Angela Merkel: The Mother of All
German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the European Summit on October 18-19, 2012 in Brussels. (European Union 2012 - European Parliament)

Angela Merkel: The Mother of All

An-Nahar, Lebanon, September 17

On September 26, Angela Merkel, who has been the chancellor of Germany since 2005, will leave office for the last time after 16 years in which she presided, without interruption, over Germany. And despite deciding not to run for a fifth term, Merkel didn’t lose any of her popularity in Germany or abroad, her image wasn’t tarnished, and her country didn’t collapse. Merkel decided to step down when she realized that her unwavering ability to hold her position could cause political problems for her country due to the need to ensure a “rotation” of power within the German political system. Despite having no children of her own, Merkel has often been described by her countrymen and women as the “mother of the nation.” In stepping down, she proved that she indeed cares about her children more than she cares about herself. The “mother of all” didn’t cause a fuss about her resignation. She didn’t blame others for the difficulties she faced. She didn’t appoint her cronies to key positions of power. Instead, she remained in her humble home, maintained her normal life routine to the best of her ability, and shared household chores together with her husband. She didn’t change her look or purchase lavish clothes; she remained the same person she was before she entered politics. The “strongest woman in the world” was working only for the strength of her country and the interests of her people. Merkel’s distinguished tenure strengthened Germany’s position in the European Union and in the world at various political, defense, financial, economic, social and environmental levels. Indeed, many people around the world have been saddened by her decision to step down, despite having no interest in German politics. Merkel wasn’t known as a person to chant slogans that she did not have the means to pursue and defend. She ensured that her efforts would produce popularity for her, without ever obsessing over public opinion. She was neither a “sister” nor a “daughter.” Rather, she was a woman whose respect for herself and others allowed her to carve out a path in an otherwise masculine world. She was neither the “father’s daughter,” nor the “wife of the rich,” or the “friend of the influential,” but rather the product of scientific, principled, moral and political choices. As she bids farewell to her country and the world, she leaves behind a unique legacy that will inspire many women leaders for generations to come. Comparing Angela Merkel with the politicians in many countries, including Lebanon, is impossible for many reasons. But the people of Lebanon can only look at Germany in jealousy: jealousy of a capable leader who has led her country through personal example and altruism, jealousy of the smooth transition of power, and jealousy of a system that respects the rule of law. Angela Merkel may be leaving office, but her example will never leave anyone who aspires to a balanced, competent, dedicated, humble and righteous politician. Merkel didn’t need to win World War II to align herself with the greats of this world, such as Charles de Gaulle and Winston Churchill. It is enough for her to win a battle with the self over the authoritarian desires, as she so gracefully has done. – Faris Khashan (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

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