Heidi Trautmann

Heidi Trautmann Column 66 - Let’s talk about culture and ....humanity


There is always a lot to say about culture and humanity, I had it on my column two years ago, but the conditions, human conditions, keep changing. But let us determine first, what is culture and what is humanity in connection with culture.

Culture is…so many wise people have written about it…culture in my opinion is a two-sided phenomenon, first as it should be: a betterment or refinement of the individual in society by education and to create a distinct distance to other living creatures, the animals, by our sense for values and reason. We say proudly of us that we are the erect and thinking species. On the other side it also contains the interpretation of being human = weak, easy to manipulate, to take, rob, lie and kill for egoistic reasons or to protect one’s own tribe. According to the anthropologist A. Hoebel culture is…. “an integrated system of learned behaviour patterns which are characteristic of the members of society and which are not the result of biological inheritance”.  

Culture, the cultivation of soul and mind through education and development to ‘overcome the original barbarism…’….you will find all these interpretations in anthropological literature.

So, now what is humanity? Humanity, as virtue, is said to be focusing on ‘tending and befriending others’ ……??? Here I have my big question mark.

Lately I was deeply discouraged to write anything at all, I was speechless opposite the happenings in our close vicinity, in Israel and Gaza. About the disaster in Syria ….hardly anybody speaks about it anymore, it has become an everyday reality; in Libya, in Iraq, the expulsion of the Christian community….ok, what else….Ukraine and the shooting down of an airplane full of innocent citizens, a terrorist group in Nigeria abducting 200 children.

Would you be able to apply the definitions of culture and humanity I have written down above?  These are pirate methods or perhaps our world has the feeling that it gets overcrowded and sends hate and pests over our heads so that we extinguish ourselves and thus solve the problem?

It is true and a fact that many world inhabitants stand up and protest against Israel’s methods of war and genocide and even Jewish people all over the world join the protest; artists and intellectuals raise their voices as they did just recently in Nicosia at a poetry evening created by the Artists and Writers Union. Poems for Peace, poems for the children of Palestine. I wrote about it on my website….and here I have a poem by Aliye Ummanel that finishes with the words:

"They are killing children in Palestine,

The children who are the guards of our humanity,

They are killing our humanity in Palestine."


However, when I look through the media on the internet, in newspapers, in facebook and similar nets: people go on taking selfies showing that they enjoy life, they display the work they are doing, the food they are eating, the music they love; media report that the actress Miss X is half naked, badly dressed, and that other prominent people do this and that….and the report on children and women dying, hit by bombs sent by their direct neighbour,  is mentioned in-between. You keep on scrolling to the next news shaking your head sadly. Is this culture? Is this humanity?  

What can we do, you are asking? We can do a lot, also with the little means we have, just by being a bit less selfish and turn our eyes on the hard fact that if we continue like that we are going to destroy all our values. Whoever can should raise their voices, fathers and mothers, children and their teachers, men and women in the street.

Life and the respect for it, is the basic value of culture and humanity,  and love and peace is the motor that keeps it running.

Lately, I have often raised the question: Where are the religious leaders of our world, those whose holy books speak of love and peace and respect for each other. Where are they?







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