Schlingensief about Via Intolleranza II

Christoph Schlingensief, 2010

Does the foreign word “intolerance” have any meaning at all on the African continent? And what does it mean in Germany? Does it make sense to take a closer look at tolerance? Or has this foreign word become a mere buzzword which we use to describe antagonisms (in the hope, perhaps, of opposing these), but with which we nevertheless reinforce exactly these antagonisms?

When we deal with intolerance in the Afro-German work, VIA INTOLLERANZA II, is it not just another repeated attempt to bridle our enlightened hobbyhorse “humanism”? Is it not a case of idealising our own intolerance by exhibiting it demonstratively?

And when we talk about our intolerance of others, of that which is alien to us, we do not go far enough, because the main problem might actually be intolerance of ourselves, as we are intolerant of ourselves during our entire lifetime. We are well on the way to losing our individuality and the links that have been forged between our cultures for the sake of clichés and the cult of the mainstream. We have become tangled up – hopelessly perhaps - in our obsession with symbolism and the spectacular while at the same time simplifying all of the complexity that exists in the interrelations between people and things. We present ourselves as the highly cultural First World, not least in our desire to proselytize the Third World. Why, however, do we in Western Europe constantly want to help Africa, when we can’t even help ourselves? In reality, everything is much more complex than complex. And so – what can the goal of the cooperation between Africa and us be? A cooperation that takes place without sentiment and without our unpleasant helper syndrome!