The "New Germany"

by Cem Basman

The Sunday Times from London about the German football team after the match against Sweden on saturday in Munich:

So here it is: vibrant, young, anarchic, brilliant. But some things are archetypal. Germany are advancing through a tournament and growing with every game.

Nice to hear from the Brits that we didn't pull our tanks out from the bunkers again ...

However, if the 1954 world championships initiated the German "Wirtschaftswunder", than the 2006 championships seem to form a new positive and overall national feeling in Germany. Even if you were not born in this country.

Yesterday in the early morning I saw an african couple with black-red-golden wigs happily wiping the wet floors of our supermarket. Turks across my apartment have decorated their doner kebab shop in German colors and were shouting and jumping at every German goal. In the afternoon after the match there was a special victory parade with loud honking cars - all of them with wild screaming Chinese drivers and passengers waving the German flag!

At last maybe we will be one nation - regardless of who will win the world cup. And I hope this will last after the finals, too. BTW, of course I have decorated my balcony with a giant German flag ... [Berlin, Berlin, wir fahren nach Berlin!]


I have been very pleasantly suprised by the turkish people living here rooting for Germany. If it were the other way around (in regard of Turkey not being qualified for the World Cup) I am sure Germans either wouldn't show much reaction at all or just be sad about not qualifying instead of supporting another team. This definitely is something to learn from by means of mentality.

Ralph Unden, 2006-06-25

Don't forget that Cem was talking about Turks living and working in Germany.
I wouldn't give bets that the Turks in Turkey are not complaining about their team not having qualified. At least they did in the finals against Switzerland .....
I also see great impulses for Germany to create a new image of the nation. I myself attended the game vs. Sweden yesterday and I think it was the first time for me to cry out "Deutschland!" in public.

Karsten Kunert, 2006-06-25

Just 2 quotes fromm Tini at the pizzeraia (who, I somethimes think, is the guy in town who has read the most books ;), rides a Harley through the US in his holidays etc. ):

a) 'I am all for Germany, as long as they don't play Italy.'
b) "Yesterdsay there were a whole buch of cheering foreigners (he called them that) outside: Turks, Geeks and Italians. All cheering for Gemany. 10 Years ago this would not have been possible, they woudl rather have gone (makes an obscene gesture)."

He also remarked that Germans and Greeks in town alike were cheering the Italian victory some days ago. So the enthusiasm is not only 'one way'. (My childern (w4, m6) were somewhat confused and continued shouting 'Griechenland hat gewonnen!' because they saw the Greek-German neighbors cheering the Italians ;) )

I wonder what will become of this.

Oliver Gassner, 2006-06-25

I'm somewhat 'praying' for Holland right now... that says it all ;-)

Frank Dröge, 2006-06-25

Karten, all the same I think my statement would be valid for Germans living in Turkey, too.

Ralph Unden, 2006-06-25

@Ralph, this is very special.

The "foreign" people living in Germany are identifying themselves with Germany. This is happening for the very first time since more than 40 years ago the first "Gastarbeiter" came to this country in several immigration waves.

And don't forget, btw, some of the German players in the national team were not born here either: Klose, Podolski, Asamoah, ...

This is indeed the New Germany. Great times are coming, folks.

Cem Basman, 2006-06-25

Ralph - OK - 100% agree.
Little misunderstanding. I thought you were talking about Turks (& foreigners) in general.
With the root aspect the theory makes perfect sense!

Karsten Kunert, 2006-06-25

Cem, I beg to differ. I had this revelation like 15 years ago when doing interviews for the "Akademie der bayrischen Presse" in Munich. So it's not the first time, it's just more obvious today.

Stefan Rubner, 2006-06-25


---* Bill

Bill Buchan, 2006-06-26

Cem, what you say not only is true for Germany, but also for Switzerland. Like in Germany, showing the flag was something usually left to the officials and the Swiss are definitely more critical than enthusiastic concerning their country.

However, since this world cup lots of people wear red and white and little flags that can be stuck to the cars are the major buzz. And our soccer team darws the people (regardless of their ethnic background) to the biggest soccer parties ever. =)

If you wanna go to Berlin, you have to beat us first. :-P

Philipp Sury, 2006-06-26

Philipp, we can only meet you Swiss folks at the finals in Berlin. But my best wishes to you for the match against Ukraine.

Cem Basman, 2006-06-26

*blush* that happens when trying to quote the schedule from memory. ;-)

Thanks for the good wishes. Hopefully we don't need such a big withdrawal from our luck account so we have plenty left for Italy. =)

Philipp Sury, 2006-06-26

Frank, ich weiss wo dein Auto steht.


Heiko Jabusch, 2006-06-26

But that means Italy has to beat the Socceroos from Australia. I am supporting the underdogs from down under (beside Germany obviously).

And it's really good to see what impact this championship has to the Germans (all people living and working here) and how it is changing the pictures/impressions/cliches of our country. Hope it will stay like this after 9th of July. I cross my fingers.

Frank Stangenberg, 2006-06-26

Swiss fans are definitely cool, Philipp! I saw the match Swiss - France on the Schlossplatz in Stuttgart and everybody was going "Wer ed hoppt der is koin Schwieezer, hey, hey, hey!". Boy, was I hopping! :)

Ralph Unden, 2006-06-26

Heiko, dann weisst Du, auch, dass Du nicht nah genug rankommst :-)

Frank Dröge, 2006-06-26

Ralph, thanks for your nice compliment. Unfortunately, you won't see again the Swiss fans at this world cup. =( I for my part liked the fans from South Korea the best, it was wonderful to see their costumes and to hear how they sung Beethoven's Symphony Nr. 9. For me, the match between Switzerland and South Korea was the highlight.

Cem, I could see it yesterday with my own eyes at a soccer party in Solothurn how the secondos took off their Italy jerseys after the first game and put on Swiss jerseys for the second.

Well, see you in 2008 - zu Gast bei Freunden. =)

"Wär nid gumpet, isch kei Schwiizer, hoi, hoi." =)

Philipp Sury, 2006-06-27

Everyone in the Cologne Arena was shouting in deep sympathy for Ghana in the match versus the czech team, even giving them all the Black Föös treatment anybody could dream of, for their excellent show and performance. After the match, Cologne WAS Ghana, one big party.

Yesterday, in the same stadion, with the dullest game ever shown in a world cup, people were shouting for Podolski to come for help, after nothing happened..... and both teams, accomplishing nothing, were accompanied by the chorus of "Ihr könnt nach Hause gehn....." and shrill whistles..... Friends, other than family, you can choose. Duh. The Ukrains were partying alone, more or less, after the game.... everybody else left for private business...

Armin Roth, 2006-06-27

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