Conflict & Justice

Obstacles for minorities in German elections

At a recent Democrats Abroad party here, about 50 people�half American ex-pats, half Germans�celebrate Obama's lead in the polls. The piano player, a German, said she decided to play the gig for free because she likes Obama that much. Under Bush, Germany has felt ignored, especially with regard to the war in Iraq. But the piano player says Obama's minority status also makes him appealing. She says it gives her hope that American politics will somehow be transformed. This journalist says this expectation is common among Germans, and he says Germans see black people as people who carry oppression and now that a black man is running for president, it represents hope in the U.S. but most Germans say they're not ready for the same of their leaders. There are more than 2 million Turks in Germany but only a handful hold political office. Among that handful is this woman who came to Berlin from Turkey when she was two years old. She says Turks in Germany have no equivalent of Barack. She says German society has historically excluded foreigners. She points out that Turks have only been in Germany for about 50 years, far less than African-Americans in America. But religion also holds Turks back�most Turks are Muslim and fear of Islam is high at the moment in Germany.

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