I learned to say "Allez les Bleus" well before "Die Mannschaft." Growing up in the United States to a German father, a Middle Eastern mother, and enrolled in a French school for a large part of my life, I tend to enter World Cup with mixed allegiances.
With the US and France eliminated and Germany advancing to semi-finals: I'm gearing up for the match: Germany vs. Brazil. While today I'll hold my German passport high (at the risk of angering my Brazilian friends!), I've felt divided many time before during the Cup. And if that is the case for me, what about the players themselves - many of whom represent mixed cultures and nationalities? Germany's national team includes Polish, Ghanaian, Turkish, (and German!) among others, a representation of today's multi-cultural state.
On a positive note, Germany has emerged from World War II into a diverse and relatively peaceful country. In fact, Germany has remained a steady performer in peace in the last seven years, with low levels of homicide, incarceration, and internal conflict. Germany has also maintained strong relationships with neighboring countries leading to its placement on the Global Peace Index just outside the top 10% of most peaceful countries.
However, peace also manifests through strong societal inclusion. In measurements of positive peace, Germany can look to improve its 'acceptance of the rights of others' to strengthen tolerance between the different ethnic, linguistic, religious, and socio-economic groups within a country. Countries with high levels of inter-group cohesion tend to be more peaceful.
As Brian Blickenstaff in Pacific Standard Magazine recently noted, "there’s an argument to be made today that the German national team isn’t just a symbol of an integrated Germany, but that German soccer is itself one of Germany’s greatest integrative forces."
Let's look to soccer as a unifier and hope that today all German residents feel proud to cheer for Die Mannschaft.Related Articles
As the world looks to Brazil to watch 32 countries fight it out on the soccer field, we take a look how this tournament would turn out if they were in the playoffs for peace.
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