Ich Bin Ein etc

Just back from Berlin and since I wasnt allowed near a computer on pain of excommunication, this is my first chance to record some of my thoughts. On the way home, I thought of the phrase ‘fur coat and no knickers’, but that isn’t strictly true of Berlin. Oh, she’s got the fur coat alright, you just get the impression the knickers are going back on in a bit of an indecent hurry, slightly red-faced, breathless- caught in the act!It was my first trip to Berlin and overall, I dont see how you could fail to be impressed. A very efficient city where the tourist is treated well, courteously and you feel you’re getting good value for your money. The train system is generally excellent, and it just all feels so well……. organised.

My main purpose was to visit some of the Memorial sites, so perhaps I wasn’t on the absolute typical tourist track,but I was able to get a good look around and fairly comprehensive perspective of the place.

When you start to look at the experiences other countries have had in their attempt to commemorate, you must remember that each experience in each country has been unique and will be uniquely remembered. There’s no international handbook on Type A memorial for genocide, Type B for Civil War and so on. So I travelled simply to feel, experience and learn a little without casting judgement on the events that were being commemorated or more importantly, without drawing any single comparison.

From my point of view then, Berlin was rich with the effort of remembering and forgetting. I had no comparator for the changing face of the East, but my guide has photographed the area for almost 20 years and bears witness to the massive changes that have taken place. You can still tell the difference between the two sectors, but that is rapidly changing. Carlo wryly pointed out that a pair of shoes in a window now cost what the entire building was worth 10 years ago. There was a very expensive car in one of the windows, a Bugatti I think, and there are only 50 in the world at a cost of £1 m each. More than slightly obscene in the setting.

Not so far from Checkpoint Charlie is an interesting sight that isnt there any longer. Up to last year, there were white crosses commemorating those who died crossing from East to West. One night the crosses were all demolished and building work started unceremonioulsy on the site. There has been uproar ever since, and a seething that the past is being sanitisied and made disappear with undue regard or memorial. Similar whitle crosses still stand at the Reichstag, by the river, and are guarded preciously by the people.

I went to the 2 main Jewish or Shoah memorial sites on this trip. The Holocaust Memorial at the Brandenburg Gate was very controversial and it took 16 years for Parliament to grant final approval. Many did not want the money spent on such a project, or to use such precious inner city land in such a way. The group spear heading the campaign persisted since 1988 and finally it was created, 2,700 granite slabs in honour of the murdered Jews of Europe but with no symbolism.

Personally I thought it was resonant of the Daniel Liebskind Jewish Museum on the Lindenstrasse. This was a really disturbing experience, although you are warned from the beginning that the visit is meant to confuse and disorient the visitor. The Garden of Exile is an amazing feature, I’m still queasy and a bit dizzy recalling it. The floors slope up and down, and you have to hold on to stop tripping or falling, so unexpected and steep are the slopes. And with both of these memorials come the educational and remembrance centres, so that no-one will ever forget.

I haven’t fully processed my trip to Berlin, but my intial ideas are certainly that our healing comes always from remembering and not forgetting. On the plane, I read Ann Dolan’s book on Commemorating the Irish Civil War. The governments of the ROI failed succesively to use the past as a way forward, as a reason to heal and forgive. They ‘honed and sharpened’ the bitterness, continuing to build and support separate identity monuments. I know full well that we are not at a point where a shared Memorial is neccesarily something that can be agreed or accepted, but I am minded of something Alan McBride wrote a few weeks ago. He said that if nothing else, we should consider a space where there were Orange feet and Green feet leading you through the exhibitions, and you followed your respective feet. He hoped that in time, people would be curious or interested and start to walk in the other footsteps for a while and gradually learn about those who are not us. For we should not just remember and memorialise, we should finally learn from our mistakes and try to ensure future generations are spared the horrors we inflict upon ourselves.

The final piece of symbolism I enjoyed was a sculpture entitled ‘Berlin’. 2 massive pieces of steel reaching over to each other across a main road. The need to reach out and find our common humanity should one day be our saving grace.

  • dave wood

    fur coat adn no knickers! haven’t heard that since year dot…

  • fairy glen

    knickers and no fur coat…arghhhhhhhhhh

  • Miss Fitz

    Thanks Dave, I guess that was your measured response to the piece in its entirety, as opposed to the word ‘knickers’?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Just to be a pedant, “ein Berliner” is just a confection…

    On a more serious note, the Germans have created a glorious mental dichotomy where the past is concerned and, were they permitted, would pave over all the unpleasent reminders if they could.

