Tag Archives: Germany

Take The Test And Become A German Citizen

There were many critics who denounced the introduction of a new citizenship test in Germany when it appeared las year, but there is now evidence their fears were misplaced. The latest results indicate that 99% of those taking the test pass and become citizens of Germany. At the time the test was introduced, people like Hans-Christian Strobele of the Green Party insisted “many Germans would not pass the test.” Now, Green Party critics like Bilkay Oney argue, “if everyone passes anyway, then we don’t need the test.” Defenders of the test argue that even if immigrants are memorizing test answers, they at least are, for the moment, compelled to think about the issues raised by the test.

In the modern world, there are always people or organizations who, for a fee, will assist anyone to pass a test. The test has a potential 310 questions, but the actual test given to an individual has 33 questions and one only has to be correct on 17 responses. Anyone, wish to set up an office and begin helping people to memorize data?

US Soldier Seeks Asylum In Germany From Iraq War

During the Vietnam war, thousands of young Americans fled to Canada to escape being drafted and fighting in a war they believed was immoral. The Iraq war has undoubtedly resulted in hundreds of members of the military deserting, and some have gone to Canada. Sgt. Andre Shepherd became the first American soldier to leave the army and seek asylum in Germany. As he entered the detention camp where his pleas will be processed, he noted: “It’s crazy, but I haven’t felt this safe in a camp in a long time.” Sgt. Shepherd thought about his service in Iraq and began questioning why he was fighting in a war that appeared to be unjustified. He felt that he had taken “an oath on the American Constitution which prohibits wars of aggression of any nature, such as the one in Iraq.” He came to the conclusion if he continued participating in fighting in Iraq, “it would make me a criminal.”\

The European Union in 2006 stated that a person who refuses to participate in a war that violates international law, is entitled to be protected as a refugee and can not be deported. Shepherd believes the Iraq war has violated the Geneva Conventions on treatment of captured soldiers and is a war of aggression. In his view, “the people responsible for this(war) are sitting in Washington.”

Perhaps, it is time for the American people to come to grips with their own mistake in voting for George Bush and his criminal actions. There is need for a bipartisan commission to examine the origin of the Iraq War in order to determine if there was either violation of American law or International law.

Germans And Europeans Hail Obama Victory

Angela Merkel of Germany hailed the victory of Barack Obama and invited the new American leader to visit Germany and discuss with European leaders how to move forward. Der Spiegel reported receiving hundreds of e-mail exchanges from people all over Europe who expect newly elected president Barack Obama to have America join the Kyoto pact, to close down the shame of Guantanamo prison and to work closely with other nations of the world. Margot Wallstrom, vice president of the European Commission, noted, “I believe we are entering into a new era of trans-Atlantic relations.” She expressed hope Obama will work with world leaders to finally confront issues of global warming, the financial crisis, and world hunger and disease. ‘I believe the era of US unilateralism is over, and that partnership with Europe has become a central plank of US foreign policy.”

Obama will find a welcome reception in Europe which is anxious to end the Bush era of madness and war. European leaders seek peace and serious American commitment to deal with global issues in a cooperative manner.

Issue Of Great Import-Size Of Mosques!!

As I wander around America, it becomes clear in the midst of poverty and financial ruin, every community must have a church of bank within three blocks of one another. Now, along come Muslims who dare to build mosques that are “too big” or “too tall.” I thought the object of a church or mosque was to get as high as possible in order to be nearer to God. These days in Germany, a hot topic to cause controversy is the height or size of a mosque that Muslims wish to construct. It is unclear to any sane individual why some Germans believe building a large, tall mosque somehow infringes on their rights and threatens their religion. Some German politicians term the proposed large mosque to be built in Cologne an attempt to challenge Christianity.

OK, it might be a valid complaint that a call to prayer over a loudspeaker than can reach for a long distance infringes on the right of privacy of Christians. But, how does building a mosque for Muslims which will be staffed by Muslims and only cater to Muslims infringe on anyone’s rights or property?

Perhaps, opponents can solicit funding for a church that is twice the size of the mosque which undoubtedly would result in a bigger mosque and so on. Who cares. As I recall, it is not the size of height of churches or mosques that are important, but what goes on inside them.

Peeping Tom EU Airport Scanners Decried

The German government is expressed its anger at proposed airline scanners the European Union wants to be part of all security systems at airports. The virtual “strip scanners” allow a viewer to see the body of passenger as though no clothes were being worn. Interior Minister Wolfgang Schuable made clear, “”naturally, any device that produces such images won’t be used in Germany.” The German government does not intend to cooperate with any device which reveals the naked body to security officials. One official termed it, “officially-ordered strip-tease.”

This is simply one additional example in which those crying “security” believe anything and everything is sanctioned merely by shouting the word. There are sufficient procedures and machines engaged to secure that no terrorist is boarding a plane. There is a point of no return.

