Sometimes it’s an achievement to stick with it. That’s how it seems to me: with me and the poets, essayists, novellists, in short: PEN.
Due to GDR socialization, I have reservations about clubs, with their sometimes strange dynamics of their own, which are supported with membership fees, while the money would be better suited for other, freer projects. In this sense, the GDR was a single club, terrible and rightly gone under.
And now PEN, the last club I’m still in. A gathering of offended people – that’s what it looked like at the general meeting last weekend, which I attended via zoom. Admittedly, I couldn’t and didn’t want to leave the zoom room for sheer voyeurism.
Deniz Yücel with his saying about the bratwurst stand that he doesn’t want to head. A classic distributor, but god knows it doesn’t take well; among boxers one would call it a glass jaw. Why hadn’t he resigned sooner? In other words: The result of 75:73 votes, which confirmed him in office, could have triggered defiant impetus, especially since only one member of the Presidency, Treasurer Joachim Helfer, was voted out.
Productive defiance, however, would have been a grown-up position, which obviously cannot be expected from a man who keeps calling himself a “big boy”. And maybe he didn’t want anything else at all than this exit appearance.
In contrast, the guard of the dusty, the core of the opposing party, for whom life itself seems to be an insult: Kurt “Dia-Abend-Rolandbogen” Roessler, Heinrich “Grillabend” Peuckmann and Christoph Nix, Prof. Dr. jur., Prof. Dr. phil., Honorary Consul of Malawi. With all the images that I have kept in mind from the PEN conference in Gotha, Thuringia, these three gentlemen with their undisguised provinciality keep pushing themselves to the fore.
And, I wonder, if the “big boy” had loved her just a little bit, would he have become her pop star too?
The employees in the PEN office were also deeply offended, whose performance, not free from involuntary comedy (“We are not slaves”), undoubtedly proved that Deniz Yücel and his troupe are not exactly competent people when it comes to integrating and taking things with them. On the contrary: perhaps there was even pleasure in humiliation. This is also a regressive move. Unfortunately, the victims’ employees, who needed feminist escorts and the same kind of preface when they entered the stage, matched this. More exposed defenselessness is hardly possible.
Where to go between these groups? Where is the reasonably reasonable alternative group? And on top of that the resignations of members, announced or even already completed. Either way, PEN is too good to be considered a theatrical act.
On the contrary: it is needed! Because there are hundreds of authors worldwide who are about more than insults. One works for their release from prisons, for whom one must and can and may offer accommodation in Germany.
And when I think back to my time in the GDR: PEN had the sound of the wide world, of verve, of just and strong intellectual power. Even if I take away these transfigurations, there’s still a lot left.
I would like to stay in this club, the last one I’m still in.