Two days ago, I witnessed, along with over 200 other people the 113th minute goal by Goetze. It sealed the FIFA World Cup 2014 for the German Mannschaft (team). Those few split seconds at the end changed to resounding display of sheet joy. I noticed people crying on this victory.
For a country where football is another religion, it is not hard to believe how happy the people are, within the next few minutes people were out on the streets singing and merry making. The usually reserved locals were smiling at strangers, hugging and high fiving them.
Soon the Internet is also abuzz with articles about the German efficiency, and of course the usual mention of the Blitzkreig (a reference to WW II war strategy), and of course twitter is filled with Nazi jokes. Finally, I am also starting to observe the indirect linkage of the sports victory with the dark past of the Fatherland.
Frankly, it is annoying. Germans are taught enough lessons through school to understand and reconcile with the past, but the world keeps reminding them. They are tired, of the stereotype, of the world not letting them be. It is in bad taste to keep reminding them of the past, where they have made huge efforts to move on, and deal responsibly with their history.
Modern Germany is not the same as Nazi Germany, and will never be. Period. The flying of the Black, Red and Gold flags by fans is a celebration of being World masters of football. The victory of 2014 has probably lesser ‘nationalistic’ significance than the victory of 1954 when the Miracle von Bern happened, that was when Germans could restore some pride.
Probably, the biggest sign of the current times is the fact that Klose and Podolski are much celebrated and loved, or that I could share the final moments of the match with a hall full of people who were Germans by the love of the game and not by their color or race.
PS – Some idiots started trying to sell a victory t-shirt using Nazi symbols on Amazon.de, it is filled with users requesting the product be taken out.