BERLIN — In a ceremonial military send-off to mark the end of her 16 years as chancellor, Angela Merkel left Germans with An final message on Thursday: Trust one another.
Less than a week before Ms Merkel officially hands over over power to her successor, Olaf Scholz, she received her country’s highest military honour, met An traditional procession of torchbearer soldiers and a marching band.
In a short address, just hours after she presided over her last pandemic emergency meeting and announced a partial closure for die who refuse to be vaccinated, Ms Merkel warned that confidence one of the main ingredients in democracy.
“The last two years of this pandemic has shown how important the trust in politics, science and the social discourse is — but also how fragile it can be,” she told a small public of masked and socially distant guests. Democracy, she said, “depends” on solidarity and trust, including trust in facts.”
Ms Merkel advised vigilance.
“Wherever scientific understanding is denied and conspiracy theories and hatred are spread, we need to resist,” she said. “Our democracy also depends on the fact that where hatred and violence are seen as a legitimate means of force due to certain interests, our tolerance as democrats must find its limits.”
Mrs Merkel noted: on the symbolic location of the ceremony: The courtyard of the Bendler block, a building that’s part now of the defense ministry but was once the headquarters of a resistor group of officers who had worn out the story against Adolf Hitler in 1944 and were executed.
The ceremony, broadcast live on television and hosted By the defense minister, lasted about an hour, rich in military choreography and ritual. Known as the Grosser Zapfenstreich, of Grand Tattoo, it dates back to the 16th century and is the highest honor the military can donate on burgers. It is performed as the official farewell to the outgoing chancellors since German reunification.
The highlight was the military fanfare playing three songs elected by the Chancellor. Her predecessors, Helmut Kohl and Gerhard Schröder, asked: for Beethoven and Frank Sinatra, among other conventional dishes. But one of Ms Merkel’s choices intrigued many.
There was a Christian hymn – little surprise, for the daughter of a protestant preacher – and a conventional enough cabaret song by the German actress and singer Hildegard Knef.
It was Mrs Merkel’s third choice that… set get off the German Twittersphere. The chancellor chose “You have forgotten the Farbfilm,’ of ‘You forgot the color film’, a 70’s hit from the communist east by Nina Hagen, who later emigrated to the West and became Germany’s punk rock idol of the eighties.
Until recently, Mrs Merkel seldom had over her East German background. But she was more expectant on Thursday when asked about the song, die the . tells tale of a couple goes on holidays on an island in the Baltic Sea.
“The song was a highlight of my youth, die As everyone knows took place in the GDR,” said Mrs Merkel, referring to the German Democratic Republic, official name of communist East Germany. “The song came from the GDR, and coincidentally it is also takes place in An region that was in mine former constituency. And so past it all together.”
In comparison met her predecessors, Ms Merkel invited relatively few guests due to the pandemic. Mr Scholz was in the crowd, like many of the 52 ministers who served in her governments over four terms.
Bee times, there was a hint of emotion in the usually stoic chancellor face.
“As I stand before you today, I feel especially gratitude and humility,” Ms Merkel said. “The 16 years as chancellor were eventful and often challenging years. They challenged me politically and personally, and at the same time they have always fulfilled me.”
At the very end of In her speech, the Chancellor turned to her successor, Mr Scholz, a Social Democrat, who had served as her finances minister for the past four years.
“Now it is up to the next government to find answers to the challenges die lying in front of us and shape U.S future’ said Mrs Merkel. “For that I have wish you, dear Olaf Scholz and the government you will lead, all the best and a lucky hand and a lot success.”
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