Obama in Berlin: Beschwörung des Gemeinsamen

[ UPDATE 20.01.09: Die Rede Obamas zum Amtsantritt Januar 2009 finden Sie hier. ]

[ UPDATE 29.08.08: Die Rede Obamas auf dem Parteitag der Demokraten in Denver finden Sie hier. ]

Transcript mit Hilfe zur Übersetzung:

“A World that Stands as One”

July 24th, 2008

Berlin, Germany

Thank you to the citizens of Berlin and to the people of Germany. Let me thank Chancellor Merkel and Foreign Minister Steinmeier for welcoming me earlier today. Thank you Mayor Wowereit, the Berlin Senate, the police, and most of all thank you for this welcome.

I come to Berlin as so many of my countrymen[Landsleute] have come before. Tonight, I speak to you not as a candidate for President, but as a citizen – a proud citizen of the United States, and a fellow citizen of the world.

I know that I don’t look like the Americans who’ve previously spoken in this great city. The journey that led me here is improbable [Die Reise, die mich hierher führte, ist unwahrscheinlich]. My mother was born in the heartland of America, but my father grew up herding goats in Kenya [aber mein vater wuchs in Kenya auf, wo er Ziegen hütete.]. His father – my grandfather – was a cook, a domestic servant [Bediensteter] to the British.

At the height of the Cold War, my father decided, like so many others in the forgotten corners of the world, that his yearning [sein Verlangen …] – his dream – required the freedom and opportunity promised by the West [… bedurfte der Freiheit und der Chancen, wie sie der Westen versprach].

And so he wrote letter after letter to universities all across America until somebody, somewhere answered his prayer for a better life [… bis schließlich seine Gebete nach einem besseren Leben erhört wurden].

That is why I’m here.

And you are here because you too know that yearning [Und Ihr seid hier, weil auch Ihr dieses Verlangen habt].

This city, of all cities, knows the dream of freedom [Gerade diese Stadt kennt den Traum von Freiheit].

And you know that the only reason we stand here tonight is because men and women from both of our nations came together to work, and struggle, and sacrifice for that better life [der einzige Grund, warum wir heute hier zusamen sind, liegt darin, dass Frauen und Männer von unseren beiden Ländern gemeinsamfür ein besseres Leben arbeiteten, kämpften und Opfer brachten].

Ours is a partnership that truly began sixty years ago this summer, on the day when the first American plane touched down at Templehof [Uns verbindet eine Partnerschaft, die diesen Sommer vor sechzig Jahren begann, als das erste amerikanische Flugzeug in Tempelhof landete].

On that day, much of this continent still lay in ruin [Damals lag noch ein Großteil des Kontinents in Ruinen]. The rubble of this city had yet to be built into a wall. The Soviet shadow had swept across Eastern Europe [Der Schatten der Sowjets lag bereits über Osteuropa], while in the West, America, Britain, and France took stock of their losses [während die Alliierten ihre Verluste zählten], and pondered [überlegten] how the world might be remade.

This is where the two sides met. And on the twenty-fourth of June, 1948, the Communists chose to blockade the western part of the city. They cut off food and supplies to more than two million Germans in an effort to extinguish the last flame of freedom in Berlin [Die Sowjets schnitten für zwei Millionen Deutsche die gesamte Versorgung ab, um in Berlin die letzte Flamme der Freiheit zum Erlöschen zu bringen] .

The size of our forces was no match for the much larger Soviet Army [Unsere Streitkräfte vor Ort hätten es nicht mit den Sowjets ausnehmen können]. And yet retreat would have allowed Communism to march across Europe [Und dennoch hätte eine Aufgabe dem Kommunismus erlaubt, seinen Zug nach Europa fortzusetzen].

Where the last war had ended, another World War could have easily begun. All that stood in the way was Berlin.

And that’s when the airlift [Luftbrücke] began – when the largest and most unlikely rescue in history [die größte und unglaublichste Rettungsaktion der Geschichte] brought food and hope to the people of this city.

The odds were stacked against success [Die Chancen standen schlecht]. In the winter, a heavy fog filled the sky above, and many planes were forced to turn back without dropping off the needed supplies. The streets where we stand were filled with hungry families who had no comfort from the cold [… keinen Schutz vor der Kälte].

But in the darkest hours, the people of Berlin kept the flame of hope burning. The people of Berlin refused to give up. And on one fall day, hundreds of thousands of Berliners came here, to the Tiergarten, and heard the city’s mayor [Bürgermeister] implore the world not to give up on freedom.

