Refugees from the battle-ravaged Middle East chant Germany! Germany! Germany! They seek a safe place to live.
Germany has responded in a humanitarian way to what could have become — without Germany's leadership — a full-blown disaster.
Germany has accepted tens of thousands of refugees — and is poised to take in some 800,000.
German leaders, and its people, need to resist the inevitable anti-immigration factions that will raise worries that the culture could be swamped by too many newcomers all at once. What about potential terrorists slipping in? That is a legitimate issue and Germany, and all nations that accept Middle Eastern refugees need to work together to check people out, stringently and fully. It cannot be a rush job.
But what an amazing moment for Germany! Not as dramatic as the Berlin Wall falling, but still — the scenes of cheering crowds of Germans welcoming the asylum-seekers … it's very moving.
I'm an American, and I will not try to pass myself off as an expert in Germany. The Germans that I know tend to be machinery executives or company owners, not regular man- and woman-on-the-street types. But these leading Germans in the plastics industry do try and keep a pulse on the country's mass political arena.
Germany is a serious-minded country. It seems that every time I'm staying in Germany flipping through the stations on my hotel TV, about half the stations have some serious-looking talk show where nobody seems to get mad and you can tell they're talking about issues in a highly thoughtful way.
Americans have Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton. We yell at each other, politically.
If I ever move to Germany, I want to learn enough Deutsch to try and get an idea what they're saying on those talk shows. Or more accurately: Discussion shows.
(Now as for German humor … sorry, but it just doesn't translate. I'm not really interested. How about some Benny Hill? He was a genius.)
But back to the refugees. Germans: You are acting with nobility. Everyone has immigrated from somewhere, going back in time. We live in one world. Plus, the new residents will help the economy, as German's population ages.
There was tremendous human suffering throughout Europe during World War II. On newsreels, the world saw lines of refugees struggling to carry all their possessions, at first getting away from war, the trying to find a safe place when the region was finally at peace.
Now the refugees are coming to Germany, shouting the country's name.
The Middle East is a complex mess of a region, and it will take years of effort — by the West and the local countries themselves — and the resolve and ability to change course if necessary, to solve it.
Bashir al-Assad. Putin. Obama…. Who knows what the ultimate resolution will be?
Right now it's on Angela Merkel.
Germany is taking leadership actions to help stop human suffering.
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Friedrichshafen is such a beautiful area. Apple orchards. Lake Constance. Drinking beer on a ferry boat ride. But for anyone from Akron, Ohio, home of the Goodyear blimps, a particular highlight is the site of the Zeppelins serenely hanging in the sky.
Oh yes — that and injection molding machines…
While in Friedrichshafen for Fakuma 2015, I highly recommend a visit to the Zeppelin Museum right downtown. There you will see that Goodyear and the Zeppelin company — founded by Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin — worked closely together in the years before World War II.
Don't miss the museum.
And now the exciting news! In Akron, Goodyear and Zeppelin are assembling a new dirigible, an airship with an internal structure of carbon fiber and aluminum. According to a report in the Akron Beacon Journal newspaper, Zeppelin assembles the inner frame in Germany, inspects and tests it and then takes the frame apart and ships it to Akron.
(The traditional Akron “blimps” have no internal structure, a fact that lighter-than-air fans everywhere already know.)
So at Fakuma, it's a big deal seeing the Zeppelins flying around. Another serene image in this lovely part of the world.