The World Post – The Huffington Post
By Akbar Ahmed
Photo: Sean Gallup via Getty Images
When German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that she would take up to800,000 asylum seekers this year, many wondered whether the lady had slipped in the tub and banged her head or was high on weed. Almost single-handedly she helped to change the mood towards refugees. Ordinary citizens were holding up signs with “welcome refugees” and policemen in uniform were handing out sweets and toys to the arriving children. Parents seeking asylum in Germany were naming their children “Angela Merkel” and Syrians stranded in Hungary chanted “Germany, Germany, Germany.” While many in her country supported her, others, and not only members of Pegida, objected.
The pope had already boldly reached out to the desperate refugees emerging out of the deadly waters of the Mediterranean and was seen by them as Francis the Fearless. The German chancellor now basked in a new glow as Merkel the Magnificent. In contrast, other European leaders appeared shrunken and reduced. The British prime minister with his miserly intake was seen as Cameron the Curmudgeon and the Hungarian prime minister with his aggressive rejection of compassion as Orban the Odoriferous.
The scale of Germany’s generosity is blurred because when the world looks at anything German its gaze invariably shifts to the horrors of the last century. Commentators thus suggested that Germany was compensating for the death and destruction it inflicted on the world during the Nazi era. Others looked elsewhere for explanations, with some arguing that Germany needed a young able-bodied and trained workforce to fill the vacuum in its aging and declining population.
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