“There is only one possibility,” he said. “For us to stand together united until this battle is won…The people of Berlin have spoken. We have done our duty [Pflicht], and we will keep on doing our duty. People of the world: now do your duty…People of the world, look at Berlin!

People of the world – look at Berlin!

Look at Berlin, where Germans and Americans learned to work together and trust each other less than three years after facing each other on the field of battle [Schaut nach Berlin, wo Deutsche und Amerikaner gelernt haben, zusammen zu arbeiten und sich zu vertrauen, nur drei Jahre nachdem sie sich auf den Schlachtfeldern gegenüberstanden].

Look at Berlin, where the determination of a people […wo die Entschlossenheit eines Volkes …] met the generosity of the Marshall Plan and created a German miracle [… auf die großzügigkeit des Marshallplans traf und das deutsche Wunder bewirken konnte];

where a victory over tyranny gave rise to NATO, the greatest alliance ever formed to defend our common security.

Look at Berlin, where the bullet holes [Einschußlöcher] in the buildings and the somber stones [düsteren Steinquader] and pillars [Säulen] near the Brandenburg Gate insist that we never forget our common humanity.

People of the world – look at Berlin, where a wall came down [wo eine Mauer zum Einsturz begracht wurde], a continent came together, and history proved that there is no challenge too great for a world that stands as one.

Sixty years after the airlift, we are called upon again. History has led us to a new crossroad, with new promise and new peril [die geschichte hat uns nun, sechzig Jahre später, an eine Kreuzung geführt, wo wir neuen Versprechen und neuen Gefahren ausgesetzt sind].

When you, the German people, tore down that wall – a wall that divided East and West; freedom and tyranny; fear and hope – walls came tumbling down around the world. From Kiev to Cape Town [Kapstadt], prison camps were closed, and the doors of democracy were opened.

Markets opened too, and the spread of information and technology reduced barriers to opportunity and prosperity. While the 20th century taught us that we share a common destiny [wir teilen eine gemeinsame Bestimmung], the 21st has revealed a world more intertwined than at any time in human history [das 21. Jahrhundert hat uns enger aneinander gebunden als irgend eine Zeit zuvor].

The fall of the Berlin Wall brought new hope. But that very closeness has given rise to new dangers – dangers that cannot be contained within the borders of a country or by the distance of an ocean.

The terrorists of September 11th plotted in Hamburg [haben sich in Hamburg verschworen] and trained in Kandahar and Karachi before killing thousands from all over the globe on American soil.

As we speak, cars in Boston and factories in Beijing are melting the ice caps in the Arctic [Autos in Boston und Fabriken in Peking tragen zum Abschmelzen der Eiskappen ebi], shrinking coastlines in the Atlantic [führen zum Wegbruch von Küsten], and bringing drought to farms from Kansas to Kenya [und bringen Dürre für Farmen von Kenia bis Kansas].

Poorly secured nuclear material in the former Soviet Union, or secrets from a scientist in Pakistan could help build a bomb that detonates in Paris. The poppies [Mohnblumen] in Afghanistan become the heroin in Berlin. The poverty [Armut] and violence in Somalia breeds the terror of tomorrow [brütet den Terror von morgen aus].

The genocide in Darfur shames the conscience of us all [Der Völkermord in Dharfour beschämt das gewissen von uns allen].

In this new world, such dangerous currents [gefährliche Strömungen] have swept along faster than our efforts to contain them.

That is why we cannot afford to be divided [Wir können es uns nicht erlauben, nur unsere eigenen Wege zu gehen].

No one nation, no matter how large or powerful, can defeat such challenges alone [Keine einzelne Nation, wie groß oder mächtig sie auch sein mag, kann diese Herausforderungen alleine bewältigen].

None of us can deny [abstreiten] these threats, or escape responsibility in meeting them. Yet, in the absence of Soviet tanks and a terrible wall, it has become easy to forget this truth. And if we’re honest with each other, we know that sometimes, on both sides of the Atlantic, we have drifted apart [ja, wir haben uns voneinander entfernt], and forgotten our shared destiny [und unsere gemeinsamen Werte vergessen].

In Europe, the view that America is part of what has gone wrong in our world, rather than a force to help make it right, has become all too common.

In America, there are voices that deride and deny the importance of Europe’s role in our security and our future.

Both views miss the truth – that Europeans today are bearing new burdens […tragen neue Lasten] and taking more responsibility in critical parts of the world; and that just as American bases built in the last century still help to defend the security of this continent, so does our country still sacrifice greatly for freedom around the globe.

