German elections 2013: Island of happy people

On the Friedrichskoog beach in northwestern Germany
On the Friedrichskoog beach in northwestern Germany
22 August 2013 – Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (Frankfurt)

A month ahead of elections, Germans are fine and unconcerned at their neighbours' problems. It is in this climate of satisfaction and buoyed by good polls that Angela Merkel is leading a campaign designed not to antagonise her countrymen, jokes Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

Looking at Germany from above, the country, despite its borders being firmly on the continent, resembles an island. A balmy island where living is a breeze. nonethelesss, it’s in the middle of a choppy ocean. On the neighbouring islands people are not doing so well, as if they’re feeling a little seasick; their islands lie a bit lower than the island of Germany. There, the waves thunder in over the sands and the fields, and some of these islands are at risk of being washed over entirely. The inhabitants of the island of Germany can probably see that, or they read about it in their newspapers. But those other islands seem so far away that the islanders of Germany need not worry about their balmy lives, scented by sea breezes.

That’s dangerous. At some point, this tranquil life on the island of Germany may come to an end. No one will be able to say then that they hadn’t been warned, that they hadn’t seen the signs. Twelve years ago on a large neighbouring island in the West, a horrific attack left almost 3,000 dead. The inhabitants of the island of Germany thought that was pretty bad. Something similar happened on islands in the southwest and to the north. The German islanders thought that was pretty bad too. And so even at home, preparations for possible attacks were made. But the plots were discovered early enough and prevented, and the matter was quickly forgotten.

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Translated from the German by Anton Baer

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