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Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Past & The Present

I am German. I was born decades after World War II. I grew up around the world, which early on gave me an idea of what most people thought of Germans. Being taunted with unflattering names by other kids was one way I found out, another clear message came via movies and television. From the terrorists in Die Hard to the kidnappers in The Big Lebowski the bad guys were always German.
This changed after 9/11. Not completely (how many times the war was evoke when analyzing German soccer this summer, I stopped counting), but mostly.
Now every Muslim is suspect.
But let's get back to my ethnicity. I am German, which means that I was educated about the Holocaust and World War II starting in elementary school. Germany history is not something that Germans (nor should we) can escape.
So when I hear suggestions of seizing 45-51 Park Place I become alarmed.


maja said...

Growing up, I was brought up to love and respect everyone except for Germans and priests. Then I moved to NYC and my first high school friend was a German - you. My second a Muslim. In the Balkan was, half of my people killed tons of Muslims. Hatred towards nations and religions are a product of our fears and feelings of inferiority. We should learn to think for our selves and not tap into the collective paranoia - that's where the damage starts in all countries and religions. To an atheist being Muslim, Jewish, Christian is the same thing - another way to control our thoughts, money and to tell us what we should believe in. Believe in respect for each other.
- maja

nina said...

Hi Maja! I often think if everyone could go to a school like UNIS, where you meet people from everywhere, the world would be a better place.

Rona Chang said...

I was listening to the "Shouting Across the Divide" episode of This American Life and thinking about the proposed mosque downtown. It's a sad political fight that is sending out a negative and sad message.