Yes, there have been differences between America and Europe. No doubt, there will be differences in the future. But the burdens of global citizenship continue to bind us together. A change of leadership in Washington will not lift this burden. In this new century, Americans and Europeans alike will be required to do more – not less. Partnership and cooperation among nations is not a choice; it is the one way, the only way [Partnerschaft ist keine Wahl, sie ist die einzige Chance …], to protect our common security and advance our common humanity.

That is why the greatest danger of all is to allow new walls to divide us from one another.

The walls between old allies on either side of the Atlantic cannot stand. The walls between the countries with the most and those with the least cannot stand. The walls between races and tribes [Stämme]; natives [Landeseinwohner] and immigrants [Einwanderer]; Christian and Muslim and Jew cannot stand. These now are the walls we must tear down.

We know they have fallen before. After centuries of strife [Konflikt], the people of Europe have formed a Union of promise and prosperity. Here, at the base of a column built to mark victory in war, we meet in the center of a Europe at peace. Not only have walls come down in Berlin, but they have come down in Belfast, where Protestant and Catholic found a way to live together; in the Balkans, where our Atlantic alliance ended wars and brought savage war criminals to justice [brachte brutale Kriegsverbrecher vor Gericht] ; and in South Africa, where the struggle of a courageous people defeated apartheid [in Südafrika, wo der Kampf mutiger Bürger die Apartheid zum Fall brachte].

So history reminds us that walls can be torn down [Mauern können niedergerissen werden]. But the task is never easy. True partnership and true progress requires constant work and sustained sacrifice. They require sharing the burdens of development and diplomacy; of progress and peace. They require allies who will listen to each other, learn from each other and, most of all, trust each other.

That is why America cannot turn inward. That is why Europe cannot turn inward. America has no better partner than Europe. Now is the time to build new bridges across the globe as strong as the one that bound us across the Atlantic. Now is the time to join together, through constant cooperation, strong institutions, shared sacrifice, and a global commitment to progress, to meet the challenges of the 21st century. It was this spirit that led airlift planes to appear in the sky above our heads, and people to assemble [das zustande bringen…] where we stand today. And this is the moment when our nations – and all nations – must summon that spirit anew [daher müssen unsere Nationen diesen Geist neu entfachen].

This is the moment when we must defeat terror and dry up the well [die Quelle austrocknen] of extremism that supports it. This threat is real and we cannot shrink from our responsibility to combat it.

If we could create NATO to face down the Soviet Union, we can join in a new and global partnership to dismantle [beseitigen] the networks that have struck [die Netzwerke, die zugeschlagen haben] in Madrid and Amman; in London and Bali; in Washington and New York. If we could win a battle of ideas against the communists, we can stand with the vast majority of Muslims who reject the extremism that leads to hate instead of hope.

This is the moment when we must renew our resolve [unsere Entschlossenheit] to rout [auszumerzen] the terrorists who threaten our security in Afghanistan, and the traffickers [Dealer] who sell drugs on your streets. No one welcomes war. I recognize the enormous difficulties in Afghanistan. But my country and yours have a stake in seeing that NATO’s first mission beyond Europe’s borders is a success. For the people of Afghanistan, and for our shared security, the work must be done. America cannot do this alone. The Afghan people need our troops and your troops; our support and your support to defeat [niederzuschlagen] the Taliban and al Qaeda, to develop their economy, and to help them rebuild their nation. We have too much at stake to turn back now.

This is the moment when we must renew the goal of a world without nuclear weapons. The two superpowers that faced each other across the wall of this city came too close too often to destroying all we have built and all that we love. With that wall gone, we need not stand idly by [tatenlos zusehen] and watch the further spread of the deadly atom. It is time to secure all loose nuclear materials; to stop the spread of nuclear weapons; and to reduce the arsenals from another era. This is the moment to begin the work of seeking the peace of a world without nuclear weapons.

This is the moment when every nation in Europe must have the chance to choose its own tomorrow free from the shadows of yesterday. In this century, we need a strong European Union that deepens the security and prosperity [Wohlstand] of this continent, while extending a hand abroad [um gleichzeitig die Hand auszustrecken]. In this century – in this city of all cities – we must reject the Cold War mind-set [Einstellung] of the past, and resolve to work with Russia when we can [uns dazu entschliessen mit Rußland zusammen zu arbeiten], to stand up for our values when we must, and to seek a partnership that extends across this entire continent.

This is the moment when we must build on the wealth that open markets have created, and share its benefits more equitably [die Gewinne gerechter verteilen].