    Forgiveness cannot be granted without some level of contrition. How does one forgive when the perpetrator believes they have done no wrong?

  • dave w

    sorry mf – i must get out more.

    no – actually i’ll stay in and read the post in its entirety…you never know when i’ll need your support (not a reference to anything medical) ; )

  • George

    just to be a pedant, only outside of Berlin. The “Berliner” of which you speak is a “Pfannkuchen” in Berlin.

    Miss Fitz,
    Germany has in no way remembered the East. Anything from the former DDR has been obliterated.

    It may well be pointed out that it was an undemocratic regime and doesn’t deserve to be remembered but millions of Germans spent most of their lives working and trying to live their dreams there.

    Overnight, they were told it was all worthless.

    All factories were closed down, the former parliament is being demolished etc.
    All that is left that has survived is the Jugendweihe (communist confirmation) and the little green traffic man with the hat.

    Germany is remembering it won the war against communism, it is no way remembering life under communism. Germany never had a Civil War so the only Irish comparison is the War of Independence.

    Ireland remembers it won the war again British rule in the War of Independence.

    One may well point out that British rule in Ireland was undemocratic and doesn’t deserve to be remembered but millions of Irish spent most of their lives working and trying to live their dreams there.

    The victors will always remember the victory first.

  • Miss Fitz

    Interesting stuff George. Now, remember, I was just there for a few days, but I learned that although the desire was to knock down the E German Palriament, structurally it was quite impossible owing to the way it has been built into the river. It appears a decision has been made to do nothing for the time being.

    I hope I made the points about the West consuming the East at an alarming rate, and the absence of any true recognition of the people or the past.

    I know, hence my purposeful title and absence of the offending phrase…… twas meant to be subtle

    Seriously, it took me almost 2 hours to write something serious, thoughtful and hopefully provoking. It is quite an offence when people dont bother to read what is written or pick up on a silly word. In those cases, its best not to comment.

  • dave

    …2 massive pieces of steel reaching over to each other across a main road…

    interesting – made me think of the dual figures in Derry. Though when I was there, someone had sealed up their mouths with clingfilm. Telling.

  • Miss Fitz

    I’m glad you guys have brought up the look to the past, I didnt mention one other memorial I visited.

    It was called Topography of Terror, and is centred on the area where the Gestapo prisons were based, and where the torture chambers were.

    This is one instance where the Germans have put their hands up and said ‘We did it’. No prevarication or excuses, it’s laid out over the course of maybe half a mile with pictures, exhibits, documents and the naled exposed truth of the awfulness of the past

  • dave

    fair enough – apologies. really good article btw

  • Betty Boo

    Although I agree with most of George’s comment, I still can’t agree with “an undemocratic regime and doesn’t deserve to be remembered “. Fair enough, it is followed by a substantial but. – But, not only did I live there for 25 years, so a remark like that hurts, it is also a most astonishing thing to say in a thread about remembering and forgetting.

    One interesting comparison might be that in election in the former DDR more and more vote go to the two extreme; the new communist party and neo-fascist right.

  • Pete Baker

    There’s an interesting comparison to be made, IMHO, between the two sculptures you’ve linked, dave – the Derry figures and the ‘Berlin’ piece.

    And the comparison between the two separate approaches to, what is, public art – literalism over symbolism.

    Or, as I prefer to refer to it as, the sledgehammer over the imagination ;o)

  • dave

    literalism over symbolism…

    Absolutely agree; possibly hence the (symbolic) use of kitchen wrap around their mouths.

  • Crataegus

    Miss Fitz

    our healing comes always from remembering and not forgetting

    I would agree with that, for nothing is sillier than revisionist history, makes you feel smug but deep down you know it is a load of crap.

    But it is also a question of how you remember. In Ireland we remember our respective victories and atrocities and yet both sides are interlocking pieces in a jigsaw. My victory is someone else’s loss. It is partial remembrance to reinforce division. We use, or rather abuse, our history to reinforce our partial views and preferred identity.

    The Irish played their part in creating the Britain of today and the Anglo Irish have left a massive legacy in Ireland. To deny any part of history is pointless and says more about the insecurities of the country than its strengths.

