Since the outbreak of the second World War 80 years ago, Germany has been a bulwark against the re-emergence of fascism and the far-right. As a consequence, it became an oasis of stability in a shaken Europe. But Germany’s politics, like most other European countries, is now in turmoil.
The results of Sunday’s state elections in Brandenburg and Saxony show two losers and two winners: The “Altparteien” or the “old parties” — the Social Democrats, who are in fact in free fall, and Merkel’s conservative CDU lost out to the right-wing “Alternative für Deutschland” (AfD), which almost became the strongest party in both states, and the Green Party, which managed to gain ground despite the fact that the economically weak east of Germany is traditionally not a winning territory for them.
The results seals two country-wide developments: the continued rise of the AfD and the upswing of the Greens. Although these two parties occupy very different areas of the political landscape, their success has one thing in common: it reflects Germany’s growing search for identity and a quest for “Heimat.”
“Heimat” is a German word that means much more than just “home.” In fact, Heimat can be far away from home. It includes the idea of genuine belonging, and a special connection to the space and people around you. Heimat can be a country, a village, a house, an apartment or even a person. It provides a feeling of security, and is strongly linked to German romanticism, nationalism and the idea of community.
The desire for Heimat becomes stronger once it is threatened, when everything that is familiar could change and vanish forever.
There are two things Germans fear the most at the moment: climate change and immigration. One worry — particularly highlighted by the Greens — is about the exploitation …read more
Source:: The Week – Politics