Berlin Youths Worry That Rest of World Sees `No Sensible People in Germany'
HIGH school students in Berlin are concerned about what the rest of the world thinks of Germany after an anti-racism demonstration was disrupted here Nov. 9.
The following day, students at Fritz-Karsen Schule here were outraged. "I was really ashamed to be German," says Marjola Wende, an 18-year-old student. "First there were right-wing people who threw stones at refugees, and now left-wing people attack politicians. People all over the world think that there are no sensible people in Germany."
As 350,000 people gathered in Berlin to show their support for tolerance toward foreign refugees, ultra-leftists hurled eggs, tomatoes, and paint bombs at politicians speaking to the crowd.
Students here in Berlin are worried that observers from other countries will focus only on the left-wing radicals.
"The United States newspapers see only these 300 extremists," complains a student. "They don't see the 350,000 who want peace."
Several students criticized the German politicians at the rally for failing to deal with the extremists. After the onslaught began, President Richard von Weizsacker stopped speaking and hid along with other politicians behind a wall of police riot shields.
"Mr. Weizsacker should have changed his speech when he saw the extremists," says 17-year-old Silke Michaeli. "He has to talk to them and involve these people more.... I thought he was the person who could really change something."
Ms. Michaeli blames the pressures of reunifying East and West Germany for the growing frustration. "I really think that most people don't want to be so aggressive," she says. "But because of their situation - they've lost their jobs or can't get them - they are afraid."
Student Dennis Tefs agrees: "I'm a bit frightened that the people in East Germany can't deal with their problems, and more and more people will get involved with these extremists."