I couldn't have been much farther away from Germany, and yet Germany always manages to catch up with you no matter where you are.It was Michel Gaissmayer, a cultural manager of sorts who invites me at regular intervals to go to "Hinterm Horizont" ("Beyond the Horizon"), a musical by the German rock star Udo Lindenberg that he was involved in.The East Germans have produced successful actors and writers and popular musicians, as well as the host of Fernsehgarten, a popular TV show on the public broadcaster ZDF.The most popular East German TV star is a comedian who goes by the stage name Cindy aus Marzahn (Cindy from Marzahn) and wears a pink tracksuit.
However, in the long term, it can't possibly be acceptable for the competent, hands-on East Germans to almost never be in positions of power."Your friend Reinhard Lakomy died yesterday." Reinhard Lakomy was a singer from East Berlin. I had to think of that experience recently when Peer Steinbrück, the Social Democratic chancellor candidate for the upcoming elections, fathomed the soul of the East German voter. Like Merkel, I spent the first half of my life in the GDR, and I have no recollection of ever having developed a European vision there.He had long white hair and a moustache, and in the days of the former communist East Germany, he was famous for a record called "Traumzauberbaum" ("Magical Dream Tree"). "In any case," Gaissmayer said, "I'm very sorry." Michel Gaissmayer is an old West German who had close ties to the German Democratic Republic (GDR) when the Berlin Wall was still standing. Steinbrück had criticized Chancellor Angela Merkel for not being a European visionary and not being able to give great speeches. And I hardly knew anyone else with a European vision, either.I had never owned the record and couldn't recall ever having spoken with Lakomy. This experience seems to have taught him that all of us East Germans know each other. Moreover, I don't remember that there were many fans of great speeches in the East.
We had other priorities at the time, and there are certain things that aren't easy to learn later in life.
Almost 25 years after the Berlin Wall fell, a profound sense of otherness endures between residents on both sides of the former divide.