Berlin, GERMANY: Bishop Huber of Evangelical Church notes that Germany is Europameister in Weapon Exports and We all have too much Blood on our Hands
By Kevin Stoda, Germany
Every year, Germany's mainstream Evangelical churches get together for a weeklong gathering called KIRCHENTAG. This past May it was held in Bremen. At this event in Bremen, Bishop Wolfgang Huber of the Evangelical Church received "red hands" This receiving of red hands is part of a worldwide campaign against children being used as (and abused by) soldiers-which is sadly the case year-after-year for at least some 250,000 children around the globe.
As a matter of fact, this past February 12, a world-wide red hand day was held.
On that day in Germany, the President of Germany, Horst Koehler, had received 100,000 such red hands-to mark the fact that the peoples of Germany feel that they have blood on their hands due to its free ranging weapons export practices. In addition, Bishop Huber noted that German's have not only blood on their hands for indirectly supporting endless wars-some wars where children are both the victims and soldiers--(i.e. with weapons of bad foreign policy alliances or pure international indifference). This is because, as Bishop Hubert noted, that German's have blood on their hands as the result of their country's blind economic and political policies, which he claimed have made the country of Germany, the European Champions in Exports of Armaments.
On the one hand, I thought to myself. This is nothing new.
As I was growing up in Cold-War 1970s, Americans were told again-and-again by their armaments dealers and national politicians: "If we don't sell them [some country where a dictator abuses his people] these weapons, the Germans, French, or British will do it."
Nowadays, the West is more likely to say the same thing about the Russians and the Chinese. E.g. "If we don't sell the weapons to Zimbabwe, the Chinese will."
On the other hand, since I do come from the USA, I always have to remember that while I point my finger at one country for buddy-ing up to dictators or terrorists, I always have all the other fingers pointing back to me and my homeland. The USA exports 38% of all weapons sales on this planet.
What a loser of country for a peacemaker to be born into eh? "Last year [again], the United States sold more arms than any other country, continuing a post-Cold War pattern, according to an authoritative Congressional Research Service (CRS) report published Sept. 22."
On the other hand, I think that Germany is not actually the number one arms export in Europe as Bishop Hubert with his "red hands" claims. According to the data I have (as late as 2007), both the United Kingdom and France outsell Germany by 100% per annum.
I wonder how many "red hand" are in the UK being passed around. ??
In any case, due to Germany's peculiar history, i.e. 1933 to 1945, it is certainly true that the Germans should shame themselves at being number 2 or 3 in Europe-but how much more should Americans be ready to paint their hands red..??
Just as disturbing is news that in 2009 China is seeking to catch up with Russian and American arms exporters over the coming decade.
Moreover, pacifist constitutional Japan is considering easing its exports on armaments.
Returning to Bishop Huber's article, printed in his article for this month's CRISMOM magazine (the national Evangelical Church magazine) , it is certainly good that U.S. President Barack Obama is interested in reducing more nuclear weapons and that he is finally joining others in calling for a nuclear weapon free planet earth. However, both Bishop Huber and I are awaiting Obama to walk the walk more than talk the talk on that issue.
What about you folks? Are we going to see a reduction in weapons in our lifetime?
I guess we are going to have a lot of red bloody hands for generations to come -- or is someone going to get serious and stop the spending on the things that go BOOM and keep on killing?