German Greens under fire for criticism of 19th century folk song in election advertisement | Germany

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The German Green Party has been accused of trying to revive its hippie origins rather than tackle the challenges of the present with the publication of a campaign ad for next month’s federal election that brings a folk song from the XIXth century.

Five weeks before a general election, in which the party led the polls, the one-minute ad is seen by some critics as a deliberate and ultimate attempt to appeal to as large a constituency as possible. as he fights for second place against the resurgent Social Democrats.

Grandmothers, footballers, a farmer, a bus driver, a priest, a garbage collector and a group of middle-aged retirees barbecuing in the back garden, appear in the film alongside bees and of sunflowers. Caregivers and couriers tackle low-wage debates, and a woman at a computer worries about the lack of high-speed internet access.

No mention is made of the devastating floods that hit large swathes of western Germany last month or the latest UN climate change report on how mankind brought about change without precedent in the global climate.

The slot machine is based on the rewrite of an 1840 German folk song by Anton Wilhelm von Zuccalmaglio, made popular by the Wandervogel (stray bird) movement of the 1910s, whose young members campaigned against industrialization on the basis of the doctrine of wandering medieval scholars who promoted nature as a source of healing.

The original song, Kein Schöner Land in dieser Zeit (there is no country more beautiful than ours at this time) – still a popular campfire song and widely sung by Boy Scouts – celebrates the gathering of friends in nature on a summer evening. They state that with the grace of God they will continue to meet in this way in the future.

The song has often been rewritten, sometimes as a parody, or used as a cultural reference to highlight environmental destruction and social injustice.

In the Greens’ version, ordinary Germans, in workplaces, living rooms and sports halls, sing: “A beautiful country right now; in the distance an awakening takes place, we are on new paths [and] we will not stand still… we must protect our Earth, it is too hot to live, we will fight for the climate, against short-haul flights and for our farms.

At the end of the window, we see the co-leaders of the Greens, Robert Habeck, who asks voters to “give everything now”, and Annalena Baerbock, the party’s chancellor candidate who says: “Live the awakening, we are ready. “

Der Tagesspiegel called the ad a “political advertisement for a DIY store” and said it was akin to a cargo bike anthem, a reference to the Greens’ plan announced last week to give every German household an € 1,000 subsidy for a cargo bike to encourage people to give up their cars. The campaign was mocked by opponents of the party.

Die Zeit, however, has suggested that at second sight the slot is a smart draw for the older German – by far the largest demographic among voters.

“It’s not that far-fetched that it might win over some disappointed conservative voters with its aesthetic conservative look and feel,” he says, but denounces the “Ohrwurm”(Earworm) slit quality, suggesting that“ like any earworm, this is something you will quickly start to curse ”.


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