Today we are facing a global spread of a disease that has the power to cause what German historian Eva Schlochweber called a "mental pandemic". With the widespread spread of misinformation and the erosion of the boundaries between reality and imagination, world leaders should, now more than ever, illuminate lamps of thought, embrace science and adopt questions. Evidence is backed by logic, and certainly some have done so, but only one leader has gone further. 

It is Angela Merkel, whom the Germans trust today to lead their country’s ship in the rough waves of unknowns, without fear that they will implicate them in a mental pandemic or surrender to it, it is the policy that makes its role as commander of the armed forces in the second place and as a leader of the scientific teams in the first place. For weeks now, the German leader has been working to employ her usual rationality, and her unusual emotionalism, in directing the country during what is hitherto a relatively successful battle against the "Coffid-19" epidemic. 

The pandemic has proven to be the most important political challenge that its leadership style has long been described as analytical, cautious, and devoid of emotion, but in the midst of her search for social and economic stability during this crisis, Merkel seems to have a number of privileges that paved the way to success: an imposing coordinated system of experts in The scientific and medical fields are distributed throughout the rest of Germany, the difficult confidence of its people, and the inevitable conviction that there is no substitute for a correct and rational leadership. Armed with thirty years of political experience, and in the face of a difficult challenge that requires careful and logical thinking, Merkel succeeded in surpassing herself, committed to the credibility and modesty of scientists during their work, where these characteristics seem to have proven beneficial at both the political and scientific levels. .

Angela Merkel (Getty Images)

From science labs to politics

Merkel, who was born in West Germany in 1954, grew up in a town in eastern Germany to the north of Berlin, and her father was a Lutheran priest targeted by surveillance by the East German intelligence service, "Stasi". As a top student, Merkel learned early on "not to shine the spotlight on herself" for fear of exposing herself or her family to unnecessary questions, says Stephen Cornelius, the author of her autobiography and editor of the foreign edition of the newspaper "Sueddeutsche Zeitung", and when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, Merkel, who at the time obtained a doctorate in quantitative chemistry, was working in the field of scientific research. 

Shortly thereafter, Merkel quit her job to join a political group that consisted of local figures in her residential neighborhood, and so her political career fired on quiet fire, but she was soon promoted in the ladder of German politics, and thanks to her sharp intelligence and a series of favorable tactical maneuvers, Merkel rose in 2005 To the position of Chancellor, or the Presidency of the Federal Government of Germany, this path was dramatic and completely new, especially for a woman, for a citizen of East Germany, and before that for an experienced scientist without any background in law or civil service. 

But why did Merkel abandon what seemed to be a promising scientific march for an uncertain political career? In a report published by The New Yorker, George Baker describes Merkel's decision as "a central mystery of a mysterious life." But Cornelius, her autobiographer, attributes this pivotal change to her realization that she will be a scholar from impoverished East Germany whose resources are "backward" from their German counterparts. 

Merkel has not publicly disclosed the reason for giving up science, but he may not have left it already, as scientific thinking, with its careful examination of every new piece of information, and the conscious demand for the advice of scientists is still an authentic feature of Merkel's daily decision-making process and political personality. . She is undoubtedly aware that her calculated modest handling of German affairs is the reason - at least in part - that, despite the passage of 15 years since her occupation of her position, she is still receiving support in a country that has always been accompanied by his historical reverence for scientific achievements and bright minds such as Kant, Einstein and others With caution, fear of the rise of charismatic leaders with such radical ideas as Hitler. 

Before the pandemic, Merkel's star was about to fade, and she was known, according to Cornelius, as a chancellor who "avoids things, rather than the one she controls." It is true that it prevented Europe from collapsing during the financial crisis, and that it led the continent in its clash with the immigration crisis that followed, but recently it began to experience political marginalization in light of the internal rise of populism, the extreme right, the extreme left, and the rise of authoritarian leaders around the world.

Against Corona

In this atmosphere, the new Corona virus hit the shores of Germany, where the first cases in the country were revealed on January 28, but the threat did not really change daily life until mid-March, and while movement and group restrictions were gradually imposed in Berlin It soon began to disrupt the normal lifestyle, and although few Germans bothered them by canceling crowded gatherings such as manufacturers ’conferences and festivals, by the time the creative centers in the city, such as theaters, operas, and orchestras, were closed on March 10. There seemed to be a core component A missing in the city. 

