Berlin is an interesting place. We spent all of last night at Fischladen where I left off last night. When we left it was morning. While Aki worked furiously on her work for Johnson Creek; Vanessa, Mouse and I discussed the merits of Wi-Fi, Twitter and technology in general in political movements, in particular the leftist “Anarchist” movement here in Berlin.
The German leftist movement has a fear and misunderstanding of technology. Wi-Fi in many places is not allowed and approached angrily. While 78 is legally owned and inhabited many individuals here are very much afraid of being identified for their political actions. Their fears, of course, are justified, many could and would be arrested if identified. However the group fails to mobilize and grow beyond it’s existing circles from what I can tell, most don’t even have cell phones either because they can’t afford them, or they believe them to be the tools of the establishment. Their numbers, while supported internationally are not as strong as they were right after the wall fell, and they likely won’t be again unless this group embraces technology. Aki and I cited examples of Mumbai and Iran to explain the values of it but the consensus is that it will fall on deaf ears.
Now please, do not interpret this as an endorsement of the actions of this movement or their beliefs, nor do I mean disrespect to their beliefs either. I am merely a guest here and these people are putting me up and treating me as one of their own. I believe that nearly any political movement has merits and from what I can tell, these are good people who want to life their lives free of political oppression and generally mind their own business, I cannot speak for all of their beliefs, only that I can say they feel very justified in them and truly believe themselves to be doing good to help society, as they see it. It’s sad to me to see their message and beliefs get lost or downed out because they refuse to adapt to modern technology.
An interesting side note, you’ll see that most of my photos from this trip do not contain people… weird seeing as I tend to focus on portraits quite often. This is because the men and women of “78” refuse to be photographed and the ones who don’t know me react angrily to me walking about with my camera at all. While I respect and understand this concern it saddens me as many of them are amazing, beautiful, interesting people who should have their voices heard and choose to hide their face so that they can fight another day, a concern that I’m not entirely sure how realistic it is.