When Angela Merkel Changed Her Mind

In July last year, German Chancellor Angela Merkel shocked the public with a cold-hearted response to a Palestinian refugee girl who expressed (go to 0:30), in perfect German after having lived there for four years, her wish for a normal life including studying in Germany. Merkel noticed too late that her answer (“Das können wir auch nicht schaffen”, or “We can’t make it”) would create nothing else than utter despair. The girl started to cry and Merkel ineptly tried to comfort her. Respective videos of the awkward scene went quickly viral and, for a moment, completely deteriorated Merkel’s reputation.

Only a few months later, Merkel had changed her mind, restored her reputation as superwoman and cordially welcomed unprecedented numbers of refugees in particular from Syria. “We’ll make it” sparked hatred among far-right racist Pegida, in particular in East Germany where Merkel actually came from. It ultimately earned her London Times’ Person of the Year 2015.

Is that realpolitik or does it indicate that politicians may sometimes reflect on what went wrong and how it could be done better?

2 January 2016 @ 6:55 pm.

Last modified January 2, 2016.

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