I’m in Minden, a fascinating historic town in the North Rhine Westphalia region of Germany. The main reason for my visit is to take part in an art exhibition as part of a cultural festival celebrating the relationships Minden has with its twin towns, one of which is Sutton. I’ve been made to feel very welcome here – and I’m enjoying being a tourist, wandering around town appreciating the history, which sits alongside more contemporary aspects of the place.
While I’ve been here, the political shambles in the UK has continued to unravel, and the people I speak with In Minden are completely bemused as to why we are trying to leave the EU. I don’t have any answers for them. Something I have noticed and am continuing to notice, is how often people who voted to leave, factor narrative around the first and second world wars into their rationale. It’s depressing.
I’m bringing this up now, because Minden was a prisoner of war camp in WWI, and suffered heavy bombing from US forces in WWII. These things are parts of our history, they’ve happened, they cannot be changed, and we learn from them. What we shouldn’t do is colour everything else we know and experience about something, based on awful events which happened many decades ago.
The exhibition preview is in a few short hours, so I’m off to get ready for that. Until I write again, I’ll leave you with a new piece of art titled ‘Arohanui’, a Maori word meaning, much love, with deep affection.