On Sunday, the day after 20 people were crushed to death and over 500 injured in ain Duisburg, German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited the opera in Bayreuth. It is true that tickets for the annual Wagner festival are notoriously hard to come by, but she would have been better advised to skip Act I and travel to the site of the disaster.
Both have said they will attend a memorial ceremony to be held on Saturday. But that is too late, and the distant messages of condolence they have issued so far aren't enough.
The physical presence of Germany's national leaders was urgently needed at this site of national tragedy, not just to express mourning but, more importantly, to show solidarity with the people of Duisburg who must be feeling utterly abandoned at the moment.
The amateurish organization of the event -- having a single entrance and exit point through a tunnel and grossly underestimating the size of the crowd -- is startling for a first-world country, especially one like Germany which prides itself on its safety standards and capacity for organization.
To read more:http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,708711,00.html