Saturday, October 22, 2011

Germans are busy saving Libyans

Dear TWIG Readers,

Sometimes bureaucracies move slowly. Other times they can move quickly. In times of crisis and humanitarian need, governments can make a difference.
The German Government has demonstrated this by flying in injured Libyans to Germany for medical treatment. This week, 39 seriously injured patients arrived in Germany to begin receiving treatment at military hospitals.
As reported from Washington by, the patients are mainly suffering from bullet or splinter wounds and the after-effects of amputations. Their transport to, and treatment in, Germany were organized on the ground by a Bundeswehr paramedical team, underscoring how effectively German military personnel can be deployed on humanitarian missions.
At present, the once again fully functional German Embassy in Libya and the German Embassy in Tunisia - where more than 2,000 seriously injured Libyan refugees languish in agony - are working to grant visas quickly, bypassing many usual bureaucratic hoops and hurdles, to those needing medical help.
The Federal Foreign Office has already financed emergency medical care and equipment for hospitals in Libya to the tune of more than 1.2 million euros. And this year it will spend some 1.6 million euros for the removal of small arms and mines. The German Government is moreover funding projects to promote democracy, media development and scholarship programs.
A strong democracy in the region is in the best interests of the Libyan people, their immediate African neighbors, and nearby Europe. It is also in the best interest of the United States and peaceful global geopolitical stability. Germany is doing its part to contribute to alleviating the pain and suffering of Libyans who fought for freedom in the short term, while investing in the flourishing of a strong, independent, democratic Libya in the long term.
Some people call this "soft power". Others might call it a smart investment in averting any future need to use "hard power".
Karen Carstens
Editor, The Week in Germany

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