Munich – The Heart of Darkness – Travelogue
March 29, 2010
If this was just any other city in any other part of the world; walking for the sake of walking would probably mean very little beyond putting one foot in front of another.
But I am not in just any other city. This is Munich the capital of Bavaria. Germany’s lost and found land where the seed of evil was once planted by Adolf Hitler and his motley crew as he inched his way into the hearts and minds of ordinary Germans– these days, it’s hard if impossible to believe this was where the Nazi seed first took root and germinated like one of Jack’s magical beanstalks – everything these days about that past is either gutted out, entombed or tucked away neatly in some cigar box.
Bavaria these days is as modern as quick silver – the center of the Europe’s semi conductor industry, the home of BMW and ten other fortune 500 firms – thanks in part to Hollywood; it’s even been given the antiseptic wire brush treatment – where one can even believe evil never once reared its ugly head here; as Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer once said, the hills are filled with the songs of music – never mind that when Julie Andrews was prancing around wearing curtains; this was also the same place where the hills were probably filled with the sounds of jack boots and yelping Jews as they were herded to cattle wagons destined to death camps – or that while Julie Andrews was busying herself as governess to the Von Claptraps and their seven yodeling dwarfs her CEO was currying favor to earn the title of Hitler’s pope – nothing about that evil narrative of Hitler’s rise to power exist anymore in Bavaria – it’s all vanished.
These days Munich is classified as Germany’s most beautiful city; there’s nothing kitsch about this appellation either, the stones look weathered and timeless as if they grew out straight from the ground; walking around a medley of medieval towers, baroque arches, spires and endless buildings it’s hard to believe 90% of Munich was once flattened by allied bombing – the timelessness of the stones along with all the meticulous trapping of the past as a component of the present is enough to erase all the horrid memories of this hamlet which was once considered the crèche of the Nazi movement.
That’s why I am walking. As its only when one walks that one is able to see beyond the veneer of modern day Bavaria, what becomes clear after the end of my first day of walking is the duality which makes up present day Munich. On one face is the Munich of post Nazi Germany that most people see and beneath it all is the unhealed, unfinished and unspeakable Munich that exist only in my mind’s eye – these days the only thing that remains of the Nazi Munich are either stumps, loose bricks and bits of remnants from some distant past – you could even call me a sort of time traveler as the city map I am using is printed circa 1933 – the curious thing about wandering through new Munich with an old map is not so much where you choose to go physically – as it remains how much of the past you want to immerse yourself into – here and there, I make out buildings, boulevards and public squares that used to stand; somewhere in my mind’s eye I can just about superimpose the long shadows of the past against the present – though at times it can be a surreal especially when one stands before a building where Hitler once wrote his book called Mein Kampf only to realize today it’s just another faceless Apple retail outlet; or finding myself in some cavernous beer hall only to realize somewhere amid the sweat, saliva, laughter and big bone beer maidens of modern Bavaria the present idyll dissolves (usually after 3 beers): giving way to memories of faint Nazi songs somewhere in my soggy alcohol soaked brain - that this was the place where a man with a funny moustache once stood and preached fire and brimstones as the crowd foamed in the mouth with hatred for the Jews.
But unlike other cities that I’ve visited such as Stalingrad; no one in Munich ever talks about the war – I mean in Stalingrad you could walk into any drink hole and the walls would be plastered with sepia prints of young men in uniforms – but here in Munich all you really see are Hansel and Gretal pictures, antler heads like one’s in the previous P-65 blog – it’s as though a giant vacuum cleaner has sucked up the entire collective consciousness of what once transpired in Nazi Bavaria and bagged it in some hole in the ground – silence it seems, is something you can actually hear in only Munich.
I am not saying for one moment that the Germans are engaged in some form of mass denial – nothing could be further from the truth. If anything the Germans are brutally honest about their past to the extent it’s almost impossible to cross two or three public squares without running into at least a dozen Jewish holocaust memorials – nowhere else in Germany or for that matter the world will you find atonement for the sins of the past on such a mega scale as in Munich- but what cannot be denied is while it may sound cool at this point to quote Santayana’s aphorism,
“Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
What’s missing from this narrative of remembrance of things past is we don’t always acknowledge that the seemingly simple act of remembering is far easier for some than for others.
