Berlin, Stadt der Frauen #stadtderfrauen


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)

Joseph Nasi @ Altaj, Wu Ming

Altai, by Wu Ming, the story of A Venetian spy in Constantinople… Altai can also be read as another encounter with Gert from the Well…


.Guiseppe Nasi

#deconspiratie Voor wie het nog niet wist of zich herinneren kan. De Turken (Ottomanen ) werkten met Nederland samen tegen Spanje.

Maintaining contacts with William the Silent,[10] Nasi encouraged the Netherlands to revolt against Spain, a major adversary of the Ottoman Empire (the rebellion was ultimately carried out by the Union of Utrecht, as the start of the Eighty Years’ War).[11]

Meer over Nasi in Altja van Wu Ming

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#FiveSentenceFiction: Maps #Valleys #Normandy #Eu #1914

William and MatildeWe look at the map: in front of us runs the long road, above the shore, bordered by legendary harbours, and wildlife reserves.

Here Saint Laurent O’Toole came from green Ireland, and blessed the town where he now rests.

Here William took his future young bride, fair Mathilde, to the altar, and then, with his men, sailed across the sea to defeat Harold.

In the middle of the forest is the town, built by Gallo Romans traders and soldiers, for, in this country, there is no gap between the splendour of Rome and the new kingdom, between Caesar and Guillaume.

In the wide bay, flows the river Somme: the map shows on its banks the small crosses of the immense military cemeteries, where our grand fathers fell in infernos of fire and steel…

Image: memorial to William and his wife Mathilde, in Eu (Normandy)

© 2014 Honoré Dupuis

#DailyPrompt: A Tale of Two Cities ~ #Berlin and #Paris

If you could split your time…

DSC_0422 dsc_0033.jpg

Your past is both frightening and inspiring; along those avenues and in your museums lie some of the darkest secrets.

We remember, yet, often, today’s visitors are blissfully ignorant. Your beauty has survived the worse hours of Europe’s long history.

Those ghosts are our constant companions as we walk your streets, kiss in your parks, dream awake in the midst of your present…

We love the hopes and courage of your people.  And the souls of those who died to keep you free.

#FiveSentenceFiction: Pieces

JFK and Jackie Kennedy It looked complicated, and all at once, those who should have known better started circulating the worst stories; it was a cacophony of contradictory statements, false witnesses, and as ever, the mainstream media contributed actively to the confusion.

Yet the jigsaw was relatively simple: a young president had opposed the underworld’s evil lords, countered a threat from the traditional enemy, and made his fair share of vicious foes across what is often described as “the establishment”.

He was very different from his predecessors, and more different still from those pale puppets  who would succeed him: for many across the world, he was Hope.

Then, he was murdered, leaving behind him a sea of sorrow, a beautiful widow, and two small children who would spend the rest of their lives isolated from all the others.

People mourned, inconsolable, heads of states reflected on the fragility of life.

An Aut to Fraa Stephenson, author of Anathem

Anathem: (1) In Proto-Orth, a poetic or musical invocation of Our Mother Hylaea, which since the time of Adrakhones has been the climax of the daily liturgy (hence the Fluccish word Anthem meaning a song of great emotional resonance, esp. one that inspires listeners to sing along). Note: this sense is archaic, and used only in a ritual context where it is unlikely to be confused with the much more commonly used sense 2. (2) In New Orth, an aut by which an incorrigible fraa or suur is ejected from the math and his or her work sequestered (hence the Fluccish word Anathema meaning intolerable statements or ideas). See Throwback.

— the dictionary, 4th edition, A.R. 3000

My name is fraa Arturus the Laterran, tenner at the concent of Saunt Orolo. Ma family was on the Daban Urnud, and after the Second Reconstitution opted to join a colony of Laterrans on Arbre. Those folkes were later the builders of the shrine of Saunt Lise at Ecba. I was collected some thirty years after the founding of the concent by Saunt Erasmas (the Second) and Saunt Ala,  on the site of the launch pad rodded by the Geometers during that short war. By the time of my arrival it was no longer the original timber construction but a magnificent stone building, or rather walled town, almost rivalling the concent of Saunt Tredegarth in its splendour. Aged twenty at the time of my Eliger, I elected and was admitted to the Edharian Math of this concent. You can imagine my joy and pride then: following the steps of Saunt Orolo and Saunt Erasmas! Not a small feat for a descendant of poor Laterran farmers…

