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(Written by an U.S. citizen expat living in Germany)

The mainstream German magazine Der Spiegel, English language edition (which is the equivalent of Time magazine in Europe) published a photo produced by a light graffiti artist containing the phrase, "United Stasi of America" which was projected at night onto the face of the United States Embassy in Berlin last Sunday. To which European journalists are asking, is this free speech? Is it art? Do we have intellectual freedom in the European Union in keeping with tenets of modern democracy? Should the light artist in question be praised for an act of courage and free speech or should he be criminally prosecuted and if so, who will file the charges? Or was this simply a publicity stunt that should be ignored? But first, the question in the minds of many Americans is, what is the Stasi? The Stasi were the former East German secret police who were part of the communist surveillance state and they were severely hated in much the same way as the echos of the Nazi secret police called the Gestapo. Additionally we must remember Berlin's history as being a divided city, partly under communist rule divided by the iron curtain as a scar left behind in the aftermath of World War II.

Please note: This picture has gone viral around the world.

Spiegel quote: Berlin police are investigating a light artist for projecting the phrase "United Stasi of America" onto the the US Embassy in Berlin. The phrase refers to the former East German secret police and was meant as a protest against American spying. But can the artist really be prosecuted?

Berlin police are investigating a light artist for projecting the phrase "United Stasi of America" onto the the US Embassy in Berlin. The phrase refers to the former East German secret police and was meant as a protest against American spying. But can the artist really be prosecuted?

This comes on the heels of Barack Obama's recent visit to Berlin which was somehow reminiscent of the "Ich bin ein Berliner" where JFK pronounced himself with that phrase as a citizen of Berlin. As such one would have to wonder if JFK were with us today what he may have to say about the words the "United Stasi of America" being embolden on the U.S. Embassy in Berlin by light artist Oliver Bienkowski? Likewise American readers in America should take note that given the revelations of the PRISM controversy alleged by whistleblower Edward Snowden, Barack Obama's visit to the federal capital in Berlin was not without media controversy wherein the German magazine Spiegel published the headline "Obama's Soft Totalitarianism: Europe Must Protect Itself from America".

Click here to read the full Spiegel article:

Some people think that those who don't learn from history are destined to repeat it, others think that we have nothing to learn from history in general and that we as Americans have nothing to learn from German history in particular. That we simply make our own history. Having published a previous diary on this subject at Daily Kos, I note that some people felt that as I have no national security credentials that I'm frankly too stupid to publish on this subject to which I say, I admit I have no national security credentials. I'm just an ordinary American but I note that while there's never enough money in the federal budget to provide for social programs for working Americans, there is always enough money for global surveillance. In contrast, in postwar Germany they're not only the richest country in the European Union, they have a strong social safety net for working families from which we could learn a lot because we in America have 59 millionwho don't have health insurance; 132 millionwho don't have dental insurance; 60 million who don't have any paid sick leave; 40 millionwho are on food stamps.

By contrast everyone in Germany has complete medical and dental from cradle to grave, everyone by law is required to have paid sick leave, paid maternity leave and paid annual leave. University tuition here is so low it’s almost free. To clear we can all be proud Americans, should we ask the question, do we all need to be proud of everything America does or can we do better for working class American families?

Finally there's the question, can we as Americans learn anything from Germany?


( Please feel invited to follow me at Daily Kos and Twitter. )

Daily Kos:

Originally posted to Democrats Ramshield on Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 04:59 AM PDT.

Also republished by Global Expats and ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement.

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