The Blade (Die Klinge)

Carl von Ossietzky

Posterity weaves even less wreaths for journalists than for actors, of whom at least the role models mean something to citizens of later centuries. He has to let himself be carried by the day, be in harmony with its rhythm, and strangle his mount, like Freiligrath’s desert king, when the new day dawns in the East. Woe betide him if he falls in love with one day, he would quickly find himself behind a thousand others. The journalist, as a critic of his times, does not write himself into the book of history, he writes himself under his opponents’ skin. Their scars are his fame. His personal records are scratched in their skin; you can read the man and his works there, as if from paper. The day passes, with its mixture of excitement and routine. Daggers and scars remain. If you are talking about journalists, the question is soon not, „What does he stand for?“, but rather, “What has he dished out, how does he stand up for himself?”

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