Heidi Trautmann

Heidi Trautmann Column 41 - Let's talk about Culture and....communication


I mean communication between people, between communities, countries, communication between young people, family members, between you and me…

Language as a tool of communication seems to have come to its borders or thrown overboard in the case of Syria, a most beautiful country full of culture demolished now by its own inhabitants, because they are not able to sit together and negotiate and perhaps compromise and meet somewhere in the middle. I am not looking for the reasons behind the war, also not in the case of troubles in so many other countries around the Mediterranean, our island Cyprus included.


I am looking for reasons why we in the age of high development in many disciplines are turning our head away from reality to seek other realities. There is a sensational longing for escaping from the here and now and disappear in unreal realities, such as films, fantasy films, the depths of the internet.  We disappear in books, identify us with the life lived by others, today often as e-books, play the most weird games etc. I remember that as a child I tried to escape into a painting that was hanging over my bed, because I wanted to enter the house that looked so inviting.


It is not the language itself and the possibility to form words and sentences to make ourselves understood,  but the ability to use the language to communicate - as language, which we were told would be the difference between man and ape - to communicate to make sense and to understand and to be understood.  But to communicate also implies noises made, body language, facial expressions and gestures, the eye contact, all that gets lost in the modern understanding of communication: telephone messages and internet.

The other day I was meeting a friend in a café in Nicosia, on the tables next to us were young people grouped around and I realized that nobody spoke, all of them, literally all of them, were looking down on to their Ipad or Iphone  or whatever in their lap and do ‘touches’ on pads. All emotions stay hidden….oh yes, you have the smileys for expressing emotions. This experience is not an exception. There was a theatre play at the Atatürk Cultural Centre and while there was true drama going on on stage, two young women next to me were active on their little electronic somethings, I told them that the lit display would disturb me. It also happened to me during a concert and even at a birthday party that the lady of the house was typing something into her Ipad while a guest was singing a birthday song.  

Yes, emotions would be disclosed when spoken out face to face or even by loud voice on the telephone, and one can find excuses or tell lies better when typed over internet or sms-ed.

Children at the tender age of four are playing with their electronic toy or sit in front of the TV set as a sort of baby sitter and watch comics, often rough plays, and in their mind they move in a totally different world, so far away from reality, that I fear that they will continue to prefer to live in such a fantasy world. Easy controllable masses one day where they get brainwashed and ordered around.  However, where there is black there is white. I have become so used to do my research in the internet, I could not imagine to do my work without it and so many good has been done via the electronic world but the aim should be to find a balance, a balance for our own personal freedom.


Coming back to the war at our doorsteps, why do the antagonists not sit down and find compromises for the good of all? Because there are so many ulterior motives and so many other powers involved in the meantime that it has no longer anything to do with the first arguments. Another reason is: you don’t see the person die you are shooting at with long range weapons or rockets with chemical poison. And now it has become a question of survival, a bitter game of chess or one of these electronic games. Words are no longer of any help. Poor language.





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