Salomon: the Pragmatic Green Mayor Does it Again in Freiburg (Satis Shroff, Freiburg-Kappel)

Salomon: the Pragmatic Realo (Satis Shroff)



Freiburg is a provincial town in the Black Forest and lies in the vicinity of France and Switzerland. We locals call this three country triangle ‘the Regio,’ which is rich in culture and
tradition, and there’s a lot of cooperation between the three countries. We
have exchange of students school-kids and university students between France
and Germany and the younger generation of Germans find it cool to speak French
and do the Abitur (equivalent to GCSE ‘A’ level) as well as the French
Baccalaureate and possible end their studies in Paris. The German-French School
in Freiburg makes it possible. Since we are EU countries, learning Spanish,
Italian and Latin declinations at school are tres chic.



The last war in Germany is long over, the one in Afghanistan is merely a conflict as we are advised to say, and a modern city has arisen from the ashes of the ruins with the help of the Trummerfrauen,
those dear old ladies who helped to clear the debris left by the Lancaster and
other block-busting bombers of the Allies. Despite the modernity, Freiburg has
retained its water canals, ‘bächle,’ which run through the middle of the town,
ad its cobbled streets. There’s an old saying that itf a visitor should fall
into the ‘Bächle’ then he is destined to be wedded to a maiden from Freiburg.
The Bertold’s Brünnen which is a modern fountain sculpture and bears only a
small resemblance to Bertold V, the Duke of Zähringen. The town of Freiburg im
Breisgau was founded in 1091 and it was in 1120 that it received the right to
have a market. This act was carried out by Konrad von Zähringen.



Although the Freiburger like to call this town the ‘Black Forest metropolis’ it remains one of the warmest provincial university towns in Germany. Ihringen,
a small wine-growing town, is the warmest. The Sport Club Freiburg team which
also plays soccer in the Bundesliga, is fondly dubbed as the ‘Breisgau
Brazilianer,’ known for the fresh, attractive style with as minimum of cost for
the management. But that was a long time back and at the moment it’s fighting
for its existence in the first league. It can’t compete with Strassbourg or
Basle not to speak of Grasshopper Zürich but it’s nevertheless in the German
football news.



Freiburg was, till recently, in election fever. Three candidates dominated this Schwarzwald town landscape. But as far the easy-going, civil servants-type of Freiburger were concerned it was a storm
in a tea-cup. Freiburg, it might be noted, is a Black Forest Green City, and
when the results were announced Dieter Salomon 49, and his pretty blonde wife
Helen Hall-Salomon, were delighted. A Green mayor in a Green City of over
200,000 inhabitants. The best supporters were from the rural suburbs, which are
actually CDU territories. The Christian Democratic Union (CDU) didn’t have an
appropriate candidate and so they opted for Salomon, who with his tailored
suit, blue striped tie, white shirt, rimless glasses and pomade in his hair
looks like a well-styled Christian Democrat candidate. This political realo has
the necessary political acumen to make it big in Brussels as a representative
of the green party but he chose to be the Oberbürgermeister of a provincial
town, so to say, the head mayor because he feels like a captain on the bridge
of his ship.



I know Dieter Salomon personally because we lived in the same hostel during our student days: Thomas Morus Burse at the Kapplerstrassse 57. Wonderful memories of student days. We talked about it in
Kappel together after the farewell ceremony of Herr Gross, the local mayor of
Kappel, was over. Mrs. Hug and Professor Hug, a well-known historian were also
there. I chanced to chat with a CDU official about the elections and he was of
the opinion that ‘Dieter Salomon has to watch out for the voters in the west of
Freiburg.’ That’s where the poorer section of the town live, like
Haslach-Weingarten for instance. Freiburg East, where Kappel lies, is
conservative and has more Christian Democrat voters.


