the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, yesterday became the first world leader to decide not to attend the Olympics in Beijing. […]
Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Germany's foreign minister, confirmed that Merkel was staying away. He added that neither he nor Wolfgang Schäuble, the interior minister responsible for sport, would attend the opening ceremony. […]
Hans-Gert Pöttering, the politician from Merkel's Christian Democratic party who chairs the European parliament, encouraged talk of an Olympic boycott this week and invited the Dalai Lama to address the chamber in Strasbourg, while another senior German Christian Democrat, Ruprecht Polenz, said a boycott should remain on the table.
And because the disclosure that Germany is to stay away from the games' opening ceremonies could encourage Nicolas Sarkozy—who a few days ago said that skipping the opening ceremonies was one of several options that France might adopt in response to China's violence against Tibet—to join in a gesture of defiance. Meanwhile, French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner described the boycott proposal as “interesting.”
Isn't that enough to make one proud to be a Berliner?