What is Heimat anyway?
|Pictured: artwork of a boy near Bellevue di Monaco. A bicycle is leaning against it.|
München--jeden Tag verlaufen, niemals verloren. Munich--every day lost (Eva can confirm my inability to orient myself in space), but never irretrievably lost. That is the Munich that I love and know. But I came to Germany of my own free will, with the knowledge that if I didn't like it (or if Meagan kicked me out of the hotel room for snoring too loud) I could always go back home. For so many, this is not an option.
"Heimat"--an old German word that doesn't exactly have an English equivalent. It offers a positive sense of home, where there is intimacy and comfort. Although the Nazis appropriated this term in order to spur xenophobia, I think the meaning of "Heimat" can overcome fascist propaganda. The feeling of Heimat comes from community, not from nationalism.