In the beginning of the year, I introduced a format here called Strage German Holidays. I didn't post under this title for a few months, so maybe you think I have all forgotten about it, but allas, I have not - we just don't have a single public holiday between June and October. Not sure why, but it's a bit annoying (of course it wasn't when I was still in school and hat 6 weeks of summer break). Anyway, last weekend, there were even two holidays, so I'm going to post about one now and the other one later.
October 3rd is German Unity Day, our national holiday. It's celebrated in honour of the German reunification in 1990. Or rather, it should be celebrated, but it is not - I've actually never heard of anyone actually doing something for the day. It's a day off work, and in years like this one where it falls on a Saturday, it's utterly useless for lots of people. There was even a notion to move it to a Sunday all together, but thankfully that didn't go through.
If you came here for a fun post and some facts, this is where you should stop reading. The next few paragraphs is just me ranting about politics, history and some things I meant to get off my cheast for quite some time.
I think it's a general problem of patriotism, or rather, a lack thereoff. Germans are not allowed to be proud of their country. A few years back, a politician was heavyly critizied (and I think he had to do a big apology in the end) for publicly announcing that he was proud to be a German. People would claim that nationality is only a a coincidence, not something you achieved, so there is no reason to be proud of it. Yet people all around the world are happyly claiming their pride to be American, French, Canadian or whatever, and everone thinks that's okay. And I think it is, national pride can and should be a part of our identity, of the values and traditions we were raised with. But Germany is deeply scarred, and the only time we are aloud to feel proud of who we are and to openly show our colours is during the football WM (which none of us achieved personally as well!)
But Germany is so much more than playing football and 12 years of gruesome war. We were a nation to be proud of long before that successless Austrian painter claimed our heritage, our values for himself. Yes, we had Göring and Goebbels and all the others that brought unspeakable pain over countless of human beings. But we also had Goethe and Schiller, Bach and Beethoven, Gutenberg and Luther, Einstein and Koch.
People say we must never forget what happened, what our people has done in that dark time of the thrd reich, or else it might happen again. I say we also must never forget those times we were great, so that they CAN happan again - if we remember both, the choice, the future, is in our hands. We must not forget the past, but we can't be crippled by it either. A while back, a book was published in Germany that became quite popular - it's the story of Hitler suddenly waking up in the middle of Berlin, right now in the 21st century. I've read it a few weeks back, and it really isn't that great - no hidden jewel of literature, but it is still a fun read. And I'm pretty sure that is why it got so popular in the first place: it's a book about Hitler, and it is FUN. What's more, it's only fun if you know your history - lot's of the jokes involve dates, places and persons you only know if you learned about the third reich in detail (which should be the case for all Germans as we cover the subject extensively in school, but of course there are always some who never pay attention). And I think that's the way one should deal with things - educate yourself, then laugh at them. Things that scare you controll you - and I don't want to be controlled by the Holocaust. I don't want to be controlled by Hitler. I want to laugh him in the face and yell 'You don't have any power here anymore' - because that's what happens in the book. He tries to win over people again, to gather followers (by means of some obscure TV show) - and everyone thinks he's just a joke, using his Hitler-act as a means to overact, over-draw certain opinions and actually say the opposite. And I believe - want to believe - that is true - that Germany today is in a state were most people wouldn't take these ideas serious anymore. Were even the thought of something like WWII, like the third reich happening again is so unbelievable, that people laugh at it. I hope we will reach that point some day.
A while back, there was a contest going on in the Stitching Pirate dA group with the topic of Countries and 'show your colours'. I actually had a few ideas myself, but in the end I caved, I was scared to be branded as a nazi. I am not a nazi. But I believe in Germany, I believe that this country is great and can be even greater - not by military power, but by brilliance, and kindness, and creativity. I also believe in the values our hymn announces: Unity, and Right, and Freedom. And even if noone dares to celebrate it yet, in my heart, that's what this day is about.
Thanks for your attention, and I hope I haven't scared anyone off now. Fun posts with pretty pictures and silly facts will resume soon, I promise :)