of the “cultural pot” with relentlessness, with discipline, with little humour, with harshness, so I’m reducing this culture pot to my country’s past. When people make a Nazi salute to be funny, even if I know that it’s not meant seriously, I feel reduced to the past. I feel reduced to all these stereotypes the past has generated. I feel reminded of all this indescribable pain my country has caused.

The German past serves other countries as a weapon. A psychological weapon to cease every dispute, to minimize every German voice, to degrade every German reputation, to stigmatise every German opinion. Just recently the Romanian president of German origin, Klaus Iohannis, has been shown with a Hitler beard. Some months before that, the German chancellor has been titled as “Mrs Hitler” in the Turkish newspaper “Yeni Akit”. Some months before that, right wing (extremist) supporters, among them the German right-wing party “Afd” have accused German politicians of acting as Hitler. Only three examples of what turbulent, disrespectful and psychologically destructive comments have run through international media.

And of course, these comments, these descriptions shape the German politics, the German society, the German individual. Political actions that are from my point of view clearly influenced by medial depiction, and thus by the German past, are for example Germany’s humanitarian “welcome policy” when facing the refugee crisis. Or the little investment in military resources in general until these days (I recently read a report about the downfall of the German army – the “Bundeswehr”). Or me as a volunteer, being sponsored by the German tax payer. Why? ( – a question I ask myself lots of times: why does the German state invest millions of euros in young people going abroad? But this is another issue to which I’d like to dedicate a separate article). In either case, it has got something to do with Germany’s international image, with her reputation, with her position in world politics, and hence, with an emancipation of the past.

I believe that in the end, even nation wise, it all comes down to appreciation. Of course, there is patriotism and national pride, but as the pride exists for the own nation, it can also be resented for other nations. I am proud of Europe’s diversity, I am proud of the worldwide individuality. I appreciate many single cultures, especially my beloved French culture! Certainly, countries themselves are searching for appreciation, for national acknowledgement, for particularity – probably a difficult task for the German people.

So, on the traces of my country’s identity, on the effort to emancipate myself from the past, I ask myself what I actually appreciate about the German culture, the German mentality, my German identity. Every country has strengths and weaknesses. While I had difficulties in the beginning of the voluntary service talking about Germany’s strengths, the weaknesses I experienced abroad taught me to appreciate different cultural aspects that I had taken for granted until now. Today, I see the controversial democracy in Germany that is alive. People are arguing, discussing, demonstrating, and using any peaceful means to fight for their opinions. I see debates about discrimination and environmental policies. I see an education that is liberated from religious and political fanaticisms. I see values, socially still not being fixed enough, that make me feel home and willing to fight for. I see a country on its way to emancipation, that doesn’t need the past anymore to be humanitarian. And I feel more appreciation than before, when realising that all this is globally seen not usual.

Rythme différent

J’ai cru qu’on serait bien
Qu’on serait confié
J’ai cru qu’on partageait
Non seulement le vin et le p’tit bon pain 

Mais il prend pas beaucoup de temps
Jusqu’au point que je remarque
Que j’suis plus au courant
Que tout est tellement étrange

Alors, vous êtes loin
Loin derrière les montagnes
Où la musique vous est familier
Les mélodies que vous partagez

Et votre culture générale
Votre connaissance des notes
Votre clé pour cette salle
Je peux pas suivre ce rythme musicale 

Je m’assure, c’est pas de jalousie
C’est pas d’envie qui me fait parler
C’est justement un manque d’attention,
D’estime et d’appréciation

Alors, il arrive que je me demande
Pourquoi suis-je ici ?
En quoi sert ma présence ?
Je peux rien vous reprocher 

Eh bon, c’est bien
J’suis différente
Une autre pièce d’un puzzle
D’une beauté autrement éclatante

Et oui, mon ouverture
Elle connaît bien des frontières
Vous les avez touchés
Ici j’suis entêtée 

Puisque, je peux pas suivre votre rythme
Votre rythme musical
Qui n’est pas le mien
Ni au présent, ni sur le prochain festival 

Comme si vous parlerez une langue différente
Une langue secrète
Qui me rend folle de silence
Qui me rend bête par ses mots étranges

Que je peux pas suivre votre rythme
Parce que j’suis différente
Voilà, vous verrez
Mes notes sont beaucoup plus lentes


Quand jsuis revenue
Chez toi, ton jardin
J’ai pas voulu
Rester dans cette rue
Étant fortement choquée
Planifiant déjà, comment déménager

Je me réveillerai
Chaque matin
Pour vivre ma journée
C’est assez joli
Dans le coin
En terrain connu

Tout se trouve encore à sa place
Comme si j’serais restée
Mais en réalité
Il fait très loin que mes pieds
Ont touché
Ce sol en bois

Je retrouve ce que
J’avais créé une fois passée
Comme joujou, stupidité
Enfantine et trop mignonne
Enfance visiblement
Toujours dans cette maison

Sans plan en détail
Sans envie d’en parler
Veux-je rester ?
Dans le silence
Entourage familier
Qui me donne confiance

Et maintenant tu m’écoute
Je te raconte
Alons, Y vas
Famille, c’est bon
Me sens à l’aise
Êtes bons, pour moi

On joue
On fête
On fait des blagues
Barbête, et toi ?
C’est plus comme…

Je t’aime de nouveau
Moi-même jattends plus
Je cesse de m’enlèver
L’amour dont j’ai besoin
À défaut, je prendrai soin
De ce sol en bois

Je reviens chez toi
Et pour la première fois
je veux rester
je reviens chez toi
Et c’est plus le cas
Que je réfléchis, comment échapper

Je ressens au milieu
De ta chaleur entière
Que jsuis plein de bonheur
Qu’il faut trouver
Donc, je lâche plus tes bras
Ils vont me sauver

inspiriert von "Stadtrandlichter" - Clueso

Nachtrag: Berlin, Berlin

oder: Musik weht um diese Stadt


Hier meine schönsten Berlin Lieder:

  1. schönste Zeit – Bosse: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTlzQEA-4oc
  2. sechs Uhr vierzehn Bahnhof Zoo – Linie 1https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_L4NBQnKoM
  3. schwarz zu blau – Peter Foxhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yphwzD1XaBY
  4. Ich will nicht nach Berlin – Kraftklubhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4UdRz3sTqEs
  5. Seid Willkommen in Berlin – Udo Lindenberghttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0LKksgQp-I
  6. Berlin, ich hasse dich – Linie 1https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7yn7Y0egu44
  7. Sonderzug nach Pankow – Udo Lindenberghttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbEUjgp9zxM&pbjreload=10
  8. Die Liste – Roger Cicerohttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iINFkY4oRtI
  9. Wilmersdorfer Witwen – Linie 1https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3DBJId2hl4
  10. Berlin Song – Ludovico Einaudihttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JhfwI3gIkzA