HALO PUBLIC OUTREACH EVENT - COMING UP
16 May 2019, 7:30pm
TRANSCENDING SLAPSTICK - Berlin Literaturhaus lecture with Steve Weinberg: How Kafka took the Gestures of Silent Film and made them Absurdly Humorous. “Like El Greco, Kafka tears open the sky behind every gesture...” wrote Walter Benjamin.
The stereotypical image of Kafka as a dreary and solemn prophet is a myth which needs to be debunked. In fact, throughout Kafka’s literature, diaries, and letters, one observes the author’s gift for effervescent, silly, and innovative humor. One area which has been particularly unexplored is Kafka’s penchant for absurd humor in his masterful crafting of gesture. It is no secret that Kafka was an avid silent filmgoer, and worked diligently to capture the dramatic, exaggerated, and boisterous gestures of silent film actors in literary prose. As early as 1934, Walter Benjamin aptly compared Kafka’s artistic style with that of Charlie Chaplin. However, what has not been observed in the scholarship is how Kafka creatively exploits these physical movements in his fiction to infuse them with a strange, avant-garde, postmodern humor. This humor cannot be reduced to slapstick. Rather, Kafka crafts gestures in such a way that their multi-faceted superfluousness unleashes a humor over the motion of the body which can be said to go beyond slapstick.
Steve Weinberg, Fellow at Humboldt Unviversity, studied Kafka’s works and German literature at Beersheba University in Israel. He currently undertakes Ph.D. studies in German literature at Rutgers University in New Jersey.
16 May 2019, 7:30 pm
Fasanen Strasse 23
Contact Tel: 0179 5800972
Event in English/ Free Entry
Halo Energy Event
HALO EVENT - StadtVision Berlin 2022
Im Literaturhaus Fasanenstraße sprachen Politiker über ihre wohnungspolitischen Ziele. Im Zentrum der Diskussion standen Fälle aus der City West (Bericht von Philipp Siebert)
Anlass für die Podiumsdiskussion „StadtVision-Berlin 2022 – Zwischen Kiezkultur und Mietervertreibung“ am Donnerstag war der Situation von drei Häusern unweit des Savignyplatzes. Das Immobilienunternehmen Diamona & Harnisch möchte die Gebäude in der Pestalozzistraße 97, der Schlüterstraße 18 und der Wielandstraße 50 abreißen und die Grundstücke neu bebauen. Dadurch würden zwar am Ende mehr Wohnungen entstehen. Die verbleibenden acht Mietparteien und das Lichtenberg Kolleg – eine private Schule in einem der Gebäude – müssten jedoch ausziehen. Diamona & Harnisch-Geschäftsführer Alexander Harnisch begründet seine Pläne mit den Kosten für die Sanierung der Nachkriegsgebäude, die die für Abriss und Neubau übersteigen würden und verweist dabei auf eine „sozialverträgliche Lösung“. „Wir versuchen die Mieter bei der Suche nach neuen Wohnungen zu unterstützen und übernehmen Kosten für Umzug und Kaution. Soweit möglich werden dabei Wohnungen im gleichen Kiez angeboten,“ sagt ein Unternehmenssprecher gegenüber der Berliner Morgenpost. Darüber hinaus würden Vereinbarungen zur Kompensation bei ggf. höheren Mieten übernommen. Die betroffenen Mieter weisen das Angebot jedoch entschieden zurück. Sie wollen bleiben.
Ralph Kappler, Kommunikationsberater und Lehrer am Lichtenberg Kolleg, hat die Diskussionsrunde im Literaturhaus Fasanenstraße initiiert. Er selbst lebe seit Generationen in Charlottenburg und wolle für den Kiez etwas bewegen. Die Veranstaltung sollte daher zum einen dazu dienen, dass Mieter zusammenkommen und sich vernetzen. „Allerdings haben wir es bei der Verdrängung mit einem stadtweiten Problem zu tun“, weshalb Kappler Vertreter aus Landes- und Bundespolitik eingeladen hat. Neben der Stadtenwicklungssenatorin Katrin Lompscher (Linke) stellten auch die Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorfer Bundestagsabgeordnete Lisa Paus (Grüne), der ehemalige Kulturstaatssekretär und SPD-Wahlkreiskandidat Tim Renner und der SPD-Abgeordnete Frank Jahnke ihre wohnungs- und baupolitischen Ziele für die kommenden fünf Jahre vor. Das Stichjahr 2022 aus dem Titel der Veranstaltung sei dabei nicht zufällig gewählt, weil dann die erste Legislaturperiode des rot-rot-grünen Senats endet, stellte Paus in ihrem Eingangsstatement fest.
