Friday, July 25, 2008

Italian TV captures (on video) our correspondent

Lizi Zach, our resourceful Berlin correspondent, appears prominently in this "Where's Waldo"-like photo of yesterday's Obama hordes. In a white blouse, waving her American flag, she stands out in the throng.

The image appeared on Italian TV.

I asked her for more information about the speech and the crowd. Here's her response.

More about the metaphors surrounding the Berlin Wall?

I should note that the Germans still often speak of "The Wall in the Head" - they still differentiate between "Ossies" (East Germans) and "Wessies" (West Germans). It will take a few more generations before that is gone, the old thinking remains. Even I perceive each differently. Of course, there is now freedom of movement, but the East Germans are still rather used to a welfare state of sorts being unemployed, for instance, doesn't much worry them and career advancement doesn't mean a whole lot to them. They insist - despite heaps of evidence of how grotesque and entrenched the Stasi was — that "It wasn't all that bad in East Germany." I must admit that it is comments like this make "bridging" this gap with them a massive challenge.

What form did his magnetism and charisma take, from 200 feet?

The man simply has an aura - and I'm not alone in feeling this way. I will have to send you a photo from the front page of one of today's dailies. The crowd was just ga-ga over him - the photo shows him waving to this ocean of people, and it is nothing like I have ever seen here in the past eight years. And his voice and his words/speech — it has been a long time, I think, since Germans have been so moved. After nearly a decade of being slighted by American foreign policy, at long last, Europe matters again, and Obama's strong voice and eloquence cemented that yesterday.

All that said, I am not blind, and I know that a big reason he came here was pure politics — to sound out preliminary support for what he sees as the real war against terrorism — Afghanistan — and testing whether approaching Germany, should he win in November, is feasible. Chancellor Merkel has strongly ruled that out - any war-making is deeply unpopular in this nation. But he made a strong case for bilateral support for the MANY problems in the world today. The U.S. (or, better put, the neocons) have tried in vain to show that the country can go it alone, and is failing miserably at that.

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home