Germany is fast approaching the 30thanniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, which took the country and the world by surprise on November 9, 1989 (for more on how this actually came about, stay tuned for the book!) Unbeknownst to the rest of the world, for a tiny East German village 130 miles northwest… Read more The Villagers’ Rebellion
Syrian architect Mohamad Hafez was at the Fleming Museum recently to speak about how as a college student in Iowa back in 2004, he began to build miniature scenes of his native city, Damascus, to work through his homesickness. I’ve been thinking about his work a lot, so I finally wrote a commentary about it.
More contemplations from the borderland: Excerpts from Chapter 7 In the Middle Ages, Heimat was a legal term that meant someone had the right to settle, live, and follow their trade in a particular location. The word still has the meaning of home place, or the place a person is from. But most of the… Read more “This is my country”
(Click on the heading to get to the video link) An excellent little video showing what a ‘hard border’ would mean to the people of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
“A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.” (Section 2 (c) of the 1964 Wilderness Act) This certainly sounds like a good idea in an age where human… Read more “It’s complicated”: Borders and Wilderness
If you missed this post in English, you can find it here. Mit dem Lernen von Sprachen habe ich früh angefangen. Mein erstes Wörterbuch war ein Bündel vergilbter Seiten mit Listen russischer Wörter die meine Großvater väterlicherseits gehört hatten. Sie waren bei seiner persönlichen Habe, die meiner Großmutter geschickt wurde, nachdem er in einem Lazarett… Read more Britta Kowalski: Heimat
Today’s post is in German, at the request of some German readers. If you missed this post in English, you can find it here. Während meiner Expedition entlang des Grünen Bandes (der ehemaligen deutsch-deutschen Grenze) folgte ich einer Strategie, für die ich mir die Bezeichnung “strukturiertes Umherwandern” (Englisch “sauntering”) überlegt habe. Die 1400 km lange… Read more Silke Kowalski on Heimat (in German)
During my expedition along Germany’s death strip-turned-green-belt, I followed a strategy I came to think of as “structured sauntering.” The former border strip itself, with the help of a guidebook in my handlebar pouch and a GPS route in my phone, provided the geographical structure for my journey, from the Baltic coast in the north… Read more More on Heimat, and Sauntering, and Gratitude
Earlier this year, the German word Heimat made it into the New York Times. Heimat means home, homeland, or place of belonging – straightforward enough, you might think. But these are not straightforward times, which is why the word made it into the New York Times, and why Germany now has a Heimat minister, and why… Read more Reflections on Heimat
Sneak preview! This is an excerpt from Chapter 2 of my book-in-progress. In it, you will find out about the true flatlands and the true meaning behind June Seventeenth, a beloved summer holiday of my childhood that turned out to have an sinister history. Maybe one has to grow up in a flat landscape to… Read more The True Flatlands, and the True Meaning of a Childhood Holiday