A Democratic Decision and its Discontents

A travel note to share: After many twists and turns, it was some years ago decided to tear down the Palace of the Republic, an old GDR prestige construction in the center of Berlin. The parliament, city council and whoever else bears the responsibility for all this feel the need to point out that the decision made in a democratic country with its democratic local government is, indeed, also a democratic decision (PBS Frontline has a short doc about the palace and the decision to tear it down here) – at least that’s the title of the posters that inform the curious by-passers of what is going on.

I took some pictures of a nice little information/propaganda wall that has been put up next to the site of the now largely dismantled building (it is even more long-winded online). What is interesting from the perspective of this blog is not so much the glib and highly professional communication on the posters that surround the construction yard, but more how discontents have appropriated the posters as a platform for their own views–question marks, comments, and criticism appear in handwriting next to the printed info. Also interesting is that some of the comments are in English, targeting not only locals, but also tourists like me. Maybe next time they should simply leave space for comments, since these are becoming wall papers anyway?


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