There is a popular play on words, arising out of the reunification of West and East Germany, which recites that former East Germany now has “the capital” of West Germany (i.e. the money) and that West Germany in turn now has “Das Kapital” (the book by Marx and Engels) from East Germany.
Indeed, vast amounts of money have been spent by West Germany on the former East Germany.
There was in the former East Germany, for example, a strong Communist movement to eliminate hated “foreign” words from the vocabulary. The universally used Italian word pizza was one of these words. The Communists argued that they had to save the “mother tongue”. The East Germans thus created an artificial German word for pizza and required that this made-up word be used by the populace instead of the Italian real thing. Needless to say, that infamous synthetic word has not survived the reunification, perhaps also because there were few pizzas to be had under Communist rule.
How nice it would be if the Schroeder administration and the members of Red-Green had learned something from that past experience. But this does not appear to be the case. We are thus not surprised to read at Tagesspiegel Online that the Red-Green coalition in the German Bundestag (the lower house of German Parliament) has just set an arbitrary 35% quota for German music in the media. (Hat tip to jonet Medialog.) The quota is to be applied voluntarily for the first year and to become mandatory if German media do not toe the line of the new Red-Green “ukase”. [An ukaz was “a proclamation of a czar having the force of law in imperial Russia”].
Is this what the SPD (German Socialist Party) and the German Greens (Grüne) understand as their concept of “freedom” – a freedom of government to dictate to the media and to the populace what they are to transmit and to hear and what not? See also here.
The opposition CDU/CSU has rightly denounced the quota as reminiscent of the days and policies of the despots of the former East German government.
It is remarkable at a time when unemployment is topping 10% and rising (due in material part to the ineffective economic policies of the Schroeder administration), that the German legislators have time to fool around with this kind of media quota nonsense.
Rather than moving backward all the time, the Bundestag and the Schroeder Administration should try to find someone, anyone in their ranks, who is looking to move forward, rather than to return Germany to 1933.