What an 80 year old can teach us about change!

What an 80 year old can teach us about change

Since we are living in a time where a lot of people feel that the government overreaches and then revert to a variety of reactions, I thought it might be a good idea to write about the gentleman in the picture and how he handled such .

Who is he?

He is probably lesser known to the non-german readership so let me give you some background on him.

Hans Christian Stroeble became a prominent figure in West Germany by defending the Baader Meinhof gang ( Or Red Army Faction RAF) during the Stammheim trials 1972 -76.

The four defendants Andreas baader, Gudrun Enslin, Ulrike Meinhof and Jan Raspe had committed multiple acts of domestic terror against US bases, West German Media outlets and figures of influnece.

The Stammheim trials, named after the prison that was solely built for the RAF, were not the finest hour of German Legislative.

How so?

The presiding judges were pretty much a who is who from the Third Reich, West Germany’s AG Buback (a former Waffen SS member) stated that “People like that should not receive a fair trial”

During the trial, the lawyers were often not allowed to speak to their clients, their microphones were turned off during disposition, sleep deprivation was used as means to force a confession .. you get the idea.

What did Stroebele do with this experience?

Here is what he did NOT Do: he didn’t set up a youtube channel, peddling half baked conspiracy theories ( which would have been rather difficult in 1978) but he goes to work from within.

He joined the green party and eventually got elected to the federal parliament in 1984.

But he remains a thorn in the side of even his own party by vehemently opposing any use of German forces abroad, often criticizing US policies and insisting on equality for minorities as well as freedom from government surveillance and peace.

He became so inconvenient that his own party stripped him from the list, which is a political death sentence.

Not for him, he does the unthinkable: he wins his district outright. That has never happened before, as the splinter parties simply never have a majority in a district.

He did it without a campaign manager, or a budget , not even a car but biked everywhere and talked to people.

In fact, he missed the good news that he got. elected because he was in the hospital, suffering from a concussion, courtesy for far right elements.

He did win the district three more times and was always inconvenient.

It was Stroebele who managed to get through Kohl’s word of honor defense in 1999 and in 2010 he subpoenaed Angela Merkel in order to find out which bank got ow much money and the list goes on ( Side bar: every cent for Deutsche Bank is two too many)

He never shied away from a fight, but always fought within the rules of a parliamentary democracy.

Stroebele was a man I always respected a great deal for his willingness and hard work to make the system better from within, as opposed to spewing hate from the outside.

Sadly, we lost him last week. He will be missed.