Many years ago (it was during the first Gulf War, and doesn’t that seem a lifetime ago now?) I spent a year living on French Hill in Jerusalem. Several of my friends at the time were German exchange students, and I spent more time than I ever had before listening to the German language. To this day, the sound of German (and the smell of Joop cologne) takes me back to an intense and strangely wonderful moment in my life. I remember finding German beautiful to listen to, possibly because I was listening for the most part to Freiburg-accented German, which I remember as having a graceful, gentle cadence. I never learned any of the language — I was too busy trying to get my head around Hebrew — but it was lovely to listen to, a kind of music.
Fast forward. A German journalist named Hannes Stein read my Iran post below and did me a singular honor: he translated it into German and posted it on his own site. I’d never before seen my own writing in a language I don’t know. I stared at it with awe (and not only because the site is gorgeous): there’s something splendidly delirious about seeing your own thoughts rendered in a way you can’t penetrate.
I’m indebted to Hannes for taking the time to translate the post and for getting it in front of a readership I would never have been able to reach otherwise. If you’d like to see the piece in German, here it is.