Germany’s Merkel at farewell ceremony: Don’t tolerate hate.
Angela Merkel is a German politician who has been serving as the chancellor of Germany since 2005. She served as the leader of the Opposition from 2002 to 2005 and as the leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) from 2000 to 2018. A member of the CDU, Merkel is the first female chancellor of Germany. During her tenure as Chancellor, Merkel has been frequently referred to as the de facto leader of the European Union and the most powerful woman in the world.
The Christian Democratic Union of Germany the Party is a Christian-democratic and liberal-conservative political party in Germany. It is the major catch-all party of the centre-right in German politics.
Outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Germans to stand up to hatred, at a military ceremony Thursday bidding her farewell after 16 years in office.
Merkel was honoured with a traditional military musical performance and marched in front of almost all the country’s political elite — save for the far-right Alternative for Germany, who weren’t invited.
“Our democracy also lives from the fact that wherever hatred and violence are seen as a legitimate means of pursuing one’s interests, our tolerance as democrats has to find its limit,” she said in a speech ahead of the ceremony.
The Bundeswehr, Germany’s federal armed forces, bid farewell to Chancellor Angela Merkel. The “Grosser Zapfenstreich” is the highest military ceremony for a civilian.
At a ceremony held by torchlight, the Bundeswehr, Germany’s federal armed forces, said goodbye to Chancellor Angela Merkel. The military tattoo has become the unofficial farewell ceremony for defence ministers, presidents and chancellors.
In a short, earnest speech on Thursday night, Merkel thanked Germans and called on them to approach life with a “lightness of heart” and be optimistic about their country’s future.
In a short address, just hours after she had presided over her last pandemic emergency meeting and announced a ‘lockdown for those who refuse to get vaccinated’, Ms Merkel warned that trust was one of the most important ingredients in democracy.
“The last two years of this pandemic have shown how important the trust in politics, science and societal discourse is — but also how fragile it can be,” she told a small audience of masked and socially distanced guests. Democracy, she said, “depends on solidarity and trust, including the trust in facts.”
Merkel said some events during her time as chancellor were challenging politically and for her as a human being
“Sixteen years as chancellor of Germany were full of events, often very challenging — politically and as a human being,” she said.
Multiple crises have shown the importance of international cooperation while tackling the challenges that face the world, she said.
The chancellor added that the “last two years of the pandemic in particular” had shown “how important trust in political leaders, science, and public discourse really is.”
Democracy, Merkel said, was also based on trust, “on solidarity, on listening to one another, and also on facts.”
“I would like to encourage you in the future to look at the world from other people’s perspectives as well,” she concluded.
The military parade, or “Zapfenstreich,” ceremony is held only for particularly important occasions
Merkel was the country’s first East German chancellor and the first chancellor of post-war Germany to be seen off in Berlin.
She chose the Ministry of Defense’s Bendler Block complex for the ceremony. It is a place layered with history. Built as an office for the Imperial German Navy in 1914, it was enlarged by the Nazis and became the headquarters of a group of German officers who attempted to remove Adolf Hitler from power on July 20, 1944. The leaders of the conspiracy were executed in the courtyard, where a memorial to German resistance stands today. Since 1993, the complex has served as a secondary seat of the German Federal Ministry of Defense.
The military band played three songs chosen by Merkel: the Christian hymn Großer Gott, wir loben Dich (Holy God, we praise thy name), Hildegard Knef’s chanson Für mich soll’s rote Rosen regnen (It should rain red roses for me), Nina Hagen’s Du hast den Farbfilm vergessen (You forgot the colour film) – the last pick an GDR pop hit of the 1970s that pays tribute to Merkel’s East German upbringing in a way she has rarely done while in office.
Understood as a criticism of the drab reality of East German communism, the song is an angry lament that admonishes Hagen’s boyfriend Michael for having only taken a black and white film on their holiday to Hiddensee island. As a result, she wails, “no one will believe how beautiful it was here”.
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