Couples would be allowed to have two children now, the BBC reports, quoting Xinhua coverage.
The following is a translation of an article published by Enorth, an official online news portal for Tianjin municipality. Explanatory notes put into [square brackets]. Links within blockquotes inserted during translation. Mistakes during translation likely.
Enorth — He was fifteen at the time of the Nanjing massacre, and witnessed the panic and helplessness of the refugees who had escaped from there, and the bloody images of Japanese soldiers hunting the common people of Nanjing. He gave up the pen for the sword, and as a member of the Whampoa / Huangpu Branch Seventeen, joined the Chinese Expeditionary Force and fought in the battle of Taungoo, the fiercest in the defense war of Myanmar, he’s the only Tianjiner still living and in good health who was part of the Chinese Expeditionary Force – the War of resistance against Japan veteran Yang Cenfeng. On December 13, 2014, the first day of commemoration [of the Nanjing massacre] held in China, 93-year-old Yang Cenfeng told us this dark period in history 77 years ago, which no Chinese people can ever forget.
Nanjing falls, Blood colors the Yangtze River
Seventy-seven years ago, Yang Cenfeng was in senior high school and living in a family of seven, in Wuhu, next to the Yangtze River. This was a gateway to Nanjing, with only some ninety kilometers between there and Nanjing. After the Japanese had occupied Nanjing, the burning, killing and looting started, and some lucky Nanjingers fled in panic to Wuhu, which, although peaceful, saw the Japanese soldiers coming nearer with each passing day.
At the time, everyone had heard about the disaster of Nanjing, and hated and feared the Japanese. And in fear, the people of Wuhu spent the Spring Festival days of 1938.
“I remember the day of Spring Festival, we were just having a somewhat gloomy family reunion dinner. Just when the meal came onto the table, the air-raid sirens went off, and Japanese airplanes passed through, dropping bombs. At the time, the planes flew at particularly low heights, and I could clearly see the Japanese flag underneath the wings. They bombed unscrupulously, strafing here and there, and whereever they went, they left ruins, and seas of fire”, Yang Cenfeng said.
When the Japanese army approached Wuhu, many common people of Wuhu also fled into all directions, placing their hopes on the New Fourth Army on the northern side of the Yangtze River.
Yang Cenfeng’s recollections continue with a description of how people fleeing Wuhu and waiting for the ferry to the northern banks of the Yangtze – the place densely crowded – were bombed by Japanese warplanes, with countless numbers of people dying on the riverside, or dying in the river. How many people actually died, Yang Cenfeng doesn’t know, but he remembers how the water of the river turned red from the blood, from people who had come there to seek survival.
Yang Cenfeng’s family leapt from death back into life, finding survival in a small village in Jiangbei [here, geographically and literally: north of the Yangze River] under the protection of the New Fourth Army. At the time, a political instructor named Huang left an unforgettable impression on Yang Cenfeng.
“He put us into groups of, say, forty to fifty students, he told us that ‘young students should protect and defend China’, put us into a few groups so that we would stand guard, and taught us many songs to boost our morale.
Instructor Huang’s lessons turned Yang Cenfeng to the idea of giving up the pen for the sword, and after a stay of four or five months in the village, he enrolled at the Huangpu Military Academy’s Southern Anhui [皖南 stands for Anhui-south]. Together with fourteen classmates, all eye witnesses of the Japanese invaders’ atrocities, walked more than 150 kilometers in four days, and reached the administrative office in Tunxi in southern Anhui, and joined the army to join the resistance against Japan.
“My family wouldn’t let me go, so I secretly took three silver dollars from home and went to Tunxi with my classmates.”
But an application for [entrance] exams required graduation from senior high school. Lacking qualification, Yang Cenfeng and his classmates, with their own determination and willpower to resist Japan, impressed the school and were finally admitted to the exams. Going through layers of selection with subjects of literature, math, English, politics etc., Yang Cenfeng and ten of the classmates who had traveled with him entered Huangpu Military Academy.
Having become a student of the Huangpu Branch Seventeen, and because of the Japanese closing in, southern Anhui became into imminent danger, and to protect the young seed of resistance against Japan and national salvation, the Branch Seventeen had to be transferred to Chengdu in Sichuan. After a four-months walk, Yang Cenfeng and his classmates arrived in Chengdu, and began their life of learning there.
