A Tale of Two Ladies.
The Saxon Lady A few days ago, on Monday February 24, the lady (or better "das Maedchen", the girl) had "a 40-minute lunch at the Pentagon...with Rumsfeld and his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz". She "drew appreciative laughter when she said that having grown up near Berlin before the fall of the wall, 'she has a little bit of new Europe in her'." The name of the lady is Angela Merkel. She is head of Germany's conservative Christian Democratic Union and minority leader in the German Parliament. She was born in Hamburg (then of West Germany) in 1954.
"She was a few months old when she was whisked from her birthplace,..., to the backwater of Communist Templin, where her father, Horst Kasner, had accepted a job as a Lutheran pastor." (Roger Cohen, International Herald Tribune, June 2-3, 2001). Kasner's justification for going to East Germany was that he and his wife "did not want to hang around the flesh pots of Egypt" (where the good food was according to the Bible) but they went there "as Christians helping other Christians. Some go to Africa. So why could we not go to the other part of our own country," adds Kasner's wife, Herlind Kasner, a teacher of English. Some say that Kasner was the "gray eminence of the Brandenburg Church." He himself relates "how in the years before the building of the wall he stuffed in his pockets the banknote bundles, with which the West Berlin Church supported him, and smuggled them in the East; many times twice in per week, to build a church seminary in Templin". (Spiegel Reporter, Nr.3, March, 2000, p.21) Angela joined the Pioneer Communist youth movement and reached the rank of Secretary for Agitation and Propaganda. On this matter, Angela's mother has her own view: "Our approach is hard to explain in the west. But quite simply the children had a nice time together in these groups".
Yet, according to a fellow student, "Angela as early as that time belonged to the Christian Democratic Union. The club of the unkissed". She married Merkel, a silent man, "not because she loved him, but because everybody was getting married". (Ibid. p.28) She studied physics and divorced Merkel. A close friend of that period says, "She splits men in two groups. Those that readily have cooperated in her career and those that she feels she can utilize." In 1998 she married Joachim Sauer, a professor of Chemistry. Finally, Angela Merkel started her "real" career. She became the protege of Chancellor Helmut Kohl, who used to call her "das Maedchen". Asked why she caught Mr. Kohl's eye she replied: "I was from the east, a woman and young, I represented three minorities within the party".
And then came the Kohl financial scandal, the party slush funds, and Kohl the candidate for a prominent place in history as a great Chancellor hit bottom. That was Merkel's 9-11! She turned Kohl's disaster to an instrument that would boost her in her fierce effort to reach at the top. She denounced her mentor in an article in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and she was on her way to the top. But to really succeed she must have the approval of the Emperor; the US. In the early months of 2001 she tours America and chats with Vice President Dick Chenny and Secretary of State Colin Powel. On April 24, 2001 Angela is photographed in the office of Congressman Henry Hyde, sitting on a luxurious leather armchair with the American flag in the background.
Certainly, Merkel believes in a "new German patriotism" and she says, "It must be normal to sing the national anthem, to feel pride to have a flag", the German flag of course. So the "baptism" of Angela Merkel in the holy waters of the American Shiloah was underway. It is through the procedure of this baptism that most of the leaders of the world have got where they are. It is during these baptisms that the Emperor chooses his proxies. Thus, Merkel advanced in this procedure so much that she "drew an appreciative laughter" from Rumsfeld and Co., while licking their "hands". Of course she labored hard to reach that point.
A few days before the light-hearted lunch with Rumsfeld she wrote an article in the The Washington Post, headlined, "Schroeder Doesn't Speak for All Germans." The lady is thirsty for Iraqi blood. Her compatriots started calling her the "iron maiden." (Which means that she was born with the "Thatcher Disorder" in her genes).
Some of her fellow-politicians are even afraid of her. (Because they know that if her US baptism goes well, then she will be able to terrorize anybody she feels like.) Already she feels that she is more powerful than Helmut Kohl. Yet, the Saxon "iron lady" could be in trouble. The German people do not want war. Some people in her own party think she is playing "Russian roulette" by licking Rumsfeld's "hand". Besides the Germans think that she has already "fouled her own nest" by going against the wish of the German people. We shall see.
The American Lady Phyllis Kiesling is an American woman. On February 15, 2003 she was among the demonstrators that protested against the war in Iraq in front of the US Embassy in Athens. Phyllis Kiesling, an archaeologist, is the wife of John Brady Kiesling, 45, a senior diplomat serving in the US Embassy in Athens. On February 24, John Brady Kiesling sent a letter to Secretary of State Colin Powell. The diplomat wrote: "We should ask ourselves why we have failed to persuade more of the world that a war with Iraq is necessary. We have over the past two years done too much to assert to our world partners that narrow and mercenary US interests override the cherished values of our world partners".
This was a passage from the resignation letter of John Brady Kiesling. He had been in the foreign service for 20 years. He had served in US Embassies from Tel Aviv to Casablanca to Yerevan. John Brady Kiesling is from California. He came to Greece, for the first time, in 1979-80 as a student of archaeology. John and Phyllis have a daughter, Linda. Most Greeks (which for the Bush II war in Iraq means more than 90%) feel great respect for the Kieslings' honesty and courage. (It is reasonable to use Kieslings's instead of John Kiesling's). The comparison between Phyllis Kiesling and Angela Merkel is inevitable.