Trade has been a cornerstone [Eckpfeiler] of our growth and global development. But we will not be able to sustain [erhalten] this growth if it favors the few [wenn nur einige wenige bevorzugt werden], and not the many.

Together, we must forge trade [einen Handel schmieden] that truly rewards [der Arbeit belohnt] the work that creates wealth, with meaningful protections for our people and our planet. This is the moment for trade that is free and fair for all.

This is the moment we must help answer the call for a new [Aufbruch] dawn in the Middle East. My country must stand with yours and with Europe in sending a direct message to Iran that it must abandon its nuclear ambitions [Iran muss seine nulearen Ambitionen aufgeben].

We must support the Lebanese who have marched and bled for democracy, and the Israelis and Palestinians who seek a secure and lasting peace [anhaltenden Frieden]. And despite past differences, this is the moment when the world should support the millions of Iraqis who seek to rebuild their lives, even as we pass responsibility to the Iraqi government and finally bring this war to a close.

This is the moment when we must come together to save this planet.

Let us resolve [Laßt uns beschließen] that we will not leave our children a world where the oceans rise and famine spreads [wo Hungernöte sich ausbreiten] and terrible storms devastate our lands. Let us resolve that all nations – including my own – will act with the same seriousness of purpose as has your nation, and reduce the carbon [C02] we send into our atmosphere.

This is the moment to give our children back their future.

This is the moment to stand as one.

And this is the moment when we must give hope to those left behind in a globalized world. We must remember that the Cold War born in this city was not a battle for land or treasure [Schätze].

Sixty years ago, the planes that flew over Berlin did not drop bombs; instead they delivered food, and coal, and candy to grateful children [Süßigkeiten für dankbare Kinder]. And in that show of solidarity, those pilots won more than a military victory. They won hearts and minds; love and loyalty and trust – not just from the people in this city, but from all those who heard the story of what they did here.

Now the world will watch and remember what we do here – what we do with this moment. Will we extend our hand [Werden wir unsere Hände ausstrecken…] to the people in the forgotten corners of this world who yearn for lives marked by dignity and opportunity; by security and justice? Will we lift the child in Bangladesh from poverty [Armut], shelter the refugee in Chad [werden wir den Flüchtlinge im Tschad Schutz gewähren], and banish the scourge [Geißel] of AIDS in our time?

Will we stand for the human rights of the dissident in Burma, the blogger in Iran, or the voter [Wähler] in Zimbabwe? Will we give meaning to the words “never again” in Darfur?

Will we acknowledge that there is no more powerful example than the one each of our nations projects to the world? Will we reject torture [Folter] and stand for the rule of law [und für die Herrschaft des Rechts eintreten]? Will we welcome immigrants from different lands, and shun discrimination [Diskriminierung vermeiden] against those who don’t look like us or worship [beten] like we do, and keep the promise of equality [Gleichheit] and opportunity for all of our people?

People of Berlin – people of the world – this is our moment. This is our time.

I know my country has not perfected itself. At times, we’ve struggled to keep the promise of liberty and equality for all of our people. We’ve made our share of mistakes, and there are times when our actions around the world have not lived up to our best intentions.

But I also know how much I love America. I know that for more than two centuries, we have strived [wir haben danach gestrebt] – at great cost and great sacrifice – to form a more perfect union; to seek, with other nations, a more hopeful world. Our allegiance has never been to any particular tribe or kingdom – indeed, every language is spoken in our country; every culture has left its imprint on ours [jede Kultur hat ihre Spuren in unserer Kultur bei uns hinterlassen]; every point of view is expressed in our public squares.

What has always united us – what has always driven our people; what drew my father to America’s shores – is a set of ideals that speak to aspirations shared by all people: that we can live free from fear and free from want; that we can speak our minds and assemble with whomever we choose and worship as we please.

These are the aspirations [Streben] that joined the fates of all nations in this city [das die Schicksale aller Nationen dieser Stadt] . These aspirations are bigger than anything that drives us apart. It is because of these aspirations that the airlift began. It is because of these aspirations that all free people – everywhere – became citizens of Berlin. It is in pursuit of these aspirations that a new generation – our generation – must make our mark on the world.

People of Berlin – and people of the world – the scale of our challenge is great [wir haben es mit zahlreichen Herausforderungen zu tun]. The road ahead will be long. But I come before you to say that we are heirs [Erben] to a struggle for freedom. We are a people of improbable hope.

With an eye toward the future, with resolve in our hearts, let us remember this history, and answer our destiny, and remake the world once again.