The article / its rendition of Yang Cenfeng’s memories describes the year of 1941 as the peak of the Japanese war, with Academy students becoming replaces for soldiers who lost their lives or their fitness to fight. After two years at the academy, Huang joined the 96th Division of the Fifth Army of the Chinese Expeditionary Force as a platoon leader and a second lieutenant (少尉排长).
The Chinese Expeditionary Force is described as a model of China cooperating directly with military allies, and also claims that this had been the first time ever that Chinese troops had left the country to fight in a war (这是中国与盟国直接进行军事合作的典范，也是甲午战争以来中国军队首次出国作战 …). In the three years and three months of Chinese involvement in the China Burma India Theater, China deployed some 400,000 soldiers, 200,000 of who became casualties, the article says, and describes the battles in which Yang Cenfeng took part as the fiercest in the defense of Burma / Myanmar. The battle of Taungoo is described as Yang Cenfeng’s most agonizing and most deeply-felt experience of Japanese troops’ brutality (他一生中最惨痛的经历，也是最深刻感受到日本军队残忍的一幕).
Withdrawal to Savage Mountain, Supporting the Flying Tigers
But because of a Japanese breakthrough at the British flank, the 200th and 96th divisions of the Chinese Expeditionary Force were surrounded, and after defending to the last for eight days and eight nights, Tonggu could still not be held. In the end, after breaking through the encirclement into the endless virgin forests of Savage Mountain, the 96th Division went through Putao in northernmost Myanmar and entered Yunnan province, returning home.
Looking back at the breakthrough at Savage Mountain, Yang Cenfeng says that rather than a way out, it was another dead end. Behind them, the enemy forces pursuing them, in front of them, the virgin forests as a no man’s land with all kinds of venomous serpents, wild animals, and disease awaiting them.
“You won’t believe it, but there were ants as long as your fingers,” Yang Cenfeng says. “Diseases claimed many lives, and it was even worse for the few women soldiers. They became unable to walk and had to lie on the naked ground to wait for death to come.”
There are people who have recorded this kind of miserable story: 1,500 wounded and ill soldiers were unable to go with the troops’ withdrawal, but didn’t want to be captured and humiliated. They set themselves on fire and became martyrs …..
In the end, with astonishing willpower, the 96th Division completed its roundabout route in 35 days, through the northern Myanmar Savage Mountain, across more than 300 kilometers, with less than half of them making their way home.
After returning to Kunming, Yang Cenfeng’s troops were deployed to protect Kunming airport, working with the famous “Flying Tigers”. Finally, after completing the northern Burma counter attack, thus reopening the international traffic line, safeguarding a stream of international support into China and driving the Japanese army out of southwestern China, after clamping down on and inflicting heavy losses on the Japanese troops in northern Myanmar and Yunnan province, creating favorable conditions for the allied forces, to open the battleground for the counter-attack on Japan.
In remarks at the end of the article, the Enorth reporter describes Yang Cenfeng as looking younger than his age (92 or 93), as saying that the party and the state were showing great concern and care for him, and that he was very satisfied. His hobbies are also mentioned, as shown in the pictures within the article. But he would never forget his painful war experiences, the brothers in arms he lost, and he would always utterly detest the atrocities committed by the Japanese invaders.
He says that his survival was luck. He therefore cherishes the era of peace, and he can’t forgive people who distort history.
As a veteran of the war of resistance against Japan, he feels encouraged by the establishment of a national day of commemoration and warns coming generations that history must not be forgotten, to be vigilant about the stirring between the dry bones of Japanese militarism, to use history as a guide, to strengthen our motherland, and to achieve the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
» Wartime childhood, Sept 7, 2009
China Radio International‘s Mandarin service renders a newslet by China News Service (中国新闻社), China’s second-largest state-owned newsagency after Xinhua, on the field of public diplomacy.
Original title: Ethnic Chinese Laotians go to Yunnan to experience Chinese culture
CRI Online news: according to China News Service, the “2013 China is alright – the perfect Yunnan summer camp” has started in Kunming, with fourty campers and group leaders from Chinese schools in Laos. It is scheduled to go on for ten days. Apart from developing [an awareness or knowledge of, apparently] Yunnan ethnic culture, knowledge of China, and exchange, the overseas Chinese students will also experience Yunnan province’s local conditions and customs.