    I think that the Germans have made a fairly good attempt at facing up to a difficult recent past especially when compared with Japan. I have absolutely no doubt that a strengthening Germany will be a major player in Europe in the decades to come especially as the economies in Eastern and central Europe improve but there are major political problems in East Germany that I think are manifestations of a feeling of alienation. The separation for over 40 years did cause divergence and it is interesting to consider these problems in relation to the united Ireland project where the separation has been twice that of Germany.

  • Miss Fitz

    I’m not sure why you think revisionist history is silly. I think that while we should be careful not to be too haughty with our hagiography, on the other hand we benefit from looking back and reviewing our past with colder and more clinical eyes. I have certainly re-formed many of my earler opinions and thoughts from the childhood certainties of my youth and the hero/villains that were part of the fabric of the politics I grew up in.

    Certainly agree fully with your analysis of how we have remembered and the lessons we need to learn. The original cenotaph built in 1923 was a fascinating subject covered by Ann Dolan in her book. I might write a review of it next week when I’m in Lourdes.

  • George

    Miss Fitz and Betty Boo,
    I lived in East Berlin for many years and love the place. But I also saw the complete removal of anything that referred to the communist past.

    Where possible, street names were changed, statues were removed etc.

    Virtually all the state-run companies went bust or were sold for a pittance to western carpetbaggers by Treuhand and factory workers and managers with decades of experience found their experience was worthless. Academic qualifications also, along with cars, furniture, clothes. You name it, it all had no value.

    The old parliament will go and there is a strong movement to rebuild the old Stadtschloss Palace that was there, the ruins of which were blown up after the war on the orders of SED head Walter Ulbricht as a sign that the days of Kaisers and kings was at an end. I think a building for the Humboldt University will end up there.

    If you ever go back to Berlin, I recommend you go to the memorial garden built by the Soviets in Treptower Park from the brown marble of Hitler’s Chancellory. After all, the Red Army did take Berlin.

    Betty Boo,
    Also, I wouldn’t compare the PDS (or die Linke) to the neo-nazis of the NPD, unless you thing being a supporter of democratic socialism, attempting to break the brown ring around Berlin and standing up to the Nazi mobs who in the early years felt so strong they tried to burn asylum seekers alive in Rostock Lichtenhagen makes you an extremist. If so, lock me up and throw away the key. I say that, not as a member or supporter but as a democrat.

    I have had my experiences of both groups and to compare the two is a gross insult. Might I point out that the PDS are actually in coalition with the SPD in Berlin.

  • chauncy

    I’ve spent some time in Berlin and find it wonderful..Here a few hasty comments and thoughts..

    George a ‘Berliner’ is not a Pfannkuchen (Pancake), it’s a jam doughnut, immortalised by JFK’s ‘Ich bin ein Berliner’ and commemorated by keyrings with little jam doughnuts to be had in souvenir shops.

    Only in recent years have any Germans, East or West, been able to begin to engage with the Holocaust publicly, in debates and acts of remembrance. Writers like WG Sebald and Bernhard Schlink have produced thoughtful and thought-provoking work about the nature of the war, and public remembrance.

    The public debate over Nobel Prize-winning author Günter Grass’s admission that he was an SS member, matched breast-beating with admonition and reflection to produce a fairly mature response.

    After the war, however, the East German government spent 30+ years telling their citizens that it was the Western Fascists who had brought about the war, and that communism in the East, meant that there could have been no fascism there. The war was never dealt with in any meaningful way in the East. Some people even attribute the post-wall rise of neo-fascism in the East (witness the recent election results in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern) to the communist disavowal of responsibility.

    By the same token it’ll take some years to process what went on in the East – both good and bad. Much of the archival material is only now being made available to the public, and there is even more, which has not yet been properly catalogued. The shredded Stasi files are being painstakingly reconstructed – watch that space.

    Though East Germans haven’t forgotten their GDR, as the wave of ‘Ostalgie’ tv shows, websites, and literature shows…and their films and books are up there with the best of German culture.

    And finally, to balance out the cheeriness of Goodbye Lenin (Western-made) there’s an excellent and though-provoking film called ‘Das Leben der Anderen’ (Others’ Lives, also Western-made) – which deals with the spying to which the literary and dissident community in the East was subjected, from the perspective of a sympathetic Stasi operative – coming your way..

