Intention & Intervention

Intention & Intervention

Authorial strategies against exclusionary discourses


Bochum Update

As there has been considerable public interest in the letter that I sent to representatives of the Green party, the CDU and the SPD in Bochum last week, I also want to post a quick update on the reply I have received today. My letter had outlined the need to publicly acknowledge that the politicians in question had built their statements on the Peter-Weiss-Preis on false reporting (as detailed in my previous two posts). It ended with the observation that the current lack of any correction gives the impression that representatives of the city of Bochum are entirely indifferent to the protection and reputation of writers affected by racism. I also stated my hope that this is not the case.

Unfortunately the brief response I received by the deputy parliamentary group manager of the Greens (rather than the addressees) merely pointed me to a December press release which does not acknowledge the false reporting at any point. The reply further informed me: “As an agreement has been reached between the artist and the jury, this issue is conclusively cleared up for us.”

Given the public echo my letter received last week, I know myself not to have been alone in the wish for a genuine reckoning with the mechanisms at work in this case. It saddens me that this wish is not shared by the representatives of the city of Bochum. As I have also expressed in my response to them, an actual dialogue could have sent out a positive signal at this time. Instead I can only pass on their view that there is nothing more to say. I remain all the more glad to have added my disagreement to the public record.

a picture of Dutch "priority" stamps on a pile of books