Dec 082006
 

Well, sort of. I have a huge to-do-list sitting on top of my desk, I’m a little hungry and there are a million things I “should” be doing right now, but I have been called by my friend De and of course I have to show up.

What wedding do you ask? Well, it’s about making a commitment to change the world. Which I already have done. So I don’t think, my husband will mind my polygamy in this case. Since we’re both already married to each other and the music, well, I wouldn’t mind if he was about to do this either.

The wedding gift should be a post about whichever social cause we feel passionate about. You know that I never write about things social or political. That doesn’t mean that I’m not passionate about them. And gay marriage is not even in the picture anymore, since it finally is legal in Germany. (And I was wrong about gay marriage not being possible in Bavaria. It is. And the couple in question is now expecting a child. I’m so excited!)

The social causes that I believe in are quite abstract. I believe that every person should be able to have choices. That every human being should be fed and sheltered and loved. That we all should strive to become more spiritual and kind. That the only way to change the world is to change me and become a better person. I believe in non-violence. I’m a feminist.

What really hit home with me was the Margaret Mead quote. Jen wrote:

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

Yeah. Among other things I have studied cultural anthropology, and that gave me the hope that social systems are not just set, they are created by people through mutual agreement. This means that people have the power to change them. As a German it has been very important to me to believe that people can make a difference. You know, I come from a long line of people who didn’t stand up for anything. The people who maybe didn’t agree with the Nazis but they didn’t do anything against it either. I can understand their fear, and I don’t know if I would stand up or not. I even hope that I never have to find out, but I pray for the courage not to shut up and look away. The most courageous things my one grandfather did was not joining the NSDAP. That was a courageous thing to do. Just imaging. He was a communist, but he never talked about it. My other grandfather was a baker and he gave bread to people who didn’t have the coupons for it. Nobody left the country, nobody was thrown in prison, they all just ducked and hoped it would be over soon. And it is. Fortunately.

But I feel that this is one of my biggest obligations towards the world. As a German I have to see to it that something like that can never happen again. I belong to a nation that caused World War II. Teenagers today don’t think about that at all. I don’t think they know much about the time of their great-grandparents. Or the war. And I’m glad that they don’t. I really am relieved that I can travel abroad and don’t have to meet people telling me they hate Germans in general, because they fought my grandparents. But I think it is important not to forget. To speak up.

Wow, who would have thought. I don’t know if this is a social course but peace is a very precious thing and worth living for.

So count me in at the wedding, as I said. We’ll drink champagne, we’ll dance and sing and change the world for the better.

  14 Responses to “wedding plans”

  1. So glad you can make it. (I’ll keep this short as I am typing with my vacuum cleaner in one hand.)

  2. So glad you can make it. (I’ll keep this short as I am typing with my vacuum cleaner in one hand.)

  3. or perhaps one of the biggest social causes of them all…

    such a terrific post. i so look forward to having us all in one place on Sunday.

    choice. yes.

  4. or perhaps one of the biggest social causes of them all…

    such a terrific post. i so look forward to having us all in one place on Sunday.

    choice. yes.

  5. Thank you for this post. It is extremely meaningful to me. My father-in-law was one of the Volga-Deustch–ethnic Germans who lived in Russia for 150 years preceding Stalin. His family was starved out by Stalin, separated from each other (at least one was shot), exiled from their land back to Germany, and forced to live according to the whims of the Nazis. He came to Canada as a Displaced Person in 1946. There but for the grace of god, we all go. You post on choice and making a conscious decision to see what is going on lies at the heart of all social action. Thank you.

  6. Thank you for this post. It is extremely meaningful to me. My father-in-law was one of the Volga-Deustch–ethnic Germans who lived in Russia for 150 years preceding Stalin. His family was starved out by Stalin, separated from each other (at least one was shot), exiled from their land back to Germany, and forced to live according to the whims of the Nazis. He came to Canada as a Displaced Person in 1946. There but for the grace of god, we all go. You post on choice and making a conscious decision to see what is going on lies at the heart of all social action. Thank you.

  7. Well you couldn’t have picked a nicer girl than Jen, love her blog.

  8. Well you couldn’t have picked a nicer girl than Jen, love her blog.

  9. You know, I’ve heard about German guilt. That Germans have been made to feel so awful about the war and the Jews that they are afraid to do or think anything controversial. Is that true? Does that exist?

    You should not, NOT feel guilty for WWII. Some people think the Treaty of Versailles, which totally emasculated the German people, was the cause of WWII. But I can promise you, YOU didn’t cause it. And I believe ANYONE in the downtrodden shoes of your (and mine actually) grandparents would have followed Hitler just as readily.

    Anyway. Little rant there.

    I love germans.

  10. You know, I’ve heard about German guilt. That Germans have been made to feel so awful about the war and the Jews that they are afraid to do or think anything controversial. Is that true? Does that exist?

    You should not, NOT feel guilty for WWII. Some people think the Treaty of Versailles, which totally emasculated the German people, was the cause of WWII. But I can promise you, YOU didn’t cause it. And I believe ANYONE in the downtrodden shoes of your (and mine actually) grandparents would have followed Hitler just as readily.

    Anyway. Little rant there.

    I love germans.

  11. Dear Esereth, I’m not feeling guilty for WWII. Definitely not. And I don’t think that Germans are any different from other people. I do think though that thinking of what happened here serves as a reminder to all of us how easy people stop to think for themselves. And then, when it’s over they say, “But I didn’t know about that.”

    It reminds me that everyday people like me are capable of doing bad things. It reminds me to stay aware.

    The thing I haven’t written here is, as much as I love American culture or Brazilian, I’m German through and through. I can’t imagine living anywhere else and I’m not one of the people who think everything German is bland and boring. I remember coming home from two months in Brazil and loving every single aspect of German life. The times when one had to be ashamed for being German are over. Fortunately.

  12. Dear Esereth, I’m not feeling guilty for WWII. Definitely not. And I don’t think that Germans are any different from other people. I do think though that thinking of what happened here serves as a reminder to all of us how easy people stop to think for themselves. And then, when it’s over they say, “But I didn’t know about that.”

    It reminds me that everyday people like me are capable of doing bad things. It reminds me to stay aware.

    The thing I haven’t written here is, as much as I love American culture or Brazilian, I’m German through and through. I can’t imagine living anywhere else and I’m not one of the people who think everything German is bland and boring. I remember coming home from two months in Brazil and loving every single aspect of German life. The times when one had to be ashamed for being German are over. Fortunately.

  13. Wow… what an awesome post! I suspect all of us could find some collective guilt in our national backgrounds. As an American, I am often ashamed of the way this country behaves throughout the world ~ and it is a challenge to break the stereotype, to get beyond that. German people were subject to the same relentless propaganda and nationalism as many other nations. Those responsible are those who knowingly participate. There is no more room for German, American or any other national guilt. We can and do change cultures.

    I love this post! Absolutely love it.

    Peace,

    ~Chani

  14. Wow… what an awesome post! I suspect all of us could find some collective guilt in our national backgrounds. As an American, I am often ashamed of the way this country behaves throughout the world ~ and it is a challenge to break the stereotype, to get beyond that. German people were subject to the same relentless propaganda and nationalism as many other nations. Those responsible are those who knowingly participate. There is no more room for German, American or any other national guilt. We can and do change cultures.

    I love this post! Absolutely love it.

    Peace,

    ~Chani

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