Thursday, March 29, 2007

Berlin, Germany: Speigal Online Berlin bureau chief soon to seek new employment

At least he will have to if he writes many more columns like this one titled, "Evil Americans, Poor Mullahs" I just spotted this at Memeorandum and took a look at it. The Berlin bureau chief for Speigal Online, the soon-to-be-unemployed Claus Christian Malzahn, rips Germany and Germans in particular for their anti-Americanism.

He's responding to what he calls "the by-no-means-surprising result of a Forsa opinion poll commissioned by Stern magazine." In said poll, Germans, especially younger Germans, considered The United States a greater threat to world peace than Iran. 57% of them, according to Stern. Malzahn says,
There are some Germans who will never forgive the Americans for VE Day, when they defeated Hitler. After all, Nazism was just an accident, whereas Americans are inherently evil.

Anti-Americanism is the wonder drug of German politics. If no one believes what you're saying, take a swing at the Yanks and you'll be shooting your way back up to the top of the opinion polls in no time.
Malzahn commits the heresy of comparing criticism of the USA to criticism of Iran:
Not a day passes in Germany when someone isn't making the wildest claims, hurling the vilest insults or spreading the most outlandish conspiracy theories about the United States. But there's no risk involved and it all serves mainly to boost the German feeling of self-righteousness.

Iran is a different story. The last time someone made a joke on German TV about an Iranian leader, the outcome was not pleasant. Exactly 20 years ago, Dutch entertainer Rudi Carell produced a short TV sketch portraying Ayatollah Khomeini dressed in women's underwear. Carell received death threats. The piece, which lasted all of a few seconds, led to flights being cancelled and German diplomats being expelled from Tehran. Carell apologized. Jokes about fat Americans are just safer.
You'll want to visit Speigel Online and read it all. I was, however, curious to see if Speigel was up to the old Yassar Arafat trick of making one speech in English and quite a different one in his native language. I was curious to see if Speigel even posted the column by its Berlin bureau chief to its German version. Well, they did. My German is, er, poor, but maybe yours is better. I think the German version leaves nothing out that you will read in English. For instance:
Antiamerikanismus ist das Wundermittel der deutschen Politik.


Antiamerikanismus ist prima bigott.
Looks like a pretty accurate translation to me.

The Captain and Michael van der Galien both have posts up about this - in English. They're worth a visit also.

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