GreenYes Archives
[GreenYes Archives] - [Thread Index] - [Date Index]
[Date Prev] - [Date Next] - [Thread Prev] - [Thread Next]

[GreenYes] Transforming Experiences
    I know that this does not necessarily fit easily within the narrow parameters of Greenyes, but the Wall Street Journal yesterday had a long profile that it is famous for which was truly ennobling.  If that is not what you read Greenyes for, please just pass by the rest of this.

    The packaging industry has written off recyclers' idealism and decided that those who remain are 9 to 5'ers just doing their job and, when they go home at night, leave their work behind.

    For those for whom recycling is more than a mere avocation, however, life's transforming experiences hold nestled uneasily somewhere within their genome their whole reason for being.

    Yesterday's feature article ("A Woman Trades Life as a Terrrorist for Peacemaking in War-Torn Kosovo," 1/11/01) described the life in Germany of Silke Maier-Witt, 50, who began her spiritual journey one day as a child when she and her sister were rummaging through the attic in their middle class house in Hamburg and "came across a mysterious box." 

    "It had been stashed away by their father, who, like many of his generation, had gone off to war and returning harboring the secret of his personal involvement in Hitler's Germany. The girls opened the box. Inside lay her father's war memorabilia: some papers, pictures of soldiers, a dagger from the Waffen SS."

    "Years later, like others of her generation, she read schoolbooks about the Nazis and their crimes. She remembered the dagger and wondered: Were they also her father's crimes? 'I though if six million people were being killed, I would know, I would do something against it,' she says. 'I was convinced.'"

    When she confronted her father about the box, he was furious and they didn't speak to each other for weeks.

    In one of those supreme ironies, Silke reacted dramatically by idealistically joining the Red Army Faction which engaged in what it called an armed struggle but which in fact more ressembled a reign of terror against the post-war German state and its ill-defined crimes. Their program included robberies and murders which killed many innocent people during the 1970's. Not that she ever fired a gun herself, being just a courier and performing reconnaissance. But, in a deep way even worse, she just mindlessly followed the RAF leadership without thinking, just as, undoubtedly, her father had done.

    Caught after the Berlin Wall came down, she served 5 years in prison, after which she went back to school for a degree in psychology, specializing in violence prevention, and set out to start a new life for peace.

    She is now working as a social worker driving in dangerous assignments bringing things like sewing machines to isolated villages in Kosovo to Serbian women desperate to stitch together a living.

    If you would like a full copy of the extended article, please let me know. I hesitate to reproduce it in full here for fear of running our listserve hosts afoul of THE copyright authorities.

Peter Anderson
4513 Vernon Blvd. Suite 15
Madison, WI 53705
(608) 231-1100/Fax (608) 233-0011

[GreenYes Archives] - [Date Index] - [Thread Index]
[Date Prev] - [Date Next] - [Thread Prev] - [Thread Next]