|IMPRESSIONS GLEANED FROM E-MAILS:
.] Feels that you cannot turn
back the clock.
How true probably. We all moved
on and changed and the world isn't the same
as before. Look at conservative
Stuttgarters, taking to the streets. About 50,000
demonstrators in a few previous
demonstrations, and twice as many last Friday.
Is the future of children and grandchildren
worth such commitment, such defense
of 300 trees in a former royal
park in downtown Stuttgart? Of trees & thus a park
that are vital to the fresh, cool
air, so that it will continue to stream into the inner city?
ARE TREES MORE SIGNIFICANT THAN
HUGE TECHNOCRATIC PROJECTS, in a period when global warming is under way
SO OBVIOUSLY ?
Do citizens' RIGHTS to participate
in local affairs (and, in the last analysis, TO DECIDE the more important
ISSUES) appear to you as MORE VITAL THAN THE ECONOMIC CONSIDERATIONS OF
BIG BUSINESS AND THE GOVERNMENT THAT BACKS THEM?
But I SHOULD BE JOYFUL because
the seemingly small events matter so much.
(To an Italian film-maker, poet and scholar, Oct.
I'VE ANOTHER PIECE OF NEWS [
about trees etc. and people who try to protect them. A short while ago,
on a FRIDAY EVENING, about 100,000 citizens in the city of STUTTGART took
to the streets, not only because of very old trees the government wants
to kill and has already started to kill, but because during a previous
demonstration, more than 370 people were injured, due to police brutality.
People went to the parliament in Stuttgart, the capital of the South-West
German state of Baden-Wurttemberg, and threw shoes against the building,
shouting: LIARS; liars! etc.
Okay, MAYBE not much, in Australia
- but here it is an encouraging sign that more and more people are waking
The issue of trees has become one
important issue among others; now it's also a question of civil rights,
a question that concerns democracy: WILL THE CLASSE POLITIQUE GET AWAY
(From an email to an Australian poet; Oct.8, 2010)
] this weekend there were about
150,000 Stuttgarters in the streets,
after a demo attended by one-hundred
thousand, more or less, the week before,
and 65,000 on that weekend when
pupils engaging in a sit-in were roughed up,
and when old people were wounded.
About 370 injured people, on that day, according to a spokesmen of the
demonstrators. About a hundred hospitalized, and doctors are still fighting
to save two persons from blindness.
(From an email to an Australian poet; Oct.10,
It's so good to hear from you.
] I hope you enjoy fall in Arizona.
Such a beautiful place. I have been there
three times, and I loved the forest
road north of CLIFTON with its copper mine,
to Show Low - before part of the
forest burned down - or was that a different
In the early 1970s I BRIEFLY CORRESPONDED
WITH JAMES KOOTSHONGIE, a fine man, old already at the time, very well
informed, very awake. We walked alongside a canal in the RUHR DISTRICT
and talked so intimately about our hopes, he also about the American Indian
He had been invited by a Ms. Wagner,
who also invited me, so I would have a
chance to get to know him.
He lived in Hotevilla, on the mesa
(the Kaibab plateau), I THINK.
At the time I was a young man,
immature in many ways, probably - for I
DISCONTINUED OUR CORRESPONDENCE
when a newsletter "put me off".
It seemed a lot less rational than
the James KOOTSHONGIE I had met; it talked
about construction workers and
their fatal accident, saying that they died in a
collapsing tunnel BECAUSE they
had desecrated a Native American grave some time ago, in the course of
the highway construction project they had been undertaking.
For me, being so young, it was
simply irrational and I lacked the tolerance and
empathy that would have been required
in order to accept such a view.
] here in GERMANY some people
get as "IRRATIONAL" now over another
construction project. A MULTI-BILLION
DOLLAR /(OR EURO) PROJECT TO BUILD A NEW HIGH-SPEED TRAIN CONNECTION BETWEEN
STUTTGART AND ULM.
