The Cask

Posted: June 28, 2014 in Free Trade, Theater

Uta Köbernick

Uta Köbernick fits the classic “singer/songwriter” mold, but it really wouldn’t be fair to limit her to that.  After singing for six years with the Berlin Radio Children’s Choir, and later earning an undergraduate degree at the Liszt School of Music in Weimar, the Berlin-born musician took a detour into theater.  She earned a master’s at the Zurich University of the Arts in 2004, and was hired by the Berliner Ensemble shortly after that. She then returned to Switzerland–where she developed her one-woman show “Sonnenscheinwelt.” A friend on Facebook recently shared the text of a speech that Uta Köbernick gave at an awards ceremony in Switzerland. (There’s even a video of the performance.)  Like all the best polemics, it falls somewhere between poetry and prose:

I’m tapping a cask.
Wine into water!  Cheers.

2013 was the Year of Water–and a lot was going on.
A European citizens’ initiative against the privatization of water was successful!  My goodness.

Raise the water glass–down with the communal hangover!
In this spasm of sobriety I’m asking you–and I expect no answer:
What pushes us forward?  What advances us?

It is thirst.  Yes, thirst!
You have to quench it.
We thirst for much.  That is good.
But I don’t want to confuse thirst with greed.  You can be greedy for a great deal, but that is something different.

… OK,
maybe you can greedily drink water, when you’re very thirsty.
But you can’t
drink out of greed.
That doesn’t work.

But what does work,
is to fill bottles with water and then sell them at high prices to the thirsty.
That works.
Besides that, you’ve got to buy up
very cheap water sources
ahead of time elsewhere
or in South Africa and thus deprive the natives access to their water.  Then they’ll only drink contaminated water, and get sick or die.  Especially the children.
That, naturally,
doesn’t work at all–I don’t want anything to do with such sad things, either… and don’t want to nestle any names in here.
It was just an example.  Of greed.

Not to be confused with thirst!
We thirst.
For love, for knowledge, for stories.
Thus we have television, counselors, and porn. –But that’s not water, but rather cola, Rivella, or booze.
Now I got nothin’ against booze.
You need booze sometimes, when the thirst for knowledge or the thirst for love leads to bitter realizations.
Then you have to drink one over this very thirst, sometimes.
And there are actually many reasons to drink one over thirst.

For example:  The Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement.

Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement.
That sounds good.  It sounds legitimate.  It sounds like stimulating the economy.
It sounds like:  “You don’t have to understand it, the main thing is things are looking up”

And that’s what’s happening, things are looking up, I feel it, everything’s looking up.  I notice, along the way, that I slowly lose steam.

This feeling:  all conspiracy theories are now being put into effect!

The negotiations have been going on since July.  And are just as transparent as raw sewage.
What’s known is that the wheeling and dealing goes on in secret.

And the dealing over free trade there is very free- very very freewheeling.
With a freedom that is generally to be defined through loss of control.
This freedom will
bring a great deal of relief,
or so they say.
“Freedom is always the freedom of those who think differently,”
said Rosa Luxemburg.
Good, they were free enough
to murder her.

But why would you think d i f f e r e n t l y when you’ve just c o m p l e t e l y freed yourself from thinking?
We know how often thought gets in the way of deals.
Only when the dealing is freed from thinking, is true free-trading possible.

Genetically-modified corn, hormone-laced meat, chickens soaked in chlorine, cloned meat–those are the kinds of words that shock our reason, and it would like to be left in peace.

Stuart Eizenstat, former U.S. Ambassador to the EU, also campaigns for more trust
from consumers in Europe,
he says:  “What’s good food for an American family should also be good food for Europeans.”

Er, yes.  And what’s good food for a west African family in Niger should also be good food for Mr. Eizenstat.
No.  Little joke.  This deal doesn’t apply to developing countries.
They’re only affected by it.

Dear Free Secret Dealers !
Something has begun to leak out of you.
And what’s leaking out is so unappetizing, that one would have to assume
there’s an actual sump pump in your back room.
And a sump pump contains
the results of relief!
Rotting excrement, um, dung–
just that, yes–a lump, released from the human body, which produces it suddenly, with pressure–

So, real shit.  One doesn’t say shit?  Fine, then I’ll say:  investor protection clauses.
I would prefer not to have such a phrase on my lips.
But I’ll make an exception, and say again:
investor protection clauses.
(I just need a swig of water now as a chaser, or–even better–schnapps, which disinfects)
Such clauses go as follows:
If an investor makes too little in a country, because it’s hampered by the laws of that country from doing irresponsible things, the investor can sue the government of that country.
And the government has to pay damages.  With what?  With taxpayers’ money.  Or it has to relax the laws.  And then the citizens get inferior, harmful products.
Unlabeled and totally legal.

I’ll spin this out a little further.  And I’m exaggerating disproportionately–but you have to do that, when things are out of proportion:

If we can quench our thirst at a well, without fear.  If good drinking water flows from the pipe–that clearly reduces sales of bottled water.
That is:  some corporation will earn less.
Must it then be compensated?
Or would a government in the long run be forced to weaken the high legal standards controlling its water supply?

And everything that I’m telling you here–
Are these now dry facts, or just the watering-down of reality?

The question is not whether I’ve tapped a cask,
but rather which drop will trigger an overflow.

Good day,
Uta Köbernick


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