Bezahlbares Wohnen in der City West soll möglich bleiben
Einig waren sich alle Beteiligten in zwei Punkten: Bezahlbares Wohnen in der City West wie in ganz Berlin müsse möglich bleiben und Immobilienspekulanten zurückgedrängt werden. Die konkreten Fälle seien dabei besonders bitter, „weil es keine rechtliche, sondern nur eine politische Lösung gibt“, sagte Lompscher unter Zustimmung der anderen Teilnehmer. Perspektivisch will sie deshalb erreichen, dass Häuser nur noch nach vorheriger behördlicher Genehmigung abgerissen werden dürfen – eine Regelung, die es in Berlin schon einmal gab, bis sie vom rot-roten Senat abgeschafft wurde. Zwar könne sie nicht rückwirkend auf den Fall in der Pestalozzi-, Schlüter- und Wielandstraße angewendet werden, vergleichbare Fälle jedoch in Zukunft verhindern.
Außerdem gehen den Vertretern von SPD, Linken und Grünen die bestehenden Regelungen zur Mietpreisbremse und zum Zweckentfremdungsverbot nicht weit genug. „Sozialwohnungen müssten dauerhaft gebunden werden und dürften nicht zu Gunsten von Luxusapartments verschwinden“, sagte Lisa Paus. Im Bund wolle sie weiter darauf hinarbeiten. Renner forderte darüber hinaus ein selbstbewussteres Auftreten Berlins gegenüber Investoren. Die Diskussionsteilnehmer stellten sich auch den Fragen und der zum Teil lautstark geäußerten Kritik aus dem Publikum. Und dort waren nicht alle mit den Antworten zufrieden, wie Karin Jordan. Sie lebt seit 47 Jahren in der Niebuhrstraße 11 und setzt sich seit drei Jahren gerichtlich gegen die Sanierungsvorhaben der Hauseigentümer zur Wehr. Sie berichtet von Schikanen wie abgestellten Heizungen oder der Belastung durch die Bauarbeiten in den anderen Wohnungen. „Es wurde nur davon gesprochen, was bis 2022 passieren soll – nicht davon, was heute passiert.“ Wie viele der Besucher wünscht sie sich schnellere Lösungen. Weitere Veranstaltungen sollen folgen. Wann die jedoch konkret kommen, konnte Lompscher mit Verweis auf den komplizierten föderalen Gesetzgebungsprozess nicht sagen. Einige Dinge müssten auf Bundesebene geschehen. In Hinblick auf die Bundestagswahl im September und die anderen Politiker auf dem Podium stellte sie fest: „Wir sind ja hier auch ein bisschen auf einer Wahlkampfveranstaltung." (Quelle: ImWestenBerlins - Morgenpost - http://www.imwestenberlins.de/stadtvision-berlin-2022-mieter-diskutieren-mit-politikern )
HALO Panel Discussion - Podiumsgespräch
- Katrin Lompscher, Senatorin für Stadtentwicklung und Wohnen
- Carsten Bolz, Superintendent, Ev.Kirche Berlin-Brandenburg-schlesische Oberlausitz
- Tim Renner, Staatssekretär für Kultur a.D.
