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Offbeat A journalist in twofold role exchange: Mechthild Henneke

12:50  28 november  2021
12:50  28 november  2021 Source:   berliner-zeitung.de

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Many readers of the Berliner Zeitung is familiar with Mechthild Henneke as a writer of reports, portraits and explanations. The political scientist has written over the Balkan wars in the 1990s until she changed the role and even went to the region with an aid organization. From 2001, she worked for seven years in the Mission of the United Nations in Kosovo. She has long been working again as a journalist in Germany. Now she surprises with a renewed change of rollers: Just her novel "Oh, my Kosovo!" Appeared. The book question of the week is therefore at Mechthild Henneke (exceptionally by du): Why was the novel for you the right form for this topic?

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  Eine Journalistin im zweifachen Rollentausch: Mechthild Henneke © Provided by Berliner Zeitung

Mechthild Henneke: About the man telling me, I could only write like this. It's, if you want, a positive hero, but it is also a one that has very suffered under what he did and experienced. Naim Bardiqi, the role model for the figure, was then medical student in Germany, he did not even have the physics when went to Kosovo Liberation Army. He ran in this war with his medicine bag from a place to another, bullets have removed, wounds supplied, limbs amputated, people saving life. When we became friends, I can record his story only in depth. In extreme situations one grows beyond himself, you know that he has experienced, but he has been extremely damaged himself. He does not feel as hero, he feels empty. This discrepancy did not let me go.

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When writing, I have noticed how much the subject of war has always been busy. My grandfather has fallen, I grew up with the grief of my mother. And then war was back in Europe. I had consciously exposed to him when I went to a NGO as volunteers in 1999. I really stood in front of mass tombs there, from which partly the bones towered. That deals with me every day, I had to circulate that in my head over and over again.

This war in Kosovo was Irreal. I experienced so much, talking to many people. They did not want me to write about them with clear names. In a war, much wrong happens. There is no clean war. And then I had something like a creative traffic jam. The novel gave me the opportunity to tell many stories, not just those of Naim. I did not have to feel so strongly committed to the truth as a journalist, I could put things together, expand, omit - everything. Even an experience of my mother I could tell in this way. It is an anti-war book.

Mechthild Henneke: Oh, my Kosovo! Palmartpress, Berlin 2021. 363 pages, 25 euros.

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