mk/wvb. At least since Edward Snowden posted extensive American Secret Service documents on the Internet and took himself under protection by the Russian Federation, every schoolkid can comprehend that there is something like data preservation, or that every financial transaction is recorded, that flight or other personal data is registered and if there is need, these can be used anywhere by anyone.
Currents of refugees from the Middle East and Africa, set in scene for the media, remind us on a daily basis that war has become almost a common method for politics. We can close our eyes, look away or, if that does not work anymore, ask the question what we possibly could do about it.
In his novel “Never say anything – NSA”, Michael Lüders is masterfully showing us that we are living in this world too and that each and every one of us has a certain responsibility towards our history and the forthcoming generations.
The protagonist of the novel, journalist Sophie, becomes an immanent witness and almost a victim of a massacre committed in a Moroccan town. After gotten away alive, she starts researching the backgrounds of this brutal attack and gets on to the track of volatile global political power interdependences. As she tries to publish her research in the newspaper, a roller-coaster starts: She is granted highest attention by the world media, but as things are getting hotter, the pro-American editorship tries to sweep it under the carpet and is urging Sophie to drop the topic.
In this example, Lüders realistically shows how media is manipulated, how people try to force journalists on a politically correct line and, if they cling on to the truth, how they are slowly neutralised and shoved to one side. But Sophie keeps on going, she searches and finds ways to publish her research, even if the mainstream media is boycotting her. Things heat up and are getting more and more dangerous for Sophie, she is being followed, strange “accidents” happen, she is the target of intelligence actions and attacks.
Middle East expert Lüders inserts knowledge in the form of a novel which he might could not publish as a journalist. He is doing so by skillful use of literary design, so that the reader identifies himself with Sophie. He feels and suffers with her, mainly because Sophie is staying true to herself and her journalistic duty of finding out the truth. This is – despite the abysses that the novel reveals, which are obviously located in reality – a hopeful sight: As long as there are people like Sophie and those who still continue to help her, even in the darkest of hours, the world is not yet lost. Even when all techniques of modern surveillance and persecution are used to pursuit Sophie, to make her fall and to get her out of the way.
The reader holds his breath as Lüders realistically and clearly displays what is already possible today.
After reading this lecture, nobody can say that federal or intelligential surveillance is no problem because he or she has got nothing to hide. The revelations of Lüders get to the substance of every citizen and free human being. Even more clearly as most of the novel takes place in Berlin, a city we are used to, not somewhere “behind Turkey”.
When the reader eventually realises that he is likely to be watched with the common mobile phones and computers, he also sees that he cannot set himself free of the facts described, that he is already in the midst of the same plot and that he has to make a serious decision. And finally he also sees that he cannot close his eyes anymore, against all the propaganda on every media channel.
The book challenges the reader to search for his own solutions, solutions that would lead out of the logic of war. And he even hints to an escape plan: What if we would cooperate with those that we wage war against, with economy, with sanctions, with weapons – what if we would cooperate?
Wouldn’t it be possible to see the East from this point of view? To proceed as is, as the novel clearly points out, is a dead end.
To make a long story short, the novel is a must-read, it forces the reader to pick a side. For this, Lüders’ book is a contribution against turning a blind eye. And last but not least, it is breathtakingly thrilling.•
Michael Lüders. Never say anything – NSA. C.H.Beck, München 2016 ISBN 973-3- 406-68892- 8
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