Thank you, Ms Merkel!


Central Europe

Anna Lutz, PRO Medienmagazine

Merkel (centre) in the midst of other world leaders at the G7 in 2018. Photo AFP, Jesco Denzel

Angela Merkel’s time as Chancellor is over. There are good reasons to miss her.

There is this photo of Angela Merkel. At the G7 summit in Canada in 2018, she faces Donald Trump. With her arms on the table, she leans forward. Ready to confront. Her eyes are fixed on the then president of the United States, who looks up at her from a seated position with a smug smile.

The mighty powers of the world stand around them. Merkel is the only woman in the photo, and she shows: she is the one calling the shots. You can almost see their sleeves rolled up, although, of course, they are not.

Today, Angela Merkel, Germany’s Federal Chancellor for 16 years, will retire from office in Berlin. On Thursday, she was sent off with military honours. It is time to say ‘thank you’. It is time to appreciate images like the one just described.

Nothing stands better for what Merkel has achieved in 16 years of office and the many years before: As a woman and a devout Christian, she not only steered Germany’s fate but also those of the European Union and the world – concerning moral values like that Christian charity and a subtle touch of feminist chutzpah.

Faith was visible in actions

Merkel never wanted to see herself as a feminist, more as a self-reliant woman in politics. Yet, she has done the women of the world an invaluable service. It is similar to her Christianity. Merkel is a Protestant and has never made a secret of it. But she never showed her faith demonstratively. Her faith was visible in her political actions.
“Here I stand, and I can’t help it.” It is a quote from Martin Luther, but it is also applicable to Merkel’s handling of the refugee crisis. With the willing acceptance of those in need, even against her interior minister Horst Seehofer, she did something that she did not like: Merkel polarised.

She chose the act of persuasion instead of political popularity in the right-wing conservative area. Not only, but especially in eastern Germany, many met her with unquotable tirades of hate. The AfD gained strength. In short: political calculation looks different.

Stood for matter close to her heart

Some may therefore accuse her of being foolish. But it is precisely this moment in her career that has revealed what a unique and especially valuable head of government Germany had for Christians. She pulled bare and made enemies because she stood up for a matter close to her heart.

Neither friends nor foes would have trusted this woman, who often appeared so insensitive, to do that. And indeed: Germany has not only managed to survive this crisis. With and thanks to Angela Merkel and her always rolled-up sleeves.

This article was translated and edited by CNE.news and was previously published in German Christian magazine PRO, on December 2nd, 2021.

Christian hymn at farewell

On Thursday, Merkel attended a so-called “Großer Zapfenstreich”. Deutsche Welle writes that that is the highest military ceremony in Germany and comes complete with a torchlight procession, soldiers performing music and marching with clockwork precision.

One of the songs she requested was the Christian hymn ‘Großer Gott, wir loben dich’ (Holy God, We Praise Thy Name). That was most likely a nod to her political party’s Christian roots and her upbringing as a Protestant pastor’s daughter.



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