A few days later, the famous bright night scene in Berlin turned into darkness, after the pedestrians were dispersed, and the fearful restaurant owners closed the doors of their stores and placed glass barriers. The fabric of cultural and social life in the German capital was being torn apart, and it soon returned to the memory of the city's residents, which had previously been divided, the idea that freedom could be lost again. Merkel, a former East German citizen who considers freedom a supreme value, personally understood what the closure meant for German citizens, and on March 18, after the country closed schools and economics and halted the movement of life, the chancellor made a rare televised speech in which she strengthened her leadership. 

Sitting opposite the camera behind her desk, and next to her on the note of the European Union and Germany, Merkel began with an emotional gesture that "Our idea of ​​normal life, about public life, and social mobilization, and all these matters is subject to an unprecedented test." And Merkel did not miss the opportunity to emphasize the importance of democracy and the importance of making decisions A transparent politician, insisting that any information she shares about the pandemic is based on deep research, later, and in a wonderful statement from the German leader, "a statement that she must have thought through carefully," Cornelius says to the magazine "The Atlantic", Merkel referred to the present moment. As "the darkest moment in Germany A since the Second World War, "since Germany has not since faced a challenge," requires the Germans to act in such an important and solidarity spirit. " 

The most prominent thing in this speech was not the intensive medical advice that the German Chancellor directed, but rather her direct uncharacteristic resort to the idea of ​​social solidarity and presenting herself as an ordinary individual and leader at the same time stressing that "we will pass this test if every citizen considers this an important position that falls on His own responsibility. " 

Its rational assurances and emotional attractiveness were decisive elements in a period of escalating panic, and although the atmosphere is no longer darker these days - Germany seems to have dealt with the spread of the epidemic better than many countries - the country largely continues to follow the detailed directions issued by the chancellor, It is true that the number of people infected with the new Coronavirus has risen - and continues to rise - as happens in the rest of the world, but unlike Italy, where more than 28,000 Italians lost their lives due to Covid-19 disease, or the United States, where the loss of life exceeded Double that number, the greater the number Fiat in Germany is almost 6000 thousand cases, and it is rising slowly compared to the neighboring countries, and in order to better illustrate, the residents of New York State alone have died nearly three times the total deaths in all of Germany. 

Given how long she has been on the German throne, all these successes - at least in part at least - must be attributed to Merkel's leadership and her way of reconciling opposing interests.

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Although comparative data at the country level may lack some credibility, and although the numbers can take a sharp turn in Germany as in any other country, experts cite a number of factors that may be the reason behind the relatively low number of deaths in the country, as they were The average age of people living with HIV is lower than elsewhere, which reduces the risk, the numbers of people examined were higher than in most countries, and cases were often tracked, as well as the health care system was effective enough to double the care units Focused to meet the inevitable demand

Given the length of her position on the German throne, all these successes must be attributed - albeit at least partially - to Merkel's leadership and her way of reconciling the opposing interests and her ability to recognize what she does not know, and her delegated decisions, all of which were characteristics that were particularly appropriate for the political structure In Federal Germany during the post-war period. 

Merkel has relied on experts from scientific research organizations that receive generous funding from the state, including public health care agencies such as the Robert Koch Institute, along with the sprawling network of public universities, and the Berlin Health Institute, a biomedical research institution, has recently Like other institutions, he is turning his efforts into studying the new Coronavirus, and its president, Axel Radlach Price, tells us that German research institutions are working hand in hand today with the aim of "establishing research systems across the country", where the federal government, led by Merkel, plays a collective role through Unifying all medical departments German universities within a unified working group. 

Virus expert and head of virology at Charette Hospital in Berlin "Christian Drusten" (Reuters)

When we headed to him, Price touched on the importance of transparent communication with the highest levels of leadership during the epidemic. Merkel has vigorously and publicly relied on the experience of a number of experts, including the most famous virologist and head of virology at Charité Hospital in Berlin Christian Drusten, from the perspective of the people, says Price, the chancellor and virologist are “really trustworthy,” people know “What they get from Merkel and Drusten is factual, well-examined,” and that both acknowledge “information they don’t know,” and “because they are honest about information, the information they provide is credible.” This honesty, especially in times of misinformation, is playing a big role in urging German citizens to continue to follow the rules and help maintain "calm in Germany" up to this point. 

The virus is still far from being defeated, and no one knows the challenges that lie ahead for Germany, or the rest of the world, in the future, but given Merkel’s current approach, with her strict rigor in arranging information, her sincerity in disclosing what she still does not know, and her dignity, the German chancellor will She commemorates her name in memory not as the greatest scientist in Germany, but as the supreme commander of the scientific forces, and as the political leader who adhered to and celebrated and personalized her logical reasoning based on evidence at a time when her country desperately needed to do so.

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This report is translated from The Atlantic and does not necessarily reflect the location of Maidan.