Fiche de révision de vocabulaire d'anglais - Berlin's Underground Spirit

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Leçon 4 : Berlin's Underground Spirit

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Résumé en français : Katie a rencontré de jeunes allemands qui ont décidé de s'affranchir des normes sociales de leur pays et de donner à chacun de leurs actes un sens politique.

In Spain, where we met , he referred to them as ‘gente alternativa’— alternative types . These were his friends, Jaan explained to me, people who purposefully broke from the norm to make a point that the norms of German society were archaic; that they were oppressive; that they were something to rally against, and overcome .
This rebellious spirit characterizes much of Berlin’s underground, inspiring its art, music and with a political mindedness missing from the independent youth culture of other major cities . In Montreal and Barcelona, people party —but when they do it they are doing it mostly for the pleasure of flirting outrageously . In Berlin, they seemed to party with an agenda —they gathered in the name of prisoners’ rights , open-border immigration, fat acceptance . The major ‘ isms ’ (racism, sexism, anti-semitism, nationalism, totalitarianism) are so topical among the young and culturally involved that activism becomes a daily fact of existence. Vegetarians don’t just not eat meat, they protest against corporate food production; squatters don’t just not pay rent, they denounce property ownership ; women in same-sex partnerships don’t just prefer women to men, they condemn gender inequality and segregation, biases and body consciousness.
In Canada, most people I know won’t even bother to vote next week, in an election that will determine the country ’s next leader . How are young Canadians so apathetic , while Berliners give eating breakfast a political charge ?
Over New Year s Eve last year I went with Jaan to Berlin, curious about the ‘alternative’ lifestyle that he and his friends were living in that city. I found a scene similar to the one I’d imagined: most of his friends lived in Kreuzburg, a historically East Berlin neighbourhood populated largely by artists, immigrants, students and others who, since the fall of the Berlin wall , were attracted by the plentiful and remarkably low-rent housing to be found in the area ; many of them lived in the same house, in a communal set-up that required each of the 30-odd tenants to provide a vegetarian dinner for the household once a month, participate in organizational meetings once a week and pay rent according to income and occupational eligibility (one of the mandates of the house was to provide free accommodation to illegal immigrants unable to work in Germany); many of them were street artists, whose pieces always reflected their ideologies, whether literally (‘Nationalism=Nazism’) or figuratively (a McDonald’s logo replaced on a burger wrapper with a skull and crossbones graphic); and many eschewed the dinner, dancing and fireworks of New Year’s to protest the imprisonment of radical Berliners . We ate vegan pizza, discussed Israel and neo-Nazism in East Germany, the rise of the EU and the corresponding rise of German nationalism, and went to punk rock shows in overcrowded basements where we shouted anti- hate slogans while crushing each other’s bodies into the damp walls.
Maybe this was just Jaan’s scene; maybe this isn’t typical Berlin youth culture. But you’d be hard-pressed to find any hip young Montrealer willing to discuss Canadian politics anytime of the year, let alone on New Year’s.

 

 

 

By Katie A.

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Fiche de révision de vocabulaire d'anglais - Berlin's Underground Spirit
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