Germany finds its voice

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Haydnseek
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Germany finds its voice

Post by Haydnseek » Mon Jun 19, 2006 9:34 pm

Germany finds its voice
By Richard Milne

Published: June 18 2006 19:57 | Last updated: June 18 2006 19:57

Singing along to the national anthem of your country while waving its flag is not an unusual sight at football games. But the scenes in Dortmund last week among German fans were nothing short of extraordinary. The German team, playing against Poland, locked their arms around each other shoulders and to the accompaniment of tens of thousands of their compatriots belted the anthem out.

“I have never heard it sung even a quarter as loud before,” says Uwe, a regular at Germany games and a car salesman. With the black, red and gold flag emblazoned on his cheek and another wrapped around him, he adds: “For the first time in my life I feel really proud to be German and the joy when we scored [in the 90th minute to win 1-0] was immense.”

Germany is being engulfed by a wave of patriotism. From grannies with their faces painted to flags flying in the smallest of villages, pride is surging through a nation that has hitherto been uncertain how to celebrate itself.

Even now, though, the progress is accompanied by hand-wringing in some quarters and questions as to whether it can last.

Take the German anthem – its first verse “Deutschland über alles” is banned in Germany. The third verse that is now used has long remained obscure to many Germans, so much so that the official singer earlier this year at a German international got them wrong. For some, even this verse is too much. The GEW teachers’ trade union has called for it to be replaced because it is a “Nazi-era relic”.

Some MPs in Berlin argue that because of its past Germany must remain more modest about being patriotic. But there is a sense that things are changing with this World Cup.

Oliver Bierhoff, Germany’s assistant coach, says: “I have never seen such scenes.” Christoph Metzelder, a defender who is known as one of football’s most intelligent voices, feels that Germany’s new confident style of play – after years of turgid focus on defending – is in part a metaphor for the country. “My generation grew up in one of the most stable democracies in the world,” he says.

“We won’t forget the reminder of 12 years of the Nazi-era. But we can live unselfconsciously and carefree and we can also play football that way.”


This sentence construction is normal when speaking to a German: they talk about the past before adding “but”. Now even the “but” may slowly be starting to disappear.

Politicians are also showing their patriotic side. Chancellor Angela Merkel celebrated the goal against Poland by clenching her fists, while sitting next to the Polish president. Earlier she had said: “People are waving flags without having to justify themselves. Fifteen years ago, things were different. Our relation to our country has become something beautiful, but in a normal and not an arrogant way.”

Norbert Lammert, head of the Bundestag, says: “It is the reconstruction of normality.”

The explosion of joy in Germany has partly been one of relief – relief that Germany are playing well as a team after months of pessimism; relief that following hundreds of negative articles about matters such as stadium safety or ticketing, the World Cup is so far an unequivocal success; and relief that things finally feel different.

Olaf, a manager at a biotechnology company, says: “As a 42-year-old for the first time I am not embarrassed by the history. I remember in 1974 [when Germany hosted and won the World Cup] there was no singing, no sense of triumph. I remember in 1996, when we won the European Championship, seeing one person with a flag and feeling it was wrong.”

One question is how long the euphoria will last and whether it is just connected with football or more deeply rooted. “It is hard to know if it is just caught up with the tournament,” says Olaf. Uwe adds: “I’d like to think I would still want to wear the flag after this but I’m not sure whether it will feel embarrassing again.”

For foreign visitors, perhaps most impressive is how Germans are throwing themselves into games between other countries. On a tram in Gelsenkirchen after Friday’s match between Argentina and Serbia and Montenegro, passengers gradually began a singalong. Suddenly dozens of fans dressed in Argentina kit revealed their true colours – and their ambition to reach the final in Berlin. And suddenly in unison, everybody sang “Berlin, Berlin, wir fahren nach Berlin,” (”Berlin, Berlin, we’re going to Berlin”) and then “Deutschland, Deutschland”.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2006

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/95191736-fefb-1 ... e2340.html
"The law isn't justice. It's a very imperfect mechanism. If you press exactly the right buttons and are also lucky, justice may show up in the answer. A mechanism is all the law was ever intended to be." - Raymond Chandler

paulb
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Post by paulb » Mon Jun 19, 2006 10:26 pm

