Nightmares, dreams and video games

I´m no good at chess and poker, can´t play bridge, think ahead and hardly ever make longer-term plans, at least not ones that I finally stick to. Dreams, though, are something else. Nightmares, too.

I remember asking my late mother if she “knew”. I never got a straight answer, but she did give me permission to think and write whatever I wanted. It was a time of silence in that area, by that generation of Germans, even if they were no longer in Germany. Forget. Please forget.

She remembered that it was a difficult time with promises made that let people dream. An Autobahn was built, jobs were created; “We had hope again,” she said. Then the war came.


Detail of lawn in front of US Capitol, Washington DC, spring 2016

9 November, to my logic, is an ominous date, but, yes, there is hope.

1938: Night of Broken Glass

1989: The Berlin Wall comes down.

Forget. Please forget. Play the video games. It´s only history. Wear a poppy. Remember. Remember why. “All a poet can do is warn.” – Wilfred Owen 1893-1918.

History, and geography, have always been manipulated by the “victors”, or those paying the publishers of history and geography books, or just those itching for a fight about islands and oil. (Which reminds me that the US had to give back their two-letter symbol for the Spratly Islands to ISO so that Slovenia could have SI as an Internet code. Just thought this amusing in view of the Flotus (s)elect who rejected the original “j” of her first name. Sorry. Just the way my mind works.) But even Larousse still insists that Oceania is a continent, although at the same time it defines “continent” as a mass of land. Where else could the French have included Noumea, thus allowing them something French on each continent, of which for them, Australia is not one?

So, I guess, everyone´s doing it. Australia is still in two minds about Invasion Day, although that´s in January and not in November. But you get my drift, I hope.

I´m glad my daughter is now in her thirties and can make up her own mind. I would hate to have to explain things to her about role models et al. It was tough enough taking up the Noumea issue at her French school way back when. Her mum taking on the French “bible” did not go down well with her primary school teacher. Yes, the fight already starts in primary school. Tell me, how many books have now been banned in the US? Anyway, telling anyone beyond ten what to do, how to live, is pretty useless if your own life hasn´t been showing the way. The children are watching. They are always watching.

There comes a moment they instinctively see through you. They can feel the lies. Then we teach them to colour in within the lines. Donne la bise. Be polite. Shake hands. If we´re lucky, they´ll wave.

Out on the streets are the young, many of whom may not have voted in a country where an “old (wo)man chorus” counts more than a choir of individual voices. But they see through the lies. The video games of their history lessons are now playing out for real in their lives.

Nightmares can been changed into dreams. It´s been done before. Just imagine. Hope. And act.

Sincerely, I wish you, wish us all, onwards!