It will shorten the ride by a few
minutes but means a big contract for the
construction industry [
have to cross a mountain range and thus want long tunnels. THEY WANT A
RAILROAD STATION THAT IS NO LONGER ABOVE GROUND BUT BELOW GROUND IN STUTTGART,
the capital of THE STATE OF BADEN-WURTTEMBERG. THE RAILROAD LINE WILL CROSS
STUTTGART BELOW GROUND. It means traffic jams in the downtown area for
about 10 years (THE PROJECTED TIME NEEDED TO FINISH CONSTRUCTION IN THE
CAPITAL), and it will mean exhaust fumes from the trucks for the local
PEOPLE IN STUTTGART OPPOSE THE
VAST COST OF THE PROJECT; THE UNRELIABILITY OF COST PROJECTIONS. THE FACT
THAT GERMAN RAIL INC. NEGLECTS BRANCH LINES AND INVESTS MAINLY IN THE HIGH
SPEED LINES - WHICH IS AN INSANE AND ANTI-ECOLOGICAL PRIORITY THAT A FEW
BUSINESS PEOPLE RATHER THAN COMMUTERS PROFIT FROM.
BUT EVEN MORE, THE PEOPLE PROTEST
AGAINST THE FACT THAT GERMAN RAIL Inc. IS INTENT TO FELL ALL THOSE 300
or so TREES OF A DOWNTOWN PARK MORE THAN 200 YEARS OLD:
ALL FOR THE SAKE OF GETTING MARKETABLE;
"VERY VALUABLE" DOWNTOWN SITES FOR HIGH RISE OFFICE BUILDINGS.
THERE WERE SEVERAL DEMONSTRATIONS
ABOUT 3 WEEKS AGO, and the police proceeded very brutally against a sit-in
of pupils who tried to block access to the threatened trees.
7 year olds, 12 years old were
beaten up, their grandparents, who stood by, WERE WASHED FROM THE PAVEMENT
WHEN WATER-CANONS WERE USED. And , yes, the former president of the district
court (pensioned only this year) was brutally roughed up and wrote to the
ministry of the interior that he had expected to see such police brutality
only in countries like China.
More than 60 persons were jailed,
among them a 15 year-old girl and a 68 year old
man. About 100 people were hospitalized
and even now doctors fight to save the eyesight of two elderly persons
who suffer from tear gas being sprayed smack into their faces, at a distance
of possibly less than 2 or 3 feet. The organizers of that demonstration
have registered about 370 injured persons. A WRITER WHO STOOD NEAR-BY WHEN
THE POLICE OFFICER IN CHARGE ORDERED THE ATTACK HEARD THAT THE GUY SAID,
"CLEAR THE SQUARE - NO MATTER HOW".
On that FRIDAY NIGHT, 65,000 people
had demonstrated in Stuttgart. Two weeks ago, about 100,000 came and voiced
their protest THAT FRIDAY EVENING. SHOES WERE TOSSED AGAINST THE STATE
PARLIAMENT AND PEOPLE SHOUTED, "Liars! Liars!" PROBABLY BECAUSE OF
THE DISINFORMATION CAMPAIGN IN THE MEDIA THAT INITIALLY ATTEMPTED TO ATTRIBUTE
THE DEMONSTRATIONS TO POLITICAL TROUBLE-MAKERS RATHER THAN ORDINARY PEOPLE.
LAST FRIDAY MORE THAN 150,000 PEOPLE
CAME AND THEY DEMAND THAT THE STATE GOVERNMENT SHOULD RESIGN.
It's something we haven't seen
here before [
] The weekly DIE ZEIT even wrote that requests for grass
roots democracy have not got such a wide echo before, and that it threatens
rule by the elites, by "PARLIAMENTARY DEMOCRACY" WITH ITS ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES
THAT DON'T LISTEN ANYMORE TO THE COMMON PEOPLE ONCE THEY HAVE BEEN ELECTED.
