Czech Ambassador to Germany Tomáš Kafka (pictured on March 14, 2022).
Berlin – In a comment published today on the website of the newspaper Die Welt, Czech Ambassador to Germany Tomáš Kafka dwells on the success of the controversial Manifesto for Peace, which was written by the politician of the German post-communist Left, Sahra Wagenknecht and the activist for women's rights, Alice Schwarzer. “What happened to Germany's special discipline – the virtue of learning from the past?” Kafka asks. The manifesto, which has so far been signed by over 718,000 people, calls on German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to immediately stop the supply of weapons to Ukraine and start negotiating a ceasefire. This documentary does not address Russian President Vladimir Putin, who ordered the invasion, directly.
At the outset, Kafka acknowledges that the right to write and sign manifestos is inalienable to civilized society, regardless of whether such documents are inspirational, provocative, or short-sighted. However, according to him, the manifesto for peace should definitely not be taken lightly. “And not even in other European countries,” he said, adding that even though it is addressed to Chancellor Olaf Scholz, he would like to comment on the text personally. “It seems important to my country and to me,” remarked the ambassador.
“I don't want to be unfair, but I have to say that when I read it, I find in it references to war history in general, but practically nothing that can be understood as lessons from modern European history. One can hardly distinguish between the perpetrators and the victims and you will not hear of any call that this time too the beginnings that clearly come from Putin's Russia should have been prevented,” Kafka wrote. “However, what one finds is a lot of fear. This fear does not appear only as a feeling, but indirectly as an argument to resign this time to justice and historical lessons,” said the Czech diplomat.
According to Kafka, having fear is human and fear is also known in other European countries. “I'm afraid too. But that shouldn't be the reason why a person in Germany, the country of our inspiration, should give up the lesson of coming to terms with the past,” he added. Kafka believes that the public debate in Germany will lead to precisely this result, because in that case the manifesto would bring something positive.
The manifesto for peace is causing controversy not only on the German political scene, critics call it a concession to the aggressor. The chancellor also repeatedly spoke about the document. In an interview with Germany's best-selling Bild newspaper, he said the manifesto completely ignores the fact that Putin wants to dictate peace in order to get a large part of Ukraine. “That must not happen,” Scholz said. A week ago, in an interview with the public broadcaster ZDF, he noted that the moment that opens the prospects for peace has yet to come.
Although Wagenknecht and Schwarzer stated in the manifesto that Russia brutally attacked Ukraine, they also expressed doubts about the current form of Western solidarity with Kyiv. They stated that Russia, as the world's largest nuclear power, cannot be defeated in war and that Putin will launch a maximum counter-strike at the latest in the case of the Ukrainian attack on Crimea. “So are we heading inexorably towards world war and nuclear war? It wouldn't be the first major war to start like that. But it might be the last,” wrote Wagenknecht and Schwarzer. Both are therefore convinced that it is necessary to immediately stop the supply of weapons and start negotiations immediately under the leadership of the chancellor. Negotiations, according to them, are not capitulation, but the search for compromises. “And on both sides,” they added.
The manifesto is criticized not only by Scholz's Social Democrats (SPD), but also by the coalition Greens and the liberal Free Democrats (FDP). The head of the opposition conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Friedrich Merz, also came out strongly against Wagenknecht and Schwarzer, according to whom the authors are only promoting Putin and pure violence, while at the same time ignoring Ukraine's right to self-determination and self-defense.