All posts by Imran Khan

About Imran Khan

I'm a typical tall brown South-Asian, sub-continental Indian, people call it "Islamic Republic of Pakistan". I study Master of Global Studies at University of Freiburg. Currently, I'm writing my thesis on "Language in Education"

The 6.day

The first performance,  which was about Romania and West, was amazing.Comparisons,which Marina(the member of our group and teacher in this topic) made using different tools like pictures,discussions and games were ideal for me.As for me, the game,when we were writing one  world per person after that  mixing all words together  and at the end every person took randomly one of words and said to which part of Europe(East-West) he/she related this words.This game was more than perfect, because it included at the same time stereotypes,different points of viewes on the same topic and helped us to impove,showing the results in the end.
During evening we had a good tour in some regions on West-Berlin.Firstly,I was very surprised when we were able to see the place,where Kennedy took his famous speech  with words”Ich bin ein Berliner”.
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For me this place historical and it was a great idea to visit it.The line during the hole tour was clear.Our guid was answering all questions and also it was amazing,that she has own opinion to this being part of West-Germany.
Maybe I’ll more interesting to listen more about our last station at the church,rather that stay for too long at the Poztdamer Platz because after 5 minutes for me was very difficalt to concentrate because of bright  lights  and the noize from shops.But all in all tour  was full of useful information like story of the West radiostations and ordinary life,which made the tour cognitive.
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Illusionism

When the days were cold and hard to endure, humor warmed up the lives of many.

” The presidential couple (from Romania) was traveling by helicopter towards Bucharest. The wife said :”Look Nick, what beautiful rivers we have…” . ”No, woman! (the president replyed). Those are highways…”. But the pilot, in his mind ”You idiots, those are ques…!”

One woman goes into a store. Surprised that she managed to get inside without waiting at an endless que, she starts looking around. Left. Right. Behind the cashier… Then she asks : ”You don’t have bread?” ” Nooo, here we don’t have eggs. In the shop next door they don’t have bread…”

Still, we should not ignore the reasons why life got to this kind of absurd moments… Briefly, most of the products were going towards export, in order to cover the debts the country accummulated in the previous 30 years (loans and war penalties towards USSR).  And while on paper the situation seemed balanced (there’s enough food for export and also for the population – *information that was regularly checked by field visits by the President), the reality was different. A lot different. And those who are to blame for the situation created in the 80s are still pulling the strings in our politics today.

Officialy, the external debt of Romania fully payed in the 80s was of about 21 billion US dollars. Paid with huge sacrifices by the population. But today, the debt has well passed 100 billion Euros… And is increassing, day by day.

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How close should you get: visiting the Hohenschönhausen prison

Visiting the Berlin Hohenschönhausen memorial, the main political prison of the former East German Communist Ministry of State Security, the Stasi, cannot be done on your own, but only part of a guided tour.

And on this early November day, our guide is a German historian in her early thirties, with a Club Mate in her hand, friendly and straightforward, and very engaging. We are taken on a tour through this prison which seems to have functioned as a huge mechanism of isolation. The guide has a way of making you aware and curious about the stories, and somehow allowing you to cope with the emotions by not adding extra drama to a context that is dramatic enough.

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However, the interesting part comes afterwards, as we gather to talk about our visit at the Hohenschönhausen prison. There is a comment made about the guide having been  a bit disrespectful about those who suffered there, particulary in reference to a comment she made, but also by generally employing a certain distance in her presentation. Thus, a point is made that there is no place for distance when talking about traumatic events.

I disagree with it in the beginning. I’ve appreciated the guide’s abbility to stir your curiosity and envolve you in the story without recurring to emotions. In this case I feel that leaving the real emotions to those who actually suffered is more decent and honest, than actually feeling that you can share a bit of that trauma. Because truly speaking, you can’t. But what I can do is learn more about it, through a good documentation. And that’s what the guide did; in a vividly way, she helped me understand a bit of this big story.

But that was only my perspective. And I’ve slowly understood that just because the guide’s presentation style was right for me and my understanding framework, it didn’t mean that there was no place for dilemmas and debate.

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As the discussion went on about the right way/ways to transmit such knowledge about past events , valuable questions arose. Why do we go to these memorial places in the first place?  Is it better to keep a distance when talking about emotion-ridden events, or is it actually ok to involve emotion? What if the guide was an eyewitness, as it’s the case of some tour guides at the Hohenschönhausen prison, that  were actually prisoners there. Is his/her input more valuable? What do we search for in these memorial places?

And then a great point was made. Are we going to these places to feel that the Ugly and the Bad of our history belongs to the past, and we can breathe relieved after the tour ends and we go back to our lives? Or do we want to live these stories the way we experience Hollywood movies, in search of thrill, may it be a negative on?

 

 

The 3.day

Yesterday was a the 25. anniversary of the fall of wall.This day left in my mind unforgettable feelings.
In the morning we were looking for different memorable places in Berlin in a small groups.With my group I was at the Checkpoint Charlie and in the German central museum.
I have lots of feelings because of those places and,of course,they are good.
After researching city we met together with others groups and went to cultural events.And it’s also was very interesting and unusual for me
There were a thousands of people,there was a huge crowd,but because of that I got feeling that it’s really a big holiday and day in the history if German.
We have been near the center,when ballons were going in the sky and it was unbelievable to stay there,to be part of history