Neue Texte - Part 48

posted by peter on 2007/09/12 13:21

[ Neue Texte ]

Michael Palin, former member of Monty Python's Flying Circus and since the late 80s presenter in a series of travel programmes made for the British BBC Television, has already travelled around the world, from pole to pole and across the Himalayas. In an article [print version] for the Guardian, entitled "So near and yet so far", he explains what drove him to make his latest odyssey, from Estonia to Albania - across the 'New Europe':
His summary/résumé:
Whatever happens, I feel I have learned a lot this past year. Eastern Europe is no longer faceless. I can remember all 20 countries we travelled through (twice as many as in the Sahara and Himalaya series put together) and I can recall what makes each one different. I no longer see rows of concrete housing blocks as the only urban landscape in the east, and those I do see I now know much more about, including the multifarious lives going on inside them. I see beyond the cliche of belching smokestacks and fog-bound factories, to some of the most unspoiled and beautiful agricultural landscape on the continent. And the only Soviet tank on the move was being driven by me, at a school on the Polish-German border.

I've laughed as much as, if not more than, on any of the journeys so far, and I've done some very silly things I can't imagine being allowed to do in eastern Europe 20 years ago, like strutting the catwalk in a Budapest fashion show and appearing on Polish daytime television.
What's most important is that instead of seeing east and central Europe as a mysterious world into which I, as a westerner, could never be fully initiated, I now see it as a cultural, political extension of my own world. The bond of history and proximity is stronger than any ideology. We have much more in common than sets us apart. It's a bit like discovering a long-lost branch of your family. We shall doubtless still quarrel as families do, but at least we can get together for a party every now and then.


Senior Editor

Seitenwechsel. Geschichten vom Fußball. Hgg. v. Samo Kobenter u. Peter Plener. Wien: Bohmann 2008, 237 pp.
(Weitere Informationen hier)
Transcarpathica. Germanistisches Jahrbuch Rumänien 3-4/2004-2005. Hgg. v. Andrei Corbea-Hoisie u. Alexander Rubel. Bukarest/Bucuresti: Editura Paideia 2008, 336 pp.
[Die online-Fassung meines Einleitungsbeitrags "Thesen zur Bedeutung der Medien für Erinnerungen und Kulturen in Mitteleuropa" findet sich auf Kakanien revisited (Abstract / .pdf).]
Seitenweise. Was das Buch ist. Hgg. v. Thomas Eder, Samo Kobenter u. Peter Plener. Wien: Bundespressedienst 2010, 480 pp.
(Weitere Informationen hier wie da, v.a. auch do. - und die Rezension von Ursula Reber findet sich hier [.pdf].)
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