Opinion | The Tragedy of Angela Merkel

I help our chancellor utterly, as a result of she proved herself to be an brisk humanist, as a result of she has acted as a real Christian and has remained a stoic European regardless of Europe’s inside turbulence. She exhibits the world the pleasant face of human rationality.

That great mistake that she made three years in the past introduced Ms. Merkel a wave of sympathy from all over the world. Her courageous determination did no less than as a lot for Germany’s picture because the “economic miracle” that gained the world’s admiration within the post-Nazi interval. Meanwhile, inside Germany, the diverging views of East and West Germans nearly mannequin the distinction between Eastern and Western states within the European Union. Here, too, we see that the impact of a dictatorship doesn’t finish with its downfall. The international locations of the previous Eastern Bloc, the place there are hardly any foreigners and only a few refugees, have the best worry of them.

The assaults in opposition to Ms. Merkel following the opening of the border in 2015 have generally escalated to hysterical heights. The populists fish these muddy waters. At the identical time, you will need to do not forget that the events that help Ms. Merkel’s refugee coverage have been elected by a overwhelming majority of Germans.

At this time, Ms. Merkel is attempting to steer the extra superior of the European states, if not all of them, to uphold the politics of a liberal Europe. Toward that finish, she has convened a gathering of the European Union’s high politicians this week. The query on the agenda: How can the European states come to an settlement on securing their exterior borders with out abandoning the notion of a humane asylum coverage? In Europe, we’re arguing over the query of distribute the refugees pretty. If this query ought to journey Ms. Merkel up, it could be a mere setback for this sturdy chancellor; for Europe, nonetheless, it could be a catastrophe.

I consider that solely a Europe of many peoples — as first embodied by Charlemagne, as prophesied by Winston Churchill after World War II — solely a democratically unified Europe of numerous cultures will have the ability to prevail within the world battle between emergent and established powers.

Global conflicts have at all times introduced nice risks. But the best hazard is our lack of braveness.

It was on this spirit that I wrote a music for myself and my courageous buddies in East Germany: “If you don’t play with hearth, you get burned.” Even the political prisoners of their cells chewed on these phrases, like bread for the soul.

What songwriter may render these traces in order that my pricey pal Joan Baez may sing them? They would match that icon of indomitability. In East Berlin, in 1966 after I was an outcast, she visited me and gave me braveness. A couple of days in the past, we met at a live performance she gave in Hamburg. We talked simply as we had as soon as talked, as if our hair hadn’t turned winter-white within the meantime.

Update: June 29, 2018

Due to an modifying error, a sentence within the first paragraph of the English model of this op-ed essay was omitted. The sentence, about Mr. Biermann’s father, has been restored.

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