Sunday, October 03, 2010

Germany's 20th reunion anniversary

The most momentous years I personally ever lived through were 1989-90, the West's victory in the Cold War. During the failed Soviet coup against Gorbachev, I pounded the steering wheel of my van in excitement, listening to the developments on the radio. Congratulations to the Germans on finally reuniting after all those decades spent asunder. Hope Otto von Bismarck has been resting more peacefully since then.

Recalling the slogan of the East German freedom movement of 1989, Mr Wulff on Sunday told his audience that “We are the people” was “an invitation to everyone” – immigrants and natives alike – to take part in the forging of a nation.

“When German Muslims write to me to say that I’m their president, then I answer, ‘Of course I’m your president’,” he said in reference to a recent public debate about whether some immigrant groups are more resistant to integrating.

Christianity and Judaism were key to German culture, he said, and so too should the country accept that “Islam has also become a part of it”. It was right that the Muslim religion should be taught alongside others at German schools.

“The future belongs to those nations ... which are open to cultural diversity,” Mr Wulff said to applause. “In the race for the brightest minds, we have to be able to attract them and to be attractive to them.”

Correction: Germany is becoming part of Islam, along with the rest of Europe. Cultural diversity will be a sad mock, if one culture insists upon an adversarial, supremacist course.