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Berlin, Frankfurt, Paris, Chapel Hill, Boston, Istanbul, Calgary, Washington DC, Austin, Tunis, Warszawa and counting

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


So, after the overdue goal by Neuville in the 91st minute, Germany has started into the World Cup with two wins (which according to the commentator, they 'haven't done since 1990 and before that in 1974 and we all know what happenend then' (in case you do not live here and thus this hasn't been pounded into you yet, Germany won the World Cup in both instances)). Great.

This prompts me to try to explain in some kind of coherent manner why I do not like and do not support the German national team even when I actually watch quite a good amount of football all years (unlike most girls (and guys too for that matter) running around with flags on their cheeks screaming for Deutschland now). So, why is that the case.

Truth to be told I don't really know exactly, a friend of mine recently (and repeatedly since) claimed that I am a counter-person. With that he meant that I always (or most of the time) choose whatever is less popular or maybe the opposite of whatever is the popular favorite. He definitly has a point and I think that might very well have something to do with it. Yet, when I was in Frankfurt for the weekend and watched England-Paraguay play with approximately 3,000 British fans, I completely supported England too (and not only because I love the 'Ten German Bombers' song) even though that definitly was a mainstream opinion in the Main Arena.

I used to think that I actually do kind of like the German national team, but then I went with my parents and watched the game against Poland today and I not only detested most of the Germany supporters in there, I also rooted for Polska all game long.

As I said above, I don't really have an explanation for this, just an attempted one. What I think Germany can be proud of in its history after the 2nd World War is the fact that we never really developed a patriotic/nationalistic pride. I assume no one here will try to argue the folly of nationalism with me here, so the virtue of not having that should be clear. Now, I know that this is nationalism is as prevelant in other countries, most likely more so than here, but somehow that doesn't bother me (the US for reasons not explained here is different). I don't care about people running around waving English, French or Italian flags, Germans doing that, I just find them distasteful.

I guess what this boils down to, is the fact that I actually hold Germans (because I am one after all) to higher standards than other countries (which I have to concede is a sort of nationalism in itself). I just feel that with our history we should know better, but I guess we really don't and that pisses me off.

Finally, one last comment in a similar vein (and I am kind of quoting something a friend said the other day to which I wholeheartedly agree though). This whole business about 'finally' becoming a normal country, about 'finally' being able to be patriotic really is a joke. The people who commited these atrocious crimes are still alive (and some of those who endured them as well), my grandfather still says things that I would be embarassed to repeat anywhere and so do thousand others. This whole state (the BRD) was built by and on people who should have been sentenced to prison for years on end. I am not saying Germany is a bad country nowadays, truth to be told I believe in many regards it clearly belongs to the world's best choics for living, yet that doesn't change the fact that only two generations ago we committed these crimes and sorry but two generations really isn't long enough to just shake off this guilt and walk on.

In this sense, I hope the Czech Republic will win the World Cup, or Argentina, or Italy, or the Dutch, or England even Brazil if it can't be avoided, but please don't let Germany win. I will not be able to rejoice with that many morons on the street waving flags and screaming their lungs out, I guess I am just too patriotic for that.

Maybe the stupidest aspect of all this is, that half of the guys/girls wear shirts saying 'Germany'. How stupid is that?


Belinda said...

I saw your comment over at Hamish's place and I had a feeling you might have written a blog post about this subject.

Please don't misunderstand anything I'm about to say as a jibe against you personally. You've voiced your opinion here and I am merely responding.

I came to Germany a little over 2 years ago. I didn't really know what to expect and to be honest am pleasantly surprised at how much I love living here.

The region I live in is quite possibly my most favourite city that I've ever lived in and I've lived in over 14 including Paris, London and Singapore.

As most school children are taught, we learned about WWII and what happened. My Opa (a Dutchman) was in a concetration camp for helping the Jews during the war.

However, I would have never held any of the Germans living today responsible for that kind of thing. Sure there are people still alive that participated in the atrocities. But this is maybe 100 (if not less) out of a whole country of people.

Germany as you know is going through a hardship in terms of the economy and joblessness. It so badly needed a moment in time where they could feel good again, even if it only does last 4 weeks.

You say that it's not right for people to feel so patriotic but I think you're wrong. That is *exactly* what this country needs. No one should ever feel repressed, including the Germans. If they want to wave their flag and paint their faces they should do so with great pride. I love this country and I love the people. In fact, once I get married I've decided to switch from my Dutch citizenship to German.

Seriously. How long will it take for people to just realise that 2 generations ago is enough time for today's generation to stop feeling guilty for something they had no part in? In a sense you're saying that it's ok for people who had nothing to do with this to continue feeling guilty for stuff they had nothing to do with. How does that make sense?