Saunt Lise on Ecba This is an important Apert for me as, for the first time in ten years, I am now leaving my concent, for a few years, to retrace, in reverse, the journey of Saunt Orolo, from this concent and over the northern waste, all the way to the concent of Saunt Edhar, for the pilgrimage of a lifetime. I will stop at Ecba to kneel at Saunt Lise’s shrine, visit the new Temple of Orithena, rereading the Dialog of Saunt Orolo and Saunt Erasmas, where they discuss quantum theorics, worldtracks and Saunt Grod’s Machines. On the long journey I will see again the terrible images of the sacrifice of the Valers, the poignant speelie of the return of their coffins and that of Saunt Lise, listen to the Anathem, and to the glorious aunt celebrating the Perelithian Liaison of then Fraa Erasmas and Suur Ala… I will meditate on the mysteries of the Hylean Flow and of the Mathic world that inspired Fraa Stephenson to write this immortal narrative of Fraa Erasmas’s quest.

#AtoZChallenge: April 13, 2013 ~ The Lady of the Lake

Viviane and Merlin Viviane, the Lady of the Lake, rules Avalon, the mysterious land of the Arthurian legend.  She bewitches young Merlin, the magus, who has fallen in love with her, his teacher.

Her gift to the young King Arthur is his sword, Excalibur.  She will raise Lancelot, the perfect knight, seeker of the Holy Grail, and for their fate, Queen Guinevere’s lover.

In the souls of celtic people (Welsh, Cornish, Breton) lingers the story of Joseph of Arimathea, who, according to the Gospel of Nicodemus, brought the blood of Christ our Saviour to Brittany.

In the legend Lancelot himself is named “Lancelot du Lac”, in memory of Viviane, his adoptive mother.

The Lancelot-Graal project

Arthur and Lancelot

#AtoZChallenge: April 8, 2013 ~ Giant

James Dean in GiantThe year is 1956George Stevens directed the film.  Edna Ferber wrote the book. Through the magic of technicolor the hues of the Texan skies reach us, as in a dream.  There is evil, of course, but there is love and personal courage also, in abundance, and we know that evil will be overcome.  This world is still young, or at least this is what the enthusiasm of the actors would have us believe.  But we know that they, themselves, are on their way to their own tragedies:  James Dean had died on 30 September 1955 before the release, Rock Hudson would later succumb to the dark side of his legend, and Liz Taylor would soon meet her Nemesis and greatest love. This was America, under the shadow of the Bomb, but hopeful, prosperous, and peaceful: America before the horror, and before the fall.  Lord, in Your Mercy…

#Pantheon~of~Heroes: Jeanne

Joan's trial It may have been this article, or just the sharp frost, this morning, that reminded me of the frozen earth, of the siege of Orléans, of the peasant infantry calling your name in the icy air of the medieval winter, in the year of grace 1429… For us, in our personal Pantheon of Heroes, you are la Pucelle, the martyr who wrote, on the pyre, the last chapter of the French chivalry, the ultimate woman.

It the midst of the legend you are the figure of hope, triumphant over darkness, the tortured Virgin. Of your death we know more, simply because the Inquisition, like their successors through the centuries, kept a meticulous record of your passion.

“Even while she was alive, but far more so after her death, the heroic part of her story sparked narratives of all kinds, in pictures, ballads, plays and also satires – most notoriously by Voltaire. But more, far more, followed the publication in 1841-49 of the proceedings of the Inquisition trial which had examined Joan for witchcraft and heresy. The transcript gives us the voice of this young woman across the centuries with almost unbearable immediacy; her spirit leaps from the page, uncompromising in its frankness, good sense and courage, and often breathtaking in its simple effectiveness. Some of her answers are justly famous. Asked if she was in a state of grace, she answered: ‘Si je le suis, que Dieu m’y garde; si je ne le suis pas, que Dieu m’y mette.’ (‘If I am, may I remain so. If I am not, may God put me there.’)”

I know the dark forests of the Ardennes, where you were born, in the province of Lorraine, also called Lothringen. I know you were 19 years of age when they murdered you. And it took them until 1920 to make you a saint of their church. 1920! I know also, deep inside, that since 1431 your spirit has lived on.

What else is there to say: images of legend, the consecration of Charles VII in Reims, the siege lifted in nine days, the treachery that condemned you to the stake, your martyrdom in Rouen… So, every year, on 30 May, on our knees, wherever we are, we pray to your eternity.

Further reading:

Marina’s article: “Everybody’s Joan”

St Joan’s International Alliance, a Catholic body that was founded by suffragettes and is recognised today by both the Vatican and the UN, celebrated its centenary in 2011, and still distinguishes itself by its progressive campaigning for equal rights for men and women, focusing especially on contemporary problems – female circumcision, trafficking, poverty – and the persistent exclusion of women from the Catholic priesthood.”

Her trial


Carl Th. Dreyer’s film on YouTube