In Germany, saying you’re “glad” Osama bin Laden is dead is a crime??

A German judge filed a criminal complaint against Chancellor Angela Merkel for saying she was “glad” Osama bin Laden was dead. (!)

He cites section 140 of the German Criminal Code, which forbids the “rewarding and approving” of crimes. In this case, Merkel endorsed a “homicide,” which is punishable by up to three years’ imprisonment or a fine. (!)

A month ago, I wrote that the UK, France and Egypt need a First Amendment. Desperately. Oh my must I urgently now add Germany.

Chancellor Merkel says she is “glad” Osama bin Laden is dead — and she faces criminal charges? Could political silliness get more profound? Has Europe gone completely bonkers?

Hang on — no problem insisting that the death of Osama bin Laden shouldn’t be an occasion to rejoice. Go with it. But… um… you say in Germany you’re glad Osama bin Laden is dead, and you’re looking at three years in jail??

This is an American gotcha’ moment. This is exactly how America’s First Amendment tradition confers adulthood on American political dialogue, while Europe languishes in childhood — for lack of a true free speech tradition.

On one thing Europeans enjoy agreeing: Americans are stupid.

But ask any American, should President Obama face criminal charges for welcoming the death of Osama bin Laden? Every American would sound profoundly intelligent. The First Amendment confers that intelligence on all Americans as a birthright.

Are Germans stupid?

No, Germans aren’t stupid — just a little behind Americans in recognizing the profound political value of free speech.

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8 Responses to In Germany, saying you’re “glad” Osama bin Laden is dead is a crime??

  1. OUCH. I couldn’t finish watching the videos – either of them. Do you think that Germany’s section 140 of the criminal code, and its willingness to enforce it, is a response to their history? It doesn’t make the judge’s behavior less silly – but it could explain the need to keep it on the books. Are some histories too painful, too awful, to ever let go completely? It may be that Nazi Germany is so much still in their present that they have to continually prove it isn’t. I’m just wondering whether it goes to a free speech issue. Wondering, you know.

  2. lbwoodgate says:

    Sadly too these people are allowed to vote

  3. bigdtootall says:

    You cant fix stoopid. Fortunately our constitutional privileges are not relative to one’s IQ, topical knowledge, religion (or lack of it), or political party. Perhaps SDS’s take is correct for Germans. Many Germans carry some guilt for the Nazi atrocities perpetrated on the world. I can relate to this some since I was an 8 year old Dallasite when JFK was assassinated. Many people tried to send us on a guilt trip just for being born a Dallasite. This same guilt by association is being put on Americans for at least trying to stand up for mutual respect and common decency. We should not apologize for trying. Unfortunately “love is always having to say you’re sorry.”

    • How bizarre is that – it’s not as though Dallasites stood by and let it happen. People need to find a blameworthy target, I suppose. But, I can imagine only a bit what it might be like to keep being reminded that your city was the place for such a horrible event. It’s as though the taint has eternal life. I wonder, really, if Germany will ever move past it. However, we all seem to have moved past dropping atomic bombs on innocent civilians. Memory, attribution and guilt are odd things.

  4. David Binet says:

    It’s a guilty pleasure of mine to watch “Stupid American” videos. The Jay Leno skits were hilarious.

  5. Remind me not to do my happy dance in Frankfurt.

  6. bigdtootall says:

    My point is that rationalization does nothing to solve the problem. It only helps explain why it is what it is. Its like “If you had my (blank) you would (blank) too.” There is no excuse for bad behavior or false thinking after it has been exposed. Maybe the recent dancing in the streets to celebrate the violent demise of UBL is symptomatic of America’s recent penchant for apologizing for everything. Maybe young people are tired of being portrayed as the bad guys in the international arena by our leaders. The kids mean well but no one has bothered to teach them basic rules of common decency and respect. (Insert Mavs-Lakers game tape here.) Really its not their fault. Maybe bin Laden was raised by the same standards. Just sayin’.

    BTW-Apologies in advance if anything I said is offensive to delicate senses of self esteem. I will order trophies tomorrow for everyone who suits up. We cant have anyone’s feelings hurt, can we?

  7. rautakyy says:

    Interresting post!

    I think it was questionable from chancellor Merkel to present joy over the death of Osama bin Laden. Because the circumstances of Osamas death were shady. I find it rather suspectable, that the US forces acted on a nother sovereign country whitout their acceptance, but I find it even more so, that what they did was an obvious assasination. The way I see it, the reasons for the killing of Osama vere political. Do you think the Navy Seals are so unprofessional they could have not detained a sick, old unarmed man? If the US had siezed Osama, you would have had to give him a tribunal at some point. You would have had to point his legal position. Would he have been a prisoner of war or a civillian prisoner? I never really understood for what does the “illegal enemy fighter” legal position stand for? That you have no legal rights what so ever? Detaining Osama would have invoked once again the incabability of US legal system on charging and having trials for the most men in Guantanamo bay. What if the court could not have shown a clear link between Osama and the 911 attacks? Would you have had to let him go? Obama had a very good reason to get Osama killed, and to me, it seems it is simply because so many US constituants are unable to figure out, that these two men have nothing incommon, alltough their names sound a bit the same. Could it not have fitted to the sense of justice of the US nation to bring Osama to stand trial for his actions?

    What is the legal position of suspected terrorists? What is the difference between that and proclaimed terrorists? How does a man fighting for his country become “an illegal enemy fighter”? Is it due the fact that his country could not provide for an uniform? My native country Finland was defended by such men in the winter war against foreign invader whith supreme military might. Your country was attacked by a similar super power, and most men fighting for your indipence did not have uniforms. Would they not have been entiteled a trial by your enemies if detained? Maybe Great Britain would have just needed to assasinate George Washington, and no doubt some politician in Germany of that day would have applauded at his death.

    The freedom of speech is of course important and I support it and use it at the very moment, but I think this is a question where the support for criminal activity is condemnable. Especially from people in power. It still remains questionable, wether the attack on Osama conpound and his assasination and the assasination of his son was against the international law, but since the US has not signed the treaties on that, your soldiers, high military command, or political leaders may not be prosecuted in the international war crimes tribunal. Handy, eh?

    There are ignorant people everywhere, while in other countries the ignorants are easier to find, because of the weaker educational system. Some ignorant people have more power over other nations as constituants and taxpayers for extremely expensive armies. About the german ignorants this was true in a disasterous way some 60-70 years ago. Maybe it has led them to be overcautious. About the US ignorants this is true today.

    Oh, by the way, I can not vote in your pole on political standing ground. My position of socialist is not on the list.

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