With Chinese-Laotian cooperation growing closer and the surging “Chinese language fever” in Laos, more and more ethnic Chinese and Laotians want to understand the Chinese way of life and traditional culture. Luo Bailan, a teacher and group leader with the camp, says that the Chinese schools in Laos are continuously adjusting their educational methods, to allow the students to learn by experience.
Chinese Language and Culture Education Foundation of China deputy secretary general Li Xianguo says that “China is alright” is an important part of the foundation’s “Young Ethnic Chinese Chinese Culture Heritage Project”.
The State Council Information Office (SCIO) is more elaborate, adding that most of the students haven’t been to Yunnan before. Even though it has been rainy for days, and temperatures in the spring city [i. e. Kunming] are a bit low, this hasn’t affected the campers’ high spirits in the least. They are reading the course schedules of the camp reader, excitedly discuss the coming lessons and the tourist attractions. A student tells the SCIO reporter that he is most interested in poetry recital and calligraphy, and in touring the Stone Forest, the birthplace of Ashima:
“We also want to experience the culture of national minorities in the Yunnan Nationalities Village I don’t know a lot about national minorities and hope to experience a lot of interesting things”, Lin Yingcai says in fluent Chinese.
Many Laotians and Burmese and Cambodians and North Koreans see China as a promised land, Joshua Kurlantzick wrote in his 2007 book Charm Offensive (p. 137). And America, he warned, had earned itself a bad image in the past, and was still doing so:
For decades, the United States still did not grant Laos normal trading relations, though Laos’s human rights record was no worse than the record of China, with whom America traded vigorously. American sanctions on Laos infuriated Lao officials, who didn’t understand why such a big country like the United Stateswould punish a minnow – especially since during the Vietnam War, America had dropped more bombs on Laos than it dropped on Germany and Japan together during World War II, leaving Laos riddled with unexploded ordnance.
(Kurlantzick, p. 59)
Jiang Zemin visited Laos in November 2000, reportedly the first visit by a Chinese head of state. In November 2006, Jiang’s successor Hu Jintao followed up, and moved China Radio International (CRI) one step ahead of the BBC and the VoA, by pushing a button for a rebroadcasting FM station – the inauguration ceremony was reportedly broadcast live, as the rebroadcaster’s first program ever:
So, Vientiane listeners, for the first time, clearly and vividly heard the the warm voice of state chairman Hu Jintao, a visitor from a friendly neighbor.
A CRI official said that the friendly relations between China and Laos created good conditions for CRI’s operations in Laos. According to the official, the Laotian government’s approval of CRI’s Vientiane frequency was one of only few. Before, the BBC and the VoA had applied for frequencies to the Laotian government, but had received no approval.
Saturday was gaokao day in China again, the nation-wide national higher education entrance examinations. More than nine million Chinese teenagers sat down and took a test that would determine much of their future lives.
But there’s an alternative, according to the Guardian – British qualification tests can be taken at Chinese schools, too. (Not sure if that’s true for all Chinese schools.)
It would seem however that this is mainly providing kids with rather wealthy backgrounds with an alternative to the usual procedure.
About two weeks earlier, exams on a smaller scale took place: the China Accreditation Test for Translators and Interpreters [全国翻译专业资格（水平）考试]. The accreditation test website also contains some information in English.
That one was also conducted on a weekend, of course, on May 25 and 26. On all other days of the week, people have to study. In Beijing, the tests included spoken translation on Saturday, and written translation on Sunday
The test material is published by the Foreign Languages Press.H/t to this post by Huolong (who is somewhat critical of the material).
Activeley develop Domestic and Foreign High-End Cartoon Industry, “Going out” in Great Strides (积极开拓国内外高端市场动漫产业大步“走出去”)
Links within quotes and blockquotes added during translation.
China needed to build a sound, modern culture market system, the “Culture Document” (or “cultural decision”), approved by the 6th plenary session of the 17th Central Committee, stipulated in October 2011.
The focus must be on the development of books and other publications, digital audio and video products, performing arts and entertainment, television series, cartoons, animation, and [computer] games, and similar markets, for the further perfection of a comprehensive international Chinese platform on fairs and exhibitions, etc.
