Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Landesparteitag von Bündnis 90/ Die Grünen in Northeim

[ National party day for the Greens in Northeim ]

I haven't had a praktikum related story for a while, but it is fair to say that I am keeping myself busy. The other weekend I was invited along with the Green party - my first Praktikum hosts - for a trip to a large conference for the party held just a few cities away from Göttingen. I appreciated the invitation, since - even though I am currently working for the FDP - I am still interested in many of the projects and ideas that are promoted by the green party.

Northeim, the city where the conference was held startled me with its simple charm. It is a city that virtually no average visitor would stumble upon, which might add to its appeal with a city center of small pedestrian streets, and a small town buzz of everyone moving around where they need to be by foot or bike in the morning as the day starts.

[ Greener living - quite the catchy title ]

The day started with a breakfast at the Green office in Northeim, another small building like in Göttingen, but it was enjoyable to chat with many of the people, young and old, about where they came from in the area, and then their questions to me about the states and why I was working with the Greens.

The conference itself was very long, several hours, over 6, loaded with agenda topics and many speeches. I cannot omit the fact that I heard some speeches from very prominent members of the Green party, including one of the leading figures in the Bundestag Jürgin Trittin [ who would, within the next few days, would visit my host family's house for dinner - much to my surprise that they are acquaintances and he made a visit during his time in Göttingen. Talk about being a bit star-struck, sitting at a dinner table with one of the most iconic politicians in Germany ].

Topics at the conference ranged from atomic energy, and legislation to prevent it, to a celebrated agreement on combating genetic engineered vegetation in Germany. Green technology, self sustainable agriculture and alternative energy have all been topics that have become exceedingly interesting to me this past year. I have not only learned about them by the Greens however, but also with the FDP and opinions from daily life as well. There are still large debates about the issues, even in progressive Germany, but I think that they may be things that can direct me in the future for a fulfilling career - after all, one of the main goals which this scholarship is supposed to promote through this international exchange.

Drei Tote: Bombe auf Schützenplatz explodiert

[ Headline - Three dead: bomb in evacuation site explodes ]

This is breaking news in Göttingen and has shocked many. Last night, just before ten p.m. I was hanging out with Moritz and some friends in the basement. In the distance we heard a muffled, but still prominent explosion - like a deep rumble of thunder.

Everyone looked at each other, and the word was on all of our lips already: die Bombe.

Last week, while I was in the city with some other friends, our attention was first grabbed when we saw 12 ambulances and a huge bus with police lights fly by. Something big was happening. We later found out on the news that there was no catastrophe, but the civilians in a certain area of Göttingen were being evacuated since a WWII bomb was discovered and needed to be eradicated. The bomb was successfully removed and everything around town became quite again.

[ The video clip from the news. It shows the bomb site, as well as a center that has the evacuated citizens and their reactions hearing that the procedures resulted in tragedy. ]

Just a few days later, another WWII bomb was discovered, and the procedure happened again. This time however, something terribly wrong occurred, and three men working to remove the bomb were killed in its explosion and four others were left in critical condition. This happened just hours ago late last night, and the news is getting out this morning. I am not sure how much land was destroyed on the site - just a few kilometers from my house - but it has truly impacted the city.

Possibly the most profound part of this story is that of all places it happened in Göttingen. This is a small city, known for its university and academic community, and yet these terrible things from the war years - over 60 years ago, still have an impact on the communities.