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Fly your flag

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It\'ll sell if it\'s black, red and yellow Germans really went wild during the past weeks of the European Soccer Championship. They’re a soccer-crazy nation. And they showed it by proudly displaying the colors of the German flag: black, red, gold.

It was their way to show their support for the German team at the championship.

Everywhere you looked, you saw black, red and yellow during the tournament that ended last weekend.

the colors of the flag on a little fanthe national colors on a little soccer fanPeople painted their faces black-red and yellow during the games, they wore black-red and yellow Hawaiian-style necklaces, they hung German flags out their apartments and flew the flags from their cars.

Anyone selling these patriotic paraphernalia must have made a fortune.

Guilt-free flag-waving during the 2006 World Cup

Proudly waving the German colors is still pretty unusual in this country. Patriotism doesn’t come natural here on account of how the Nazis abused patriotism and national feelings to reach their goals between 1933 and 1945.

black red and gold on a german carThe soccer world-cup in 2006 was probably the first occasion since the war, when Germans happily waved the national flag. And the European Championship this year saw a repeat of that phenomenon.

I’d only like to add two little observations. black-red-gold soccer wallets from 2006

One is how this year, a clever vendor of all things black-red-gold unashamedly tried to sell some leftovers from 2006 .

I saw these wallets with an embroidered 2006 at a shop in Bonn earlier this month. Maybe soccer fans were so enthusiastic about the little soccer balls and the national colors and that they didn’t even realize the wallets were commemorating the World Cup two years ago (where the German team came in third).

Cars and airplanes

German airplane proudly displaying the flag The other unusual thing I saw was how a flight captain hoisted the German flag on his plane at Mallorca airport in Spain Sunday afternoon. This was shortly before the final between Spain and Germany was due to begin (The German team later lost the final 0:1).

The flag is a little hard to see in this picture, so I’ve made a close-upThe pilot hung the German flag out the cockpit window of the same shot.

Oh, and for those of you who are wondering: yes, the flag was pulled back into the cockpit before the plane took off from that Spanish airport.

Written by Thorsten

June 30, 2008 at 7:14 pm

A Different Germany

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Leipziger Baumwollspinnerei

I was in Leipzig over the weekend, which used to be part of communist East Germany. We were sitting in a cafe on Saturday and a young black man walked in. It suddenly occurred to me that he was the first colored person I’d seen all day.

From that moment on, I kept my eyes open, actively looking for ethnical diversity in Leipzig. But throughout the rest of the weekend, I hardly saw any black, Asian or Turkish people. And I didn’t see any ethnic shops either – no Turkish fruit sellers, no Indian stores with colorful saris and Bollywood movies, no Vietnamese specialty shops, or Asian supermarkets.

I’m sure these people and these shops exists in East German towns like Leipzig – they just aren’t as visible as in West Germany, where large parts of the population are now of Turkish, African or Asian origin.

And it’s bizzarre that Neo-Nazism, xenophobia and racism are much stronger in the East than in the West – even though the population there is much more “GERMAN” than in the multi-ethnic cities of western Germany.

Written by Thorsten

March 31, 2008 at 12:49 pm

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