Berlin Chancellor Angela Merkel has called for the defense of democracy against hatred, violence and misinformation. Everywhere where scientific knowledge is denied, conspiracy theories and agitation are disseminated, contradictions must be loud, she said on Thursday evening at a big tattoo in her honor in the Bendler block in Berlin. “Our democracy also lives from the fact that wherever hatred and violence are seen as a legitimate means of pursuing our own interests, our tolerance as democrats has to find its limit.”
With the big tattoo, the Bundeswehr said goodbye to the CDU politician after 16 years in office. The ceremony is the highest tribute to the armed forces and especially reserved for federal presidents, chancellors and defense ministers. Most recently there was a major tattoo in front of the Reichstag building to end the Bundeswehr’s mission in Afghanistan.
Like everyone honored on this path, Merkel was allowed to choose three pieces of music. She wanted the hymn “Great God, we praise you” from the staff music corps, the chanson “For me it should rain red roses” by Hildegard Knef and the hit song “You forgot the color film” by Nina Hagen. The punk singer thus had a hit in the GDR in 1974. Merkel was studying physics in Leipzig at the time.
Merkel watched the big tattoo while seated and was visibly moved. Due to the corona, significantly fewer guests were able to take part than usual. Among the participants were Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and the future Federal Chancellor-designate Olaf Scholz (SPD). In her speech before the actual ceremony, Merkel wished him and his government “all the best and a lucky hand and good luck”.
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A little later, Scholz wrote on Twitter: “Angela Merkel was a successful Chancellor. She has worked tirelessly for our country and has remained true to herself in 16 years, in which much has changed. ”He wished her“ all the best ”.
The Chancellor emphasized: “The 16 years as Federal Chancellor were eventful and often very challenging. You have challenged me politically and personally. And at the same time they have always fulfilled me. “
Merkel recalled, among other things, the financial and economic crisis in 2008 and the refugee crisis in 2015. These already made it clear how much one is dependent on international cooperation across borders. “How indispensable international institutions and multilateral instruments are in order to be able to master the great challenges of our time – climate change, digitization, refugees and migration.”
“I would like to encourage people to always see the world through the eyes of the other in the future, too, so also to perceive the sometimes uncomfortable and contradicting perspectives of the other person, and to work to balance interests,” said Merkel. At the same time, she was “convinced that we can continue to shape the future well if we do not go to work with displeasure, resentment, with pessimism, but (…) with happiness in our hearts.” even kept it always.
Merkel also thanked her employees and her family for their support during the years of her chancellorship. She also remembered those who at the same moment “oppose the fourth wave of the pandemic with all their might”. Merkel named doctors, nurses, vaccination teams and helpers from the Bundeswehr and aid organizations. “You all deserve my and all of us special thanks and the highest appreciation.”
More: The Chancellor led Germany through many crises in 16 years. But in all that time nobody could really open up the people of Merkel.