The series of talks marking the 50th anniversary of German-Israeli relations entered the third and penultimate round on Tuesday (3 November). Foreign Minister Steinmeier talked with renowned filmmakers and authors at a panel discussion entitled “Von Bruchkanten und Wunden”, of fracture lines and wounds, at the Babylon Cinema, Berlin.
What impact does violence have on society and art?
2015, the year which marks the 50th anniversary of German-Israeli relations, is drawing to a close – and thus the celebrations are also coming to an end. The series of readings and talks, which the Federal Foreign Office organised in collaboration with the DAAD Berlin Artists-in-Residence programme, is one of the high-profile projects celebrating German-Israeli friendship this year. The opening event took place in the Weltsaal at the Federal Foreign Office in January. The Nobel Literature Laureate Svetlana Alexievich was the guest of honour at the follow-up event, entitled “Zersprengtes zusammenfügen”, mending what was shattered.
The theme of the third event in the series on Tuesday (3 November) was “Von Bruchkanten und Wunden”. At this latest event, Foreign Minister Steinmeier took part in a panel discussion with the Israeli film director Ari Folman (inter alia, “Waltz with Bashir”), the German documentary filmmaker Andres Veiel (inter alia, “The Kick”), as well as the authors Esther Dischereit (inter alia, “Blumen für Othello” – Flowers for Othello) and Sherko Fatah (inter alia, “Der letzte Ort” – The Last Place). The panel guests examined the current wave of violence and conflicts in the Middle East, especially the question as to what impact they have on societies and art.
Foreign Minister Steinmeier placed the theme of the evening in the context of the current refugee crisis:
More than 60 million people have been forced to leave their homes worldwide – more than at any time since the end of World War II. Many of them are fleeing the civil war in Syria and the homicidal hordes of a self-proclaimed Islamic State, or the collapse of state order in places such as Libya. Many of the refugees bear wounds – on their bodies and their souls – marks of war, violence and suffering. They bring home to us the fractures and rifts created by war and violence.
Understanding dreams and traumas better
Steinmeier praised the works of the panel guests as an important contribution towards also getting to grips with the nature of current conflicts better: “In your works you have succeeded in describing things that are frequently impalpable and making them slightly more tangible. You thereby help us understand other people’s traumas and dreams better. That alone won’t solve any of the major crises we are facing today. But it is a first step – an indispensable step”, stated the Foreign Minister.