June 08, 2007

About A Blooper of German History

Or: We didn't handle the Jews all that peacefully ...

Cologne Cathedral at the turn of the last century.

Cologne is home to one of the most glorious Christian churches in the world, Cologne Cathedral -- "Der Hohe Dom zu Köln". Its patron saints are Petrus und Maria.

At a height of 157 meter it is the second tallest church in Germany, third tallest worldwide. Many experts see it as a unique harmonisation of all medieval-gothic constructional- and ornamental elements, and it took more than 600 years to complete. "Once the Cathedral is finished, it will be the end of the world", as the saying among the people of Cologne goes.

Ordination to the priesthood at Cologne Cathedral.

Cologne has, too, become the scene of a bizzare modern religious war. In March already, the priest of the Catholic St. Theodore parish had dedicated a Sunday's collection to the construction of a huge new mosque in the Cologne suburb of Ehrenfeld. The parish council had not just unanimously approved the action, but came up with the unusual idea themselves. Its chairman reminded that their own church had been completed only five years ago, and that the Protestant parish in the neighbourhood had given "a nice gift".

"Now we, in turn, should give someone a gift too," Rev. Meurer said, and: "It's only natural that we're helping them [the Muslims]". The parishioners were not so unanimously happy and their view of normality diverted somewhat from that of their pastor, the more as four young Turks had beaten a family man into a coma on the Thursday before Ash Wednesday in Cologne.

Same location some time later: On occasion of the mandatory public hearing concerning the Ehrenfeld mosque on May 29, 2007, the Sozialdezernentin (head of the department overseeing social services) Marlis Bredehorst (left) of the Green party said verbatim, as documented by a recording*: "... and we are really proud in the Federal Republic that we have a peaceful living together between Catholics and Protestants since the Thirty-Year-War**. That isn't all that common, look at Northern Ireland and there is but one blooper***: We didn't handle the Jews all that peacefully, that is the case only since the post-war period ..."****

Bredehorsts post-outrage explanatatory statement was, if anything, even more awful than her initial -- well -- blooper. What she REALLY wanted to say was, as she put it: "... that Germany with its constitutional right of religious freedom can be actually proud of a long history [i.e. two years short of 60 years] and that we have a very peaceful living together of Protestants, Catholics and Semites."

I am seriously grateful that nobody made Bredehorst explain what she was meaning by her explanatory statement. In cases like that I tend to experience an intense bout of Fremdscham.

The head of the Green party in the state of Northrhine-Westphalia, Daniela Schneckenburger, put it like that: "We are glad that in Germany the trust in the travail de mémoire [Holocaust Aufarbeitung is one of those disgusting neo-German vocables, for which I couldn't find a decent English translation and whose approximate meaning "accounting for the past" is about as empty as the brain, heart and conscience of the average German Green party cadre] of the Holocaust has become so strong in the meantime that there are thriving Jewish congregations again and that both, Judaism and Islam are part of multireligious Northrhine-Westphalia."

Of course, she didn't explain what Islam has to do with "Holocaust Aufarbeitung". I, personally, could think of only one connection between the Holocaust and Muslims, but I have a hunch that wasn't quite what Slugburger (I hate to be flip, but I couldn't resist because "Schneckenburger" translates to just that) had in mind. She, too, forgot to mention that her equation of Jews and Muslims somehow doesn't work out because the former don't flare or desecrate the places of worship of the latter whereas it is done the other way round, both, in Germany and worldwide. It must have been some time ago, too, that Jewish youth-gangs beat family men to a pulp in Cologne, because I can't remember it.

As the Rev. Franz Meurer of St. Theodore forgot that it's okay for Protestants to give "nice gifts" to Catholics for the construction of a place of worship because a church is a church is a church, but moronically stupid of Catholics to give "nice gifts" to Muslims to build a Mosque because a Mosque is much more than just a place of worship.

Cologne is home to one of the most glorious Christian churches, Cologne Cathedral -- "Der Hohe Dom zu Köln". Its patron saints are Petrus und Maria.

At a height of 157 meter it is the second tallest church in Germany and third worldwide. Many experts see it as a unique harmonisation of all medieval-gothic constructional- and ornamental elements and it took more than 600 years to complete.

A proud price indeed.



* The recording was put up at the German blog Politically Incorrect.

PI and I have been the target of unjustified accusations of "hatred against Muslims" before. However, when I did my moderate research for this blog entry, I was appalled at the accusations of PI publishing "right wing extremist content" in the mainstream media. The PI team has to scan hundreds of comments every week and there are, no doubt, some that wouldn't survive at my blog, at least not unanswered. But I guess there are limits to what a handful of people who all (so I presume) have a job and a life, can realistically do and I have yet to find a main blog entry at PI that would fit the label of "right wing extremist content". Here we have just another case of da-glo-green envy of the MSM towards an only-too-successful blogger. Kudos, PI!

** I guess the Prussian Kulturkampf in the 19th century when all Catholic bishops were either imprisoned or forced to emigrate is a venial sin for a Protestant. Or maybe it is just another symptom of that hackneyed "being removed from education" thingy (see below) of which Bredehorst is probably suffering herself.

*** She said "Ausrutscher", which I translated as blooper. "Gaffe", "slip-up" or "one-off" would be other possible translations.

**** No, my English hasn't deteriorated, I am just sticking to the general style of Bredehorst's clumsy stammering, which suggests two things, namely that she may be part of the "classes removed from education" (bildungsferne Schichten) herself, she is so fond of quoting and that in Cologne anybody -- but ANYbody -- can become a member of the top-administration.