Some may think that 60 years are more than enough time to cope with your country's past.
Not so. Not in Germany.
(Warning - I had some Vodka, maybe not all of the following will make sense)
It is now 4 pm local time. Since about high noon, the German news channel N24 broadcasts only the current news, life transmissions of the ceremonies in the Bundestag (our parliament), and documentations about WW2 - mainly the "color of war" series, with color pictures and movies which only recently were (re-)discovered in ancient archives. I admit that adds a new dimension to the horror of the past.
In the news, it is shown that the whole city of Berlin breathlessly awaits whatever the planned public marches of our current neofascists (namely the "NPD" party) will end in. Thousands of policemen await the command to arrest whoever wants to disrupt peace there. Leftist activists stand ready to exploit any opening in the lines of the police to kick some neo-nazi arse... or worse (better?).
(I'd appreciate it very much if some grenadier batallions of our Federal forces would be ready to gun down all of that scum, from both sides, but I guess that'd be too much of a good thing)
In the ceremonies, I see (among other things) how chancellor Schröder asks the Russian people for forgiveness of what Germans did to Russians back then.
Let's be serious for a minute, okay? Just whom does he ask for forgiveness?
It's been 60 years, folks. Most who had the horrible misfortune of suffering through the nazi occupation of Russia are now either dead or well into retirement age. Today, it's still somewhat plausible that someone asks for forgiveness in the name of Germany. I find it somewhat exaggerated, but it's okay. But what in, say, 20 years?
For how long will this collective "we are guilty" continue? Will we ever get rid of this trauma, even though no German alive in those coming times will know the nazi horror from anywhere outside of history classes?
Does anyone today say "We're terribly sorry for the crusades"?!
Let's imagine for a moment how a US president asks the American natives for forgiveness of what the first settlers did to the Apaches, Comanches, et cetera. Does that sound somewhat exaggerated?
I don't want to deny that horrible things happened, and that the generation of my parents and grandparents was heavily involved in that. But who benefits from an eternity of "yes we are guilty", if anyone indeed?
I wonder what would happen if someone of German descent would point out, these days, the fact that the modern nation of Israel isn't all that innocent either in its treatment of the Palestinians... is there any doubt that this hypothetical German would be branded for the rest of his life as a neo-nazi pig?
Aaah, justice of the victors. Granted that the nazis of the past deserved it. But is my generation still to blame for the past?! I don't think so.
(Some good news - I'm just hearing in the news that the planned neo-fascist demonstration in Berlin has been cancelled due to persistant resistance of the leftists. Maybe the day will end more nicely than I expect anyway)
And the TV documentations continue, with "The liberation of Europe". I guess I should just watch TV for the rest of the day.
Thank you for your patience, dear reader.