According to Shijiazhuang News Net (石家庄新闻网), the local cartoon industry is doing just that:
Since 2006 , under the close attention of the CCP municipal committee and the municipal government, our city’s cartoon industry has developed rapidly, and achieved notable results in satisfying the city’s needs of spiritual civilizsation, in spreading advanced culture, in enriching the masses’ lives, promoting the healthy adolescence of the young, and fostering the growth of a new economy. During the past seven years, no matter if established by locals or by companies who came to Shijiazhuang from elsewhere, they have enjoyed all the benefits of Shijiazhuang’s cartoon-industry policies, environment, and prospects. On this foundation, “cartoons made in Shijiazhuang” have gained the courage to display themselves, to develop markets, and with the advantages in branding, high-end orientation and originality, they have drawn widespread attention from industries at home and abroad.
2006年以来， 在市委、市政府的高度重视下，我市动漫产业迅速发展，在满足市民精神文化需求、传播先进文化、丰富群众生活、促进青少年健康成长、培育新的经济增长点方 面，取得了显著成效。7年来，无论是本土动漫企业还是来石创业的动漫公司，都享受到了石家庄动漫产业政策、环境、前景的利与好。 在此基础上，“石家庄原创动漫”勇于展示自我、敢于开拓市场，以品牌化、高端化、原创化的优势，引起了国内外业界的广泛关注。
By Shijiazhuang Newsnet reporter Wang Xin
As the saying goes, good wine needs no bush*). However, this doesn’t apply in today’s increasingly competitive markets. After several years of development and carefully ripening the wine, its sweet smell attracts many investors and company founders. At the same time, cartoonists from Shijiazhuang also seize the opportunities of actively exploring domestic and foreign markets, to take Shijiazhuang cartoons to bigger arenas.
The Shijiazhuang Animation Institute‘s (石家庄动漫协会), that of the beneficial support of the city government and the conducive industrial environment had all become the envy of companies elsewhere, according to Shijiazhuang Newsnet. “Publicity” (宣传) and promotion had made Shijiazhuang’s cartoon industry better known in China and abroad, making people coming to Shijiazhuang to seek cooperation. A Western Australian Film Office (西澳大利亚州政府电影融资发展局 – I’m not familiar with Australia’s film industry or the industry’s official promotional institutes) was currently seeking a cooperation partner with the Shijiazhuang Animation Institute’s assistance, according to the report. The Australians had been impressed with the originality and production levels of Shijiazhuang’s industry and had since visited four times, Shijiazhuang Newsnet quotes a member of the Shijiazhuang Animation Institute, Zhang Maolan (张茂兰).
DeepCG Animation Science and Technology gets a particular mention in the report. The general manager, Wu Yifeng (武义峰), doesn’t seem to be too specific about his company’s current prospects in Europe, but is quoted as saying that South-East Asia was the most promising market for one of his company’s works, a cartoon movie about late Han dynasty general Zhao Yun, given its richness with Chinese culture.
The cartoon’s title seems to translate Zhao Yun and the Clicking Sound of the Box (赵云与咔哒盒子).
It seems to be based on a theme previously used in a Zhao Yun movie (but not a cartoon) made in Hong Kong, in 2010.
Shijiazhuang News Net is the online platform of Shijiazhuang Daily (石家庄日报), an official CCP paper.
In a review of the 17th Central cultural decision in October 2011, David Bandurski of the China Media Project (Hong Kong) appeared to be skeptical of the impact Chinese media and culture could have under political and ideological controls.
It may be time for a first assessment of how things are going for the “cultural industry” in China – especially when it comes to its record abroad. Personally, I have no clue about cartoons, and not even a taste for them. Stuff like Zhao Yun and the Box (a sample video here) should be judged by bloggers or critics who really are into the genre.
*) This isn’t an exact translation. The actual Chinese quote or proverb would be 酒香不怕巷子深 – something like the smell of wine isn’t afraid of a deep lane (or alley), meaning that good things will sell even without advertising them.
» Soft Power starts at Home, Jan 21, 2012
» A Low-Carbon Industry, Dec 2, 2011
» Shijiazhuang Cartoon School, CRI, Aug 20, 2009
» Go-Out Policy, Wikipedia, acc. 20130412
» Private investors, PD English, Aug 20, 2004
There was nothing trivial in 2012, and it was still OK, except for the driver license test.