Be that as it may, Dieter Salomon attained 50,5 per sent and has been granted another eight years as a green head-mayor. Ulrich von Kirchbach (SPD) managed to get 29,2 per cent and Günter
Rausch who was supported by the left-oriented initiative followed up with 20,1
per cent. Rausch, who is a professor at the EFH Freiburg, a dual system
university, was very satisfied with the election results. His wife Stefanie
Rausch was euphoric and found it ‘sensational toll.’ Her husband styled himself
as the Last Mohican, I mean the Last Green, meaning thereby that Dieter Salomon
was more conservative rather than a green, and the CDU party even backed him.
If he ever crossed the floor, the CDU would greet him as one of their own. On
the other hand, Ulrich von Kirchbach, who actually didn’t stand a chance at all
against Salomon, tried his best to get past the green candidate but the latter
remained adamant with better arguments. Salomon had the better ecological
arguments.



Salomon’s serious countenance changed to that of a moderate smiling one when he was re-elected. Only 45,2 per cent of Freiburg’s population turned up at the elections. The rest were busy in their
gardens after the long, harsh winter or went to cheer the local soccer team: SC
Freiburg versus Wolfsburg. We won 1:0. Salomon said at the Rathaus, which is
the town council and not a rat-infested house: Mehrheit ist Mehrheit. Majority
is majority. Dieter the olde Burseaner is right.



Meanwhile, this Schwarzwald town has returned to its leisurely lifestyle as can be seen in its many Gästehäuser, cafes, restaurants, the Bermuda Triangle near the university café and
wine-stuben. At the Freiburger Münsterplatz you can have your German sausages,
in the cute taverns and inns your good bürgerliches meal with spätzle, cordon
bleau or steak and lots of salad and a golden glass of German beer or local
wine, if you prefer, from loess-laden Kaiserstuhl or the Markgräferland.
Ah, ist es nicht ein schönes Leben? Dolche vita in
Freiburg.



* * *


About the author



Satis Shroff ist Dozent, Schriftsteller, Dichter und Kunstler und außerdem Lehrbeauftragter für Creative Writing an der Albert Ludwigs Universität Freiburg.yes""> Er hat sechs Bücher geschrieben: Im Schatten des Himalaya
(Gedichte und Prosa), Through Nepalese Eyes (Reisebericht), Katmandu,
Katmandu
(Gedichte und Prosa mit Nepali autoren) Glacial Whispers
(Gedichtesammlung zwischen 1997-2010).
Er hat zwei Sprachführer im Auftrag von Horlemannverlag und Deutsche
Stiftung für Entwicklungsdienst (DSE) geschrieben, außerdem drei Artikeln über
die Gurkhas, Achtausender und Nepals Symbolen für Nelles Verlags ‚Nepal’ und
über Hinduismus in „Nepal: Myths & Realities (Book Faith India). Sein
Gedicht „Mental Molotovs“ wurde im epd-Entwicklungsdienst (Frankfurt)
veröffentlicht.
12.0pt;mso-ansi-language:EN-GB"">Seine Lyrik sind in Slow Trains, International
Zeitschrift, World Poetry Society (WPS), New Writing North, Muses Review, The
Megaphone, Pen Himalaya, Interpoetry publiziert worden. Er ist ein Mitglied von
Writers of Peace, poets, essayists, novelists (PEN), World
Poetry Society
(WPS) usw.



Satis Shroff lebt in Freiburg (poems, fiction, non-fiction) und schreibt über ökologische, medizin-ethnologische und
kultur-ethnische Themen. Er hat Zoologie und Botanik in Nepal, Sozialarbeit und
Medizin in Freiburg und Creative Writing in Freiburg und UK studiert. Da
Literatur eine der wichtigsten Wege ist, um die Kulturen kennenzulernen, hat er
sein Leben dem Kreatives Schreiben gewidmet. Er arbeitet als Dozent in Basel
(Schweiz) und in Deutschland an der Akademie für medizinische Berufe (Uniklinik
Freiburg). Ihm wurde der DAAD-Preis verliehen.

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