- Emanuel Rund, Deutsch-Amerikanischer Filmproduzent u. Publizist
- LisaPaus, MdB, Bündnis90/Die Grünen
- Frank Jahnke, Abgeordnetenhaus, SPD
- Ralph Thomas Kappler, HALO ENERGY, Moderation
Literaturhaus, 11. Mai 2017, 16:30 Uhr
Fasanenstrasse 23, 10719 Berlin
Unterstützt von: "Aktive
Message from Halo Founder
HALO ENERGY, London/ Berlin - May 2017: A savvy market analyst, Kim Keats Martinez, recently quoted the "golden years of Halo Energy". I founded Halo in 2002 with an inaugurating event at the London Foreign Press Association. The first CleanTech PR consultancy in the United Kingdom! Today other renewable companies in the US, in Australia, Singapore, Ireland and the UK operate with a similar "Halo Energy" brand. Glad to inspire this trend. Halo assists with strategic communications to fase out nuclear power. We spearheaded campaigns to end the fossil fuel exploitation of Lusatia. With the current Vice Chancellor and former Environment Minister, Sigmar Gabriel, as conference patron HALO organised the CLEAN MOVES trade forum at the largest global technology trade fair, the Hanover Fair. A race for fuel efficient technology is on. In a time of fierce competition, we initiated the first bridgehead and independent trade hub for efficient mobility solutions. Not surprisingly, it was the German car manufacturing lobby, namely their public affairs arm VDA, that stepped on the brakes. Life is change. Keep moving. And whatever you do, do it with passion.
Ralph Th. Kappler / Tomaš Kappa
HALO ENERGY Founder
Disposession law still in force in Lusatia
HALO ENERGY - Brussels/Berlin 5 May 2013: As Germany’s State television station MDR revealed recently, irreplaceable landscapes and many Sorb villages have been and continue to be destroyed on the basis of a Nazi law. The Sorbs are the smallest Slavonic nation and a national minority within Germany living in a region called Lusatia. They cultivated Lusatia and have been living there for over 1,500 years, always under German pressure to give up their own Slavonic culture. This Nazi law which was never eliminated, has made it possible to confiscate privately owned houses and commercial properties in Lusatia on a huge scale up to the present day. The original purpose of the law was to feed Hitler’s war machine with the brown-coal of Lusatia. The present German government has allowed the Swedish State energy trust, Vattenfall, to use it to destroy an area in Lusatia the size of Luxemburg. The German authorities have systematically hidden this abuse of Sorb lands, culture and property from the public view. The role-model State of Sweden profits from this abuse and from this Nazi expropriation law. It is only by threatening forced expropriation, that Vattenfall is able to blackmail the Sorbs living there to leave their homes and land. This alone enables the Swedish State company to expand its brown-coal mining at the expense of both the beautiful landscapes and of the people living there. Further Information at ACADEMIA.org - The Lusatia Memorandum to EU Commission President Barroso
peuple sorbe en danger
HALO ENERGY, Brussels, 22 June 2016 - La devastation d'une terre - Bien que l'Allemagne ait tendance à s'autoproclamer championne en matière de technologie verte et écologique, elle continue néanmoins à exploiter des mines de charbon. Mais ceci cache encore un alarmant secret : celui de la repression que subit le peuple sorbe. En effet, le peuple sorbe est quasimment inconnu à l'échelle européenne. Ceci a pour raison le fait que les dirigeants allemands ont consciencieusement caché à l'opinion publique le traitement infligé à ce peuple. Il y a des siècles que le domaine, la culture ainsi que le droit de propriété des sorbes sont usurpés. C'est ainsi que le lobby minier continue de ravager la Lusace, sol natal de cette minorité slave. La multinationale Vattenfall a déjà anéanti 136 villages en Lusace, tout en continuant aujourd'hui encore ses sinistres excavations. C'est par des menaces d'expropriations forcées que Vattenfall opère un chantage auprès des natifs, afin qu'ils abandonnent foyers et villages. Et c'est de cette façon que s'est amorcée la chute de la patrie sorbe. Avec cela, Vattenfall étend ses mines de lignite sans se troubler devant les terres et ses habitants, tenant la Lusace pour une contrée sous dévelloppée. De plus, les dirigeants allemands continuent de fermer les crèches et écoles sorbes. Ce qui se passe làbas ouvre la voie, tout en étant une véritable débâcle écologique, à l'effondrement impérieux d'un peuple. Sous la bassesse de ces manoeuvres, le peuple sorbe s'est précipité vers son extinction. Une legislation Nazie - Ce qu'il faut savoir est que ces villages sorbes ont été détruits avec l'appui d'une vielle loi Nazie encore en vigueur. Cette loi Nazie jamais abolie, continue de rendre saisissable à grande échelle les habitations et batîments commerciaux. Le visée originelle de cette loi était d'alimenter la machine de guerre d'Hitler en lignite de Lusace. L'Etat Allemand abuse de ces lois d'expropriation Nazies. Le gouvernement actuel, encore une fois sur la base de cette loi, à permis au cartel de l'énergie Vattenfall de dévaster en Lusace une zone de la taille du Luxembourg. Le peuple sorbe a vécu en Lusace et a travaillé cette terre depuis plus de 1500 ans. Mais afin qu'il laisse de côté sa culture slave, l'Allemagne a toujours maintenu le peuple sorbe sous sa coercition. Cela fait des siècles que le peuple sorbe est écrasé. Avant, ils n'avaient pas le droit de parler le sorabe (leur langue natale), et encore moins de posséder un cheval ou un chien! Plus tard, des milliers de familles ont été germanisées par la force. Avec cette repression disparaissent un riche et magnifique pays, une culture, ainsi que la langue sorabe. C'est ainsi que 20 ans après la chute du régime communiste, les sorbes n'ont toujours pas de représentation démocratique légitime. Le peuple sorbe est le propriétaire légitime des ressources naturelles de la Lusace. Mais le problème de trouver un moyen de faire valoir cette légitimité subsiste encore actuellement en ces terres.
