Berlin from time to time gathers people together to discuss Central Asian affairs.
Recently, I have been to two events devoted to Central Asia in Berlin. The one took place in Berliner Rathaus near Alexanderplatz and the other one in the Europäische Akademie Berlin in Grunewald. One in the Eastern Berlin, the other one – in the Western Berlin, both once separated by the Wall. Where else was the border a wall? I think in the Middle Ages cities usually were surrounded by walls, which were also their protective borders, in German Stadtmauer. Many old cities in Europe still have the remnants of Stadtmauer. But the line dividing two states is fairly a new phenomenon. It goes back to the 17th century, Westphalian agreement, where territory is an important aspect of the modern state.
Anyway, back to Central Asia in Berlin, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Osteuropakunde e.V. presented a new number of Osteuropa monthly journal, which this time covers plenty of issues on Central Asia “Central Asia as Mosaic of Power, Traditions, Restrictions, Aspirations” (Machtmosaik Zentralasien, Traditionen, Restriktionen, Aspirationen).
This book, indeed, has a very useful collection of readings. It does in the beginning say that Central Asia is “Terra Incognita for Europeans”. I think Central Asia is terra incognita for many more, even Central Asians. This region is so poorly researched; there are more questions than answers regarding this region. Geography, history, clans, environmental problems, traditions, European engagement, international involvement, energy, human rights, many and many more issues are discussed in this book.
West Berlin hosted an event, which gathered quite a few people interested in the region. A book was presented, written by Elke Windisch “Zentralasien.Politische Reisereportagen”. Here is the link to find out more about the book and the author.