Thu, 05 Oct 2000

Germany still in transition

Being a German citizen currently living in Indonesia, I would like to comment on the German ambassador's greeting to the Republic of Indonesia on the occasion of the German National Day (Oct. 3, 2000).

Dr. Gerhard Fulda stresses the point of the united Germany still being a country in transition, of still facing a "mental divide" between East and West.

I fully agree with this, and would like to add some more practical information: Supposedly as a counter reaction to the communist dictatorship of former East Germany, extreme nationalism and neofascism are on the rise in many areas of eastern Germany today. Foreigners are attacked and sometimes even killed by gangs of hoodlums on the streets of eastern German towns on an almost weekly basis. These hoodlums are a minority, but does this matter to their victims?

By no means do I want to damage the reputation of my country, nor do I want to support those hoodlums' concept of a "foreigner free" Germany. But I do want to call on Indonesian students planning to study in Germany to make sure of where you are going to. Get information about the area where you want to go. Be especially careful if you are offered a chance to study in eastern Germany.

I feel ashamed having to say this about my own country, but still I do value human life more than the reputation of my home country.