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Preview: Arnon Grunberg - Blog

Arnon Grunberg - Blog



The day-to-day life of Arnon Grunberg



 



Bitterness

Tue, 24 Jan 2017 06:37:31 +0100

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Statue

Norimitsu Onishi in Monday's International NYT on Namibia and its colonial wounds:

"Professor Zuern said the German-Namibian community was stuck in the past. Unlike Germans, who have slowly come to terms with their colonial past, many German-Namibians reflexively seek to defend the era, minimize its harmful legacy or even deny the genocide, she said. In public — and even more so in community meetings held in German — some German-Namibians still express the kind of racist views that would be unthinkable in South Africa or other neighboring countries, Professor Zuern said.

Six years ago, the most prominent statue of the German colonial era was toppled from a hill overlooking Windhoek, the capital. The equestrian monument, known as the Reiterdenkmal, showed a soldier on horseback, commemorating the Schutztruppe, or protection force, which played the main role in putting down the challenge to German rule.

The equestrian monument was moved to make way for a North Korean-built independence museum that is a paean to Swapo’s liberation movement. It is now in storage inside the courtyard of a nearby German fortress, a source of enduring bitterness for many Namibians of German descent."

Read the article here.

Ah, the German-Namibian community, I remember my first trip to Namibia in 2005.

The German-Namibian community is somehow avant-garde. What's flooding Europe and the Western World now, 19th century nationalism, 19th century dreams of national purity and a hatred of the other, has been always rather common in this community.

I have to go back to Swakopmund in the near future.

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Palate

Sun, 22 Jan 2017 22:11:10 +0100

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Human

Dinner in Hanting in The Hague.
My friend said: "It wasn't very French, it was obviously influenced by the Chinese cuisine."
I said: "It wasn't very Chinese, it was more French."
"Well," my friend said, "it was subtle enough for my palate."
Hanting is worth visiting, and the food was definitely prepared by humans.

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Anything

Sat, 21 Jan 2017 18:42:39 +0100

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New

Der Spiegel on the new world order:

'Still, it's clear that Merkel desperately needs a plan for how she should react to the challenge of Trump's presidency. In Europe, the time for merely talking about community has passed: It's time for a plan that combines an unavoidable deepening of foreign and security policies with greater national autonomy in other political areas. The Euro Zone needs a common economic policy, for example, with a budget and finance minister of its own. And Merkel needs to think about what long-term position she should take on trade balance surpluses. Germany's export strength is a trademark of its economy, but it is also a significant nuisance to the country's European partners and a target for Trump's protectionist rhetoric. Demands for Germany to increase domestic demand will only grow.

More than anything, though, Germany needs to try as best it can to stand up for the values that Trump is openly questioning. If Merkel stays strong on those issues, it will become more difficult for the new strongman in the White House to carry out his attacks on the liberal order at home.

Trump is the end of the world as we know it -- that much is clear. Or, as the Economist recently wrote: "Things could get much worse."'

Read the article here.

We should not bury the postwar order too early, perhaps this order will turn out to be a new Weimar but I hope that this time the centre will hold a bit longer.

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Fear

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 17:48:18 +0100

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Off

A sticker in my hotel room under the light switch: "This room is not afraid of darkness."
So what's this room afraid of?
Is this room in urgent need of therapy?
Then I switched off the light.

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Talk

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 17:59:39 +0100

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Change

Off to The Hague to talk about Trump and ISIS. Something else for a change.

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Questions

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 07:19:57 +0100

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Hesitation

My krav maga coach said: "You love pain, don't you?"
"No, not really," I answered.
He hesitated a bit, then he said: "Well, I think you love pain."

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Worst

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 06:14:28 +0100

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Rational

Krugman in Monday's Times:

"What we’re looking at, all too obviously, is an American kakistocracy — rule by the worst."

(Read the article here).

Things in the US are always a bit more extreme than in the rest of the Western world, but it seems to that the kakistocracy on the rise in many countries.

The electorate is rational and angry, or so people say. Anyhow, the voters appear to be in love with the idea of a kakistocracy. Bad is not bad enough, only the worst of the worst evokes passions in us.

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Recent

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 05:44:04 +0100

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Some

Some of the waiters in my favorite restaurant started calling me "professor". I'm not sure what this means, probably that they think that I've gone mad.

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Absent

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 06:13:38 +0100

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Stages

"In a letter to her absent daughter, she likens maternal love to an addiction, and the second half of her story follows the familiar, agonizing stages of recovery, relapse and at least partial or potential redemption."

A.O. Scott on Almodóvar’s movie "Julieta", based on three stories by Alice Munro.

The addiction is not so much maternal love I would say, but the desire to abandon and to be abandoned. Needless to say that some are more addicted than others.
Watching "Julieta" is definitely not a waste of time.

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Outcome

Sun, 15 Jan 2017 06:14:50 +0100

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Arrangements

The Brexit, a comedy, according to Christoph Scheuermann in Der Spiegel:

'In addition to the prime minister, one other person will stand at center stage in Britain next year who not many people outside of Westminster know -- a man with white hair, a high forehead and a malicious smile. David Davis enters a conference room in parliament on a cloudy afternoon. As Brexit minister, it's his job to make the best of the chaos. Twenty-one members of parliament on the Exiting the European Union Committee are staring out at him from the semi-circle. The parliamentarians are the checks and balances on Davis and his ministry. Unfortunately, there's not much for them to monitor at the moment -- for Davis, too, lacks a plan. Perhaps that explains his easygoing approach.

The first question asked this day is: When will Davis present his plan for Brexit negotiations?

"As soon as we can," Davis says, but it will be unlikely before February.

Is he seeking a transitional arrangement until a free trade agreement is ready?

"It depends what you mean by transitional arrangements," he responds.

And what would happen if Britain were unable to come to an agreement with the EU after two years?

"We'll do contingency planning for all the likely outcomes," he says. He doesn't offer anything more concrete.

Davis is 68 and negotiating Brexit could well be his last job. Why should he allow his mood to be spoiled at the twilight of this career? He speaks of Turkey, the customs union, Gibraltar and the European Medicines Agency with the unconcerned attitude of a man about to go into retirement. His ministry employs 330 people, the best his country has to offer, he says. After two hours and 123 questions, the members of the committee leave just about as informed as they were when they arrived.'

Read the article here,

Theresa May may say that she is working hard to make the Brexit happen, but it appears that most of the establishment in the UK is working hard for the continuation of the status quo with other names.

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