05.07. +++ ἄσυλος

Flockiger (Stefan Gubser) has gone to the floor - due to migraine and lack or orientation (Pic from www.daserste.de)
Flückiger (Stefan Gubser) has gone to the floor – due to migraine and a confusing lack of orientation (Pic from www.daserste.de)

Have you ever looked up the etymology of „asylum“? Well, it won’t be a surprise if you speak Greek, but for those of us who don’t, it sort of is: ἄσυλος means „unrobbed“ and derives from σῦλον, „theft, bounty“. So an asylum is a place of shelter in the sense that you don’t get robbed. Funny, isn’t it. People come to Europe, because entire countries are systematically plundered by an international political system that protects the interests of companies and industries. They apply for asylum, because they don’t know how to make a living in those countries, because they are robbed there. Yet they are rejected and pushed back – as a rule – because, by definition, they cannot apply for „political“ asylum. They are not asylum-seekers, they are called “economical refugees“. I have heard refugees talk about other refugees using this derogatory term: „They are only economical refugees.“ Funny. In its origin, asylum meant protection against robbery; in today’s world, asylum means playing by the rules. Continue reading “05.07. +++ ἄσυλος”

18.04. +++ Welcome

One would not suspect what treasures are hidden inside: The GRANDHOTEL COSMOPOLIS in Augsburg
One would not suspect what treasures are hidden inside: The GRANDHOTEL COSMOPOLIS in Augsburg

So there we stood in a circle holding each other’s hands: Virginia (studying architecture), Niki (a psychotherapist), Roi (an artist) and myself. What exactly would have happened after the initial circle remained Roi’s secret, since this was supposed to be the beginning of a theatre workshop led by him. But not many other of the two dozen people watching us were interested in getting involved, the sun was shining on the rose garden in which we were standing and then the yoga class occupied the lawn. They had booked the space, and Roi hadn’t. Which is why the theatre workshop didn’t take place. It didn’t matter so much to me, because I made the acquaintance of Roi and the others anyway, and we talked for some time about the experience he had gathered in working in the Augsburg GRANDHOTEL COSMOPOLIS. He worked as a teacher in Israel and has been involved in this singular „social sculpture“ that has evolved in the centre of this rather small Bavarian town for some years now. In a building that used to be a retirement home but was out of use for several years, a group of committed people initiated a social experiment, an open intercultural space that is without example in Southern Germany. Continue reading “18.04. +++ Welcome”

26.01. +++ Words, words, words

White on White - or just wow (Photo www.pathosmuenchen.de)
White on White – or just WoW (Photo www.pathosmuenchen.de)

I’ve decided to write today’s blog entry in English in the possibly vain, but hopefully not vain hope that the ones concerned will read it. One usually only remembers odd ends and bits from school and university. Like the impossible jumpers my history teacher used to wear or the most strange accent one of my Eng. Lit. professors had. Sometimes, however, a random piece of content keeps sticking in the brain, against all rules of probability. One of these is the title of the major work of the father of speech act theory, John Langshaw Austin: “How to do things with words“. It has always been known to mankind (well, since they could speak, anyway) that words are not just words. Continue reading “26.01. +++ Words, words, words”