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How do you View Germany?

Following a study commissioned by Deutsche Welle to establish exactly how Germans are perceived abroad, DW-WORLD asked readers how they view the federal republic.

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Not everybody gets excited about picturesque Germany

I think Germany is a great country with plenty of culture and learning. I am especially glad that Germany opposes the war in Iraq and the terrible foreign policy of the USA. -- Fred Stevens

I think Germany is a nice place, where people work hard to make things better. However, there is much to do all time, so maybe it would be better if you give me a plane ticket and two weeks reservation in a three star hotel so I can tell you more. -- Ayman Yunes, Yemen

Hi, I am from Pakistan. I have been a mathematics student, and I play viola. For me Germany is a place where my two worlds come together. After years of reading biographies and translations of the works of German academics, I feel the world lost something in 1933 which it may not have ever again. In my university in the U.S. we had 10 professors from Germany, and they had a class of their own. I sometimes read on DW-WORLD that Germany is going to move its academic system closer to that of the U.S. That is a horrifying thought. The American education system is geared towards mediocrity. Although I know a lot about German men from academia and music, I know very little about German women. The Goethe center in Karachi is showing Heimat-films these days. I guess that might be a good opportunity to learn something about German women. There are very few period drama movies from Germany. I have only seen works on the life of Ludwig II. I wonder why people do not make movies about German professors from the past. Or other political figures like von Bismarck. I think the biggest loss that Germany suffered in WW II was that of people. People who died and people who migrated and the rich Jewish heritage. The most scholarly people in the world. -- Faisal Khan, Pakistan

I lived in Germany for over four years. I have hosted four German students in my American home. My thoughts on Germany are built on the generation and on the situation. German grandmothers rebuilt Germany. They are a strong, hardworking lot. German parents worked very hard to give their children a better life. But they gave and still give their children too much.... especially the mothers, and especially what they give their sons (more is expected of daughters). The new, upcoming generation comprises a self-involved, ungrateful "vacationing" lot. As for our disagreements of today...Schadenfreude...does that word exist in any other language? Even your football fans will not cheer on another EU member, especially if the team is Dutch. I read your news publications and world publications daily. I find your coverage more like stalking than covering the news. You are obsessed with America.... ho, hum, about your own problems...unless someone tells you a government nanny benefit might be cut !!! Many of our friends who lived among you have the same feeling. It has nothing to do with Iraq or political leaders, but everything to do with you, the people. My humble prediction for your future is civil war and Germany must depend on the Nanny state generation of today to fight it. I wish you well. I will never return to Europe. Is it hate? No, sadness at Germany's opportunity lost. You call us many names. We just call you Klein-Frankreich. If trouble comes your way, please call on France, or maybe Russia. We would be most grateful to you, our German "friends", if you wouldn't call us next time your winter or summer holidays are under threat. I wish you all the best. -- Carol Lamb, United States

Negative images: Germans use politics as religion, i.e. self-righteousness in political beliefs, always marching down streets with little candles, not willing to take any risks for professed democratic beliefs (convinced Islam only has a problem with the Yanks and Jews and not with Western civilization), anti-American (Schröder's victory was not because the Germans were against the Iraq war, but are against the very idea of America and Americans---and now you have chosen to be France's Dachshund!); cultural snobs; youths follow --- afraid not to be politically correct; all citizens spoiled with free education, health care, and six-week vacations --- while letting others protect them. Positive Images: very warm, kind people on a one-to-one basis; wonderful, heartfelt films; government is more transparent than ours; delicious food; Mozart & Bach, magnificent history (less those 12 years). For the record, I am a registered Democrat who occasionally votes Green. If I don't like the German left, imagine what my neighbours think of you. -- Moira Barela

My image of Germany is of a dynamic country, a new Germany which is united and open. Its past can be rediscovered, and the many gifts it made to the world in philosophy, the arts, music, literature can be appreciated. I am most impressed with the new look of many German cities, Berlin, Dresden, Liepzig, Frankfurt. Germans today appear to me as more relaxed, fun loving and friendly. My favourite Germans are Frederick the Great, Heinrich Heine and J.S. Bach. -- Laurent Beaulieu, Ottawa, Canada

I think Germany is just dandy. They shouldn't worry or be too concerned with what the UK thinks or has to say about them. They have great difficulty governing their own house let alone getting along with their closest neighbours (Ireland & France). They are free to like or dislike whomever they choose. What, might I ask, can the Brits do for, or give to Germany? Without the United States it would be a third world country. -- Nikolaus D. Lentner

Germans are steadily losing their favourable image as fun, hard working and industrious people. The average American does not understand the continued attacks on America by German politicians. The unions are killing your economy, yet for some reason Germany is blind to this threat. Unless the situation is remedied in the short term, the industrial world will pass Germany by. It might help if German politicians work on solving their problems and leave us alone in the United States. You don't see anyone in the U.S. criticizing Germany. -- Marc Johnson Sr.

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