    In terms of Crataegus comments on the United Ireland project, well, nobody was walled in on this island. People could travel..There are other more differences between the two situations too, and a few similarities, such as the common language, the emphasis on region, and on nation..etc

    George, agree with you about the PDS/Linke Partei and the NPD, and Treuhand, but still feel, that the war, and xenophobia, were never properly worked up the GDR. The friendly hand officially extended to African, Cuban and Vietnamese comrades, was not always matched by private courtesy.

    Think I’m rambling now though 😉

  • fairy glen

    can we get back on topic? Miss fitz in her undies…………….

  • Nic

    The dwindling vote for the PDS, which seems to be in terminal decline (they’ve been doing a load of soul-searching lately) can be taken as a fair indicator that most Berliners and Ossies have no time for their glorious communist past either.

    And it’s funny that the old West Germany should be accused of forgetting the East, when the money flowing from West to East since reunification is breaking the bank in the West.
    A silent majority of westerners resent the hell out of it. More than a few have confided to me that re-unification was done without their consent and without examining the costs associated.
    An expensive vanity on the part of Helmut Kohl, and when Germany gets a cold, the EU gets the flu….

  • George

    you are incorrect. I assure you that a “Pfannkuchen” is a jam doughnut in Berliner German. Go into a bakery and ask for one. A “Berliner” is a jam doughnut in any bakery outside Berlin.

    I agree about the dealing with foreigners which I’ll try come to tomorrow.

  • chauncy

    Though Nic, Easterners earn 80% as much as what Westerners in similar positions earn, oder?

    And the German economy is, according to the European Central Bank, taking an upward turn.

    And as for the Wessies not being consulted about reunification, well, lots of the Ossies didn’t want it either, preferring instead to aim for reform. The PDS, is composed of many of these kinds of people, some apparently decent skins like Bisky, most of the old guard has disappeared, outnumbered only by the the mass of people who, in 1989/90 wanted a better GDR, and freedom to travel.

  • Rebecca Black

    Good post, Berlin is one of my favourite cities followed closely by Prague, the history in the place is just amazing.

    Did you see the memorial to the burning of the books by any chance? I think it was particularly poignant. It consists merely of a little window in the middle of a square where the Nazi’s burned all the books that they deemed inappropriate classics and all.

    When you look down through the window on the ground you can see a massive, empty library where there is apparently capacity for all the books that were burned that night. Not so obvious but I think its one of the best memorials I have seen.

  • Miss Fitz

    I had actually been reading about that particular memorial in the weeks before my trip, and was thrilled to see it. Memorials constructions have changed so radically over the years, and Berlin is a perfect place to track the various forms and follies they have taken, from early French, Napoleonic, Third Riech, to the more modern and post modern forms.

    And even though I had read about the empty book shelves, it was an entirely different feel to be there and see it close up.

    Many things about Berlin bring on the goose bumps, and this was one, thanks for bringing it up.

  • Betty Boo

    I didn’t compare the PDS with the NPD. It was just yesterday in the news that the right won in three more Bundeslaendern. There is also an increase in votes for the PDS. – A situation where people chose the extreme rather than the middle ground and that sounds familiar, without comparing any parties.

    I’m afraid you are right that the guild and responsibility for the atrocities of the Nazis was shifted to the West. Although they made a pretty good antifascist out of me, something fundamentally has been done wrong, considering the eagerness and ease of so many to join and act on behalf of the neo-nazis after the collapse.
    As for as nostalgia is concerned, you just can’t help it. I’m trying desperately to download East German rockmusik but it is so hard to come by.

  • Miss Fitz

    Off topic, but since you brought it up, my daughter was desperate to find any sign of a group Ramstein in Berlin, but we found a dearth of rockmusik or anything resembling modern record stores, east or west. Ramstein are based in E. Berlin, so we thought we might find something relating to them, but she was quite disappointed in this regard.

  • dave

    A friend of mine is very keen on Ramstein. Myself and another friend (from Berlin) saw a recent reference to them in Nottingham. They’re very ‘shouty shouty’ (my technical terminology) and I remember seeing them on video blowing fire.
    Just googled…http://www.rammstein.com/

    Got to get back to some work again…

  • circles

    Miss Fitz
    Rammstein are still very big in Germany – I’m surprised they didn’t have anything in the regular record stores. I think thyey even had a new album last year.