On August 20, Baobao got started elementary school, the first step into the learning career.
In early September, we bought a car and spent more than 120,000 on it, which is a big household item.
In mid-November, my husband had an accident on the expressway, but fortunately nothing serious. We spent 12,000 Yuan on the repair costs, and the insurance company refunded the full amount.
The end of the world didn’t come in December, and we continue to live on this planet.
Wimpy Kid’s Space (小屁孩的大空间)
» 2012 in Review (1): The Imperfect Photograph, Dec 29, 2012
My following translation will very probably contain errors.
A: […] If you want me to be frank, I have to say that I’m not interested in the effects when I’m working. (Wenn ich ganz ehrlich sprechen soll, dann muß ich sagen: Wenn ich arbeite, bin ich an Wirkung nicht interessiert.)
Q: And once the work has been completed? (Und wenn die Arbeit fertig ist?)
A: Well, then I have finished with it. You see, what matters to me is this: I need to understand. Writing is part of understanding. Writing belongs in this process of understanding things. (Ja, dann bin ich damit fertig. Wissen Sie, wesentlich ist für mich: Ich muß verstehen. Zu diesem Verstehen gehört bei mir auch das Schreiben. Das Schreiben ist Teil in dem Verstehensprozeß.)
Q: Writing serves your own, further cognition? (Wenn Sie schreiben, so dient es Ihrem eigenen, weiteren Erkennen?)
A: Yes, because now, certain things have been determined. If we had great memory, so that we really kept all our reasoning in mind: I doubt that, because I’m aware of my own laziness, I’d have jotted down everything. What matters to me is the thinking process itself. When I’ve got that, I’m, personally, quite satisfied. When I succeed in expressing this adequately in writing, I’m once again satisfied. – Now, you asked about effects. That’s – if I may be tongue-in-cheek – a male question. Men badly want to be effective, but I’m kind of looking at it from outside. To be effective myself? No, I want to understand. And when other people understand, in the same sense as I did, that gives me satisfaction, like a sense of home. (Ja, weil jetzt bestimmte Dinge festgelegt sind. Nehmen wir an, man hätte ein sehr gutes Gedächtnis, so daß man wirklich alles behält, was man denkt: Ich zweifle sehr daran, da ich meine Faulheit kenne, daß ich irgend etwas notiert hätte. Worauf es mir ankommt, ist der Denkprozeß selber. Wenn ich das habe, bin ich persönlich ganz zufrieden. Wenn es mir dann gelingt, es im Schreiben adäquat auszudrücken, bin ich auch wieder zufrieden. – Jetzt fragen Sie nach der Wirkung. Es ist das – wenn ich ironisch werden darf – eine männliche Frage. Männer wollen immer furchtbar gern wirken; aber ich sehe das gewissermaßen von außen. Ich selber wirken? Nein, ich will verstehen. Und wenn andere Menschen verstehen, im selben Sinne, wie ich verstanden habe – dann gibt mir das eine Befriedigung, wie ein Heimatgefühl.)
A: My father died early. It all sounds very funny. My grandfather was the liberal congregation’s president and city councillor in Königsberg. I’m from an old Königsberger family. Still – the word “jew” was never mentioned at home, when I was a small child. I was confronted with it by antisemitic remarks – no use in mentioning them – from children in the street. That’s how I became informed, so to speak. (Mein Vater war früh gestorben. Es klingt alles sehr komisch. Mein Großvater war Präsident der liberalen Gemeinde und Stadtverordneter von Königsberg. Ich komme aus einer alten Königsberger Familie. Trotzdem – das Wort “Jude” ist bei uns nie gefallen, als ich ein kleines Kind war. Es wurde mir zum erstenmal entgegengebracht durch antisemitische Bemerkungen – es lohnt sich nicht zu erzählen – von Kindern auf der Straße. Daraufhin wurde ich also sozusagen “aufgeklärt”.)
Q: Was that a shock? (War das für Sie ein Schock?)
A: No. (Nein.)
