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Afghan Polls and a Holy Emperor

DW-World readers commented this week on the Afghan elections, Anne Frank's citizenship, free speech issues in Germany, and the beatification of Austrian Emperor Charles I.


Success or fraud? Questioning the Afghan election

To question the result of the Afghan election on the sole basis of the quality of the printer's ink used is to question the integrity of the Afghan people (especially the women) who have waited so long to vote. Every election holds elements of fraud; ask any American voter about Florida in 2000, the people of Burma and their election of Aung San Suu Kyi, or the elections held in most nations of Africa. It is a part of the political process of all nations. This boycott seems to be an effort by a group of sore losers to explain to their constituents why they lost rather than their own lack of popularity among their clan and tribal constituencies. Afghanistan's young democracy must grow internally, not imposed by the West, and it would be more useful for these fifteen boycotters to get behind the people, instead of getting in their way, and help their country become what it could become: a secular, non-Islamist nation, holding to the non-extremist (non-Islamist) religious values of the Koran while accepting some parts of Western political, scientific and educational values. -- Ben Domitz (United States)

If the legitimacy is being questioned it must be addressed at the right forum, i.e., through the courts. It all comes down to whether there will be separation of powers, and whether the incoming executive has power over the judiciary. We will have to wait and see whether a semi-democratic power is in place or if true democracy will prevail. -- Vincent (country withheld)

Given the obvious US effort not to encourage others than Karzai to run as a candidate, given the US itself is burdened in terms of democracy by a two party system that discourages others from running for elective office, given the lack of education of the Afghan electorate just in terms of reading, given the DW reporters' lack of insight into what occurred in other parts of the country, given the lack of reporting of what has occurred in the Taliban controlled regions of the country, given that Karzai is a puppet whose regime could not exist without US military aid… given all this, the presentation of the Afghan election as a legitimate exercise in democracy is false. -- Bruce Sims (United States)

Anne Frank -- German, Dutch or Neither?

The Germans can no more say actions under Hitler are null and void (denying her citizenship and encouraging her form of murder) than our president can endlessly restate reasons for invading Iraq. I am her age and a vet of that War; I named my first daughter Laura Anne for Anne. I cannot think of her as German no matter where she was born since Jews were essentially stateless within and outside Germany. Genocides obliterate roots and origins, then as now. Let Anne Frank be Dutch and more: one of the greatest citizens of the world. Anne Frank was absolutely a citizen of the world; her diary is exquisitely global in embrace. -- David Hatch (United States)

Yes! Even though she was a German-born citizen, she was killed by the people of Germany. She should be honored by being giving full Dutch citizenship. She might have been German until her death but she was betrayed and killed by the hatred of the Germans whether they were Nazi Party or German military...even the people of Germany did nothing to save her, much less care. Germany was ruthless and ruled by evil. People in Germany want to forget the horror of the Holocaust because so many were killed. Now in Germany you think the war in Iraq and Afghanistan was not correct, but it does not even compare to the killings of your people. Far fewer people have been killed by the US and its allies. Anne Franke deserves Dutch citizenship, not German. -- Jan Pickens (United States)

Banning the NPD?

Censorship versus free speech and democracy -- It's a tenuous and often difficult line to draw. By definition, it's imperative to allow free speech in any representative democracy (the only form of democracy practical today). Otherwise the movement toward fascism becomes a glaring reality. However, there are times when the rights of one group for free speech and representation could mean the limitation or denial of not only the free speech of another, but the potential for the denial of another's right to life. So yes, I think the German government should try to ban the NPD again now that neo-Nazis are officially entering the party's upper ranks. -- Brian Altman, (San Diego, California )

Beatification of Charles I.

Of course (the beatification) would discredit the Church! There have been a number of these silly beatifications by the current pope. Moreover, the sheer volume of his beatifications is making the whole process look rather undignified and unserious. -- Arthur Maglin (country withheld)

Sadly the present pope has devalued beatification and canonization through putting forward and accepting candidates who possess no great calibre. Also, the miracles that are being accepted seem to have little or no cogency. The best that one can say about Charles I. is that he is not the founder of Opus Dei. -- James O'Connell (country withheld)

Your article betrays a lack of understanding of what sainthood means. It does not mean worldly success such as being a great leader in the world's eyes. One can be a loser in the world's eyes, yet be a saint. The greatest loser and role model for this type of sanctity is Christ himself. Yes, he may be the saint of losers. There are many losers in the world's opinion who are saints. -- Ann Howard (country withheld)

The very idea of certifying who has reached heaven is ludicrous. But the Catholic Church both panders to and promotes primitive thinking and ignorance on the part of the faithful. And now the Vatican apparently seeks to foster political conservatism by beatifying an emperor who may have been a devout man but was certainly a disastrous political leader. Once more, as it did when issuing a letter to all the bishops in the world that attacked feminists and promoted an outdated view of femininity, the Vatican proves its thinking is seriously regressive, turning its back on the modern world. -- Gabriela Castellanos (country withheld)

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