- Pétition „Arrêtons les expropriations par le lobby du charbon – Sauvons la Lusace“:
- Reportage "Chasse au trésor en Lusace":
Sorbian EU-Memorandum for President Barroso
HALO ENERGY, Brussels/ Budyzin, 17 June 2012 - The prologue to the Sorbian Wendish EU-Memorandum was handed over to the President of the EU Commission in Brussels.The Sorbian Wendish Memorandum is an emergency call and reflects the lively debate that is under way in Germany. Several Sorbian scientists, writers and consultants, such as Ralph Kappler (Halo Energy), Dr. Peter Kroh (Sorbian Jan Skala biographer), the author Dr. Juergen Buchman (Encheridion Vandalicum) and Hannes Wilhelm-Kell (Luzysko Alianca) are the co-authors. The authors are associated with the SERBSKI SEJMIK, the first grass routes movement towards Sorbian self-representation. With this for the first time concrete information about threats and opportunities for the Sorbian Wendish community has reached top decision makers in the European capital Brussels.
The language policy of the European Union is worldwide unprecedented. Since its inception, it is the centerpiece of their economic, political and cultural dynamics. For this reason, with only about 20,000 Irish speakers also Irish is one of the 23 official EU-languages. President Jose Manuel Barroso requested to be briefed on the Sorbian state of affairs in Germany during a conversation which took place some time ago in the Representation of the European Commission in Berlin. The memorandum states: "Witajso, Mister President, this letter reaches you today from one of the oldest and most endangered minorities in Europe." Sorbs have been home for more than sixteen centuries as First Nation in Lusatia, which stretches across the federal states of Brandenburg and Saxony. Sorbs and Wends are the first advocates of the water and mineral rich Lusatia Luzica region. Which is one of the oldest cultural landscapes in Europe. These treasures could be a blessing. But there is a lack of independent political representation.
Thus the Memorandum proposes among other initiatives, a more sustainable regional development and to boost the Sorbian culture and keep it alive through the creation of the EUROREGION LUSATIA. Right in the centre of this vibrant Sorbian, German, Polish and Czech cross border region. More than 130 villages, the strongholds of the Sorbian and Wendish language and traditions were demolished by short sighted economic exploitation and relentless open cast strip mining. Today the Swedish state lignite coal company Vattenfall is responsible for the destruction of Sorbian lands the size of the city state of Hamburg. Spectacular financial gains, precious minerals and natural water deposits are being extracted from Lusatia while at the same time Sorbian schools and Sorbian German bilingual WITAJ kindergartens get closed down by German authorities. Therefore, Sorbian people put their hope also in the work of the EU-Commission and her commitment to sustainable regional development. The Memorandum urges President Barroso to put the full weight of EU institutions behind the initiation of a German-Sorbian treaty. In this treaty the German side signs up to concrete political and economic consequences of its historic debt. The Memorandum is written in German as one of the official EU-languages.
