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Germany's Faces of Democracy initiative: "Role models with a migration background more important than quotas"

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"Role models with a migration background more important than quotas"
Lamia Messari-Becker, 48, is professor of construction technology and structural physics at the University of Siegen. Until June 2020, the native Moroccan was a member of the German government's Expert Council on the Environment. Messari-Becker is a member of the Club of Rome International, which campaigns for a sustainable future for humanity. She spoke to Sven Lilienstrom about democracy, climate protection and sustainability
Professor Messari-Becker, what do democracy and democratic values mean to you personally?
Lamia Messari-Becker:I perceive democracy to be the soul and the backbone of a society that lives in freedom, peace and equality. Our constitution provides the fundament and the instruments with which we can solve all challenges and make progress together. This is especially evident in times of crisis. We’re in good shape and there’s no better system as far as I’m concerned.

Germany's Faces of Democracy initiative: "Role models with a migration background more important than quotas"

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"Role models with a migration background more important than quotas"
Lamia Messari-Becker, 48, is professor of construction technology and structural physics at the University of Siegen. Until June 2020, the native Moroccan was a member of the German government's Expert Council on the Environment. Messari-Becker is a member of the Club of Rome International, which campaigns for a sustainable future for humanity. She spoke to Sven Lilienstrom about democracy, climate protection and sustainability
Professor Messari-Becker, what do democracy and democratic values mean to you personally?
Lamia Messari-Becker:I perceive democracy to be the soul and the backbone of a society that lives in freedom, peace and equality. Our constitution provides the fundament and the instruments with which we can solve all challenges and make progress together. This is especially evident in times of crisis. We’re in good shape and there’s no better system as far as I’m concerned.

The poverty of mainstream universalism and exclusive identity politics

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In the German
feuilleton (newspapers’ arts sections), politics, university circles and social media platforms, the debate on ‘identity politics’ has reached new heights amid the raging COVID-19 pandemic. The term was coined by the Combahee River Collective, a Black feminist lesbian socialist organization in Boston, in the late 1970s and had a positive connotation – at first. It gained traction in Germany from the 1990s and has become an increasingly polemical term in the country.
In the past few months, more and more public figures have spoken out against leftist and liberal versions of identity politics. They raised concerns about the dangers of ‘cancel culture’ and increasing attacks or virtual shitstorms, especially at the hands of people of color (POC), feminist and LGBTQ+ communities. They are worried about the increasingly hostile culture of debate and are alarmed by the threatening prospects of Germany’s freedom of speech and social cohesion. These public figures include political scientist Ulrike Ackermann; the writer and television presenter Thea Dorn; the philosopher Markus Gabriel; the chief editor of weekly paper Die Zeit, Giovanni di Lorenzo; and the politicians Oskar Lafontaine (Die Linke), Gesine Schwan (SPD), Wolfgang Thierse (SPD) and Sahra Wagenknecht (Die Linke), just to name a few protagonists of the recent debate. A network of 70 rather conservative German-speaking academics (

Humboldt Forum in Berlin Finally Opens (Kind of)

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Humboldt Forum in Berlin Finally Opens (Kind of)
A modest ceremony inaugurated the troubled museum, one of the most expensive and ambitious culture projects in Europe. The only thing is, you can’t go in.
A courtyard of the Humboldt Forum, which combines Baroque details with stark modern lines.Credit...Felix Brüggemann for The New York Times
By Thomas Rogers
Published Dec. 17, 2020Updated Dec. 22, 2020
BERLIN — After years of hand-wringing about its place in German history, strife over the provenance of its objects and delays in its construction, the Humboldt Forum, an attraction in central Berlin conceived as Germany’s equivalent to the Louvre or the British Museum, finally opened with a ceremony on Wednesday.

Berlin debates new memorial for victims of Nazis | News | DW

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Poland: Where World War II began
'Avoiding victim nationalization'
The proposed alternative to the Polish memorial is a documentation center that, according to the former president of the German War Graves Commission, Markus Meckel, "takes all of Europe into account." Meckel told DW that the center would aim to collect material and information connected with Nazi crimes particularly in eastern Europe. The driving forces behind this initiative are Meckel himself, alongside well-known historians Martin Aust and Heinrich August Winkler.
Speaking with DW, Meckel described the Polish memorial as the wrong way forward, claiming it would class victims according to their nationality, whereas the documentation center would be a dignified memorial to all victims of the Nazis' war of extermination.

German politicians and cultural professionals demand release of Julian Assange

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German politicians and cultural professionals demand release of Julian Assange
German-speaking politicians, cultural workers and journalists have published a joint appeal, “Release Julian Assange from prison,” which supports the demand “for the immediate release of Julian Assange, on medical grounds as well on the basis of the rule of law.” The 130 initial signatories have now been joined by 22,000 other supporters.
The appeal expresses “great concern for the life of the journalist and founder of Wikileaks” and quotes the findings of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer, saying, Assange showed “all the symptoms typical of victims of prolonged psychological torture.” The appeal also refers to the open letter from more than 60 medical doctors, who demand “Assange be transferred to a university hospital, as his state of health is now considered life-threatening.”