A: I for one don’t think that I ever felt that I was German, in the sense of ethnicity, not in terms of statehood, if I may distinguish the two. I remember discussions around 1930 about that, with [Karl Jaspers], for example. He said, “of course you are German!” I said: “It’s plain that I’m not!” But to me, it didn’t matter. It didn’t spell inferiority to me. Precisely not. And if I may come back to what was special about my family: you see, all Jewish children were confronted with antisemitism. It poisoned the souls of many children. The difference was that my mother always maintained that you must not duck your head. You need to defend yourself. (Ich, zum Beispiel, glaube nicht, daß ich mich je als Deutsche – im Sinne der Volkszugehörigkeit, nicht der Staatsangehörigkeit, wenn ich mal den Unterschied machen darf – betrachtet habe. Ich besinne mich darauf, daß ich so um das Jahr ‘30 herum Diskussionen darüber zum Beispiel mit Jaspers hatte. Er sagte: “Natürlich sind Sie Deutsche!” Ich sagte: “Das sieht man doch, ich bin keine!” Das hat aber für mich keine Rolle gespielt. Ich habe das nicht etwa als Minderwertigkeit empfunden. Das gerade war nicht der Fall. Und wenn ich noch einmal auf das Besondere meines Elternhauses zurückkommen darf: Sehen Sie, der Antisemitismus ist allen jüdischen Kindern begegnet. Und er hat die Seelen vieler Kinder vergiftet. Der Unterschied bei uns war, daß meine Mutter immer auf dem Standpunkt stand: Man darf sich nicht ducken! Man muß sich wehren!)
Q [quoting Arendt]: “I have never, in all my life, loved a collective, neither the German, the French, nor the American, nor the working class, or whatever else may be there. Indeed, I only love my friends, and am completely uncapable of any other love. But above all, being Jewish myself, I would find this love dubious if it was love to the Jewish.” […] Aren’t you afraid that your attitude could be politically barren? (Darin heißt es: “Ich habe nie in meinem Leben irgendein Volk oder Kollektiv geliebt, weder das deutsche, noch das französische, noch das amerikanische, noch etwa die Arbeiterklasse oder was es sonst so noch gibt. Ich liebe in der Tat nur meine Freunde und bin zu aller anderen Liebe völlig unfähig. Vor allem aber wäre mir diese Liebe zu den Juden, da ich selbst jüdisch bin, suspekt.” […] Fürchten Sie nicht, daß Ihre Haltung politisch steril sein könnte?)
A: No, I think the other [attitude] is politically barren. To belong to a group is natural. You always belong to a group, by birth, always. But to belong to a group as you meant it in a second sense, that is to say, to organize – that’s completely different. This kind of organizing always happens by Weltbezug. That is, what those who organize have in common, which is usually called interests. The immediate personal relation, when you can talk about love, does exist, of course, in real love, in its greatest way, and in a certain sense, it exists in friendship. That’s when a person is reached in an immediate way, and independently from Weltbezug. That’s how people who belong to most different organizations may still be friends. But if you confuse these things, if you take them to the negotiation table – to put it in a very mean way -, I believe that’s fatal. (Nein. Ich würde sagen, die andere ist politisch steril. Zu einer Gruppe zu gehören, ist erst einmal eine natürliche Gegebenheit. Sie gehören zu irgendeiner Gruppe durch Geburt, immer. Aber zu einer Gruppe zu gehören, wie Sie es im zweiten Sinne meinen, nämlich sich zu organisieren, das ist etwas ganz anderes. Diese Organisation erfolgt immer unter Weltbezug. Das heißt: Das, was diejenigen miteinander gemeinsam haben, die sich so organisieren, ist, was man gewöhnlich Interessen nennt. Der direkte personale Bezug, in dem man von Liebe sprechen kann, der existiert natürlich in der wirklichen Liebe in der größten Weise, und er existiert in einem gewissen Sinne auch in der Freundschaft. Da wird die Person direkt und unabhängig von dem Weltbezug angesprochen. So können Leute verschiedenster Organisationen immer noch persönlich befreundet sein. Wenn man aber diese Dinge miteinander verwechselt, wenn man also die Liebe an den Verhandlungstisch bringt, um mich einmal ganz böse auszudrücken, so halte ich das für ein sehr großes Verhängnis.)