Ahhh what's germany doing about its radical skinhead/neo-nazi groups?
I guess the same thing we are doing with those anti-government militia groups operating up in Idaho/Montana area. keeping em under profile. They can hoop and holler all they want as long as they doing it on private land away from the rest of us.
Though Germany's skin heads takes it to the streets at times. Hopefully the group will lead to nothing serious.
Not sure if germany is all as happy as they seem, there are still many europens(many germans included) with scars from the war, the healing of which may yet take some decades.
I'm not convinced of germany's happiness by these few shouting with glee.
Psalm 118:22 The Stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.
23 This is the Lord's doing , it is marvelous in our sight.

Haydnseek
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Post by Haydnseek » Mon Jun 19, 2006 10:54 pm

My impression is this is a healthy display of patriotism. Germany has done everything one could ask for in the wake of the horrors of National Socialism by building a very solid democracy and a liberal society. Generations have been born and raised under a new system of values yet they do not turn a blind eye to their history - every school child is taught what happened (Hello Japan, learn from the Germans!) Maybe we just need to acknowledge that good prevailed in the end and celebrate the victory. The allied effort in the Second World War wasn't in vain - it really changed things, and the Germans responded positively in defeat.
"The law isn't justice. It's a very imperfect mechanism. If you press exactly the right buttons and are also lucky, justice may show up in the answer. A mechanism is all the law was ever intended to be." - Raymond Chandler

paulb
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Post by paulb » Tue Jun 20, 2006 12:41 am

Sure there were some germans that resisted Hitler and died in the process, we shuld not forget that. But there were quite a few that got sucked along, and to this day some are still alive.
btw I recall vaguely seeing a german group in reaction to a film on nazi germany, there was a bit og giggling if I recall, some snikering at the stupidity of Hitler and followers. Maybe I see things differently, in that germany should still be in a state of humility, not yet ready for any national jubilation.
I guess germany is getting a taste of the old saying "what goes around, comes around' with the huge and ever growing muslim population there in Berlin and other cities.
Man they've got to deal with that mess everyday. Nothing fun, I can assure you.
Psalm 118:22 The Stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.
23 This is the Lord's doing , it is marvelous in our sight.

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Post by Corlyss_D » Tue Jun 20, 2006 12:47 am

Haydnseek wrote:My impression is this is a healthy display of patriotism.
I agree. And if it's not a transient blip but a genuine revival, it's a good thing in light of Huntington's morbid description of European countries who have no pride in their countries, who have been bludgeoned by generations of European bureaucrats into believing that nations are dangerous, obsolete, and unworthy of loyalty, who don't go to church, and who find little in Western Civilzation to defend against the Islamofascists.
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jbuck919
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Post by jbuck919 » Tue Jun 20, 2006 1:52 am

The German anthem (Deutschland ueber alles) was never intended to be associated with attempts at conquest. The idea was to value a united Germany above the old German states (Bavaria, etc.) at the time of the German unification in the 19th century.

Here is the third verse of the anthem which is currently used:

Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit
für das deutsche Vaterland!
Danach lasst uns alle streben
Brüderlich mit Herz und Hand!
Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit
Sind des Glückes Unterpfand;
Blüh' im Glanze dieses Glückes,
Blühe, deutsches Vaterland.

Unity and right and freedom
for the German fatherland.
Let us all strive for that
In brotherhood, with heart and hand.
Unity and right and freedom
Are the foundation of happiness.
Bloom in the glow of this happiness,
Bloom, o German Fatherland.

Obviously, those words took on new meaning after the reunification of the East and the West, so it is small wonder that the Germans are finally awakening to the possibilities of enjoying their marvelous national anthem, whose tune, of course, is by Haydn.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

mourningstar
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Post by mourningstar » Tue Jun 20, 2006 2:53 am

Corlyss_D wrote:
Haydnseek wrote:My impression is this is a healthy display of patriotism.
I agree. And if it's not a transient blip but a genuine revival, it's a good thing in light of Huntington's morbid description of European countries who have no pride in their countries, who have been bludgeoned by generations of European bureaucrats into believing that nations are dangerous, obsolete, and unworthy of loyalty, who don't go to church, and who find little in Western Civilzation to defend against the Islamofascists.
Well said indeed. In general i don't like patriotism. as you can see in my signature. but these kind of sort. won't do anyone wrong. even i am excited when The netherlands plays. 8)
"Desertion for the artist means abandoning the concrete."