Strange polarization - isn't it?
ON THE ONE HAND, successes of right-wing, xenophobic populists (in HOLLAND,
HUNGARY, ITALY, POLAND) - AND HERE there is AN ALLIANCE OF MIDDLE-OF-THE-ROAD
PEOPLE, VARIOUS LEFT-WING TENDENCIES as well as ECOLOGISTS and it BEGINS
TO ROCK THE BOAT.
ABOUT THREE WEEKS AGO THE GREEN
PARTY HAD OVERTAKEN THE SOCIAL-DEMOCRATS IN BADEN-WÜRTTEMBERG, obtaining
27 percent of the popular vote (IF AN ELECTION HAD BEEN HELD ON THAT DAY):
NOW THE POLLS SAY THEY WOULD GET 32 PER CENT.
The biggest losers are the governing
political forces in that state, CHRISTIAN DEMOCRATS and FREE DEMOCRATS.
The latter may not obtain 5 per cent any more and thus would drop out of
THE CDU (CHRISTIAN DEMOCRATIC UNION)
WOULD NOT GOVERN THE STATE FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE PROBABLY THE FOUNDATION
OF THE WEST GERMAN REPUBLIC.
A COALITION OF GREEN PARTY AND
SOCIAL DEMOCRATS IS LIKELY - with the latter as "junior partners"...VERY
] MAYBE I SHOULD NOT OVERRATE
WHAT HAPPENS IN STUTTGART. WE DON'T KNOW WHERE "THE TRAIN IS HEADING":
CATASTROPHY OR EMANCIPATION.
(From an email to an American scholar; Oct.11,
Warum ich heute Ihnen schreibe?
[...] Zum einen denke ich,
der Protest von unten derzeit
vor allem in
Stuttgart hat Solidarität
nötig, auch von DICHTERN.
Sie müssen meine Auffassung
nicht teilen, kein Autor muß das.
Aber haben Sie vielleicht ein Gedicht
oder mehrere Gedichte in der
Schublade, die auf diese Proteste
Bezug nehmen, antworten, die
etwas thematisieren, das sich auch
als darauf bezogen lesen ließe?
(To a German poet)
[...] ob Dich die Nachrichten aus
Stuttgart wohl in Italien erreichen [...],
hab ich gedacht, in diesen Tagen.
Was denkst Du, wenn Du hörst,
was dort geschieht? Es geht ja um
von der STADT; auch von der ART
der MITWIRKUNG der Bürger
an Entscheidungen, die ihre Entwicklung
betreffen, und von der BEDEUTUNG,
die der Rolle der BÜRGER in
diesem PROZESS beizumessen ist.
Es geht um bestimmte Interessen,
SOLL EINE STADT LEBENSWERT BLEIBEN,
vielleicht erst werden, oder soll
das, was sie lebenswerter machen
würde, dem projektierten "FORTSCHRITT",
den INTERESSEN GROSSER FIRMEN,
ihrer Sorge um ANBINDUNG AN
MODERNSTE INFRASTRUKTUR, ihrer
SORGE um SCHNELLE ERREICHBARKEIT, TEMPO, um "DEN STANDORTVORTEIL" geopfert
DARF BÜRGERBETEILIGUNG MILLIARDENPROJEKTKEN,
dem GESCHÄFT, das damit verbunden ist, auch der Immobilienspekulation,
in die QUERE kommen?
Mich hat das, was sich in den letzten
Tagen dort ereignete, zu einem GEDICHT
inspiriert. HÄTTEST DU LUST,
einen analytischen Text - VON DEINER WARTE AUS, Deinem Standpunkt Gehör
verschaffend - zu schreiben? MAN KÖNNTE NOCH EINIGE AUTOREN SUCHEN,
eine kleine Veröffentlichung ins Auge fassen?
(To a German scholar)