Even 31 years after German reunification, there are still major differences between East and West. Politicians see reason to celebrate, but also cause for reminders.
Halle – One week after the federal election *, Germany celebrates the unification of the country 31 years ago this Sunday. At a church service to kick off the anniversary in Halle an der Saale, which Christians, Jews and Muslims celebrated together, the Catholic Magdeburg Bishop Gerhard Feige said that populist forces must be met critically and with resistance. Complicated problems cannot be solved with “hollow phrases or pithy slogans”.
Celebration of the Day of German Unity: Abysses not held possible
The clergyman also spoke of abysses that he would no longer have thought possible. He is less afraid of “foreign infiltration” than “dehumanization from within”. A “culture of vigilance” does not only succeed through laws and regulations. It takes positive basic convictions and solidarity with one another.
Celebration of the Day of German Unity: The country is politically and economically divided
After a peaceful revolution in the GDR in autumn 1989, the East German state united with the Federal Republic on October 3, 1990. Despite billions in investments and great strides in living together, incomes and pensions are still different in both parts of the country. In 2019, full-time employees in the eastern federal states earned on average just under a quarter less than in the western federal states, according to the federal government. The pension value should not be the same until 2024.
The results of the federal election on September 26th also diverged, not only for the big parties CDU, SPD, Left, FDP and Greens. In Thuringia and Saxony, the right-wing populist AfD had become the strongest party, while in the west it became weaker in many places and only had a single-digit share of the vote.
Celebration of the Day of German Unity: Angela Merkel with warning words
Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier * and Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel * will take part in the celebrations. The two chancellor candidates Olaf Scholz * and Armin Laschet * are also in Halle.
In her speech, Merkel called for continued commitment to democracy. “Democracy is not just there. Rather, we have to work together for them over and over again, every day. ”Sometimes, she feared, democratic achievements are being handled a little too lightly.
During this time, attacks on goods as valuable as freedom of the press can be seen. A public can be experienced in which lies and disinformation are used to stir up resentment and hatred. “Democracy is being attacked,” said Merkel. Therefore, nothing less than social cohesion is under scrutiny.
The Chancellor also referred to attacks on people who campaigned for the common good such as firefighters and local politicians. “The verbal brutalization and radicalization that can be experienced there must not only be answered by those who fall victim to it, but must be rejected by everyone.” For all too quickly verbal attacks resulted in violence.
Celebration of the Day of German Unity: There is no big public festival
Because of the pandemic, the population will not have the big public festival that will take place until 2019, similar to the one in Potsdam in 2020. However, several demonstrations have been registered. The police are on duty with around 2,600 officers. An alliance against the right had indicated that right-wing groups mobilized their supporters before the celebrations. According to the police, everything was quiet in the morning. * Merkur.de is an offer from IPPEN.MEDIA