Photo by indeedous (Wikimedia Commons)
The "Livetickers" for Beate Zschäpe's trial – which just about every German newspaper has been banging out compulsively in its online edition this week – have made some hilarious reading. Die Welt's correspondent, for example, had a ball making fun of a legal intern sitting next to her, who apparently didn't know who the defendant was or what the trial was all about. Meanwhile, the Münchner Merkur got plenty of jollies out of the long debate that took place on Wednesday on whether or not spectators were allowed to laugh or not, after one of the defence lawyers said it was "unacceptable" for people to make fun of him.
In fact much of the farce has been instigated – some would say orchestrated – by Zschäpe's defence team, with their creepy Nazi names (Heer, Stahl, and Sturm) and their obfuscating demands for a different everything – different prosecutors, different judges, different courtroom. Even that's just pussy shit to Nicole Schneiders, the lawyer for co-defendant Ralf Wohlleben and herself considered a Nazi sympathizer, who went and called for the entire trial to be scrapped on the grounds that the press coverage of the case had been prejudiced against her client, so all judges and juries in Germany would be biased against him.
It feels like the NSU's lawyers have not just settled on a delaying strategy to win more time, but that they actually hope to make their case by trivializing the trial itself.
Then again, the court authorities have been playing their own role in the farce: after a botched and slightly racist press accreditation process, we've now heard rumours that 20 press applications landed in a spam folder and about bans on reporters bringing sandwiches, drinks and laptops into the courtroom. All in all, the trial has uncovered the full excruciating parochialism of German bureaucracy.
This is kind of depressing, not to mention disgraceful, because of what Zschäpe is accused of – membership of a terrorist organization and conspiring to kill innocent people. Not that the German media care. For the journalists live-tweeting and tickering from the court it's all just so hilarious. You can't help feeling that the US coverage of, for instance, the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will be a bit more sober.