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What has Rammstein revealed about Germany’s soul?

12 4 2

BERLIN - There are few rock bands that can get millions of people to listen to a song about their love-hate relationship with their native country. But Germany may be the only nation where such a tune can ignite a serious debate about national identity and freedom of speech.

Last week, the hard rock outfit Rammstein released the official video to its first new song since 2011. Titled “Deutschland,” the nine-minute clip has been watched 20 million times on YouTube by the time of this writing. I won’t try to describe the contents in detail: Readers should see for themselves. Suffice it to say that it’s a condensed, violence-filled version of German history from the Romans’ defeat by Germanic tribes in the Teutoburg Forest in 9 A.D. to the East German police state, all overseen by Queen Germania (played by a black actress in a calculated affront to German nationalists). She strides through battlefields in shining armor and is seen being devoured by cannibals and giving birth to a dog. The members of Rammstein themselves appear both as concentration camp inmates and as Nazi executioners.

As this jaw-dropping spectacle unrolls, Rammstein frontman Till Lindemann, a published poet, snarls,

“Overpowering, superfluous


Who rises high, will fall low

Deutschland, Deutschland uber allen“

The last line is a cheeky modification of the first line of the discarded first verse of the German national anthem: “Deutschland, Deutschland uber alles,” or “Germany........

© The Japan Times