Haydnseek
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Post by Haydnseek » Tue Jun 20, 2006 6:02 am

mourningstar wrote:even i am excited when The netherlands plays. 8)
Hup Holland! I'm looking forward to the match with Argentina tomorrow - maybe the most interesting game in the group stage of the tournament - well it was until both secured places in the next round. The managers will be resting stars, injured players and players with yellow cards so it won't be all it could have been. Still pride and history between the teams could produce a good match. Players normally on the bench will have a chance to shine.
"The law isn't justice. It's a very imperfect mechanism. If you press exactly the right buttons and are also lucky, justice may show up in the answer. A mechanism is all the law was ever intended to be." - Raymond Chandler

paulb
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Post by paulb » Tue Jun 20, 2006 7:32 am

Nothing against national pride. I want to make myself clear, I am not anti-nationalist towrads the USA, nor am I against any cuntry giving its all to for its national spirit.
Just as long as everyone is on the same page. The world that is.
And I'm afriad we are a long way from that.
Russia is still up to dirty little "tricks". The pres of venezuela is anti USA and a bit of a tyrant on any opposition in his country. And the list goes on.....forever.
As I say nothing wrong with national pride, just so long as we are all on the same page....
You can take it I'm not too hip on the national pride issue, especially on german's little happiness.
We've got too many enviornmental issues to deal with, which come before any ONE NATION.
No I did not see Gore's film on global warming/destruction of habitat. Most likely won't go, I'm pretty much aware of the issues.
Nice Day
Psalm 118:22 The Stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.
23 This is the Lord's doing , it is marvelous in our sight.

jbuck919
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Post by jbuck919 » Tue Jun 20, 2006 7:37 am

The Germany that made itself ashamed to allow legal use of its own national anthem in its original form no longer exists. You will hear about occasional demonstrations of extreme fringe groups, but they are no more common than in any other western country, including the US.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

mourningstar
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Post by mourningstar » Tue Jun 20, 2006 10:27 am

Haydnseek wrote:
mourningstar wrote:even i am excited when The netherlands plays. 8)
Hup Holland! I'm looking forward to the match with Argentina tomorrow - maybe the most interesting game in the group stage of the tournament - well it was until both secured places in the next round. The managers will be resting stars, injured players and players with yellow cards so it won't be all it could have been. Still pride and history between the teams could produce a good match. Players normally on the bench will have a chance to shine.
Indeed i am thrilled. It's not the same match as it was during Worldcup '98. When Argentina and The netherlands were facing each other in the quarter finals. and (offcourse) The netherlands won with 2-1...

It's not that kind of match. but i have a feeling both teams doesn't want to lose on the upcoming match. there is to much to lose for. i have this weird feeling that both teams are going to sacrifice some valuable players and put them on the field. that would be an amusing sight.
"Desertion for the artist means abandoning the concrete."

paulb
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Post by paulb » Tue Jun 20, 2006 10:52 am

jbuck919 wrote:The Germany that made itself ashamed to allow legal use of its own national anthem in its original form no longer exists. You will hear about occasional demonstrations of extreme fringe groups, but they are no more common than in any other western country, including the US.
Interesting, and was not aware of the new germany and its struggle to over identity with its past fluke regime. But remember there are some europenas, french for the most, who are slow to forget.
Yes in the northwest US there are anti gov militias who are even more organized and ruthless than the ku klux klan are in the south. So as you say there are violent anti gov groups in every county. Not only in germany.
Psalm 118:22 The Stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.
23 This is the Lord's doing , it is marvelous in our sight.

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Post by Corlyss_D » Tue Jun 20, 2006 1:56 pm

mourningstar wrote: In general i don't like patriotism. as you can see in my signature.
That old saw about patriotism being the last refuge of scoundrels is itself the last refuge of the clueless. :evil:
even i am excited when The netherlands plays. 8)


Good luck! :D
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