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Syria: My Damask experience

2019-09-13T18:08:30.620Z

From the Stasi Museum to the Ishtar Gate: Anyone wandering around Berlin with Syrians will learn to see the city through strange eyes. To smell, to feel, to comprehend.



The Berlin Stasi Museum and the Ishtar Gate with Syrian Aghabani embroidery © Studio Khaled Barakeh after a photograph by Guevara Namer (2019)

Ichreise like to sound. Svaneti, Podolia are destinations of the promise that comes from the Word. Damascus also belongs in the series. I have never been there yet and I have no hope at the moment that I will conquer the city. But only the word creates stories in the head. Damask is in it and kiss. Discus and discourse.

Annett Gröschner lives as a writer and publicist in Berlin. She writes novels, short stories, essays, plays, radio features and reports. She is a member of the editorial staff of "10 to 8". © private

Damask is, if it is not a cheap copy of the chemical fiber, a very special substance. Invented in China and so widespread in Damascus that he received the name of the city, it has not been long since Syria has come. Not even from Upper Lusatia, where since 1666 the German damask looms were. Most likely again from China.

The mothers of my generation got damask as a dowry, in tablecloth size. Silk, worsted and linen, sometimes fine cotton formed shimmering patterns, only recognizable as such by oblique incidence of light. TheDamasttischdecke was put on special occasions. In the storey folds, dust had accumulated as a different colored, dull shimmer over a long period of lying, which formed spread regular squares with outward-curved ruled lines. Grandmother used to go to coffee parties on excursions and sometimes said the strange word "peace" for children. She could also have said "Damascus" in a low-pitched, amazed voice. Sometimes she spilled the red wine instead of drinking it, but never on purpose. On the tablecloths, the wine never drew into the fabric immediately, but first formed drops that became stains when Grandmother frantically tried to mop up the red wine with a cloth or napkin.

I already know the poetic outlines of Aleppo thanks to Widad Nabi, Myersyrian tandem partner in the project Continue writing. The one from Damascus still has to learn.

So I can not show a Damascus experience. Not in the double sense. Paul of Tarsus encountered the light phenomenon of the risen Jesus on his way to the city and was converted, from the persecutor of the early Christians to their apostle's divine mission. Popularly the Damascus experience was also called "vomSaulus zum Paulus". Or key experience. Or turn by 180 degrees.But damask experience sounds much nicer.

Although I have adapted some of my views from time to time, my view of the world has changed little, despite the peaceful revolution and the dramatic experience of reunification - 180 degree turn - and subsequent life in another social order. At the same time, this view has been consolidated in recent years. I could describe it in a sentence from Heiner Müller's piece Der Auftrag (and would, if it were mine, modify it): "As long as there are masters and slaves, our job is not done." I found the sentence on a weekend in June in the Dorotheenstädtischer cemetery. Someone had put the note wrapped in plastic wrap on the grave of Heiner Müller and weighed it down with a stone, perhaps from Hegel's grave, on whose gravestone many stones lay.

I could put it another way, with Franz Jung and his preparatory work for the book with the grandiose title The Technique of Happiness : "A small fraction less happy can not live on the exploitation of the many, the unfortunate. We must not only look at the world, we must they change until they are happy. "

Source: zeit

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