Zugegebenermaßen war ich im Verlauf der Rede etwas enttäuscht.

Da war kein Spannungsbogen. Man konnte im voraus davon ausgehen, dass sich Obama direkt an die Berliner wenden und die ganz besondere Geschichte der Luftbrücke ansprechen würde. Dazu zitierte er den legendären früheren Bürgermeister von Berlin, Ernst Reuter:

Völker der Welt – schaut auf diese Stadt!

Von diesem Thema eine Brücke zu schlagen zum künftigen Stand der Beziehungen zwischen den USA und Deutschland drängte sich förmlich auf. Insofern waren ein paar Eckpunkte der Ansprache vorgegeben.

Aber: Schon zu Beginn vermied Obama jegliche Euphorie.

Wohl kamen gleich nachdem er ans Rednerpult getreten war unüberhörbare “Yes we can”-Rufe.

Die Berliner – alleine abzulesen an der schieren Zahl der Zuhörer – waren gewillt, ihm ein Bad in der Menge zu bereiten.

Er hätte die Situation auskosten und mit Leichtigkeit durch passende Gesten forcieren können.

Dennoch bedankte sich der Senator aus Illinois lediglich artig, vielleicht fünf mal, um dann fast schroff abzuwinken. Er wollte mit der Rede beginnen.

Diese Grundhaltung – nicht abweisend, aber nüchtern, konzentriert und wider jegliche Hochstimmung – behielt er während seiner ganzen Rede bei.

Im Gegensatz zu seinen inzwischen berühmten Wahlkampfauftritten einschließlich einer oft frenetischen Menge schien er dieses mal größten Wert auf Sachlichkeit zu legen.

Es hatte fast den Anschein, als wolle er kein einziges der großen und problematischen Themen der Gegenwart auslassen:

Irak- und Afghanistankrieg (“Es geht um zu viel, als dass wir uns zurückziehen können”),
Klimawandel (“Das ist der Moment, wo wir unseren Kindern ihre Zukunft zurückgeben können”),
Terrorismus (“globale Partnerschaft gegen den Terror”),
Dharfour (“eine Schande für uns alle”),
und so fort.

All diese Themen hat er eingebunden in ein Credo “Zusammen können wir es schaffen”:

Partnerschaft ist die einzige Möglichkeit, die Menschlichkeit voranzubringen

Das klang einerseits gut, weil er mehrfach die Notwendigkeit einer internationalen Zusammenarbeit im Allgemeinen und einer amerikanisch-europäischen Koopertaion im Besonderen beschwor. Andererseits geriet es fast zur tour de force, einem Gewaltmarsch durch alle Sorgen und Nöte dieser Welt.

Darin lag vielleicht die Gefahr seines Auftritts. Vieleicht wollte er zuviel unterbringen, zu ambitioniert sein.

Weltpräsident Obama

Ein Kommentator meinte anschließend zutreffend, eigentlich sei dies nicht die Rede eines Kandidaten für die amerikanische Präsidentenschaft, sondern die Rede eines Weltpräsidenten gewesen.

Ich gebe zu: Ich wollte mehr Euphorie, wollte ein bisschen Kennedy-feeling und habe es nicht bekommen. Das mag mein persönliches Problem sein. Ein kleines, zugegebenermaßen.

Die Stimmung im Publikum während der Ansprache darf man durchaus als zufrieden, keinesfalls aber als enthusiastisch bezeichnen.

Obama wollte sich ganz als Staatsmann zeigen, der (fast) schon jenseits des Wahlkampfs angekommen ist.

Die Beschwörung des Gemeinsamen

Er forderte und bot im gleichen Atemzug ein allumfassendes Programm: Alle Probleme müssen in Angriff genommen werden.

Von allen zusammen.

Das nun könnte hängen bleiben, könnte für einen nachträglichen Aha-Effekt sorgen. Er hat das Gemeinsame so oft beschworen, dass sich jenseits aller Begeisterung etwas einstellte, das möglicherweise mehr bringt als ein Hochgefühl der Stunde:

Eine neue Form der Solidarität und Verbundenheit.

Warten wir die nächsten Tage und Wochen ab.

Ich glaube, meine eingangs genannte Enttäuschung ist gar keine. Sie wird einer ruhigeren Zufriedenheit weichen. Tut es jetzt schon.

Obama wußte genau, was er tat.

Er wollte sein Yes we can Motto auf Europa übertragen. Das ist ihm gelungen, in aller Ruhe.

— Schlesinger

(Photo: scriptingnews)
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