Vigilance towards the media

One of the prerequisites of our organization is that we act according to international law, observe events in a non-political way and speak out when we have something to say even though it may be critical! We act with a heightened sense of democracy to promote peaceful international understanding. Recent events have once again shown that our government administers, but the media governs. This type of reporting reminds me of an old Russian proverb:

"If you steal a piece of bread, you are a thief, but if you steal a complete train, you are a hero!"

Individuals are often "dressed up" so they can be used as symbols of freedom. Do we need to be more critical, or are these clichés necessary? Robin Hood showed the rich very little mercy and became a symbol for the poor, giving them hope. When Lech Wałęsa became a symbolic figure, I was on a 4-year posting in Poland. I experienced up close how he was forced into this role. He did of course go on to live the role. How are historical events reported on and how is history written? This is what many contemporary witnesses ask themselves because their experience of a particular event is completely different.

We need to keep tabs on the media. The way in which the former German President was torn apart by the media was anything but human. Why do we enjoy seeing and kicking people when they are down? Juvenile acts of violence horrify us, but is the behavior of the media any different? We would like to think our members think strategically and ask the right questions. The former German President Christian Wulff would still be in office if his speechwriter had not put the following words into one of his addresses: “Islam is now part of Germany”. Strategies are being developed that we have to recognize: we need to be one step ahead. The unfortunate case of Secretary von der Leyen! Why make a physician Secretary of Health?

The case of Michail Chodorkowski must also be examined critically. He was tried and found guilty and the judgment was subsequently confirmed by the European Court of Justice after careful examination. He has now served his sentence and is a free man. Every person deserves a second chance. However, in this case the proportionality needs to be examined. We assume that he accepts that a person cannot just steal oil from the state or sell state-owned mines abroad. Try to imagine the Chinese buying the Federal Chancellery and the Chancellor paying rent to the Chinese. Sovereignty is sovereignty. Does this make him a national hero? According to the old Russian proverb, it does. He stole so much that he became a billionaire many times over when he was still a young man. He was the youngest richest Russian! People are now happy to receive him with open arms: he is the “friend” who has been given a second chance. Our former Secretary of State Joschka Fischer, who saw Stalin as a hero during his revolutionary days, who threw Molotov cocktails at the police and seriously injured the police officer Jürgen Weber (taken from Stern magazine), was also given a second chance. Never kick a person when they're down because diplomats must always believe in the opportunities that a second chance offers! This attitude enables us to talk with our "enemies" and take the abilities of the “fallen” person into account. This requires great character which we are continuously striving for!

Yours sincerely,
Günther Meinel
Chairman
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