Memories, I am reminded will always be doubled edged, it can fill you up with warmth and bring a smile; but in a place like Munich, it can tear your heart out and rip it into ribbons.
What I am about to write may even come across as a backdoor defense of Nazism (so if you find that I am not updating my blog next week, that means Mossad has probably done me in), because traditionally, we always been conditioned to believe that only the Jews and the rest of occupied Europe and Russia suffered most under Nazism –but what’s seldom discussed is how so many ordinary and decent Germans suffered silently under the iron girdle of Nazism; and it’s this unwritten side of German war time life that’s missing - the lost opportunities, lost possibilities, lost hopes, lost voices, innocence lost along with feelings they can never reclaim back that runs like an underground stream in the German psyche even today. I suspect that could be one reason why Germans these days are often fingered as being ambivalent about their past- but nothing could be further from the truth; as the act of remembering can be sometimes be so painful – it can be unbearable. And it doesn’t help that standard histories have so utterly denied the other side of the real people who make up the German story to suggest there were never any good Germans; and even less who were even prepared to fight to keep their humanity even if it meant sacrificing everything – that can’t be true.
If the business of remembering the past compels us to remain truthful, then somewhere beneath the sheen of modern Munich lies this jig-saw piece that might complete the picture - will I ever find it in my long walks; probably not….maybe all this is just a great diffusion of energy?
Maybe when we ask ourselves why are ordinary Germans so resigned to their past that they don’t even feel the need to gloss it over like the Japanese (who keep revising their history books); the psychology is not so different from a man who reaches a point of no return in his life. A point where he can no longer go forward anymore. And when this man who could just as well be me or you, reaches that point, all we can really do is quietly accept our lot – that I believe is how most Germans see themselves against the long shadows of their terrible past.
And this begs the question: why stir up the shit of the past? Wouldn’t it better to just let sleeping dogs lie? Besides what’s done is done, it cannot be undone….for fuck sake, that was 70 years ago, so why can’t we just move on?
I just think that has to be a travesty in the broader scheme of things if the imperative is to improve people and planet – you can only believe the past has nothing worthy to offer; if you can buy into the fantasy the present can just walk over the hill without any historical baggage – that’s not possible – if the goal is to make a better tomorrow we have to keep on making new reference cards about what’s right and wrong, good and bad, worth fighting, defending and sometimes even dying for etc – to do that I am reminded we always need a reference point somewhere in the distant past – granted, it may not be the best way to make sense of the world, but it may be the only way, we have for the moment.
Because as long as the specter of terror against humanity persist, that means the seed of evil that once took root here in Munich is still alive – the good fight is far from over – I am reminded these days evil can even be couched in goody good – be it in Imperial fantasia of the Bush administrations simplistic plan to invade Iraq in the name of freedom. Or the many mini-me Adolf Hitler’s such as Slobodan Milošević, Charles Taylor, Osama Bin Laden, Omar Hassan al-Bashir et al who still continue to threaten humanity - providing that kernel of evil still exist; then the only thing that stands against evil has to be the power of remembrance.
So if I had to plumb between forgetting or remembering it has to be the latter despite all its misgiving that’s the only way I know how to past down the knowledge to our kids about the dark forces that lead groups and individuals to commit crimes against humanity – with these thoughts when I look back at Munich high above the Alps, I can’t but help but wonder whether I may have somehow forgotten that the journey isn’t a way of reaching a destination, the journey is the destination, in this trip at least – that’s just another way of saying, when we ask ourselves how is possible for a nation to commit those unspeakable horrors some 70 years ago?
The answer can never be found in one crazy motherfucker called Adolf Hitler or for that matter the National Socialist Party nor is it to be found in the German way of life, but perhaps the place where the seed of evil can somehow take root remains in the primal human character called man.
(This essay has been funded exclusively by the Interspacing Metal Exchange & The Confederation of Gamers – published in Ekunaba, PBK, SLF 1 & 9, the strangelands, dotseng, TBL, Kassairwilhem No.6 – The Brotherhood Press 2010)
“In this world, there are things you can only do all by yourself. And things you can only do with somebody else or maybe a group because the undertaking is so big.