German Leader Warns Against Georgia In NATO

Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder warned NATO against allowing Georgia to enter the body because it might result in growing disputes with Russia that eventually could lead to war. He also expressed concern over President Saakashvili who he believes is an “unpredictable” leader if events concluded in tense relations with NATO and Russia. Schroder expressed shock at the one sided approach to the Georgia situation by NATO and President Bush indicating there was scant consideration for the interests or concerns of Russia. The German political leader was concerned that at some point failure to conduct foreign policy which took into account the Russian perspective could result in German soldiers becoming involved in the wrong war at the wrong time.

Schroder expressed the view of anyone who has followed the Georgia situation and been cognizant of Russian fears and concerns. The Bush approach of threats and constructing missile bases on the border of Russia reflects a provocative approach.

Germany Deals With Female Professor Gap In Colleges

Germany is among the world’s most economically advanced societies but it also is among the most backward nations when it comes to hiring women to serve in the role of professors at its universities. Only one in six professors in German universities are women but the Education Ministry is addressing the gap by offering funding to those institutions which will hire more female lecturers and professors. Germany may be led by a woman but it has an enormous gap in hiring women for top executive positions or for paying them on an equal basis with men. Women now constitute 50 percent of the student body at universities but only 40% of those pursuing doctorates while 24% of lecturers are female and a paltry 15% of the nation’s 38,000 tenured professors are women.

The government has committed nearly $300 million to its equal opportunity program for women which seeks to add 200 additional posts for highly-qualified female academics. Each post will be funded for up to five years to the tune of $300,000 a year with the state and federal government sharing costs. To obtain the funding, a university has to submit evidence it is committed to sexual equity for its faculty.

Unnoticed Murders In Germany And Neo-Nazis

Two young men were killed in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt within the space of a few days with suspicion both were victims of neo-Nazis, but the media has remained relatively quiet about these incidents. Rick L., a twenty year old art student, was brutally beaten to death by man identified as Rastian O. Bastian O. is a right wing extremist who has several previous convictions for similar attacks. A few days later, Marcel W. , who had just turned 18, was found with knife wounds lying in a pool of his own blood. His assailant is believed to be David B. another neo-Nazi with a criminal record for violent offences. The news of their deaths was not even reported in national daily newspapers.

Last week, when reporters from Der Spiegel asked a comment from the press office of the Interior Ministry about the murders, it was apparent they were not even aware of the second murder. The fact the two murderers are members of radical right wing extremist organization apparently is of scant interest to the Interior Ministry.

According to the Der Spiegel investigation, David B has been involved in neo-Nazi activities since elementary school. He has consistently created problems in his apartment building an threatened people who dared question him regarding his activities. A mystery surrounding the death of Marcel is how he came to be in David B.’s apartment given that Marcel was terrified of the skin heads.

These simply may be two isolated incidents that have scant import for the general German society or they can be symptoms of underlying issues festering within the society. Perhaps, it is time for the Interior Ministry to become more engaged with such incidents.

Allure Of Army Life Fades In Germany

During the past few hundred years, the German army was feared for its outstanding military prowess, but recent times are revealing dramatic changes in what young German males hold as important in life. American leaders such as Barack Obama have promised to urge Germany to take a more active role in fighting militants in Afghanistan. But, a combination of factors make unlikely there will be a dramtic increase in the number of soldiers Germany will be able to dispatch to the distant land. The number of high school graduates is steadily declining due to the lack of a high birth rate. But, the prospect of 2008 young males of working for low pay, under terrible working conditions, and most important, facing the prospect of getting killed, is an offer they can readily refuse.

Ullrich Kirsh, of the German Army Federation,” puts it this way, “It’s the danger of the mission in Afghanistan that is making prospecltive soldiers think twice about a military career.” Seventy five years ago, most Europeans and Americans would have welcomed a German youth that did not want to fight in wars. Well, that day has come to pass. For some reason, Americans are not pleased.

Germany Moves Toward Russia Diplomatically

Germany’s increasingly close relations with Russia may well damage efforts by the Ukraine to enter the European Union. Ukrainian deputy Foreign Minister Konstantin Yeliseyev warned that two or three members of the EU are not strong supporters for having the Ukraine enter the body, and he is particularly concerned about the attitude of Germany toward his nation’s quest for membership. Germany is interested in working with Russia to construct a new gap pipeline that will meet the needs of Germany for the coming years. Thus, it is in their self interest not to antagonize Russia at this critical juncture when many nations are furious at what happened in Georgia. The Ukraine is also seeking membership in NATO, an action that will antagonize Russia.

On one hand, Ukraine officials are arguing anything less than its membership in the EU or NATO will send a message to Russia that bullying behavior will be rewarded. However, there is a prior question– how best can the EU work with Russia to allay fears the outside world harbors aggressive actions against its territorial boundaries.? Perhaps, the dialogue with Russia should begin with assurances there will be no membership in NATO for any nation that formerly was a part of the old Soviet Union.

Or, NATO might formally request Russia to enter the body and thus end fears of aggressive actions by NATO against Russia.