Host Nation Update, Oct. 24, 2023
About 3,000 people at pro-Palestinian demonstrations in Stuttgart.
From Friday to Sunday, there were three pro-Palestinian demonstrations in Stuttgart. According to police reports, the gatherings were emotionally charged but peaceful.
During this weekend in Stuttgart, there were a total of three pro-Palestinian protest actions. The demonstrations, involving a total of around 3,000 people, proceeded without incidents according to police statements. On Friday, the demonstration was organized by the group “free.palestine.stuttgart” and was aimed at addressing the oppression of Palestinians. A participant told SWR that she wanted to show solidarity with all civilian victims on both sides. At the end of the rally, there was a moment of silence and candles were lit. It was a very emotional but peaceful event.
On Saturday, the organizers’ motto was “Stop the War in Gaza! Solidarity with all oppressed peoples.” SWR reporters on-site described the protests as loud and highly emotional. Many Palestinian flags were visible, and the chant “free, free Palestine” was frequently heard.
Many people with an Arab background attended the demonstrations. However, there were also Germans, Italians, Turks, and Eritreans who expressed solidarity with the protesters’ demands. “Jews are not our enemies.”
On Sunday, the policies of the Israeli government and the attacks on Gaza were criticized once again. Additionally, an immediate ceasefire in Gaza was called for, as well as a serious perspective for peace. Speakers emphasized that criticism of Israel does not equate to anti-Semitism. A direct quote was, “Jews are not our enemies.” It was stated that Jews and Palestinians should collaborate and work together for peace. The Hamas was urged to immediately release all hostages. The situation in the Middle East is not a religious conflict, as Christian Palestinians are equally affected by the attacks.
There was criticism directed towards many Western politicians, especially the German government. One speaker mentioned that how German politics deals with the conflict is shameful. The goal is freedom for Gaza and the Palestinian territories – and peace for all. (SWR Joachim Thiel and Werner Trefz 10.22.2023).
Parliamentary Election in Switzerland: Right-wing parties win, Greens lose.
The Swiss have elected their national parliament. As expected, the right-wing populist Swiss People’s Party (SVP) emerged as the winner of the parliamentary elections.
The right-wing populist Swiss People’s Party (SVP) has won the National Council election. According to the latest projections on Sunday evening, they received 29 percent of the votes, which is 3.4 percentage points more than four years ago. This secures the SVP’s status as the strongest party in Switzerland. The composition of the government, the Federal Council, is not expected to change due to the election. The ARD Switzerland correspondent Kathrin Hondl reported on the election from Bern: Major losses for the Greens
However, the Greens suffered the biggest losses. They now only have 9.1 percent, more than 4 percentage points less than in 2019. The liberal FDP and the Christian party “Centre” are expected to land at around 15 percent, the Social Democrats at 17, and the Green Liberals at 7 percent.
Experts believe that the SVP scored points in the campaign, especially with the issue of immigration. The party’s “stabbing” posters, infamous in Switzerland, were used again. With slogans like “Stabbing in asylum center. If you don’t want this, vote SVP,” they successfully campaigned for votes.
Votes in Basel-Land and Basel-Stadt
The strongest party in the canton of Basel-Land in the National Council elections is the Swiss People’s Party Baselland SVP. In the canton of Basel-Stadt, four representatives were elected to the National Council, with the most votes going to Sarah Wyss from the Social Democratic Party. Along with her party colleague Eva Herzog, a Social Democrat from the canton of Basel-Stadt will also join the Council of States. Maya Graf from the Greens will represent the canton of Basel-Land there. Both Basel have one seat each in the Council of States, representing the cantons of Switzerland in the parliament. (SWR Charlotte Schönberger 10.23.2023)
Oktoberfäschd in Maichingen: The Music Band Rocks the Civic Center
The approximately 500 tickets for the “Oktoberfäschd” were sold out in 23 minutes. Even local mayor Wolfgang Stierle had a performance as a singer at the grand party. Maichingen. In just 23 minutes, the approximately 500 tickets for the Oktoberfäschd of the Maichingen Music Band (MKM) were completely sold out. The event has been attracting partygoers from Sindelfingen and the surrounding areas to the Maichingen civic center for years. Saturday evening, just after 8 o’clock: on the big screen in the Maichingen civic center, the trailer film “Mission Oktoberfäschd 2023” flickers, produced by MKM flutist Jacqueline Zink together with her brother Sven Zink. With short cuts, witty dialogues, and a lot of pace, the story unfolds, which is as catchy as it is logical: the MKM members search for the “ingredients” for the best Oktoberfäschd of all time. The solution to the puzzle: in addition to tasty Schönbuch beer, delicious food, and good music, the Maichingen audience is the decisive factor for this probably unique festival’s success.
Three hours earlier, the Rammersweier Music Association had musically opened the Oktoberfäschd and prepared the audience for the four-hour music show by their Maichingen musician comrades. Six strokes are needed by Sindelfingen’s Mayor Bernd Vöhringer to tap the 30-liter wooden barrel from the Schönbuch Braumanufaktur. Local mayor Wolfgang Stierle assists him in this with routine and is visibly proud of his Maichingen. Later in the evening, the lively local mayor will take the stage as a singer and intone the Sting song “Englishman in New York” (reworded by him and MKM spokesperson Frank Bechtle as “I am a proud Maichingen resident”) – the secret anthem of the evening.
Meanwhile, club president Benjamin Schilling leans relaxed at the FoH control stand, from where the elaborate lighting and sound technology is controlled. “Our Oktoberfäschd is the biggest music event that takes place here in the civic center during the year,” says the second vice president of the MKM, Jana Hovoritsch, in whom all the organizational threads came together in the approximately three-month preparation phase.
Three days of setup and countless rehearsals are behind the 34 musicians who stand on stage and present one hit after another. The selection of songs was made by singers Jana Hovoritsch, Julie Roth, and Marcel Deutsch together with conductor Daniel Crespo before the summer vacation. For conductor Crespo, Oktoberfest is a premiere. He only started his conducting at the beginning of the year and can’t quite imagine what the evening will bring.
“The best audience in the world”
While the MKM presents a top-notch music show on stage, there is a hustle and bustle at the beer fountain, the food distribution, and in the kitchen. Since MKM economic manager Marcel Deutsch is on stage as a singer, Felix Keck manages the catering with around 40 volunteers. The music band is supported by the Sendelfenga Sumpfhexa and four tapsters from the Maichingen fire department. “Without this tremendous support, we couldn’t organize the Oktoberfäschd,” says organization chief Jana Hovoritsch.
It is now half past twelve. Sweaty but happy, the moderators Jacqueline Zink and MKM stalwart Frank Bechtle stand at the edge of the stage and bid farewell to “the best audience in the world” – the success factor for the Maichingen Oktoberfäschd. ( SZBZ Peter Maier 10.22.2023)
Oct. 21: VfB Stuttgart 3 – 1 1. FC Union Berlin