12 November, 2010

East German Journey

I find Open Democracy a bit annoying – they publish way more stuff than I can read, they publish it only on the Internet when I am a luddite who hates reading things onscreen, and they are always looking for money. Maybe if they published a more manageable amount of stuff then they would need less money.

For all that, they do occasionally hit paydirt, like in this long piece by John Hoyland about a trip he made to East Germany when he was a young CND activist. The Berlin Wall had just gone up (because too many East Germans were scarpering out of the workers' paradise that was actually existing socialism) and the Sino-Soviet split had not yet taken place, so the party Hoyland was in had a Chinese guy translating from English to German. The article is fascinating, as a piece of travel writing, as a portrait of Communist fellow travellers going through the motions of supporting what they know to be rubbish, and as a coming of age piece about Hoyland himself. I reckon that even people who do not share my DDR fascination would find this article worth reading, so I recommend it highly.

Pictures from article.

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