I am from a region in the far west of Germany called the “Lower Rhine region”, lots of trees, sheep, grass, few people for a otherwise quite densely populated state. There was a huge coal mine in the city where i went to school, which was the biggest employer in the region from the early 20th century until the late 1990s. So basically when i finished elementary school, a lot of folks were losing their jobs. Both my grandfathers worked in that mine and a lot of other family worked in the administration connected to it. A lot of stores were shut down, and us kids eventually started playing ball in those huge areas, that once resembled a blooming industrious region, but became just a reminder of a better past. Because of that, i always found some connection with music or literature about the situation in the rust belt in the US, even though the challenges and the cultural impact differ. A couple of years ago i started listening to La Dispute and fell in love with this one song called Safer in the forest/ Love song for poor Michigan and i just wanna quote it here very quick:
_To a Boring, desperate city
It’s been weeks since I’ve been around you. Has the fear begun to fade away like sunlight when it sinks into the lake? Are they now building up, or breaking down and boarding up the fronts? Has the whole town been foreclosed now? And what happened to those youthful dreams sunk deep in the river weak? Or got tangled up in weeds or else they’re stumbling drunk on Wealthy Street? Or making plans to leave? I need to leave. I can’t marry this place. I won’t bury the past. I just need a change of scenery. I will hold these old streets sweetly in my head like her. And I will praise their bravery always till the end. Let tongues confess the plague of joblessness a temporary illness. Let us wave their flag from there to here and then over and again and let us hope for better things though we may not ever get them
We will rise again from ashes one day. Until then, roll, just roll, roll me away
I need to leave but swear I will carry you in me until the end
So, Tuebor, my home!
Your desperate friend
Like a lot of people, i left that place when i was old enough and moved to the state capital to study at the university. And like a lot of people i struggle with the memories i have about my home town. But while i have to acknowledge that my hometown means a lot of pain and hardship for me, i also realize that it´s part of who i am, and part of the people that i love. And that those people are strong, and fierce and that some of their political views can be explained, while i don´t have to agree with them. Sorry if this got a bit too personal. It´s just one of those evenings and this fantastic topic really spoke to me.