    A Berliner in Germany is what we call a jammy doughnut (with the rather sick irony being that in Dallas JFK showed that he actually meant what he said with the jam etc.)
    But I think if you were referring to the Germans when you wrote “Forgiveness cannot be granted without some level of contrition. How does one forgive when the perpetrator believes they have done no wrong?” Then you are not very well informed of German attitudes to the second world war and the holocaust. If you’re basing this on the NPDs election performance in MeckPom then you are rather ignorantly judging the vast majority of germans by an extremely small section of the electorate. If you are basing it on anything else it be interested to know what.

  • Betty Boo

    Miss Fitz,
    thanks for this topic for obvious reason. I also believe that it is quite an interesting point to establish an approach to remembrance and memory by visiting other places to see how it has been dealt with and to learn from mistakes already made.

    My son is into Ramstein as well and he downloads their music from morpheus.com. There is a free version available.

  • circles

    BTW theres another German rock band that quite thoughtfully and tastefully pays tribute to our wee prahvince – The H-Bloxx

  • dave w

    But I think if you were referring to the Germans when you wrote “Forgiveness cannot be granted without some level of contrition…

    Always had a strange relationship with this word ‘forgiveness’. Does forgiveness negate what has happened in the past? If we (personally) don’t forgive, are we in-human and can we ask others (particularly nations or collective peoples) to forgive? More of a point of discussion really.

  • George

    Pedant that I am:
    Circles and Chaucy,

    What a jam doughnut is called in Berlin and it’s not a Berliner:


    Typical bloody Wessis 🙂

    Betty Boo,
    I would not consider the PDS as the extreme left equivalent of the neo-nazi NPD. To say voting for both is a push to the extremes is to open a second front in the fight against fascism where there is none. There is only one party to fear from the Meck-Pomm election and that’s the NPD.

    If the PDS was so extreme, it wouldn’t be running Berlin with the SPD.

  • Betty Boo

    Just heard from my son that Ramstein CD’s are available in the Virgin store in Derry.

  • Crataegus

    Miss Fitz

    I was probably using the wrong term, shows a weak grasp of English. What I meant was the attempt to rewrite history in a form that suits how you would like history to be rather than the actuality. Revising it in a negative way to suit propaganda or avoid facing up to wrong that you have done. That is what I find rather silly. It is like a child doing something wrong and then in fear denying the truth. It is a sign of deep insecurity. For psychopaths such things are never a problem and for them it is simply a sign of contempt, but for most the lie sits uneasily. Generally you need truth and the maturity to face up to past wrongs.

  • Betty Boo

    I don’t consider the PDS as “so extreme” more than being on the opposite of the spectrum.

    To my knowledge being extreme does not exclude a party from governing. Sweden just replaced its social democratic government with a right wing.

  • George

    Betty Boo,
    you wrote:
    “One interesting comparison might be that in election in the former DDR more and more vote go to the two extreme; the new communist party and neo-fascist right”

    Firstly, the PDS isn’t a “new communist party” and secondly isn’t extreme in the sense of neo-nazism. It is leftwing. And I certainly wouldn’t compare the Swedish centre-right party with neo-nazis.

    if you don’t get my point of describing the Meck-Pomm elections as a move to the extremes when in reality there was only one extreme and therefore muddying the waters in the fight against fascism I won’t persist with it.

  • Betty Boo

    I seem to miss your point and maybe you mine and it looks like “open(ing) a second front in the fight against fascism where there is none”.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Circles: ““Forgiveness cannot be granted without some level of contrition. How does one forgive when the perpetrator believes they have done no wrong?” Then you are not very well informed of German attitudes to the second world war and the holocaust.”

    Only after having their noses ground in matters, like a unhousebroken puppy, circles. True contrition comes from within — Germany’s was imposed from without.

    Once civilian rule was re-established, there was a time when the prevailing attitude was “dead Jews don’t vote, ex-Nazis do” in West German political circles.

    Ain’t it curious that at the end of the war, when asked who ran the camps, the almost universal answer was “the SS” who were, miraculously, nowhere to be found? Do you imagine if what was done in the camps hadn’t been rubbed in their face, they would have gone on believing that little lie?

    If allowed, the Germans would pretend it never happened — turning people into soap and lampshade — just disappear it, down the rabbit-hole.

  • It’s interesting that in Japan, which had no equivalent of denazification after the war, the ministry of education is still controlled by extreme nationalists, and history books do not acknowledge the suffering the Japanese meted out during the war (though Hiroshima and Nagasaki are covered, oddly enough).

