If any one nation knows what fear is all about, it would be the Germans. Their modern history has been based on it. From Kaiser Wilhelm’s Reich, through the First World War, the Weimar Republic, Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich with its Second World War defeat, the communist German Democratic Republic (Deutsche Demokratische Republik, a.k.a. DDR) that divided the country seemingly into eternity, and then, reunification, a step into a big unknown.
The years after the Second World War were filled with more fears: not only were the two Germanies at the forefront of a potential military conflict between the communist Warsaw Pact and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), but Allied powers made sure that those who lived in West Germany (Federal Republic of Germany) were filled with the feeling of collective guilt and responsibility for the Nazi atrocities.
So it comes as no surprise that the Germans are loudest among the European people, protesting against the perfectly obvious attempts to impose yet another dictatorship, this time one that is based on fears of an unknown disease.
The police would dispute whether 20,000 attended in last week’s protest gathering, as the organizers said they had expected, but judging by pictures from the Kurfürstendamm (a.k.a. Kudamm), the most affluent avenue in Berlin, the organizers were closer to facts than the Polizei.
The crowd stretched along several major Berlin streets, walking from the Konrad Adenauer Platz (Square) in the western part of the city to the Siegessäule (Victory Column) in the central Tiergarten (Zoo) Park, all the way to the Brandenburger Tor (Gate).
The sound of silence
They called themselves Der Schweigemarsch (Silent March), but their main slogan said: Wir müssen reden (We must speak out).
That, judging by available photographs and video recordings, seems to have been the only banner to be seen during the march. Organizers of the protest demonstration asked all attendees in advance to leave all flags, banners, and even clothing with slogans printed on it at home.
They explained it on their web site thus: “We are a colourful mix of … people from various ethnic and income level groups, who left all their political affiliations behind and who disagree with the politicization of the coronavirus [pandemic] resulting in restriction of our human rights.”
But, in a typically German orderliness, the organizers said that DEMOSTART NUR MÖGLICH MIT MUND-NASENSCHUTZ! (The demonstration can start only with face masks on), explaining that this is laut Anordnung im Kooperationsgespräch mit der Versammlungsbehörde (in accordance with the decree in agreement with the Assembly office).
The demonstration did not question whether there actually was a pandemic or not. Not openly, at least. What it did object to was what they called a permanent fear campaign that the government has launched and has kept re-launching again and again.
Apparently, there was only one arrest during the entire affair: the police nabbed Attila Hildmann. This so-called “vegan influencer” apparently had the gall to defy the officially imposed fear by appearing without a face mask. Not only that: he allegedly chanted political slogans. German media said Hildmann compared the lockdown measures in Germany with the Guantanamo prison in Cuba when police asked him to put a mask on.
Thus, Hildmann, come to think of it, was the only one who lived up to the protest slogan by refusing to be scared out of his wits.
In fact, this entire event looked like something from Czech writer Jaroslav Hašek. The author of the post-World War I anti-military novel, The Adventures of Good Soldier Schweik, Hašek founded a political party in the early 1910s. It was called The Party of Moderate Progress Within the Framework of the Law (Strana mírného pokroku v mezích zákona), a parody to end all parodies.
This particular German demonstration must have been organized by people familiar with Hašek’s life and work. Participants strictly observed social distancing rules and behaved precisely as the authorities imagine scared people should.
Of course, more than a thousand German physicians have announced publicly that the entire Covid-19 scare is a hoax, and they provided irrefutable proof, too. A huge number of physicians all over the world have joined the chorus.
So, perhaps, organizers of the latest German demonstrations felt no need to repeat those experts’ statements.
Protesters scared, rather than scary
Or, and that seems much more probable, they are scared. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, a person with suspicious and thus far unexplained ties to the former communist regime in what used to be the German Democratic Republic, has just announced even stricter measures against those who won’t be scared into silence.
Such as those who, in that same German capital, Berlin, staged a much louder protest just a few months ago.
The most recent demonstration was not a political affair, its organizers said. That’s why they stressed that people should forget their politics at home.
They could hardly be more wrong. Fighting to defend basic human rights against any fear, artificially imposed or existing otherwise, can hardly be more political in its character. It is a life-or-death fight against totalitarianism.
For those unaware: the word, totalitarianism, was introduced into political vocabulary by none other than Italy’s fascist leader (Duce) Benito Mussolini.