A special kind of Poetry Slam has established itself in Germany, the nation of poets and philosophers. Unfortunately there is another P-word to describe our beloved society, PEGIDA is the living proof that there will always be people stupid enough to be racist. And this is exactly what the Hate Poetry events are about: to fend back the racist hate.
These events are the response of a group of journalists, with foreign background, who get shitloads of offensive, insulting and threatening letters from readers. Why? Because of their origin. Instead of holding down their heads and swallow the experience they decided to share those pieces of insanity in public, to read them out, to laugh at them and to make other people laugh at them as well.
I had just taken my seat in first row, when the journalists walked on the stage and started decorating their table with posters of Angela Merkel and Mesut Özil, with flags, roses and streamers. A blue Schalke04-scarf (football) hung from the table surface, a bag saying “I love Germany” leaned against one chair. I didn’t quite figure out what all that meant, but it made for a colourful scenery. Meanwhile another Hate-Poetry-Slammer served the audience with nuts and sunflower seeds, which let me inwardly jump with joy. I can always take a snack. It was a welcoming atmosphere and I soon felt comfortable. Like I wasn’t in the national library in Frankfurt, but in the living room with my good friends.
“The evening is seperated into four categories”, Ebru Taşdemir introduced us to the program. As a freelance journalist she writes for different journals, also for one of the biggest daily news papers in Germany, the Taz. “We will start with “Hello, asshole”, where every slammer has to read out the stupidest or most creative, insulting letter.”
I can’t even describe what I’ve listened to for the following three hours. “Hello, asshole” was a soft title for the incredibly hateful and dishonoring bullshit these journalists have to put up with. Whilst I was expecting idiotic gibberish, a lot of the texts we’re actually written in a very highfalutin language. I realized, that the authors of these xenophobic nonsense weren’t just backward people, but “normal” people, from the middle of our society. I know, I should be aware of that by now, but it really gives me the creeps every single time. Their writing made me swallow sometimes. I have no words to describe this deep disrespect.
Luckily the slammers presented the letters or E-mail-conversations in such an ironic and funny way – you sooner or later just had to laugh. It was like THEY we’re helping ME get over it, not the other way round. Anyway I will not reveal any details or even the names of the other categories, for I highly recommend to visit the event yourself.
And maybe this way of dealing with anger and stupidity can serve as an example for all of us. If you have to put up with shit you can’t change (maybe because the person is unteachable), don’t keep it to yourself. Share the frustration and a laugh with someone who understands you.