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Merkel gets prestigious US 'freedom medal'

The Local · 18 Nov 2010, 09:00

Published: 18 Nov 2010 09:00 GMT+01:00

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Merkel is among 15 recipients of the award named by US President Barack Obama, who also named former president George H.W. Bush, investor Warren Buffett and poet Maya Angelou.

"These outstanding honourees come from a broad range of backgrounds and they've excelled in a broad range of fields, but all of them have lived extraordinary lives that have inspired us, enriched our culture, and made our country and our world a better place," Obama said in a statement.

Obama noted that Merkel "is the first woman and first East German to serve as chancellor of a unified Germany" and "has often said that freedom is the happiest experience of her life."

The awards, to be presented at a ceremony early next year, also will be given to American artist Jasper Johns; celebrated cellist Yo-Yo Ma; former baseball star Stan Musial; former basketball star Bill Russell; and former labour federation leader John Sweeney.

Other recipients will include Representative John Lewis, a longtime civil rights activist; and John Adams, co-founder of the Natural Resources Defence Council environmental advocacy group.

Obama also named for the honour Gerda Weissmann Klein, a Jewish Holocaust survivor who has written several books about her experiences, and will award the medal posthumously to Tom Little, an optometrist who was murdered in August 2010 by the Taliban in Afghanistan, where he was working on a humanitarian mission.

The White House also said the presidential award will go to Sylvia Mendez, a civil rights activist of Mexican and Puerto Rican descent; and Jean Kennedy Smith, founder of VSA, a non-profit organization that promotes the artistic talents of children, youth and adults with disabilities.

In the past, the award has been given to other heads of government and state including Tony Blair of Britain, South Africa's Nelson Mandela, Helmut Kohl of Germany and former Australian prime minister John Howard.

Story continues below…

Former US presidents who have received the award include Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

12:53 November 18, 2010 by xx.weirich.xx
Congrats Angie ^^
13:25 November 18, 2010 by dbert4
They should give one to Gerhard Schröder also for standing up to George Bush and not involving Germany in the Iraq swamp.
13:41 November 18, 2010 by VMan
Gerhard Schroder did not stand up to Bush. President Bush asked for support on the War on Terror. That does not mean ground troops in Iraq. Germany could have helped in other ways versus ground troops. Anytime the UN Security Council is involved than it means "support" ok? Yes, there was no WMD but remember that President Saddam Hussein wanted the world to think that they had WMD in mass qualities. President Hussein set himself up for failure. Gerhard Schroeder had more failures than success. His European or French military union failed.
23:50 November 18, 2010 by vonSchwerin
Can we leave the whole Gerhard Schröder/George W. Bush out of this?

It has nothing to do with Merkel getting this award.
21:40 November 19, 2010 by DrGideonPolya
The award of this medal to Angel Merkel is public recognition of her involvement of Germany in the Afghan Genocide (post-invasion violent deaths about 1.2 million, post-invasion non-violent avoidable deaths from deprivation 3.7 million, post-invasion under-5 year old infant deaths 2.6 million, 3 million refugees plus a further 2-3 million Pashtun refugees generated in NW Pakistan by Obama - an Afghan Genocide as defined by Article 2 of the UN Genocide Convention.

Nobel Prize-winning Jewish British writer Harold Pinter demanded war crimes trials for Bush and Blair over Iraq at a time (2005) when people suspected that 100,000 Iraqis had been violently killed (the estimate today from Just Foreign Policy is 1.4 million violent deaths; a further 1.1 million have died avoidably from deprivation since the illegal US invasion, as estimated from UN data): "We have brought torture, cluster bombs, depleted uranium, innumerable acts of random murder, misery, degradation and death to the Iraqi people and call it 'bringing freedom and democracy to the Middle East'. How many people do you have to kill before you qualify to be described as a mass murderer and a war criminal? One hundred thousand? More than enough, I would have thought. Therefore it is just that Bush and Blair be arraigned before the International Criminal Court of Justice."

In US-occupied Afghanistan post-invasion non-violent avoidable deaths from war-imposed deprivation and post-invasion violent deaths now total about 4.9 million (Google Afghan Holocaust, Afghan Genocide).

To paraphrase Harold Pinter, how many people do you have to kill before you qualify to be described as a mass murderer and a war criminal? 4.9 million? More than enough, I would have thought. Therefore it is just that Bush, Blair - plus Brown, Cameron, Harper, Sarkozy, Howard, Rudd, Gillard and Angela Merkel - be arraigned before the International Criminal Court of Justice.
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