Tag Archives | Berlin Bulletin

  • The Jolly Roger Flies in the Berlin Elections

    Berlin voted on Sunday.  Mayor Klaus Wowereit, a Social Democrat, retains his office but his government needs reshuffling.  The only real surprise was a hefty 9 percent vote for an unusual new party, the Pirates, whose fifteen delegates in the new city parliament will be their first anywhere in Germany. With Pirates in parliament (though […]

  • German Leopards for Saudi Arabia

    Merkel just wouldn’t let the cat out of the bag.  In the first days after the arms sale scandal began, her front seat in the Bundestag was conspicuously empty.  When she finally did show up she wore a sour look but said not a word.  The decision made and any reasoning behind it were highly […]

  • The German Left Party Adopts Another Resolution on Israel and Anti-Semitism

    The debate within the Left party, and outside it too, was hot and heavy.  It took a dramatic turn on June 28th when its Bundestag members, in caucus, modified their controversial position of June 7th. Ever since its formation in 2007 this party has been under savage attack from all four other major parties.  But […]

  • Easter Peace March in Berlin

    The Easter holiday in Germany lasts from Good Friday to Easter Monday, four days.  It arrived very late this year, at the end of April, and amazing summer weather drew multitudes to lakes or the seaside.  Some, it was hoped — if not exactly multitudes — would be drawn by their consciences to a rather […]

  • Winners Still Undecided, in Germany and the Middle East

    Which way to look?  So much was happening inside and outside Germany!  Most dramatic were the revolutionary events on the southern shores of the Mediterranean.  Aside from amazement that those decade-long dictators could be forced out by the will of the people, there were some worries among sun-seeking German vacationers who annually flee the icy […]

  • Germany: Yet Another Vote for War in Afghanistan, Amidst Guttenberg Scandals

    “Guttenberg trotz Ansehensverlust beliebtester Politiker” [Guttenberg, Germany’s Most Popular Politician, Despite Scandals] (AFP, 28 January 2011). The German man of the hour is Baron Karl-Theodor von und zu Guttenberg.  Actually he has eight other given names, which modestly prohibits him from using, but the title shows that his family traces back to 1158.  He is […]

  • The C-word in Germany

    Once again it was the annual big weekend for German leftists of every conceivable persuasion.  It was also a weekend with tons of slush, the result of weeks of cold and snow now ending in thaw weather, but, in the eyes of most participants, also provided by most of the media. As every year, Sunday […]

  • To Save Mumia Abu-Jamal

    Who would demonstrate on a day like this?  Weatherwise it was the nastiest day of the year.  Berlin had been covered in snow for a week but on Saturday it thawed, the snow turned to slush and water, flooding sidewalks so that almost every step landed in a puddle, with more rain coming down to […]

  • Unquiet on the Western Front

    On December 5th one or two hundred people left a movie theater in Berlin, mostly silent and deeply moved though the film they had seen was first released in 1930.  This American-made epic had lost none of its extremely emotional appeal.  It was All Quiet on the Western Front and the date of its showing […]

  • Germany: Greens Rise as the Left Party Struggles . . . with Itself

    Using ropes, some young people descended halfway from railroad bridges to force the train to stop.  Others hastily grabbed stones out from under the tracks and in this way prevent their use.  Far more, young and old from all over Germany, simply sat down on the tracks until police carried them away.  Banners and witty, […]

  • Merkel, Muslims, and Multi-Kulti

    It’s those foreigners again!  In June and July, during the World Cup, Germans cheered their soccer team’s every skilled pass, every goal — and seemed proud that so many of its players had immigrant backgrounds, from Tunisia, Nigeria, Brazil, Spain, Yugoslavia, Ghana, Poland, and Turkey.  Hurrah! But now it’s October.  The leaves have changed color […]

  • Old Trees and a Railroad Station in Stuttgart

    Dietrich Wagner, 66, blinded by police, Stuttgart, 30.09.10 A retired engineer of 66 loses an eye, forced from its socket by water cannon at short range.  High school kids in an approved protest demonstration get beaten and excruciatingly blinded by pepper gas.  Over 400 people are injured in a major police attack, which failed completely […]

  • The Death Penalty, Mumia Abu-Jamal, and the European Parliament

    What does the USA have in common with China, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and North Korea?  You would hardly guess, but the European Parliament stated loud and all too clear on October 2nd: those are the countries which put lots of people to death.  In a long, detailed resolution, approved almost unanimously by 574 members […]

  • Wanted: A Coordinated, Militant Fight-back, in Germany and across Europe

    Once again the time has come in Germany for bells to ring, fireworks to explode, politicians to declaim, and media to drench us with joyful, endless reminders of events of twenty years ago and the evils they overcame.  Last November it was the Fall of the Wall.  Now it’s German Unity which is so loudly […]

  • Germany: SPD and Greens Regaining Lost Ground While the Left Gets Stuck in Debates

    Angela Merkel always seems to smile when she faces a camera.  Only once in a while does an unnoticed camera show her looking tired, if not worn and slightly haggard. Things are not all going her way.  More and more people are moving in Germany, mostly in the wrong direction, at least for Merkel.  In […]

  • A Would-Be Paul Revere in Germany: “The Muslims Are Coming!”

    The “mosque menace” is not confined to Lower Manhattan or the USA.  In many European countries similar alarms are sounded, usually in tones recalling Paul Revere: “The Muslims are coming!”  Although according to Sarkozy in France, Berlusconi in Italy, and the militarized neo-fascist Jobbik party in Hungary the danger is more from the Roma people […]

  • The Painful Birth of a New German President

    It all began with a jolt, and hasn’t stopped jolting yet!  Presidents in Germany are not too important; they do have a veto right, make occasional speeches,  pin on medals and take the oaths of new cabinet ministers, making them a notch or two more useful than Elizabeth II.  When President Koehler set a precedent […]

  • From a Stalemate on the Rhine to a Quagmire in Berlin

    Things are really happening in Germany!  Like many others, I predicted that the federal government, an unhappy coalition of right-wing Christian Democrats led by Angela Merkel and her even more big-biz-friendly junior partners, the FDP (Free Democrats), would wait for a key election in the giant state of North-Rhine Westphalia on May 9th and then […]

  • A Singer Sings, a President Resigns, an Attack Sends Signals

    Over the weekend much of Germany went temporarily berserk when one of its own, little black-haired high school senior Lena, performing in Oslo, won the Grand Prix in the huge annual Eurovision song contest.  It was Germany’s first win since 1982, when another young lady won out with her plaintive call for “A Little Peace.” […]

  • The Left Goes In, the Right Goes Out — or Does It?

    Second (Party List) Vote, Preliminary Results, in PercentDifference between 2010 and 2005 Second (Party List) Votes, in Percentage Points The state of North Rhine-Westphalia in the valleys of the Rhine and Ruhr is far and away the most populous German state, with 18 million people.  Once extremely prosperous, much of it is now in the […]