BOn German Unity Day, undestag President Bärbel Bas appealed to citizens to stick together in the crisis and resolve disputes democratically. “How we treat each other is a major factor in determining the strength of our country,” said the SPD politician on Monday during a ceremony in Erfurt. “Attempts to divide from inside and outside have left their mark on us.” Fake news, hatred and hate speech are directed against the cohesion that is urgently needed right now.
The Erfurt ceremony was the central event on the Day of German Unity with Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz and the other heads of state. October 3rd commemorates German reunification in 1990, almost a year after the peaceful revolution in the GDR in autumn 1989.
Bas once again thanked the civil rights activists and the demonstrators from back then. “Anyone who protests today, protected by fundamental rights, can do so because these women and men took a great personal risk and stood up for democracy and freedom,” said the President of Parliament. “These people put responsibility for themselves and others in place of fear, even after the wall came down.”
Today many have doubts as to whether there is any point in talking to one another, but democracy thrives on arguments. “It is necessary for us to talk to each other, especially about sensitive issues such as compulsory vaccination or arms deliveries,” said Bas. Democratic disputes lead to solutions. “But understanding and respect cannot thrive in a toxic atmosphere,” she added. Democracy is damaged when committed people withdraw. “I wish for less anger and more respect, less bossiness and more curiosity, less prejudice and more empathy,” Bas said.