Monday, December 8, 2008

European Barack Obama :)

Cem difference

Nov 20th 2008 BERLIN From The Economist print edition
Germany’s first party leader from an ethnic minority

CEM OZDEMIR has picked a good moment to be elected co-chairman of Germany’s Green Party. All of Europe is on the hunt for a European Barack Obama. As the first Turkish-origin leader of a big party in Germany, Mr Ozdemir is the country’s top contender. It does not hurt the comparison that he is thin, good-looking, charismatic and devoted to his family (wife and daughter).

Like the American version, he tries to transcend ethnicity, but in a different way. Mr Obama hoped that the historical significance of his election would work in his favour. Mr Ozdemir (who, as a Green, is unlikely ever to rise higher than foreign minister) seems eager to play down ethnicity altogether. “Is it so important to have a Turkish chancellor?” he wonders. “The fact that we’re still talking about this shows how far there is to go.” He blames both native Germans and immigrants. Germans must become comfortable with the “hyphenated identities” of some of their fellow citizens; immigrants and their children must accept that “this is not enemy territory.” The first words he heard were in the Swabian dialect of Baden-Württemberg.

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