The Loss of Mental Metamorphosis (Satis Shroff)
Eight Indians on the run,
Fifty Neonazis behind them.
‘Deutschland den Deutschen,
Hier regiert der nationale Widerstand!’
Roars from the throats of the Neos,
Beer in their blood,
Defiance in their sanguine eyes.
The puls races,
Adrenalin surges in the veins:
Fight or flight.
No one helps,
They just look on,
Like Bertold Brecht would say.
As the Jews were beated and transported,
To Auschwitz, Gürs or alsewhere.
The Indians run as fast
As their legs can carry them.
The bald headed, overfed, pink Neos
Overrun the scared Indians.
What follows is the bashing
Of the underdogs in the German society.
Of migrants who love Deutschland.
Their only crime,
The colour of their complexion.
The police of Saxony’s Mügeln come,
But are hesistant about the xenophobia
That has broken out.
The rightists agitate conspitatively,
Sais the Verfassungsschutz in 2006,
Akin to Hoyerswerda and Mölln.
The ethnic Germans see and look away
At the brutality and intolerance
Unfurling before their eyes.
The teuro, the joblessness in the East
Has made them indifferent and complacent.
Give us more money to integrate the Neos,
In families, schools, communities,
Say some politicians.
Federalism and democracy is not inaction,
Where intolerance and racism rears its ugly head.
It happens from Mügeln to Mainz.
Antidiscrimination laws alone
Help neither the Wessies nor the Ossies.
A mental metamorphosis is in demand.
Have we Germans learned from history?
Haben wir, die Bürger, aus der Geschichte gelernt?
Alas, we’ve become complacent again.
Germany, Austria and Switzerland
Are striving for an European cultural identity,
Where foreign traditions
Are the essence of togetherness,
The enclaves of intolerance should remain
A ghost of the past.
Liberalism, democracy, civilisation and society
Should be the order of the day.
Mental changes in our thinking processes,
Not mental molotovs,
Should be the cry of the day.
MENTAL MOLOTOVS (Satis Shroff)
When Hoyerswerda burns
They discuss about the asylum-seekers.
Peaceful, righteous Germans go
In the streets with candles.
When a house burns in Mölln
They discuss about bringing back
Soldiers from the dangers of Somalia.
At the Turkish funeral in Solingen
The Chancellor keeps away
And avoids thus
Rotten eggs and tomatoes
That might come his way.
When the trial comes
The former skinhead neonazi
Has a lot of hair.
He wears a two-piece suit,
Ties a tie around his neck
And looks oh-so-respectable.
He peers into the cameras
With clear blue eyes and says:
“I’m innocent and a victim
Of the modern industrial society.”
And withdraws his statement.
The judges are lenient,
And the neo gets off on bail,
Gestures with his middle finger
And quips: “Leck mich am Arsch!”
As he speeds away in a car
Only to reappear with a Molotov
Like the Sphinx again.
Deutschland den Deutschen!”
These are the slogans
Still making the rounds in 2006.
The old black and white flag
From the Third Reich
Raises no eyebrows
At soccer stadiums, streets and pubs.
It’s fashionable again
To throw mental Molotovs
At blacks, browns, yellows,
And all non-Teutonics
At cocktails, chats
Stammtisch and in the streets
Against anything alien.
‘I don’t like foreigners
I’ll kill you,’ says a drunk
In broad daylight at the local Bahnhof.
Bharati Mukerjee a New Yorker writer
Once asked me in Freiburg:
‘How does it feel
To be a non-Teutonic
THE AGONY OF WAR (Satis Shroff)
Once upon a time there was a seventeen year old boy
Who lived in the Polish city of Danzig.
He was ordered to join the Waffen-SS,
Hitler’s elite division.
Oh, what an honour for a seventeen year old,
Almost a privilege to join the Waffen-SS.
The boy said, “Wir wurden von früh bis spät
Geschliffen und sollten
Zur Sau gemacht werden.”
A Russian grenade shrapnel brought his role
In the war to an abrupt end.
That was on April 20, 1945.
In the same evening,
He was brought to Meissen,
Where he came to know about his Vaterland’s defeat.
The war was lost long ago.
He realised how an ordinary soldier
Became helpless after being used as a tool in the war,
Following orders that didn’t demand heroism
In the brutal reality of war.
It was a streak of luck,
And his inability to ride a bicycle,
That saved his skin
At the Russian-held village of Niederlausitz.
His comrades rode the bicycle,
And he was obliged to give them fire-support
With a maschine-gun.
His seven comrades and the officer
Were slain by the Russians.
The only survivor was a boy
He abandoned his light maschine-gun,
And left the house of the bicycle-seller,
Through the backyard garden
With its creaky gate.
What were the chances in the days of the Third Reich
For a 17 year old boy named Günter Grass
To understand the world?
The BBC was a feindliche radio,
And Goebbels’ propaganda maschinery
Was in full swing.
There was no time to reflect in those days.
Fürcht und Elend im Dritten Reich,
Wrote Bertold Brecht later.
Why did he wait till he was almost eighty?
Why did he torment his soul all these years?
Why didn’t he tell the bitter truth,
About his tragi-comical role in the war
With the Waffen-SS?
He was a Hitlerjunge,
A young Nazi.
Faithful till the end.
A boy who was seduced by the Waffen-SS.
„Ich habe mich verführen lassen.“
The reality of the war brought
Endless death and suffering.
He felt the fear in his bones,
His eyes were opened at last.
Günter Grass is a figure,
You think you know well.
Yet he’s aloof
And you hardly know him,
This literary titan.
He breathes literature
And political engagement.
In his new book:
Beim Häuten der Zwiebeln
He confides he has lived from page to page,
And from book to book.
Is he a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde?
Doctor Faustus and Mephistopheles,
In the same breast?
Grass belongs to us,
For he has spent the time with us.
It was his personal weakness
Not to tell earlier.
He’s a playwright, director and actor
Of his own creativeness,
And tells his own tale.
His characters Oskar and Mahlke weren’t holy Joes.
It was his way of indirectly showing
What went inside him.
Ach, his true confession took time.
It was like peeling an onion with tears,
One layer after the other.
Better late than never.