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to Hanau

“Half Half and Whole”: A radio play by Safiye Can on the second anniversary of the terrorist attack.

He calls her Sophia. She calls him Friedrich because when they first met they both had a book in their hands whose author is Friedrich (Nietzsche). Friedrich (speaker: Murat Dikenci) says: “I’m half-half. Half German and half the other country my ancestors come from.” A picture of the horse-man Cheiron hangs in his room. Sophia (speaker: Kristin Alia Hunold) finds that little surprising “with people who feel half and half”. She says of herself: “I’m all whole, all of Germany and the other country my ancestors come from.” Apart from that, questions of identity play no role in their conversations. At least not when they talked about literature, listened to Gustav Mahler or wrote text messages in which the essentials were between the lines. That was all before Hanau.

Hanau has changed everything. Safiye Can’s radio play “Half-Half and Whole” shows what the racist terrorist attack of February 19, 2020 did to young people from immigrant families. Even if they haven’t lost any relatives or friends themselves, they feel touched and meant. After Hanau, lightness and carefreeness are lost. Nothing is certain anymore – this is perhaps the worst part.

Friedrich considers the single perpetrator thesis to be a grotesque trivialization. He writes: “only one individual perpetrator (…)/and another one/last individual perpetrator/only one more”. In view of the lack of clarification of the murder, Sophia says: “Powerlessness is a big, deep word.”

O-tones of survivors and those left behind from the feature “The Last Day” by Sebastian Friedrich, which was broadcast on Deutschlandfunk Kultur last year, bring to mind the horror, the bewilderment, the bottomless sadness. Serpil Unvar never worried when her son Ferhat was out and about in Kesselstadt. He’ll be safe there, she thought. Until the terrorist shot Ferhat and eight other people right there. Music from Hanau forms the soundtrack. Rappers like Aksu (“Where were you?”) or Azzi Memo (“Are you awake?”) accuse hatred and racism, the failure of authorities and the police. That is cleverly assembled, oppressive.

“The Half Half and the Whole” is based on a 2014 short story by Safiye Can and is her first radio play. HR2 broadcasts it on February 20 to mark the second anniversary of the attack. Can became known for her poems (“Rose and Nightingale”, “Poetry and Pandemic”), which she has published for several years with Wallstein-Verlag in Göttingen. The Offenbach-born author herself comes from an immigrant family – just like Gökhan Gültekin, Sedat Gürbüz, Said Nesar Hashemi, Mercedes Kierpacz, Hamza Kurtovic, Vili Viorel Paun, Fatih Saraçoglu, Ferhat Unvar and Kaloyan Velkov, who were shot for racist reasons. The radio play is dedicated to them, their relatives and the victims of right-wing extremist and racist violence in Germany after 1945.

“Half and a half and the whole” : hr2, Sun., 10 p.m. Then on and in the ARD audio library.

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