illustration: Guen Douglas.
After 16 years in office, our chancellorette Angela Merkle has stepped down just a few days ago. Her departure from her position as head of state of Germany was preceded with several photos of her in very private settings that prompted many memes, such as the iconic one of her with some tropical birds at Vogelpark Marlow, or the recent photo spread in Bunte magazine of her in casual clothing with her husband. In all those photos she looks really happy and relieved, probably looking forward to the time where she doesn’t have to deal with the Trumps, Putins, and Erdogans of the world. For some reason, her release into the private life seems to be the vibe of our time. It doesn’t take a lot to imagine under what pressure this woman must have been.
Despite being part of a very conservative and capitalistic political party that has basically blocked any kind of progressive or social movements in the last decades she was an icon of the liberal world and respected worldwide. It’s a mystery to many, why she was even in this dreadful party and her internal quarrels with her more conservative male colleagues were no secret. But she managed through all of that and because of her more social policies in recent years she even had voters on her side that might have voted green or red this year. In a way, the fact that she didn’t run again this year, was a relief to many that might have been torn between her and more liberal/social/environmentally friendly parties.
Like many people, I had mixed feelings about her. I liked her and respected her as she always acted without ego and you could tell she would always have the best interest in her mind. It was impressive to me how she dealt with all these crazy leaders in the world and had her way of shutting them down. I also liked her super dry sense of humor that was rarely seen (even more so the various parodies from the BBC that exist of her that were pretty much their very own version of her). But also I would have never voted for her or her party because they stand for a lot of bad things in this world and their policies was in specific not in favor of LGBTQ and immigrants.
Tattoo artist and illustrator Guen Douglas shares my sentiments about her and felt inspired by her departure to create a little tribute design that we really love.It shows the various sides of Angela Merkle: The crazy bird photo, her famous frowny face, and a smiley version that probably will be the one we will remember her by. It’s available to order as a T-Shirt and Sweater in a baby blue and I’m sure it’s going to be the Christmas gift of the season (the only as a pre-order because deliveries will happen sometime in January).
“Love or hate her politics, in her time in office, she rose above political divides to become an icon the world over,” explains Guen. “I wanted a shirt for myself to commemorate her time in office, especially after these last two years living in a pandemic her straightforward delivery and motherly tone soothed my anxieties more than once and I thought some of you might feel the same. Though I do not agree with her on everything, I have respect for her integrity, compassion, and ability to admit fault; an incredibly rare quality in politics these days. So here it is! My ode to Mutti Merkel, Germany’s reluctant feminist icon, in blue with a nod to vintage East German design.”
We couldn’t agree more. And we love this tribute to our departing chancellorette!
Here are some quotes from Angela Merkel’s farewell speech:
“Our democracy thrives on both our ability to engage in critical debate and to self-correct. It thrives on the constant balancing of interests and on mutual respect. It thrives on solidarity and trust – including trust in facts – and it thrives on the fact that protest must arise wherever scientific findings are denied and conspiracy theories and hate speech are spread. Moreover, our democracy thrives on the fact that our tolerance as democrats must end wherever hatred and violence are seen as a legitimate means of asserting vested interests.”
“The many internal challenges we are up against are also reflected in foreign policy – not only since the beginning of the pandemic. The financial and economic crisis of 2008 and the many people who sought refuge in 2015 underscored how much we all depend on cooperation beyond our national borders, and how crucial institutions and multilateral instruments are if we want to successfully meet the great challenges of our era: climate change, the digital transformation and refugees and migration. I want to encourage everyone to keep in mind that we must also see the world through other people’s eyes; also recognize the sometimes uncomfortable and contrasting views of others and work towards balancing interests.”