Treasure hunt in Sorbian Lusatia
This is a report on Germany’s secret scandal, its treatment of the Sorbian people. They are allowed to perform their folk-dances for German crowds. Yet, despite their minority rights and despite Lusatia’s abundant mineral riches, the German authorities continue to close down Sorbian schools and kindergartens. Sorbs, also known as Wends in their American and Australian exile enclaves, feel uneasy about this assault. In the past, German oppression was always linked to campaigns against their mother tongue. The Sorbian language and culture have managed to survive for more than 1,600 years. Lusatia, or Luzica, as this water-rich country is affectionately called by its First Nation, is one of the most ancient cultivated regions of Europe. Lusatia is blessed with the largest gold, copper and rare earth resources in Germany. "Auarter of our entire nation has been forced to leave our homelands by the mining lobby. We Sorbs are being forced over the cliff", warned Jan Nuk, chairman of the Sorbian umbrella organisation, Domowina, through the Foreign Press Association in London. Shortly afterwards, the gates of Buckingham Palace opened for Sorbian representatives. Sorbs brought the first foreign gift to London during the "Golden Jubilee" of Queen Elizabeth II. Sorbs have not campaigned in the British capital since the end of WW II. In 1946 they tried, in vain, to lobby in London for Lusatia to join with Czechoslovakia. Up to this day Lusatia is located in the federal states of Brandenburg and Saxony. Despite its natural riches it is continually denigrated as a supposedly undeveloped region by the coal-mining lobby. However the region suffers mainly from a lack of courageous policies. Even twenty years after the collapse of the communist regime, Sorbs have no legitimate democratic representation of their own.
136 obliterated villages
Werner Domain and his wife were the last inhabitants of the Sorbian village of Horno. The seventy year old, retired couple tried to withstand the ongoing intimidation of mining operators. They managed to plant a linden tree in front of their house while giant coal excavators approached amidst deafening noise and clouds of dust. By then, Horno was already deserted and destroyed as if by war. 136 villages disappeared in Lusatian lignite coal craters, right in the heart of Germany. Germany, the self-proclaimed green technology and eco-champion! These brutal actions accelerated the dissolution of the Sorbian people. On the Internet site www.verschwundene-orte.de one can find the melodious names of destroyed Sorbian villages such as Publik, Bukovina, Horno, Barak, Rovno or Lacoma. Horno was destroyed by the Swedish state-owned energy company Vattenfall, although there was no exploitable coal under this village. Vattenfall took over almost the entire East German energy infrastructure during the fall of communism. This was no coincidence, since some of the most prominent East German politicians made a swift career under these lobbying wings. Sweden was also one of the main western trade partners and technology suppliers to the East German communist regime. Today, Vattenfall sponsors Sorbian communications and education infrastructures, which undermines Sorbian self-representation. The Lusatian mining company Laubag announced euphemistically, that they had “appropriated” more than 750 square kilometres of land. What they actually did through this massive land excavation was to destroy an area the size of the City State Hamburg. Prof. Joachim Katzur, head of the Institute for Mining Redevelopment, goes even further in a ZEIT interview: "Actually, the Lusatian mining operators have affected four times as much land, if we also count the land where the flow of below ground water is disturbed." Thus over 3000 square kilometres of fertile urban Lusatian land were sacrificed to relentless coal mining. 3000 square kilometres of affected land is more than the size of Luxembourg and half the size of the Palestinian territories. The size of Lusatia as a whole is comparable to the size of the EU country Belgium. In Germany thousands of square kilometres of fertile land has disappeared in open cast lignite mining craters. This man-made intervention into nature is the biggest transformation of the earth's surface since the last ice age.
Fairy tales about clean coal
"If we take the global climate change seriously, we need to steer away from lignite coal as quickly as possible", said Claudia Kempfert of the German Institute for Economic Research. Due to its low efficiency and huge greenhouse gas emissions, lignite coal is extremely damaging to the climate. We are now losing more than just the struggle for climate protection. Carbon Capture & Storage (CCS) is just a PR buzz word invented by Vattenfall, RWE & Co. The proclaimed aim of this experimental technique is the reduction of CO2 emissions and their underground storage. "CCS is in fact a tool to block investments in renewable energy technologies and thus to cement oligarchic fossil power structures," the energy expert of the Green Party, Astrid Schneider, explained. In Saxony, a parliamentary hearing failed recently to make the case for CCS. Vattenfall expert, Hubertus Altmann, admitted in Parliament that the CCS technology can not be industrially applied before the middle of the next decade, if at all.
