“We are faced with a choice between slavery and freedom. We choose freedom!” said Chancellor Konrad Adenauer in the German Bundestag back in 1952. His words are to be understood in the context of the world situation between East and West at this time. It was about Germany’s status back then. Which side of the Iron Curtain does Germany want to be on? On February 27, 2023 and 71 years after Adenauer’s words, the Konrad Adenauer Foundation chose this sentence for a packed program of events in the heart of Berlin. The foundation is affiliated with the CDU (Christian Democratic Union), the largest German opposition party. Focus of the event will be the war in Ukraine. The choice of the name shows the dissatisfaction of Germany’s largest opposition party. Even in the 21st century, Germany has to make a decision: freedom or oppression.
Fragile freedom in Europe
On February 24, 2022, the Russian state completely called the European peace order into question. The large-scale invasion of Ukrainian territory has shown, that peace and security in Europe are not consistent. “Russia’s aggression is not only an attack on Ukraine, but also an attack on our European and international order.” said the chairman of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation Norbert Lammert. From this fact, the responsibility of the European states and the European Union can be derived, which should ideally not only be driven by economic interests, but also by values. Security and freedom should be two principles that are non- negotiable. Neither in the European Union nor in the European association of states. An attack on one of these states is also an attack on all states. The democracy and freedom of Europe is under attack and the European states should react accordingly.
The importance of this becomes apparent when we see the influence that anti- European and authoritarian forces are gaining in Europe. Whether in France, Germany or Italy: right-wing populist ideologies are on the rise. This is a problem and the war in Ukraine has an impact on it. A Russian victory could give these movements a whole new boost. The freedom of European states is fragile and hard-fought standards of our democracy must be protected.
Solidarity with Ukraine
That is why solidarity with Ukraine is so important. Not just because you are morally on the right side. Solidarity is important because it shows that democracies are resilient. They protect and stand up for each other. They are a promise to the individual. The promise of freedom and security.
For this reason, the European states should increase their support for Ukraine. Germany in particular plays a key role in this. Many of the weapon systems that could be delivered require a permit from Germany. The German government regularly hesitates. This hesitation costs lives. But solidarity is more than supplying arms.
Solidarity also means showing empathy to the victims. This can be done in many ways.
Cafe Kyiv – We choose freedom
However, empathy cannot arise if one does not even know the victims of the Russian war of aggression. The Konrad Adenauer Foundation therefore also relies on education. Because of this, on February 27, 2023, the foundation invites you to get together to the Cafe Kyiv in Berlin (original name: Cafe Moscow). Workshops, discussions, talks, salons and culture will take place on this date under the premise “We choose freedom”.
It’s about freedom, Europe, security and reconstruction. Through art, history, films, cuisine and the creative scene, Ukraine should be rediscovered and the diversity of Ukrainian voices should be heard. At more than 40 events, the participants have the opportunity to get to know Ukraine and the war better. The Freedom Today editorial supports the event and will be there with a team.
Registration for the event takes place via the website of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation. Places are limited and registration is mandatory.
By Christian Gruber
Christian Gruber is the head of editorial eastern Europe.