Ingo Schulze

    is a German writer based in Berlin. He studied classics and German in Jena. In 1998-1990 worked as theatre dramaturg in Altenburg, and went on to co-found the weekly Altenburger Wochenblatt as well as the advertising paper Anzeiger. He has been a member of the Berlin Academy of Art and the German Academy for Language and Poetry in Darmstadt. His novels include New Lives, Adam and Evelyn, Simple Stories and 33 Moments of Happiness. “Whenever I talk about various interests within a single country, of social and economic issues and the polarisation of society, it tends to be interpreted as an evasive trick. It is frightening what inappropriate criteria are used in public discussion and how depoliticised it has become. And whenever I try to find an explanation for this depoliticisation, which is a blessing for the status quo, I end up at the fall of the Berlin Wall. As a result of that great year, 1989, we started to take many things for granted, something I have only realized recently. For nearly ten years I was under the impression that the world I had lived in and which had consisted of words, had turned into one in which only numbers counted. All the old principles seemed to have been transformed into the principle of genuine necessity. I, too, became devoid of words. What chance do words stand compared with numbers? Didn’t the collapse of the Eastern bloc make ideologies vanish, at least at our altitude? Nowadays it seems ridiculous and incomprehensible that this was the thinking of an adult. The West is also based on words, of course, on treaties and agreements, on the struggle between various social and economic interest groups – on social contract! How could I have been so naïve?! And how difficult it was, and sometime still is, to free oneself from the ideology of real necessity and the “only possible” decisions it involves. If it is the nation that is being foregrounded in debates, there is something rotten in this country. Contradictions and opposing views become blurred and so does language. The only thing that works against this is: Citoyens of all countries, unite!”