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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s speech: It’s not about us

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Volodymyr Zelenskyj accuses Germany in a historic speech: the Bundestag reacts with disputes on the agenda. It’s embarrassing, but other things are important.

Not doing enough: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj during his speech in the German Bundestag © Sebastian Gabsch/​Geisler/​ddp images

There is one thing you can trust in this country: that even the most fundamental problems can be brought down to a level that Germans are used to. Even war thus becomes material for German routines and sensibilities. Like the Bundestag on Thursday morning with the Ukrainian president’s historic speech that was connected Volodymyr Zelenskiy it was a low point in parliamentarism.

You really don’t want to waste too many words about the fact that the coalition has not included any debates, government statements or at least a short break in the agenda, if only as a sign that it is doing something with the German people. representatives, of which Zelenskyj simply accuses them of Has. And he certainly doesn’t want to talk much about the post-Union initiative agenda debate, in which CDU faction leader Friedrich Merz strikes a nonpartisan pose to gain partisan political ground. One would have liked to turn one’s ears inward so as not to have to listen to all the bickering over who was to blame for the agenda and who was particularly unworthy (always the others). You really don’t want to take any of this seriously, because then you give in to the temptation to see and treat everything only through the lens of German sensibilities and disputes. It is high time we got rid of this selfishness. Our agendas are not important, nor are our outrage.

Is Germany up to its responsibilities?

But unfortunately there is a bigger question hidden in this show, which has nothing to do with the agenda itself, and which Selenskyj also raises in his speech in repeatedly modified form: Will Germany fulfill its responsibility in this war?

No one can do justice to war itself. Therein lies its terror, its inhumanity: that it cannot be reduced to a level that is bearable for the body and mind and made manageable. He also threatens to destroy those, like Zelensky, who have decided to stand up to him as heroes. But Selenskyj has found his role, Germany has not.

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