The Word on the Week

Angela Merkel Retires

Angela Merkel Retires               Word on the Week                    10th July 2021.

The retirement of Angela Merkel, after 16 years as Chancellor of Germany, was hailed by the population applauding throughout the land for six minutes.   Such was the popularity of this remarkable leader.

Angela came from East Germany.   Her father, a Lutheran Pastor, had moved there at a time before the building of the Berlin wall, when many were travelling West.   There was a need in the East and he went to meet it.

Reared in an academic family she followed her brother who had become a physicist.   She completed her PhD in quantum chemistry in 1986 and after three years doing research went into politics with the Christian Democratic Party becoming Chancellor in 2005.

Her leadership was soon challenged by the financial crisis of 2008. Her tough, unpopular budget cuts were at the heart of the response to the debt crisis which led both Germany and Europe back to growth, with the chancellor emerging as Europe’s de facto leader.

Merkel has acted on what she deemed to be morally right, rather than politically expedient; ending nuclear power in Germany following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan in 2011, and opening Germany’s borders to over a million Syrian refugees in 2015.   Of the latter she said ‘If we can save the banks, we can save human beings’.

Her humble lifestyle would be the opposite of Trump.   Yet she defended his right to express himself when he was banned on Twitter believing that adding warnings to his posts was the better approach.     Merkel shops for groceries herself whenever possible, queuing up at check-out counters. With no household help, she shares chores with her husband: ‘I arrange the clothes, and my husband operates the washing machine.’ When asked by journalists why she wears the same clothes so often, her answer has been: ‘I’m a government employee, not a model.’

In contrast to so many leaders she did not assign any of her relatives to Government posts nor did she salt away millions into foreign bank accounts.  No transgressions have been recorded against her nor has she extolled her achievements to garner popularity.   She lives in the same house as she did before she was elected Chancellor.   She does not own a villa with a swimming pool and gardens but lives with her husband in an apartment.

Regarding her faith, she said: “I am a member of the evangelical church. I believe in God and religion is also my constant companion, and has been for the whole of my life. We as Christians should above all not be afraid of standing up for our beliefs.” 

As Jesus said, “And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God” (St Luke Chapter 12 verse 8).