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Berlin, Stadt der Frauen #stadtderfrauen

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Until 28 August the Stadt Museum exhibition, “Stadt der Frauen“, offers in sound and pictures twenty biographies of talented, heroic, sometimes outrageous, human beings, who lived in Berlin, all women.

As is the case almost everywhere in the world, it is mostly men who have written Berlin’s history. In politics, culture and architecture, they have shaped our perception of the city’s evolution. But this is not the whole story.

Even 150 years ago, Berlin was a place where many things could be done that seemed impossible elsewhere – particularly for women. This exhibition presents the life stories of 20 women, showing how they cast off the corset of societal constraints, what they experienced and how they helped to shape the city’s history.

Don’t miss it is you are in the city. From the socialists of the pioneering period preceding World War 1, to the Trümmerfrauen of 1945, go and have a look at courage and grit.

Photo: Trümmerfrau, inspired by Anni Mittelstädt, chairwoman of the Klub der Berliner Trümmerfrauen (Berlin Women’s Rubble-Clearers Club)

Longing #exit #City

Deutscher Dom, Gendarmen Markt
Deutscher Dom, Gendarmen Markt

 

Maybe one day we will miss the fog, the infernal traffic, the idiotic media, the inept politics… Of course, you might say it’s the same over there. I smile. It can’t be, and even if it were I long for the new, not the old.

We want to ride through the tree-lined streets, in a city where riding is the way to see, to go places. We want to visit the angels, the memorials to heroes, all the history of centuries past, to hear their tales, their longing too. We want to buy our meals at the corner of busy lanes, on markets overflowing with the richness of the South, sit in small cafés listening to jazz, building in our minds a limitless future.

Maybe we want even more, who knows, this is Faust’s city…

Liminal #writephoto

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We love the valley, the grey rocks arising from the ancient land, and the forest. Here they lived, a life of danger, of icy winters, of suffocating summers, but also of intimacy and joy. Where did they come from, and where did they go? We shall never know, their tradition was oral, only their dwellings and graves remain, empty, as a testimony to a past and a people distant from us, but in some way so close.

Thursday Photo Prompt – Liminal – #writephoto

 

The City knows #WritersWednesday

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She never forgets: the humble swamps of the beginnings, the far away sounds of war, the medieval cruelties, the triumphs, the parades, the Enemy at the gates…

Then there was the long war – thirty years of destruction, rape, pestilence and ruins. Out of this came a stronger state, and she was the capital. The Soldiers” King – Soldaten König – made her powerful, perhaps a little agressive too. She knows what the fate of his son was, the sweet Friedrich, and Russia: a predicament for the next two centuries.

She remembers the Corsican invader, who would have feared Friedrich, and would lose his pride, and an empire, in the snows and fires of Moscow. And she loved Schinkel, the master architect, he who gave her the cross – on the hill: Kreuzberg, and what followed, the victories, the invincible army, the birth of the Reich, the Iron Cross.

Of the First World War she only remembers the trains full of enthusiastic soldiers, and then the revolution, machine guns in the street, Spartakus, the bloodbath, the corpses thrown into the canal.

Of the long night that started not so much later, she speaks often, soberly. So many sad memories, all those little brass stones on her pavements – so many human beings taken away, old and young, and burnt. The memorials, the thousands buried in her parks. Yes, the trees, fallen soldiers, reborn to adorn her streets.

Of the wall of division, yesterday really, a few seconds ago in her life, she knows all, and now she sees the builders, the speculators, the newcomers.

She sees us, my love, and is willing to tell us her stories. We will listen to her, in awe.

 

Prelude #Cityscape

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Exploring a city is like discovering a lover: the unknown sounds, the long avenues, the blind windows so much like eyes shut, the undecipherable scents… Then there are the enticing corridors, the forbidden cellars, the lovely peaceful cafés hidden behind trees, as islands of lust. The city does not yield easily: one has to be patient, one has to enjoy the foreplay, wait for the moment, the right time, observe and love.

The city is full of strangers, as many alive and as many ghosts, like the thoughts and dreams in the mind of the one we seek, as puzzling and provocative. She has its angry, even furious, side: thunder and lightning, when the pavements become hostile, the noise unbearable. She can reject the presumptuous, ignore the fool, she’s sovereign on her territory, she does not forgive.

Although many claim to possess her, she has no master. She has seen murder and rape, she knows much about war, about invaders… In our eyes she’s more alive than ever, risen from the flat sands, slowly stretching her wonderful limbs…

Image: via lightsindarkuniverselightsindarkuniverse.tumblr.com

Nightmare #TheDailyPost

Not sure how to participate?

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You haunt our nights, not the you, seductive, smooth, sexy, not the one we meet in full daylight, but the one whom we cannot name. We see you in the shadow, beyond those trenches, beyond the cloud of blood and murder: for you are the Enemy, armed and pitiless, the one we, humans, fear.

And yet we fight, under a sky without light, where no stars shine. We fight and sometime push you back, you and your legions, and then we have to take shelter, in the depth of night, carrying our dead comrades with us…

There is no end, this fight will last forever, as dawns succeed to nights, and we pretend to live, and then the nightmare begins, again.

Image: Crow and Moon, by Valya. 2016, via valya47

Guest #TheDailyPost

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.

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I cannot recall when you came. Probably long ago. Probably in one of those moments of sadness, of pain, perhaps of love. You stayed. You shaped my thoughts, my feelings. Nothing has been the same since.

“The same”? Do I mean, before I knew? Or simply before awareness came? We are not alone. And you are many. Are you from this world, or from the next? Are you beyond time, juggling souls, from one to another?

Image: Patrick Gomersall – All these things, via tauchner

 

A wall, and a tower #BerlinDiary, July 10

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In my street the only trace of the Mauer is the brass inscription on the pavement. All round everything is new: Berlin is being rebuilt, or renovated, but trees also are planted, here in Mitte, and elsewhere in this fascinating city. In the evening a fine rain started, veiling the profile of the television tower, built in the DDR days, and one the vantage points of the city (I prefer the monument to the victories of 1814-15 in Viktoria Park.)

I went earlier in an exploration of the centre, from the Columbiadamm in Tempelhof, the Alte Jacobsstraße, in Kreuzberg, to Seestraße in Wedding. To get a sense of who the city really is, one has to walk, or cycle. There is a lot of this in perspective…

Landmarks, in stone or time, are everywhere. 17 June, the Landwehr Kanal, Museeumsinsel, Kennedy’s speech at the Schöneberg Rathaus… An eagle still stands proudly on the façade of the old airport building in Tempelhof, on Luftbrückeplatz…

Island #TheDailyPost #BerlinDiary, July 3

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.

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We are ready, almost. A lot to pack, a lot still to plan. Will it be Wedding, or Schöneberg, or Tempelhof? The search will continue for the next few months. But now we have a foothold!

So, soon, we will be leaving this little foolish island. Maybe forever? We don’t know. The present atmosphere does not give us reasons to stay! And then we have so much to do, far from the politicking of monkeying politicians and their media puppets…

The diary to write, the photos to take, the novel to restart!

And you, my dear, to worship as ever…

Photography: Pelikan Haus, Ritterstr., Berlin-Kreuzberg, © 2016 Honoré Dupuis

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