Skip to content

“We are disrupting the world“

Interview with Friederike Habermann
gemeine stadt ("common city"): unrest/s, dec. 2023

Sabrina Dittus: Is there unrest in the air? And if so, how would you describe it?

Friederike Habermann: I definitely sense restlessness. But it’s not the panic that Greta Thunberg alerted us to years ago. For many, I suspect an inner restlessness that is based on knowing that the catastrophe is here, but not knowing what to do, and therefore keeping very quiet.

I currently start many of my lectures with a video still of a Hamburg ferry with a huge tidal wave crashing through the shattered windows into the passenger compartment while everyone sits there reading their books or staring at their smartphones as if nothing is happening. For me, this photo has become a symbol of our current situation.

SD: According to Donna Haraway, it is “our task to create unrest, to provoke effective reactions to destructive events”. Do you agree with her, and to what extent does this describe your agenda as an activist?

FH: I definitely want to inspire effective reactions to destructive events! That’s also called agitating, isn’t it? In Spanish, agitar means either waving something, swinging something or shaking, shaking someone or just stirring them up. Yes, these are all forms of agitation. And I believe that when we become active, it is fundamentally important to bring people into a movement of awakening that enables their inner unrest to become active on the outside.

But what really fascinates me at the moment is the term AUFHÖREN (in German, literally: to listen up, but also to stop), as used by Marianne Gronemeyer. Inspired by this, Martin Kirchner and Hemma Rüggen from the Pioneers of Change recently wrote about how difficult it is to get rid of old habits; that they can be like an addiction. And that to collectively stop is also difficult: stop soil sealing, using fossil fuels or serving old friend-foe schemes. But if we start to STOP listening, there will be room inside for a different kind of LISTENING: to what life wants to tell us, to what is really essential. So, if we STOP LISTENING, we can see what wants to begin … (excerpt, orig. in German).

Read the whole interview at „gemeine stadt“ (German only).