A book has just been published by the University Press of Kentucky on The Lives of Others, the landmark drama about the East German secret police. This Oscar-winning movie from 2006, mentioned previously on the site, is examined from just about every angle in Totalitarianism on Screen: The Art and Politics of “The Lives of Others” edited by Carl Eric Scott and F. Flagg Taylor IV.
Your editor has an essay in this multi-author volume. Also included is an interview with the president of Germany, Joachim Gauck. He was a lead investigator of the repressive activities of the Stasi in the now-defunct German Democratic Republic.
Here are some sharp words from Gauck, as translated from the German by Paul Hockenos, who conducted the interview:
“There are European intellectuals who say that anticommunism is somehow uncool, and that it doesn’t belong in democratic political culture. But you can only think this if you’re far enough away from the suffering that Soviet communism inflicted. In fact, the West has to learn that there are two kinds of anti-communism. One stems from conservative arrogance, such as that in the United States and West Germany. This variety is useless. The other variety stems from suffering, the deprivations of rights, and powerlessness. And if you’re not able to feel this, then you lack something as a human being. And, sadly, western Germany and western Europe still have to learn this. The seriousness of the threat of communism to our democracy project has to be respected.”