Migration Crisis 2015-2020: Converging Positions?

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Migration Crisis 2015-2020: Converging Positions?
Zsófia Nagy-Vargha 2020.02.04.
“The mistake in terms of security was not to take in those people who were standing on our doorstep. No, the mistake was to not have paid attention from the very beginning, to have not created conditions that enable people to stay in their home country” – said German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently in Davos at the World Economic Forum. Two years ago, Federal President Joachim Gauck, emphasized at the same place that a “limitation strategy” could be morally and politically necessary to maintain the state’s ability to act and he also spoke about the importance of protecting the EU’s external borders. These thoughts are almost entirely in line with the thoughts of the Hungarian Prime Minister, which he has been saying since the beginning of the migration crisis.

Walls in the Head: "Ostalgia" and the Berlin Wall Three Decades Later


Walls have always served a dual purpose: they keep people in, and others out. The mentality of the wall is one of imprisonment and exclusion. Three decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall, we see such infrastructure, both symbolically and in actuality, potent.
On August 13, 1961, the German Democratic Republic began construction of the structure officially dubbed the
Antifaschistischer Schutzwall ostensibly to keep fascism at bay. More astute observers felt that this was a survival strategy, one initiated to halt the flow of GDR residents to the West to prevent the disintegration of the state. It seemed, to use Neal Ascherson’s words, “a piece of sadism in concrete”, but possessed a certain cruel logic arising out of great power constipation to come to a solution without conflict. It was also very much a statement of GDR general secretary Erich Honecker’s own view that socialism and capitalism were essentially irreconcilable opposites, as fire and water.

Walls in the Head: Ostalgia and the Berlin Wall Three Decades Later

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Walls in the Head: Ostalgia and the Berlin Wall Three Decades Later
Walls in the Head: Ostalgia and the Berlin Wall Three Decades Later
Walls have always served a dual purpose: they keep people in, and others out.  The mentality of the wall is one of imprisonment and exclusion.  Three decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall, we see such infrastructure, both symbolically and in actuality, potent.  
On August 13, 1961, the German Democratic Republic began construction of the structure officially dubbed the
Antifaschistischer Schutzwall ostensibly to keep fascism at bay.  More astute observers felt that this was a survival strategy, one initiated to halt the flow of GDR residents to the West to prevent the disintegration of the state.  It seemed, to use Neal Ascherson’s words, “a piece of sadism in concrete”, but possessed a certain cruel logic arising out of great power constipation to come to a solution without conflict.  It was also very much a statement of GDR general secretary Erich Honecker’s own view that socialism and capitalism were essentially irreconcilable opposites, as fire and water.

The Fall Of The Berlin Wall, Thirty Years Later

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The Fall Of The Berlin Wall, Thirty Years Later
Thirty years ago today, history took off in a brand new direction.
Thirty years ago today, history took off on one of its occasional tangents and set in course a series of events that led to the end of the Cold War, the fall of the Soviet Union, a Europe with a completely redrawn map, and a new world that we still haven’t quite figured out:
Günter Schabowski scratches his head, puts on his glasses, hesitates, then fumbles with his handwritten notes.
He seems to be trying to understand what he is reading and haltingly responds to a question about when a measure giving East Germans more freedom to travel would take effect: “As far as I know… as of now.”

November 9, 1989: A day that changed the world

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November 9, 1989: A day that changed the world
By AFP - Nov 04,2019 - Last updated at Nov 04,2019
A worker sorts torn or shredded Stasi documents earmarked for destruction after the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989, in the former headquarters of the Stasi (East German communist secret police), in Berlin, on October 30 (AFP photo)
BERLIN — Guenter Schabowski scratches his head, puts on his glasses, hesitates, then fumbles with his handwritten notes.
He seems to be trying to understand what he is reading and haltingly responds to a question about when a measure giving East Germans more freedom to travel would take effect: "As far as I know... as of now."

Today's Radical Green Movement Demands Submission To An Elite Governing Class

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eye on the news
Climate Stalinism
Today’s radical green movement demands submission to an elite governing class—and its views are entering the mainstream
Politics and law
The Left’s fixation on climate change is cloaked in scientism, deploying computer models to create the illusion of certainty. Ever more convinced of their role as planetary saviors, radical greens are increasingly intolerant of dissent or any questioning of their policy agenda. They embrace a sort of “soft Stalinism,” driven by a determination to remake society, whether people want it or not—and their draconian views are penetrating the mainstream. “Democracy,” a writer for

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