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Lafontaine says goodbye with a speech against the war

After half a century of political work, Oskar Lafontaine (78) bid farewell to the Saarland state parliament with a speech about the war. Lafontaine will no longer run in the upcoming state election on March 27. “This is my last speech in the Saarland state parliament. I am going to present my thoughts on the war. You will forgive me today,” Lafontaine said.since 2009 leader of the left parliamentary group in the state parliament, this Wednesday.

In the course of his political life, Lafontaine was, among other things, Prime Minister of the Saarland, Federal Minister of Finance, candidate for Chancellor and President of the SPD, as well as co-founder of the Left Party.

In his farewell address, Lafontaine, whose father was shot in April 1945 just before the end of World War II, said he had great sympathy for conscientious objectors “to this day.” The Vietnam War shaped his attitude toward the war. “It is not the peoples of the world who want war,” he said. No Siberian peasant wants to go to war with a peasant in the Ukraine. He is convinced that an economic order in which a minority accumulates great fortunes leads to wars.

“We have had many wars that violate international law, we must not forget that,” Lafontaine said. It is also important to crack down on wars. “But my call to you is: we have to measure everything with the same standard, otherwise we will never achieve peace in the world,” he called on members of the state parliament. If you want to bring war criminals to the International Criminal Court, “ask everyone who is politically responsible for wars that violate international law.” We must “approach all these issues with the same moral criteria.”

All the nuclear powers are convinced that they have zones of influence and can make decisions within them. “I think that humanity cannot necessarily understand, perhaps it is not even humanly possible, what a nuclear hell would mean.” Therefore, he welcomes the conviction of Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) that NATO should not intervene in the war in Ukraine.

Lafontaine described former foreign minister Willy Brandt and former Soviet head of state Mikhail Gorbachev as two people who shaped him. Germany owes a lot to Gorbachev: “And for that we should not declare all Russians enemies.” Russia will outlive Putin. Moscow is a European city and Russia is a European country: “Without Russian culture, I cannot imagine the development of European culture.” He summed up: “We all agree that everything must be done now to silence the guns.”

Lafontaine’s last speech was greeted by unusually long applause, lasting a minute. (dpa)

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