Precious metals worth billions such as gold, platinum,
silver, zinc and more than 2.7 million tons of copper shale were discovered in Lusatia. World market prices of up to 10,000 € can be reached for a single ton of copper. The Kupferschiefer KSL GmbH
applied for mining rights in Lusatia. However, KSL operates under a murky Matryoshka principle. KSL is merely a subsidiary of the Panamanian Minera SA. Minera SA is in fact a subsidiary of the
Canadian Inmet Mining. And Inmet Mining is headed by a German geologist from Aachen, its CEO, Jochen Tilk. Only citizen participation can provide contract transparency. And the Lusatian treasure hunt
would find some sort of happy ending, if besides providing jobs and profits, substantial investments were to flow into the region’s educational system, universities and Sorbian language programs.
Nuk’s successor, David Statnik, demands: "If mining rights are granted to companies for coal, copper or gold, they should have to invest in Lusatia as much as they would have to in Bavaria or North
Nazism,Communism and now imposed Democracy
Sorbs were suppressed for centuries. They were forbidden to use their language. They weren't even allowed to keep dogs or horses. After a brief heyday during the period of Enlightenment, the brutal German assimilation pressure returned. Thousands of Lusatian families were forcibly Germanized. A key event dates back to the year 939, when German Count Gero advanced his martial career by inviting thirty Sorbian princes to a feast and assassinating them on the spot. In this way, Gero beheaded the Slav resistance against German land robbery.
What is the situation today? "Even after over two decades
of the peaceful revolution, we have no self-determination rights as Sorbs. Sorbs are still ruled by others," Benedikt Dyrlich complains. As chairman of the Federal Sorbian Artists’ Federation, he
criticises the lack of Sorbian representation in their own homeland. The Sorbian umbrella organisation Domowina is still entangled in a GDR-like inertia and top down politics. The independent SEJMIK
is trying to steer Sorbian as well as German Lusatians out of this stalemate. Markus Meckel is well-versed in the matter. He became the first freely elected East German Foreign Minister. And as such
he participated in the 2plus4 negotiations with the WW II victorious powers. Recently, Meckel ironically remarked in Brussels: "Perhaps Sorbs would be better off, if, as First Nation, they made
themselves a bit more independent with their abundant mineral resources." Meckel became evasive when asked about shortfalls in the carelessly patched German Unification Treaty. Interior Minister,
Wolfgang Schäuble, patched this treaty hastily together with a “hot needle” and with Stasi-tolerated East German politicians. As Foreign Minister, “this Unification Treaty was not really my cup of
tea”, Meckel said. Thus, the question of who owns the ancestral Sorbian lands is still the focal topic which was neglected also by East German bureaucrats.
Who are the rightful owners of the Lusatian land and its natural resources? This crucial question about the legitimacy of the hastily awarded excavation rights remains unanswered to this
Silence is death, speech is gold
Marka Macijowa, head of the Sorbian National Publishing House, focuses on the ground work of Sorbian-German language education. "The Sorbian language will only survive if parents pass it on to their children. Germans, on the other hand, must learn to discover and respect the Sorbian culture as an enriching aspect of their own culture”, Macijowa demands. Meanwhile, Sorbs have also established political links to Berlin, Prague and Brussels. The President of the EU Parliament, Jerzy Buzek, agreed to become the patron of this year's International Conference on Sorbian Music in Cottbus. As a young man Buzek organised the Polish Solidarity movement in Silesia from the political underground.
Help could also come from another source. Agricultural Commissioner, Dacian Ciolos, from Rumania is currently restructuring EU agriculture. His aim is to decentralize European agriculture and to make it greener. If these EU reforms are only partially implemented, it would be a sustainable policy push for the Lusatian region. For over sixteen centuries Sorbian has been spoken and sung in the Luzica region. Ruthless coal exploitation is now destroying the landscape from which the Sorbian culture emerged. At the reception in Buckingham Palace Jan Nuk and the author handed over a small blue-bound book entitled "Dwe Lubosci Ja Mam - Two loves I have in me”. Shakespeare's sonnets in Sorbian. Also, with the German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk in mind, one could say, that Germans and Sorbs now must together learn to practise the techniques of joint survival. This know-how of joint survival is certainly the most substantial and yet undiscovered Lusatian treasure. Lusatia could still rise to become a cosmopolitan CleanTech country. Ironically, also the German majority would benefit from this change.
