ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The New Jews in Europe

The New Jews in Europe GPD THE German historian-philosopher Koselleck had made an interesting point nearly a quarter of a century ago that "all reflection on history on the continent of Europe throughout the nineteenth century looks behind it to the moment of that revolution in which the meaning of revolution itself was transformed from a circularity of movement to the advent of the new" (cited in Paul Connerton, How Societies Remember, Cambridge University Press, 1989, p 6). It may be mentioned in passing here that it was perhaps Chalmers Johnson who remarked that Chinese is the only language where the word for revolution has exclusively political meaning. Anyway Koselleck obviously thought at the end of the sixties (his book in German was published in 1969) that the term revolution finally came to mean the advent of the new1 in nineteenth century Europe. The Chinese word gem- ing only suggests that the mandate of heaven has changed and does not necessarily indicate the advent of the new except in a chronological sense. But in Europe we are told, and not entirely without justification, that the revolution has come to mean the "advent of the new'. But what is happening in Koselleck's Germany might suggest that the distinguished professor was taking a very romantic view of the change in the 19th century. We mean the forthcoming trial of Erich Honecker, the former East German (GDR) supremo. Already, as he stood with a clenched fist outside the Chilean embassy in Moscow being taken out to be deported to Germany, he looked a pathetic caricature of himself, of a period and of a system, lb put him on trial again is futile madness. The revolution, which swept the erstwhile Soviet Union, the countries of eastern Europe and, of course, the GDR, is being reduced by the rulers of unified Germany to what it was not supposed to be according to western views on the developments, i e, merely a coup d'etat. After a coup d'etat the previous ruler, unless he has managed to flee in time, is usually decapitated or fatally humiliated as the Cultural Revolution enthusiasts did to Liu Shaoqi. The Chinese example has been cited just to make the point that even in a geming the ideas of justice are perhaps not supposed to include the advent of the new. Honecker's trial is not very different.

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