Ok so your Grandfather says things that embarass you. Does that mean you're a bad person? Of course not.

The idea of the flag waving being bad makes no sense anyway. The flag that represents Germany now is a completely different flag. It represents a whole different country than that of the WWII era.

Germany after the war had to rebuild because of the mistake of one crazy man and the people that followed him.

It rebuilt itself into one of the strongest economies (pre-Euro etc) and into one of the biggest exporters.

When I have children, they are going to still have to pay the reparations money to the Jews here. Is that fair? Of course not. Millions of people who had nothing to do with the war have to pay this money.

I'm sorry, but to wave a flag for 4 weeks to feel proud of who you are is nothing to be ashamed of considering most of the people waving it now had nothing to do with that war but for some reason are being made pay for it.

In terms of your most recent blog post talking about the commercial aspect and the authenticity of the Patriotism...

Every country is doing the same thing sooooo where's the problem?

Sensemania said...

Truth to be told I have a hard time answering your comment because of two reasons mainly. One, you don't get the point of my entry. Two, your argumentation is not only wrong in my opinion but also inherently flawed. I'll try anyway.

You seem to think that I am blamning nowadays Germans (me so to speak) for the Holocaust. I am not. That would be ludicrous.

Yes, I know the economical situation Germany is going through. But at no point am I saying that people should not enjoy the world cup. I enjoy it, and I don't need a German flag on my car or cheek for that. (Just as a side note, your whole argument sounds like Brot und Spiele, Opium fürs Volk, but I am not going into that aspect here as it would take up too much space and time here)

No country needs patriotism, whether it be Germany or anyone else. Quite plainly, nothing good has ever come of it. Tell me one instance where it has spanned something positive. One.

Basically your argument is copy of the German conservatives' one. Germany 'finally' needs to throw of the repression that they suffer and be patriotic again. That's crap. I am not getting into the ridicolousness of argueing about the word finally here (we are talking about my grand-parents here not some far-away ancestor, they still live, I just had coffee with them in fact), but this whole repression thing misses the point too. I am not saying Germans should not be patriotic because they have to feel guilty about their past. I am saying they shouldn't be because their history should have taught them the follies of patriotism. That's a difference, a major one actually.

Finally, how is Germany still paying reparations to anyone? Do you have any idea how little money ever was payed to the victims of the Holocaust? To even bring that up in an argument here completely shatters your credibility.

If you want to argue this further, fine, but honestly work on your argumentation and read my text before you reply to things I didn't write.

Belinda said...

You know what the difference between you and me is? I never once insulted you personally. Not once.

I never claimed to be an expert on anything here. I'm merely someone who has an opinion and because you published something on the internet, I felt that it was appropriate for me to leave you with my thoughts.

You keep telling me I'm wrong, but never go on to give me evidence that I am. You give me no counter theories or links to sources to prove me wrong.

If I'm wrong I have no problem admitting it. I have a problem with someone trying to throw around their faux-intellectualism at me trying to make me feel like an idiot.

If that's how you need to feel better about yourself, by all means go ahead.

I'm passionate about this country because of how much better of a person being here has made me.

If I've misunderstood something you've said and therefore responded incorrectly why not at least try and set me straight properly instead of insulting what I've said?

I mean it's as if it's ok for you to say "oh you're just talking crap and you basically don't know what you're saying" but then, you make no effort to try and rectify that?

If you want to educate people then do so. I like learning. At least I told you why I feel the way I do.

Ah well, we're all going to agree to disagree anyway.

For the record, you're correct Christian and I are engaged. Your comment was a personal dig and no matter how educated you are in political matters, that doesn't give you the right to insult us- no matter how cleverly you tried to hide it ;)

Sensemania said...

Well, for one I don't think I insulted y'all, I just pointed out that y'all's argumentation didn't make no sense. That's not an insult, it's the truth.

Then, my main point of criticism with you and your fiancee's posts is the fact that you completely give the impression that you did not read what I wrote. At no point am I claiming somebody needs to be ashamed or not allowed to be patriotic because of Germany's past. Thus, when both of you post stuff about trying to prove something I never even said was wrong is wrong, well, what the hell?

Further, if you read through my answer to your post, you will see that I actually answer to most of your earlier paragraphs in there. That includes a couple of questions to you as well, since you did not reply to any of those and instead concentrated on me supposedly insulting you and your fiancee by claiming that you are together (how that is an insult I am not quite sure initially) I assume that you cannot answer them.

Thus, if you want to argue, feel free to do so, but make it an argument and answer to what I say and don't just express general sentiment of yours (and most conservative politicians I might add).