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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Index on Past, Present and Future

by Sarah Meyer
Index Research

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Heimat means 'Homeland.' A boxed edition of Edgar Reitz's 1982 film, Heimat, just arrived. 6 disks (english subtitles) with an introductory booklet by David Parkinson.

I would like to share Edgar Reitz's outline in his press notes on Heimat, quoted by Mr. Parkinson in "Reactions and Responses." Why? Because what seemed relevant in Germany then is now also relevant to the United States today, as the U.S. president and his retinue are getting ready to leave the White House. Hopefully there will be no more home-made disasters before this becomes an actuality.


"Telling stories has a great deal to do with remembering. Memories are always a part of one's experience; they are personal. When the ability to remember is joined with the ability to organize the images that are recalled, stories originate. That doesn't mean sticking exactly to the memories. The original truth is best contained when told freely.

We Germans have a hard time with our stories. It is our own history that is in our way. The year 1945, the nation's Zero Hour, wiped out a lot, created a gap in people's ability to remember. As Mitscherlich put it, a entire people has been made "unable to mourn". In our case, that means "unable to tell stories" because our memories are obstructed by the great historical events (with which) they are connected.

Even now, 40 years after the war, we are still troubled by the weight of moral judgments, we are still afraid that our little, personal stories could recall our Nazi past and remind us of our mass participation in the Third Reich. That is the problem. We have so many little stories that make up our past that can't be told, can't be true, that are stifling us, perhaps because they are so normal and for that reason so blind to history that they don't dare be told."

For reflection and memory, eg.:

Obama Advisers Say No Charges Likely Against Those Who Authorized Torture
17.10.908. Lara Jakes Jordan, AP/truthout.

Sarah Meyer is an independent researcher living in the UK.

The url to Index on Past, Present and Future is:
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