May 16, 2022

Doing without

The German noun Verzicht– the title of the most recent concern of Austrian journal Wespennest– is untranslatable into English except with a gerund: foregoing, abstaining, eschewing, doing without. What gets lost is the universal sense of the German: the English foregoing is always transitive, and hence relative. Verzicht, on the other hand, needs no item, and even disdains one: it is a moral act in itself, for the sake of something much better, greater.

Though the term is ubiquitous, its political usage is ambiguous. As Wespennest editor Andrea Zederbauer composes, attract forego can legitimize inequality. Throughout the pandemic, particularly, doing without is relative; eschewing something– materialism, state, or cultural life– assumes one has an option. More typically, political leaders strenuously avoid the term, considering that requiring abstaining or self-sacrifice is a vote-loser.

In any case, doing without is what we have actually all got used to over the previous 2 years and, by all accounts, will need to get used to in the future.

The best word for refugees?

One anecdote, which provides the piece its title, poignantly explains Abdullahs loss. Before leaving, he tells his mom that he will be back prior to the grapes on his households vineyard have ripened. A year later on, when he has actually still not returned, he asks his mom to make jam with the grapes and bury the jar where starving people would not find it. 3 days later on, the vineyard was bombed. The jam container survived, and his mom fled to Lebanon.

Syrian grapes, Jabbar Abdullahs story of getting away Assad, communicates this concept powerfully. The archaeologist and curator remembers the moment he rejected his dads belief that foregoing liberty was a patriotic responsibility. To spare his family retributions, he ran away Syria, living in Egypt and Bulgaria before showing up in Germany. There he moved from one lodging to another, each with the exact same metal beds, connected with his fellow refugees through a typical story, a common destination and a sense of having actually lost ones name.

I for that reason think twice to refer to their loss as “foregoing”, because that constantly implies a mindful and voluntary decision. “Foregoing” recommends that there was an alternative, for the sake of something else. From a long-term historic viewpoint, however, foregoing fails to adequately communicate the measurement of loss.

There is the concern of whether foregoing can be recommended– can there be such thing as an uncontrolled act of uniformity? Under other situations, loss would be better. Refugees experience life far from house more as bereavement than as abstaining, writes Andreas Kossert, author of a prizewinning human history of refugees.

Austerity for the many

Agnes Handwerks resumé of the financial disputes around austerity ends with a description of the situation for workers of the German department store chain Karstadt. For the previous couple of years, they had been voluntarily renouncing a part of their wages in order to retain their tasks. Then, last year, Karstadt was purchased by Austrian property speculator René Benko, who instantly closed half of the shops, which of course depend on prime inner-city areas.

For the workers of Karstadt, like the rest of those in the bottom third of the earnings scale disallowed from home ownership, the austerity-defying zero-interest policies of the ECB have no benefit at all

This post is part of the 1/2022 Eurozine evaluation. Click on this link to sign up for our weekly newsletter to get updates on reviews and our most current publishing.

The German noun Verzicht– the title of the latest concern of Austrian journal Wespennest– is untranslatable into English except with a gerund: foregoing, abstaining, shunning, doing without. What gets lost is the universal sense of the German: the English foregoing is always transitive, and hence relative. I for that reason hesitate to refer to their loss as “foregoing”, since that constantly indicates a conscious and voluntary choice. “Foregoing” suggests that there was an option, for the sake of something else. From a long-term historic perspective, however, foregoing fails to satisfactorily convey the dimension of loss.

.