How the West was lost

On the forgotten half of Berlin

This is a belated plug for Dave Rimmer's feature on the Ostzeit photography exhibition in Berlin that we published last week. It's a display of photographs from the former East Germany, but Dave makes an interesting point at the end of his piece: we think of the East as a "vanished" world -- and what about West Berlin? Geographically isolated during the cold war, it was never really part of "the west" as such. The former East Berlin is now a fashionable tourist destination and memories of life under communism have been evoked in films such as Goodbye Lenin and The Lives of Others. But, writes Dave, "nobody has bothered to ask west Berliners what they think about the past". He continues:

Watching everything move east into the smartened-up new city centre, while their side of town becomes ever tattier and less fashionable, the west Berliners . . . have become the forgotten term in Berlin's perennially vexed equation.

Here's video footage of a crossing from east to west in 1990, after the wall had come down, but when the city was still divided:

 

 

 

Daniel Trilling is the Editor of New Humanist magazine. He was formerly an Assistant Editor at the New Statesman.

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Brexit… Leg-sit

A new poem by Jo-Ella Sarich. 

Forgot Brexit. An ostrich just walked into the room. Actually,
forget ostriches too. Armadillos also have legs, and shoulder plates
like a Kardashian.  Then I walked in, the other version of me, the one
with legs like wilding pines, when all of them

are the lumberjacks. Forget forests. Carbon sinks are down
this month; Switzerland is the neutral territory
that carved out an island for itself. My body
is the battleground you sketch. My body is
the greenfield development, and you
are the heavy earthmoving equipment. Forget
the artillery in the hills
and the rooftops opening up like nesting boxes. Forget about

the arms race. Cheekbones are the new upper arms
since Michelle lost out to Melania. My cheekbones
are the Horsehead Nebula and you are the Russians
at warp speed. Race you to the finish. North Korea

will go away if you stop thinking
about it. South Korea will, too. Stop thinking
about my sternum. Stop thinking about
the intricacy of my mitochondria. Thigh gaps
are the new wage gaps, and mine is like
the space between the redwood stand
and the plane headed for the mountains. Look,

I’ve pulled up a presentation
with seven different eschatologies
you might like to try. Forget that my arms
are the yellow tape around the heritage tree. Forget
about my exoskeleton. Forget
that the hermit crab
has no shell of its own. Forget that the crab ever
walked sideways into the room.
Pay attention, people.

Jo-Ella Sarich is a New Zealand-based lawyer and poet. Her poems have appeared in the Galway Review and the Poetry New Zealand Yearbook 2017.

This article first appeared in the 17 August 2017 issue of the New Statesman, Trump goes nuclear