September 23, 2009

"Gesicht zur Wand"

Some years ago I went to Hohenschönhausen, the former prison of the Stasi, in East Berlin. It has been one of the saddest places I have seen. A old man, who had been imprisoned there, guided us through the complex. The most impressive thing for me was to see the scientifical and technical efforts to torture people whose crime had been to disagree with the regime. Leaving in that prison called DDR was a nightmare just better if compared to the lives of the prisoners. I won't enlist now the infinite abuses and assaults committed.

Last night the new documentary film "Gesicht zur Wand" was projected in Florence. It is an independent film which presents the stories of five people who were caught prisoners while being young, just for the sake of "protecting the State". They just wanted to go out. The film is very touching and hard, an incredible document of recent history. One question remains open: How is it possible that all the perpetrators of such injustice have been free (and even having a pension paid by the State), while more than 72,000 ex prisoners still suffer the consequences of rape, torture and abuse?

Germany suffered a lot the last century. When I think of that, I am more than grateful of being Mexican, a country with problems which are not to be compared to Nazism or Communism. And at the same time, the more I learn about Germany, the more I admire these people here, beyond stupidity and absurd naiveness. And never before seemed to me the popular Ostalgie as dangerous and superficial. And I wonder how many cruel stories are happening this very moment in China, North Korea, Cuba, and many other "hidden" places we don't care (enough) about...

If you liked "Das Leben der Anderen", "Gesicht zur Wand" is a must.

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