Q: […] In a speech on Karl Jaspers you said that “humanity is never won in loneliness and never by handing ones work over to the public. Only if you take your life and person[ality] into the venture of the public realm, you will reach [humanity].” This “venture into the public realm”, a Jaspers quote again, in which way does it exist for Hannah Arendt? (In einer Festrede auf Jaspers haben Sie gesagt: “Gewonnen wird die Humanität nie in der Einsamkeit und nie dadurch, daß einer sein Werk der Öffentlichkeit übergibt. Nur wer sein Leben und seine Person mit in das Wagnis der Öffentlichkeit nimmt, kann sie erreichen.” Dieses “Wagnis der Öffentlichkeit”, ein Zitat von Jaspers wiederum – worin besteht es für Hannah Arendt?)
A: The venture into the public realm appears to be clear to me. You expose yourself in the light of the public, as a person. While I believe that one must not appear publicly and act publicly in a self-conscious way, I still know that all action expresses the person like no other activity. And speaking, too, is a way of action. That’s one thing. The second venture: we commence something, we add our thread into a web of relationships. We never know how it will evolve. We all need to say, Lord, forgive them what they do, because they don’t know what they do. That’s true for all action. Quite practically, because you can’t know. That’s a venture. And I would say that this venture can only be taken as you rely on the human beings. That’s to say, in a – hard to grasp, but basic – trust in the humaneness in all human beings. You can’t do that in another way. (Das Wagnis der Öffentlichkeit scheint mir klar zu sein. Man exponiert sich im Lichte der Öffentlichkeit, und zwar als Person. Wenn ich auch der Meinung bin, daß man nicht auf sich selbst reflektiert in der Öffentlichkeit erscheinen und handeln darf, so weiß ich doch, daß in jedem Handeln die Person in einer Weise zum Ausdruck kommt wie in keiner anderen Tätigkeit. Wobei das Sprechen auch eine Form des Handelns ist. Also das ist das eine. Das zweite Wagnis ist: Wir fangen etwas an; wir schlagen unseren Faden in ein Netz der Beziehungen. Was daraus wird, wissen wir nie. Wir sind alle darauf angewiesen zu sagen: Herr vergib ihnen, was sie tun, denn sie wissen nicht, was sie tun. Das gilt für alles Handeln. Einfach ganz konkret, weil man es nicht wissen kann. Das ist ein Wagnis. Und nun würde ich sagen, daß dieses Wagnis nur möglich ist im Vertrauen auf die Menschen. Das heißt, in einem – schwer genau zu fassenden, aber grundsätzlichen – Vertrauen auf das Menschliche aller Menschen. Anders könnte man es nicht.)
Hannah Arendt in a television interview, in October 1964
Bettina Wulff, the wife of former German president Christian Wulff, wrote a book which was published this month, with a title frequently translated into “Beyond the Protocol”. More literally, the wording seems to be “On the other side of the protocol” (Jenseits des Protokolls). This is no review of Bettina Wulff’s book. I haven’t read it.
Wikipedia has an article in English about her.
I never “liked” Christian Wulff or his wife, or the way they designed the president’s time in office. I probably didn’t like it, because they seemed to be so eager to be an “authentic” first family. Their style was way too personal. I had hoped for a president who would explain politics, rather than one who’d try to set a personal example for harmony.
But the way a German mob is following the spectacle that surrounds her book looks scary to me.
That mob is quite probably a minority. But only 15 percent of people surveyed by Emnid, an opinion pollster, “feel sorry” for her, and 67 percent don’t believe her statement that she didn’t actually want to be the first lady. How can anyone judge that statement without knowing her personally?
Mrs Wulff is the mother of two children. I’m wondering how many of those who tried and keep trying to blacken her name are themselves parents – and I’m wondering what kind of parents they may be. I hope that either way, their children may grow to become good people all the same.
Wulff’s case isn’t the worst example of how public interaction works – not even close. It’s much worse when “small people” are pronged by tabloids or television stations, and presented to a slobbering public. But having read a few online “reviews” about her book, and a few dozens of comments about her underneath a German online paper’s article, a quote from Fyodor Dostoevsky comes to my mind: The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.
When it comes to Germany, you may also look at how a former first lady is publicly abused. People who indulge in that kind of activity can’t have much self-respect. If they respected themselves, they could ignore the book, and the former first lady alike.
On the other side of the protocol, there has probably never been a more telling German presidency.