Photo courtesy of CDU-Fraktion im Schleswig-Holsteinischen Landtag
I don't understand my German friends. I actually don't understand them. I don't understand the things they think and say and do. Sometimes I wonder: how long will I have to live in this country before I understand these people? How long will it take? When will it start happening? Or, even: will it ever actually happen?
Let's talk about this Christian von Boetticher dude. Now, I'm NOT saying he shouldn't have resigned. He probably should have resigned. Probably. But I can't understand the vitriol all my German friends are hurling at him, especially after the whole DSK affair, when basically, on the day he got released from prison, most German people I know started celebrating like it was 1989 again, only harder.
I mean, maybe DSK was innocent you know. Maybe he was innocent, maybe he was guilty. Who knows? He did tear her shoulder ligament, though. He tore her shoulder ligament. Well, anyways, most of my German friends couldn't stock up on champagne and bunting fast enough. I'm surprised half of them didn't move to Paris and start tying yellow ribbons around every available tree in the city – they were that delighted. I mean, maybe he is innocent, you know? But he did tear her shoulder ligament, and they don't know. They don't fucking know. It didn't stop them celebrating like fuck, though.
And what I don't understand is: in comparison to their pro-DSK stance, there's been this real JUDGEMENT heaped on Boetticher. Is it really just coz he's CDU, and all my mates are lefties? I can't believe it. I can't believe my friends would be so shallow. But, whatever's causing it, the moral outrage my German friends feel towards this guy is really, basically, incomprehensible to me:
"I think it's disgusting, to be honest," a friend told me on Saturday night. "I think what he did is disgusting. It disgusts me."
"Yeah," I said, half-heartedly.
"Don't you think it's disgusting? Your first time should be so special. It should be with a kid your own age, holding hands, nervous, giggling, discovering your own bodies, Blümchen-Sex. That's such an important experience for a person to have."
I just looked at her, and I thought: what fucking planet are you fucking living on? Everyone's first time is unbearably unbearable. Isn't it? You're making it sound almost romantic.
"Look, he probably had to resign," I said. "In fact, he definitely did. You can't have politicians walking around with these 16-year-old girlfriends. It's undignified and a bit weird and slightly awkward. But still. He didn't rape her and he didn't break any laws and they both said it was love. And he didn't rape her. There's a limit to how much we can hate him. Isn't there?"
The German girl looked at me and the expression on her face can only be described as gobsmacked.
"But aren't you appalled by what he's done?" She asked.
"Oh, come on," I said. "Everybody wants to fuck 16-year-olds. We all want to fuck 16-year-olds. That's a basic truth of human existence: we want to fuck 16-year-olds."
"Jacinta. Do you want to fuck 16-year-olds?"
"Well, yeah. I mean, I wouldn't do it. But some of them. They're beautiful. Especially the Turks and the Arabs. Sometimes I ache for them. Sometimes I get on the U-Bahn and I see a Turkish teenager in a tracksuit and I just ache for him. I want to touch his body, like, his waist and his arms. Sometimes those Turkish teenagers, they're just so achingly perfect, you know? I mean, I wouldn't do it. But, still. I can't hate him that much. He didn't rape her."
We had a moment of eye-contact then. I noticed her eyes were not really judgemental, just slightly cold and distant.
"You know what, Jacinta?" She said, shaking her head disapprovingly. "The fact of the matter is that I don't understand you. I don't understand you at all."