Written By: Zaid al-Alaya’a
Article Date: Nov 3, 2007 - 7:15:19 AM
German Ambassador Michael Klor-Berchtold addressing guests.
The unification of Germany brought democracy and freedom that did not exist when the Berlin Wall was in place and when the people of former East Germany lived under tyranny and oppression, said Germany’s ambassador to Yemen, Michael Klor-Berchtold. He addressed guests last Tuesday in a celebration of the 17th anniversary of German National Day of Unity.
“We are here to celebrate the 17th anniversary of the German National Day of Unity, October 3, 1990. One year before that, in November, the Wall collapsed, which for us represents the death of dictatorship in Germany,” said Ambassador Klor-Berchtold.
Before unity, citizens in East Germany were not able to elect their representatives, and were not even able to freely voice political opposition. In November of 1989, the Wall collapsed and nothing now separates Berlin or divides Europe. “The collapse of the wall in Germany sent an important message to the entire world. The message was that politics and freedom cannot exist behind walls,” said Ambassador Klor-Berchtold.
On the same day that the German Embassy in Sana’a celebrated the unification of East and West Germany, they celebrated the National Unification day of Yemen. The two countries have strong links, having both gone through the pains of unification in the same year (1990). This shared experience makes for a special relationship between the two countries, said Klor-Berchtold. The Yemeni-German connection dates back tens of years before unification, and the depth of it is witnessed by the two countries’ citizens and governments.
The guest of honor at Tuesday’s celebration was Dr. Mustafa Bahran, Minister of Electricity and Energy, who also spoke about the depth of the Yemeni-German relationship. “I wish now that I could speak German to congratulate our friends on their National Day of Unity, which is a precious occasion, dear to all of us,” said Bahran. “On behalf of the Yemeni government, leadership, and people, I warmly congratulate the German nation on their national day and I emphasize what my friend, the German ambassador, said about the devotion of the two countries’ to national unity. Yemenis like it very much that we were united in the same year as Germany, though Yemen unification preceded Germany by four months,” said Bahran, laughing.
Guests at the German Ambassador’s residence celebrating German National Unity Day.
Some Yemenis attending the ceremony said that there are many people in the Arab world who like to call Yemen the Germany of the Arab world. The two systems in the former separated countries were the same—former South Yemen and East Germany were both communist, while former North Yemen and West Germany were capitalist states.
Bahran then spoke about the great presence of German support to Yemen, mentioning many companies that work in Yemen and the various German products appreciated by Yemenis.
Former West Germany invested huge amounts of money to strengthen Germany’s then-struggling unity. “The problems in bringing two societies together are huge and a great challenge. Germany was lucky because the former West Germany was a rich country and invested lots of money,” Klor-Berchtold told the Yemen Observer. He said that Yemen is striving very hard and succeeding in achieving the same goal. Germany appreciates all of the efforts done by Yemen to bring people closer together to strengthen unity, he said.
Guido Zebisch, who works in the Cultural Department of the German Embassy in Sana’a and also works as the director of the German House, said that he was very happy to see the crowd of people, including diplomats and average Yemeni citizens, gathered at the residence of the German ambassador to share this occasion with Germany. The residence was packed full of people who were dancing joyfully to rhythms of German music. There were also representatives from the Yemeni government and sales agents of German products as well as Yemeni businessmen.
• Yemen Mobile develops special packages systems for internet services
• Love and Peace in Yemen spread through “Color your Street Wall” Campaign
• Yemen ministry of interior initiates the “Arab Traffic Week” under the slogan “Until when?”
• Yemen Ex president’s loyalists gather in “love of democracy and unity”
• Mysore Palace opens its third branch in Algeria Street