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People and Politics Forum 15. 10. 2010

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The conflict over the railroad project "Stuttgart 21" has become a major political controversy; Chancellor Angela Merkel thinks the protests are endangering progress. In Berlin, schoolchildren of Turkish and Arabic descent have been mobbing German pupils. Unexploded bombs: a routine task for a bomb squad. And: pilloried in the Internet.

In the Philippines, Gerhard Seeger has this to say about German attitudes towards technological innovations:

"I don't think Germans, generally, resent progress. If that was the case Germany wouldn't have such a world-wide reputation, and lots of inventions and new ideas would not have been developed in Germany... I can't say too much about the need for a new train staiton in Stuttgart.. but as far as I know that was hammered out by politicians in unison with German industry... The demonstrators in Stuttgart are just making use of their right to take to the streets, and the way the authorities treated them is more reminiscent of a dictatorship than a democracy. And it might just be common sense and not the rejection of progress that triggered the Stuttgart rallies."

René Junghans, Brazil:

"The construction of this railway station is a joke. That's about all you can say about it, except to mention the greed of construction companies that are certainly making big money on the project. But the people? No one asked them. It would have been better to spend these billions on childcare centers and hospitals. But politicians seem to be less interested in children and the sick."

Helge Weyland, Argentina:

"As we have learned from the last 80 years, the Germans bow to whoever kicks up the biggest fuss or exerts the most pressure. That's what's going on in Stuttgart and wherever people have been confronted with new things in recent decades (…)."

Paul Schaller, Argentina:

"Germans have gradually become more critical of these vast projects where the funding is unclear and that threaten to spiral out of control. The cost estimates for the project were deliberately set low to make it easier for politicians to sell."

Philip Andrews, Britain (on the Stuttgart railway station):

"I watched the item about the Stuttgart protests and was disappointed that at no point in this item did anyone say WHY the protesters are protesting, what are their objections? This was never explained, so the item became kind of pointless."

Philip Andrews, Britain (on integration):

"As someone of Greek background, I love Deutschland but have no time for Turks. I'm glad you are abandoning 'multiculturalism'. Everyone who goes to live and work in Deutschland should either speak Deutsch or spend all their time learning it, and learning about Deutschland. And they should swear loyalty to Deutschland before their religion, or if they refuse they should be sent home. I use Deutschland rather than Germany. Deutschland sounds and feels much better."

The editors of "People and Politics" reserve the right to abridge viewers’ letters.