Death and Life

Death must be so beautiful. To lie in the soft brown earth, with

the grasses waving above one’s head, and listen to silence. To have no

yesterday, and no to-morrow. To forget time, to forget life, to be at peace.” (The Canterville Ghost, The Canterville Ghost|OSCAR WILDE|Free download|PDF EPUB|Freeditorial [Access: 15th February 2020])

Dear readers of my blog,

seeking consolation when ones loved ones or close relatives die is a painful process these days for for many death has become a taboo zone where to tread means to pass on uncharted territory. In fact, if you are Catholic or partly Catholic, Lutheran, for that matter, is also helpful, death in life is something you face much more often than if you have renounced religion altogether. Living in East Friesia, in that remote North-Western pocket of Germany, is also a help, for it is here that people still read death notices in the local paper and write letters even if they had not been sent a card. On one of those cards sent after the funeral I found this quotation which, having read Wildes tale ages ago, I only found vaguely familiar. At the time, he had already lost his sister, father, half-sisters and half-brother, so that as a young man he was very familiar with sorrow overwhelming the family.

All the same, I would not be writing in this manner if I had not suffered such a loss recently. It needed a Wildean trigger to be able to find words again, having missed out several occasions which, last year, I would not have skipped. So I failed to announce that four calendars in as many languages are now in progress in English, French, German, and Italian, and can be downloaded for free every fortnight.

Likewise, I have not yet published the prefaces in French and Italian. I am going to do so soon.

Nor did I find an occasion to comment on the Brexit date which had made 28 British subjects ask for German citizenship in the county of Leer, East Friesia, alone, as I learned from Sundays advertiser today. Normally, two people would do this in a year.

Not least did I have to skip the atrocious vote for the Prime Minister of Thuringia in the Diet of Erfurt on Wednesday, 5th February last. This is no harmless prank committed by inexperienced politicians. Rather, it is the result of a considerable lack of understanding for what is actually under way in our Berlin Republic.

Just imagine, this man born and bred in Aix-la-Chapelle who had announced only to stand in the third round when a majority of 50 percent plus one was no longer required, was voted into office by two parties who had said before they would never side with the right-wing party whose own candidate did not get a single vote in that round.

And there are still some who believe that this intrigue had not been prepared for months, while Chancellor Merkels party is in for another leadership fight, the second within 18 months, so that those who behave just like their Nazi predecessors – even in terms of looking for suitable dates in history when proceeding to act – can say they have once again shown the utter incapacity of the powers that be.

You only need to read and listen closely enough to understand what is at stake. And this is something that happened just a hundred years ago at the beginning of the 1920s when the defeat at the hands of the Allies and the vicious antisemitism combined to provide people with a political poison that as such for certain circles has never lost its potency. I am sure, these people who continue to spread Nazi propaganda about the Dresden bombing 75 years ago are also going to look for as many occasions as possible to turn history on its head: For them the Hitler coup on 9th November 1923 is a “highlight”, while it is a disgrace for everyone else. So be on the lookout and speak out where- and whenever you can.

In a very uncanny way, these people are more concerned with death than with life. And while the death of a loved person or a close relative is a sad event what it helps you to think of is that through undergoing sorrow you may also once again relive what happiness there was in the company of this person and for what you are personally indebted to him or her. Even if there were difficult times or only such moments, once fully remembered they may help to overcome ones sorrow. And, to conclude, this first blog, in a very important manner those political diehards have never even learned to feel sorrow, such is their obsession with violent, violent death, hatred, even self-hatred.

Oscar Wilde, however, as a man and as a writer, had to learn this lesson the hard way, being socially dead after his conviction on 25th May 1895, almost exactly 125 years ago. I missed the centenary of that date, being too involved with German history in that 50th anniversary year of the end of World War Two. Today, I see a clear correlation between what you remember individually and collectively, and that there is no real commemoration if the people concerned have not done their own personal work of sorrow.

Jörg W. Rademacher, 15th February 2020



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