Sorry. Could thing I warned you that the posts might be not as regular. Between the world cup and apartment hunting and a presentation at university… Gah.
But today, let’s have another one of the most famous fables by Aesop. And beware of the very political contemplations at the end of this post.
The Lamb and the Wolf
A little lamb was quenching its thirst at a small stream. Further up the stream and thus closer to its well, a wolf was also drinking his fill. As soon as he caught sight of the little lamb, he cried:
“Why are you muddying the water that I want to drink?”
“How could that be possible?” replied the little lamb timidly. “I am standing down here and you so high up the stream. The water is flowing from you to me. Please believe me that it never crossed my mind to do something evil to you!”
“See! You are doing exactly what your father did six months ago. I remember very well that you were with him, too, but could make a lucky escape as I had his hide for his abuse!”
“Oh, mister!” begged the trembling little lamb, “I am but four weeks old and never even knew my father because he has been dead for so long. How could I atone for him?”
“You are an impudent one!” cried the wolf with feigned anger baring his teeth. “Dead or not, I surely know that your whole lineage hates me and for that I must take revenge.”
Without further ado, he tore apart the little lamb and wolfed it down.
The conscience stirs within the most evil villain; he seeks an excuse to sooth it when he commits his wickedness.
Copyright fort he fable’s translation: TaleTellerin
Copyright for the image used: The wolf and the lamb, by Wenzel Hollar (1607-1677)
What pops out to me as a German who was born more than thirty years after the end of the second world war, is the nature of the excuse that Aesop gives as a case study here – making somebody pay for the sins of his father. Without a doubt the sins of our fathers (and mothers) have not been pretend-ones like in this fable but inhuman horrors. Still, I believe the question stands – how can my generation be still held responsible or rather be forced to feel emotionally responsible for the horror committed by the generation of our grandparents?
Since this comes mostly from within Germany, it seems to be an attempt to make sure that it doesn’t happen again. Great idea but in my opinion the totally wrong approach. Instead of provoking anger upon being forced to feel guilt for something we had no impact on, it would be much better to finally have an honest public discussion about what really happened and how it could happen. Especially since there are some terrifying parallels between what had been going on in the world in the 1920s – economically and politically – and what is going on now.
Speaking of which – do you think in your country (of birth and/or residence) such an honest discussion has taken place? If there was the need for one in the first place, obviously.