Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Gunter Grass's diary

Fiction-writers may be great at depicting realities, but not as good when it comes to analysing politics and making their predictions. Gunter Grass is perhaps no exception to it. Monika Maron gives her impressions on reading Grass's just published 1990 diary.

I'm not saying that to err is shameful. Indeed Grass's diary could be seen as a testament to the fears of a man who has learned from history, and who saw Germany's state unity as a disaster waiting in the wings and which, luckily for him and the rest of us, never did. For Günter Grass, though, it is proof of his prophetic powers, or more modestly perhaps, of his political vision, or it quite simply shows that he was right, yet again.

But in actual fact, he is doing precisely what he accuses others of doing: he is colonising, if only mentally. He decides whose opinions are valid, he knows what's right for those gullible, backwards, Deutsch-Mark crazed East Germans, what they should want and idiotically don't want, and he steps up to intercede in their best interests, as if they were too stupid to articulate them themselves. He decides what succeeded and what failed. And German reunification was a failure for Grass, today and 18 years ago when, on 13 January 1991, finally reunited with his beloved Portuguese cacti he writes. Should, if have time and energy, take stock again next October 3rd in my usual 'dogmatic' way.

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