    Austria, which I understand was treated as occupied territory, rather than part of the Reich, wasn’t denazified in the same way. The far right and anti-semitism seem more mainstream or acceptable there.

    Germany was forced to confront the past, and most people I have spoken to have a fair understanding of the war, the holocaust, and the Nazi and German part in it. Few countries seem to have addressed their past so thoroughly – even though there is a minority that sees things differently.

    In Ireland we have not been very good at all at facing our past – we generally use it as a stick to beat the other side with.

  • Rory

    What are you suggesting, Paul, that a de-anglification programme might be called for? Though it does have its attractions, I fear it may be a wee bit extreme.

    Let’s all just have a jam doughnut (which in Tottenham, interestingly enough, we call a jam doughnut, innit?. What do other contributors in different parts of the country call theirs (no smut, please)?

    Welcome back, Miss Fitz, nice topic.

  • chauncy

    The thing is, Dread, the West Germans weren’t allowed to forget their past. However Allied denazification wasn’t the only route to introspection…nor was it entirely sucessful, which is why out of the students’ rebellion in the late 60s, came the Red Army Faction, and Baader-Meinhof. Their extreme actions drew attention to the issue of Nazi continuities, but, inevitably, polarised society. It’s only really since 89, that people have begun to talk more. Unification encouraged people to look at nation, history and identity again and, of course, the generational shift has offered a more objective remove. All along of course, the study of the past has been built into the education system, less ideologically so, in the West than in the East, as I wrote yesterday.

    Young Germans don’t enjoy talking about the death camps, but they won’t and can’t forget them.

    George, re. ‘Berliner Pfannkuchen’. You’re right – though I’m no Wessi.

  • Rebecca Black

    Speaking of East and West Germans, I had an interesting experience when I missed my flight home from Berlin and had to get a bus from Berlin to London to catch my Belfast flight.

    On the bus journey I sat beside a man in his 30s who has grown up in Easy Berlin. During the course of the long bus trip from Berlin to London we covered most topics and of course the whole east/west Berlin topic. He actually missed aspects of communism. Overall he was glad that the wall came down but he bemoaned the lack of community spirit and closeness that had existed in East Berlin.

  • Rory

    Jammy Doughnut Update.

    I just popped out to my local kosher bakers on the corner and Abie tells me that the big German lass from Berlin who has the massage parlour over the laundrette, when she comes in and he asks, ” Wotcher, mush?”, doesn’t say, “A jam doughnut, innit”, but rather, “Eine jam doughnut, bitte”.

    Blimey! Takes all sorts, I say.

  • Miss Fitz

    Thats interesting, as it was one of the points my guide Carlo pointed out very clearly. He has lived in the East for 20 years, and feels that the whole process has been very one sided: East bad, West good, type of approach and that no=one tried to find any redeeming qualities in the East for retention.

    The area he most remarked upon was the sense of community and camraderie your fellow traveller spoke about. He feels that the East Berliners are becoming sundered, and no longer have the spirit or feeling of friendliness that was their hallmark. Good point, thanks for making it.

    To the rest of ye:

    The reason I purposely wrote the title in the way I did was to prevent any discussion on that old canard about Ich Bin Ein Berliner, which I know is not correct, but sure JFK meant well. Trust you lot to uncover my sinister plan and make a donut out of a cream bun.

    Cheers! Next week’s trip is to Lourdes, so I imagine I will disappear again as I dont think there are many internet cafes there. Will bring you all the news from the Grotto next week…….

  • Rory

    Light a candle for me, Miss Fitz, I could be doing with a miracle. Well a small economic miracle at least.

  • Miss Fitz

    No worries Rory, candle to be duly lit…….

  • Curious


    What has any of this got to do with “Notes on N Ireland politics and culture”? The supposed reason we’re all here…

  • Miss Fitz

    Fair question I suppose, but there’s no answer. I was invited to blog about whatever interested me, and when I mentioned I was going to Berlin, I was asked to write a little piece about it.

    Mick often makes the point that its good to look outside ourselves, and lose some of that insular, navel gazing attitude that can be so self-destructive.

    My best advice would be to avoid my posts if you find that they distract you from Northern Ireland politics and culture, and read the core bloggers and politicos.

  • moochin photoman

    engage ure curiosity……..