* Article "Schatzjagd im Sorbenland”, Treasure Hunt in Lusatia," published by Pogrom-Magazin of the "Society for Threatened Peoples" Gesellschaft für bedrohte Völker", Göttingen 2012 "Schatzjagd im Sorbenland" https://www.gfbv.de/de/news/schatzjagd-im-sorbenland-2188
British Know-How to Boost Germany’s Oldest Minority
HALO ENERGY - London, Foreign Press Association - For the first time since WWII, a Sorbian delegation will participate in a press conference in the British capital. The briefing on 7th May 2002 at the Foreign Press Association has been organised by a joint British-German expert team. The culturally vibrant but economically depressed Lusatia region, home to the smallest Slavonic nation for more than sixteen hundred years, is under threat from large-scale open cast lignite mining. In particular, the struggle for the Sorbian village Horno has captured public attention as a focal point for the most crucial questions in Europe. How may technological advances be put to use to lower unemployment, alleviate environmental pressure, and ensure the protection of minority rights? British and German private enterprises; such as London based HALO ENERGY and the Berlin landscape architects firm 'Schumacher & Herrmann', are working on the answer. Britain illustrates one side of the solution. Most of its former coal mines have been already closed down and it enjoys the advantage of liberalized energy markets together with the lowest unemployment rate in Europe. The other side is provided by Germany's burgeoning renewable energy industry. With already over 120, 000 jobs in this sector and a current annual turnover of 8 billion euros, anticipated shortages in skilled workers could be alleviated by instituting alternative energy strategies in the mining regions. International press members and guests from influential British-German organisations will be briefed for the first time at the FPA about the situation in the Lusatia region, located in the federal states of Brandenburg and Saxony. The Sorbian "Domowina" organisation will be on hand to elaborate on the benefits of this model project. As Domowina Chairman Jan Nuck notes: " A quarter of our entire nation has been forced to leave their homeland due to coal mining activities. We have nowhere to go, while the transition to attractive technologies available for implementation alongside lignite is long overdue. Reforms and private enterprise are paramount for the survival of Sorbian culture. Thus initiatives such as the London based Halo Energy are our strategic partners."
The Jaenschwalde power plant threatening Horno is Germany's single largest source of CO2 emissions (22 million tonnes per year). Lignite use could be phased out with progressive energy strategies in the interest of climate protection and the mitigation of local unemployment, which exceeds the eastern German average of nearly 20 %. Dirk Tessmer, a Frankfurt based legal expert, notes that the destruction of Horno would be illegal under German and European laws. Expropriation might be permissible only as the "ultima ratio" in case of "greater common interests. This is clearly not the case in Horno, as there is only little coal to be found under the village and no jobs are threatened as a result of an entirely feasible bypassing operation." The one-sided reliance on coal-generated electricity has put the brakes on open competition in the region. Recently, the German Government released the Swedish state company Vattenfall AB, the new owner of East German mine operator Laubag, from over 180 million euros of old debts. These unexpected savings could easily be used to cover additional costs of bypassing Horno while successively diversifying energy operations. During the period of communist rule in East Germany, over 70 villages were destroyed by open cast coal mining in Lusatia alone, thus promoting dispersal of the Sorbian people despite constitutional guarantees of their cultural integrity. Despite these historical setbacks, the Sorbs have reason to look confidently into the future. Lusatia, having a combined Slavonic and German identity, a variety of natural resources and skilled people already working in knowledge based service industries, is well positioned to compete in the dynamic German, Polish and Czech border region. Kito Lorenc, a distinguished Sorbian writer, takes a look at the bright side: “After all, we have somehow managed to survive since the decline of the Roman Empire. It is rather a pleasant thought that Sorbs will be among the first foreign delegates to hand over a Golden Jubilee present at Buckingham Palace and that our gift is a unique Sorbian Shakespeare translation.”
Additional Information: Joint HALO and DOMOWINA London Press Release at ACADEMIA.org
Ralph Thomas Kappler
Tel. (+49) 0179 5800972