The Wall fell in Berlin, Communism crumbled in the USSR, oppresssion can come to an end through peaceful action. Today I am more hopeful about oppression around the world- change can occur. I have been repositioning my work in response to the religious oppression in Vietnam- and decided that the Lady of the Realm which is a historical fantasy novel about Quan Am is about oppression and responses to it. Quan Am responds with compassion. Perhaps now I am closer to understanding the response of non violence. Thay (Thich Nhat Hanh) has asked us to voice our concerns for those in Bat Nha and I have been meditating and cultivating positive energy while I can. Yesterday I met two activitists- a queer Italian activist in my German class and a Marxist feminist that I knew ten years ago from student politics. Their take on European politics is fascinating. Germany is not utopia although liberal feminism has come a long way here. Der Grun is also not equivalent to the Greens in Australia- they are much weaker now having formed coalitions with the Christian conservatives in the south of Germany and making compromises. Der Linke is more like the Greeens at home.
Italy is conservative and getting worse. Davide is flying back to Italy for two days to participate in a demonstration against the Vatican. There have been bombings of queer nightclubs in Rome in Italy. In Berlin sexuality is open here with affection part of everyday life. Davide questioned me about Australia, yes we have the mardi gras but that does not mean Australia is not homophobic.
On the other hand Kate has been telling me that amongst left student activists in Germany women are still not holding leading positions and taking part in political debate. Which boggles my mind a bit- I associate the left with women’s liberation so am trying to grasp this and how it might work.
So there are so many nuances and one thing great about this residency is learning about these things.