• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

German media roundup: Alert but not hysterical

The Local · 18 Nov 2010, 12:12

Published: 18 Nov 2010 12:12 GMT+01:00

On Wednesday, the Interior Minister solemnly cited information from “foreign partners,” stating that terrorist attacks had been planned for late November, and described a “new situation” regarding the Islamist threat towards the nation.

The minister also encouraged Germans to go about their lives without worrying, explaining that federal police had been put on alert and heightened security was in place at transportation hubs.

Conservative daily Die Welt complimented de Maizière’s reassuring conduct, which it said balanced the seriousness of the threat with the need to avoid panic. It was the very refusal to resort to hysteria that was the great strength of a democracy, the paper wrote.

“The west (to Islamists) is molly-coddled, cowardly and unwilling to fight. Better red – or whatever else – than dead. It is among the strongest features of our civilisation that this is not true,” the paper wrote.

On the contrary, the west had come through crisis after crisis with its values and its constitutions intact, the paper argued – whether it was the blitz in London or September 11 in the United States.

“There are situations in which calm is actually a civic duty and has nothing to do with apathy. It is not a sign of carelessness but of strength if life goes on as normal in dangerous situations. In a democracy, heroism and the most normal daily routine go hand in hand.”

Centre-left daily Süddeutsche Zeitung wrote that unlike his predecessors, de Maizière has been no “Federal Fearmongering Minister.”

“For this reason his warning of an impending attack is so effective,” the paper said.

The threat of terrorism presents a Catch-22 for government leaders, who face criticism if they have failed to warn citizens in the event of an attack, or accusations of fearmongering when they do issue a warning. Given the situation, de Maizière’s approach was correct, “and there is no better answer,” the paper said.

It was appropriate for the minister to advise against hysteria and worry, because the danger of actually being the victim of a terrorist attack is smaller than any other security risk in Germany, the paper explained.

But the state must show strength as well as restraint, it said.

“Interior security requires internal strength and unbreakable trust in the basic rights of the constitution – even in times of terrorism. As long as an interior minister can rely on this, then interior security in Germany isn’t in a bad position,” the paper wrote.

Centrist daily Der Tagesspiegel also referred to the challenge that confronts politicians in times of terror, but said citizens are responsible for ensuring their rights are not infringed.

“There is no escape from this dilemma,” the paper wrote. “In the area of security (de Maizière) can’t win despite clever measures, because there is no thanks for the unhindered continuation of normality.”

Meanwhile the average citizen’s abstract understanding of the danger posed by terroristm rarely correlates with everyday experience, it said.

“Here a few more police officers, there more fundamental security checks at the airport. And the only, often unsatisfying measure, of whether this is necessary is the word of a minister. We must trust him because we can’t know any better.”

Citizens must allow the government to take a “leap of faith” in such situations, the paper said.

“But they still maintain the right to punish misuse,” it concluded.

Story continues below…

The centre-right Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung wrote that every citizen needed to make a level-headed assessment of the threat. That meant being watchful but also getting on with life.

“The Interior Minister cannot please everyone. If he issues warnings too loudly and too often, people accuse him of being alarmist. If he is too cool and guarded, it is said, he is lulling people with the illusory comfort of safety,” it wrote.

“There are by nature ‘great security gaps’ of the kind the police union is talking about. But that doesn’t mean we are defenceless. Any individual, however much he may rely on the law of the state, can meet terrorism head on. Not only by being watchful, but also by continuing to live the way he wants. No reason for hysteria, says the minister. There shouldn’t be, even in an emergency.”

Daily Saarbrücker Zeitung referred to security experts who say a terror attack in Germany is just a matter of time.

“That isn’t very encouraging, but unfortunately realistic,” it said. “With this in mind Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière displayed the right solution: We will allow terrorism to alter neither our habits nor our culture.”

The Local/ka/dw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

21:17 November 24, 2010 by tianju
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
Today's headlines
Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
File photo: DPA

When a man swimming naked in a Bavarian lake felt a strange pain in his nether regions, he looked up to see a fisherman on the shore. "Don’t pull!" he shouted.

Study finds rival Rhineland beers 'actually taste the same'
Left: Altbier. Right: Kölsch. Or can you even tell? Photos: DPA.

Cologne and Düsseldorf have a long established rivalry, not least over who has the better home brew. So the results of a new study might be more than they can swallow.

Eastern Europe pushes Germany for joint EU army
Angela Merkel (l), Beata Szydlo and Victor Orban. Photo: DPA

Eastern EU countries on Friday pushed for the bloc to create a joint army as they met with Germany for talks on sketching Europe's post-Brexit future.

Merkel’s party mate wants to get rid of all Karl Marx streets
Karl Marx and one of the roadways in Berlin named for him. Photos: Wikimedia Commons, Nicor

Hundreds of streets are named after the founder of communism, but this conservative politician wants to give Marx the boot.

State elections
6 reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
Photo: DPA

With state elections around the corner, The Local looks at the poor side of Germany's "poor but sexy" capital city.

Upstarts RB Leipzig plan to go right to top of Bundesliga
RB Leipzig players celebrate scoring against Dynamo Dresden. Photo: DPA

RB Leipzig make their Bundesliga debut on Sunday, but the East German outfit, sponsored by energy drinks manufacturer Red Bull, are already far from popular in Germany's top-flight.

Poland criticizes Germany’s 'self-serving' foreign policy
Witold Waszczykowski. Photo: DPA

The Polish foreign minister has said that Germany all too often follows its own interests at the expense of its partners, as Chancellor Angela Merkel prepares to visit Warsaw.

Vast majority of Germans in favour of burqa ban: poll
Women wearing niqab veils in Saudi Arabia. Photo: DPA.

A survey found that the vast majority of respondents were in favour of Germany passing a ban on the full-body veil sometimes worn by Muslim women.

Czech police detain driver for harassing Merkel's motorcade
Angela Merkel. File photo: DPA

Czech police arrested a man on Thursday for attempting to drive into the motorcade of visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Prague, they said.

Teacher convicted for holding kids back after class
Photo: DPA

A music teacher from North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) has been found guilty of "holding people against their will" after he made some naughty stay kids back after class.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Lifestyle
What's on in Germany: events for August 2016
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Travel
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Travel
Six soothing day trips to escape the bustle of Berlin
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
8,614
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd