The photo was taken at U-Bahnhof Schönhauser Allee in Prenzlauer Berg
It’s a fact: Our society is drifting apart, and nowhere else this phenomenon ist to be watched better than here in Berlin (see what the Prenzlauer Berger is ABOUT). “Auch ohne Mauer bleibt Berlin eine geteilte Stadt. Arm und Reich driften immer weiter auseinander.” (Even without the wall Berlin still is a divided city. The poor and the rich are drifting apart more and more. DIE ZEIT April 24) Henning Sußebach in his “Bionade Biedermeier” article (DIE ZEIT, November 8th 2007 here in German and here in English) described the Prenzlauer Berg as a sort of gated community of the rich and beautiful. In the recent edition of DIE ZEIT (April 24), Jeanette Otto writes about Brunnenviertel in Wedding, the former West area next to Prenzlauer Berg: “Genau dort, wo die Ostberliner früher den verheißungsvollen Westen vermuten, beginnt das Brunnenviertel. Gleich hinter dem Mauerstreifen, der noch immer wie eine aufgeplatzte Narbe zwischen Wedding und Prenzlauer Berg liegt und die beiden Stadtteile voneinander fernhält. Verheißungsvoll ist im Brunnenviertel nichts mehr. Leere, verwahrloste Geschäfte neben Billigramsch und Secondhand. Dazwischen viel Nichts, Armut und Depression. Segregation nennen die Soziologen und Stadtplaner das, was dem Brunnenviertel in den vergangenen Jahren passiert ist. Das Gebiet entmischt sich. Die bürgerliche Mitte ist ausgezogen. Was zurückbleibt, sind Hartz-IV-Empgänger, die Schwächsten der Schwachen…” (Exactly where East Berlin Citizens used to presume promising WEST, starts the BRUNNENVIERTEL. Behind the “Mauerstreifen” (the deserted line where once stood the wall) which still seems to be a bursted scarf, deviding Wedding and Prenzlauer Berg. In BRUNNENVIERTEL nothing is promising any more. Emptiness, neglected shops, poverty and depression. Sociologists and urban planners call it segregation what happened to the BRUNNENVIERTEL during the last years. The area is unmixing. Middle class left. Who stays, is on benefits, the weakest of the weak.) Read whole article here in German. Sometimes I think that Germany after almost 50 years of incredible wealth (West) and the illusion of equality of all men (East) after the reunification has now arrived in reality. And nobody knows how to deal with it because there is no binding value system as religion (West) or communism (East) any more. But our job is not only to state the facts but also to find solutions. So let’s for a moment pretend such a value system would still be on. What would for example religion have to offer for our society? Let’s talk about foot washing.
When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. (John 13, Jesus washes his Disciples feet)
For practical instruction click here.
The foot washing ritual had it’s ups and downs throughout history. See what Bertha von Suttner tells about a foot washing ceremony at the court in Vienna. Even if the ritual here turns up in a bizarre and perverted way – the idea behind it was present at these times. That’s probably the big difference to German society at the moment.