Unity and Precht and Freedom: Open letter against open letters


It’s hot in Berlin this Saturday evening. Maybe a little too hot. Berlin is just like New York. Not as far as culture is concerned. Or the art. Or the music scene. It’s no coincidence that you’re suddenly sitting next to Leonardo diCaprio or Justin Bieber in a restaurant in Berlin. Or accidentally runs into Fran Lebowitz’s oversized autumn coat. No, you don’t meet all these people in Berlin.

Marie von den Benken

If things go badly, you meet Jakob Augstein, Richard A. Falk, Svenja Flasspöhler, Thomas Faith, Josef Haslinger, Elisa Hoven, Alexander Kluge, Christoph Menke, Wolfgang Merkel, Julian Nida-Rümelin, Robert Pfaller, Richard David Precht, Jeffrey Sachs, Michael von der Schulenburg, Edgar Selge, Ilija Trojanow, Erich Vad, Johannes Varwick, Harald Welzer, Ranga Yogeshwar and Juli Zeh. And you really don’t want to wish that on anyone. Except maybe Vladimir Putin. Then the new tsar could finally personally thank his unofficial PR brigade. The armada of self-proclaimed de-escalation experts sharing their valuable advice in Modern Talking style this year.

Modern better not so much talking

Modern Talking, always led by Dieter Bohlen, the Richard David Precht of the Camp David polo shirts, was known for regularly changing their only song by a nuance, swapping out the odd vocabulary and then just releasing it as a single over and over again. In principle, the intellectual vanguard of Germany’s most capable foreign policy luminaries do the same with their open letters. Old wine in new bottles, as the saying goes. This week it was time again. The new wineskins (“Die Zeit” instead of “EMMA”) were ready and obviously more than enough of the (very) old wine was tasted.

In any case, the quintessence of this month’s “Armistice Now!” titled rehash of a text published at the end of April by a largely congruent cynicism brigade under the direction of Alice Schwarzer, a graduate expert in war tactics, is a 1:1 copy of a thesis that was already highly problematic at the time: Germany should not supply Ukraine with weapons, so that the war should not unnecessarily prolonged. This letter closes with a dramatically under-complex demand: stop arms deliveries. Behavior that would amount to a surrender by Ukraine. A country attacked in violation of international law, which would then see itself defenseless at the mercy of the megalomaniacal tsarist reformer Putin. The longing for further appearances in “Anne Will” must be very great and the narcissistic desire for public perception almost pathologically pronounced in order to seriously and triumphantly carry such a position to the public, as if one had just prevented the Third World War with one’s own hands.

Empty thinking made easy

And the learning curve of the noble pens involved with book sales disorder, hobby philosophers with talk show Turkey and the other ensemble members of the musical “Create peace only with gapes” seems more like the current price of bitcoin than a success story. While Richard David Travolta and Olivia Newton-Zeh are hoping to be awarded the gold medal “We’ll talk about it” soon, they are met with a stiff lateral thinker breeze of euphoric approval. Even with the first open letter, which will go down in the history books as a gem of merciless self-portrayal, there was almost exclusively cheering from a corner that one normally hopes would have blocked everyone on Twitter for a long time. An uneducated melange of ex-comment column top virologists who have since retrained to understand Putin, AfD claqueurs, graduates of the Telegram University for self-thinkers and “Great Reset” swaggerers. And what can I say: history repeats itself.

Finally ensure law and order

I think it was Albert Einstein who once said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results”. What made the company of war-path babblers to assume that this time, for their groundbreaking suggestion that the parties should be urged to negotiate, they would suddenly get applause from a place not to be ashamed of for the rest of their lives, will probably remain the secret of Friedensengel Precht and his working group “Diplomacy for Dummies”. Smart enough to know that it is no coincidence that the intersection between opponents of vaccination and opponents of arms delivery is even greater than the intersection between CEOs of petroleum companies and Christian Lindner fans, most of the signatories are actually.

Sahra Wagenknecht and Markus Lanz, the dynamic false balance duo of the public broadcasters, will of course hold the laudatory speech at the award ceremony for the Nobel Peace Prize, which is awaiting “Cool Precht & The Offene Brief Gang”. After that, honorary diplomatic passports are quickly awarded to the riot crew of reality deniers. The demand that the Ukraine should please manage on its own, because we don’t want to prolong its decline, on the one hand ignores what the Ukraine wants, which in this intrigue of pseudo-intelligence (obviously also surprising for Mr Precht) still has that victim is. And also what atrocities Russia has already committed there. On the other hand, it is ignored that a military cave-in before the Russian war of aggression would not bring about peace, but rather the opposite – namely a free pass for Putin.

Diplomacy for Dummies

But back to Berlin. So what’s the same thing about Berlin and New York? That everyone would rather meet Leo diCaprio than Jakob Augstein at dinner – of course. The answer is therefore: the weather. If you look closely, Berlin and New York hardly have any wonderful days. It’s either way too hot or way too dingy. Either you want to sleep 24 hours a day under the ice-cold shower, or a bitterly cold wind peels the last youthful moisture out of your chubby cheeks.

At least there, in Berlin, I walk from Bebelplatz to Hackescher Markt on this Saturday evening and see a group of older people who are dressed rather conservatively. I imagine that over in the Kronprinzenpalais the annual general meeting of the foundation “Create Peace with Open Letters” would take place and Precht, Zeh, Flaßpöhler, Augstein, Yogeshwar and their entourage of arms blockers would just take a leisurely stroll to a peace dinner similar to a school trip. But then suddenly ten black vans appear and eight heavily armed gang members jump out of each van and immediately start shooting at the peace march of Zeh’s witnesses. While the first signatories find out in the hail of bullets that Open Letters are no good as a shield against real bullets, others scream in panic for help and request weapons so that they can defend their lives as best they can and prevent everyone from being slaughtered in the end.

As consistently obedient knights of Precht’s chatterbox, the surrounding passers-by and the rushing police officers naturally decide to first write an open letter to the Berlin Senate, so that they can do everything they can to bring the opponents to the negotiating table. After all, arms deliveries and interference from outside the conflict only prolong the fighting. In addition, the attackers could then get mad at us bystanders. And anyway: 80 armed gangsters against 21 peace doves writing letters, the conflict is decided after two minutes at the latest anyway.

What should you do to help or intervene? Diplomacy is the keyword! We then quickly tell Precht and the few co-signers who are still alive and then turn our attention back to our own problems. You can’t take care of everything, especially when you might otherwise become a target yourself. Moral courage, yes, but not when it could become uncomfortable. Then warm words will have to suffice.

Then I wake up. It’s already Sunday and I overslept. Also, I had a dubious dream. Out on Unter den Linden, tourists are looking for the Brandenburg Gate and influencers are jumping into their cellphone cameras. Nobody mugged anyone. Nobody was hurt. Well, at least nobody whose name was mentioned here today. In Ukraine, on the other hand, many people have been injured and many killed. Civilians among them, probably even children. Luckily there are Juli Zeh and Richard David Precht who can end this horror scenario in the Ukraine by letter. I fall asleep again, relaxed and peaceful. The power of diplomacy paired with the intellectual might of eloquence. I can’t keep up with that, but at least it’s peace now. So, soon. Probably. Or there will be another open letter in August.


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