Susan Neiman

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¿Se puede definir lo 'woke'? La palabra (pretérito de 'wake up', o despertar) fue utilizada por primera vez por el músico de blues Leadbelly en 1938 para instar a sus oyentes a prestar atención al racismo; ahora la utilizan principalmente los políticos de derechas para condenar cualquier intento de luchar contra el racismo, el sexismo o la homofobia. Pero eso no convierte el fenómeno en un fantasma de la derecha. Y tampoco se limita a los campus estadounidenses, aunque fue allí donde comenzó. En pocos años ha avanzado hasta incluir a los guardianes de editoriales, museos, medios de comunicación y otras instituciones culturales en gran parte del mundo.…  Seguir leyendo »

Police offers at the edge of a Palestine solidarity protest at Brunswick Palace, Braunschweig, Germany, October 14, 2023. Moritz Frankenberg/Picture Alliance/Getty Images.

Memories get blurrier all the time. Still, it’s odd that in the aftermath of Hamas’s massacre, Germany has forgotten the aftermath of September 11, for it was a pivotal moment in its postwar history. Since 1945 West Germany had supported every major American foreign policy decision, including stationing nuclear missiles on German soil, and reunited Germany followed suit. Thus in 2002, many were ambivalent about condemning the war in Iraq, and much German ink was spilled demanding understanding for America’s post–September 11 trauma. At the time, the Social Democratic/Green coalition government recognized that trauma is no basis for reasonable political decisions and refused to support the invasion of Iraq.…  Seguir leyendo »

With gestures that ranged from a wink to a sneer, most anyone you met here this week volunteered the view that Barack Obama’s visit to Europe caused unprecedented frenzy. But it’s been hard for me to find a European, aside from two Harvard-educated friends in Paris, who confessed to excitement — not just about the visit, but the prospect of an Obama presidency.

It is true that Der Spiegel, the German newsweekly, featured Mr. Obama on its cover, topped by the words “Germany Meets the Superstar” — but the cover was satire, and nasty satire at that. The editors managed to find the ugliest photograph of Mr.…  Seguir leyendo »

Walking to work on Tuesday I was startled to see three large wreaths of flowers tossed on the rainy sidewalk like the dead Christmas trees the garbage trucks just reclaimed. Recalling that the building on that sidewalk housed the tiny office of Potsdam’s Jewish community, and that this week was the 75th anniversary of Hitler’s seizure of power, I turned to look closer. The carnations and zinnias were mismatched and garish, the cheapest arrangements on the market in a budget-cutting age.

That said, Germany has spent millions of dollars commemorating the Holocaust with monuments, museums and educational initiatives that show no sign of letting up.…  Seguir leyendo »