But even if you find yourself in a sea of men, you shouldn’t be swept away by them – if you really ask me how did the Germans fuck the world and themselves up in one go….you don’t even need to read one page of history, it’s because somewhere down the line the “I” and “you,” just got rubbed out by the bullshit of the greater “we” –“us” and ‘them.” That’s to say the individual gave way to the generic - sometimes when you find yourself marinating in the “we.” You’ve got to work darn hard to keep the “I” intact. You’ve got to find a way to nourish the “I.” You’ve got to make sure it stays in one piece. And that’s hard work my friends!
May even make you look really difficult, selfish and anti-social, cause you to lose that promotion or job, fuck you up even with the whole community that not a single person wants to be seen next to you; may even mean everyone talks bad behind your back and no one wants to do business with you….but…hey, what did you expect, I told it ain’t easy to keep the “I” whole.
If you want easy street then go with the crowd. Man… you don’t even need to be a human being to do that even a plastic bag can go with the flow downstream…
The really funny thing is if there were just maybe a car load of people who could think against the tide when Hitler was right here doling out his trolley load of shit ….evil would have been put to sleep there and then….those guys would have roasted him – that to me is the real tragedy about Nazi Germany……..”
Darkness 2010 – conversation with the Muchen Guild after commissioning the new Asia Pacific gaming server in Germany - reported by the Chronicler of the Book of Ages / Chapter 391, under the heading – “The Exodus,” Pg 4,029 -4,037 / The Brotherhood Press 2010.
N.B MESSAGE BY MISSY DOTTY: DO BOOKMARK THIS SITE, IF SOME OF YOU CLAIM, YOU ARE MISSING OUT, BOOKMARK IT, THAT WAY WHEN WE DECIDE TO TAKE OFF SOMEWHERE ELSE, AT LEAST YOU CAN FOLLOW US ON THE YELLOW BRICK ROAD TO CONT READING SOME OF OUR STUFF . BOOKMARK, IT AS WHEN THEY TAKE OFF, AS THEY DO, AT LEAST, YOU WILL HAVE A LINK, DO IT NOW!– ANOTHER GOOD REASON TO BOOKMARK THIS SITE IS THIS HAS HAPPENED RECENTLY – http://singaporedaily.net/2010/01/11/daily-sg-11-jan-2010/#comment-7611 , THE BP HAS BARRED ALL FUTURE ESSAYS TO BE POSTED BY THE SINGAPORE DAILY. I DID ASK BABY DARKNESS ABOUT THIS AND THIS IS WHAT HE HAD TO SAY, ” There are two ways to read, one is you let someone spoon feed you like a baby. The second is you choose what and how you want to eat. Remember, if your body is a temple. Your mind has to be the altar piece; it’s the linchpin that makes possible the grand idea of La Convivencia with you and your community, spirit, mind and perhaps 7 million other things- without this one thing, the power to choose, you are simply a cactus on a window sill!
So understand this little rich girl, there is reading and there is reading, there is a world of difference, if you dont even bother to argue with the belief, you are what you eat. Then you would have absolutely no problem understanding – why, you are most definitely without a shadow of doubt what you read and dont read.
You can certainly categorize what I write, but you have no right to judge ……that was what Singaporedaily did - a broad line has to be drawn, otherwise, dont be surprise, if someone decides its card blanche to give you and me the mushroom treatment, “feed you shit and keep you in the dark.” So this has nothing to do with Anime 3 and her rubberband brigade. I value her readership and support, but this is a bigger sphere we are dealing with here – so this is where I will draw the line…it will hurt…like that other fake site, Temasek review that kept faking doss attacks; but how could they let the real wolf out without first planting the idea in peoples mind, “if it can happen to me, it will also happen to you,” Think about it – they cried wolf – we helped, but this time, I am not going to stick my neck out for no one…its everyman for himself….I dont even care, if the whole house catches fire…call it tough love, but if you aren’t a hard man, then you shouldn’t be in the ring and that’s the only way to deal with people who cry wolf, its all here, the explanation
http://singaporedaily.net/2010/01/12/daily-sg-12-jan-2010/#comment-7618 - dont worry dotty, the readers will eventually pick up the scent…they always do, you just wait and see, dont ever sweat the small stuff, life is too short – Darkness 2010……”Missy Dotty