Berlin (AFP) Sept 8, 2009
Germany on Tuesday inaugurated a new memorial to some 3,100 German soldiers killed in service since 1955, a move that breaks with its usual reticence over displays of military pride and comes amid heated debate about the country's role in Afghanistan.
"We are aware that in the past the death of soldiers has often been used for propaganda, especially in Germany," said President Horst Koehler, alluding to the Nazi past, during a ceremony in Berlin.
The monument located in the center of the German defence ministry, near the place where the head of a failed plot against Hitler was executed in 1944, is not there to glorify any war, Koehler said.
"It is a place for mourning," he said.
The inscription on the monument reads: "In memory of the dead of the Bundeswehr (armed forces). For peace, justice and freedom."
It is the first memorial dedicated to German soldiers and civilian workers killed during combat, attacks or military accidents and exercises, since the founding of the Bundeswehr in 1955.
The Bundeswehr is currently at the centre of a fierce national debate over its role in the NATO-led operation against Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan after a German commander ordered an air strike in which civilians were killed.
Chancellor Angela Merkel addressed the issue in a statement to parliament Tuesday, saying she regretted any innocent lives lost in the strike but defended Germany's military involvement in Afghanistan, which she described as a breeding ground for terrorism.
The far-left Die Linke party, which has called for Germany to leave NATO and Afghanistan, has criticised the new memorial to war dead.
The memorial "shows that a new warlike mentality is taking root in Germany," Die Linke lawmaker Inge Hoeger said.
Share This Article With Planet Earth
Myanmar arrests 51 after China border unrest: media
Yangon (AFP) Sept 3, 2009
Myanmar has arrested 51 people for theft in an area rocked by clashes between government forces and ethnic rebels, sentencing almost half of them to two years' hard labour, state media said Thursday. Thousands of refugees poured across the border into China from northeastern Myanmar in recent weeks as the ruling junta launched an offensive in Kokang, a mainly ethnic Chinese region of Myanmar ... read more
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2009 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement|