The Month in Retrospect: What Else Happened in June

Robert BoyleNew Minister of Justice

In the European elections in May this year, Germany’s Minister of Justice Katharina Barley was elected to the European Parliament. As being a member of the European Parliament is incompatible with holding an executive office in a member state, she had to resign. (A little bit of trivia: Katharina Barley started her career as an associate in my firm’s Hamburg office before moving on to judicial and political appointments.)

Katharina Barley is suceeded by Christine Lambrecht, who has been a member of the German Bundestag since 1998. From 2011 to 2013, Christine Lambrecht was a vice-chairwoman of the Social Democrat’s parliamentary group and from December 2013 to September 2017, its first parliamentary director. From March 2018 to June 2019 she served as Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister of Finance.

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Tribute to Nelson Mandela: Mannenberg

On the occasion of Nelson Mandel’s 100th birtday, I am re-posting this, first published on the blog in 2013, following Mandela’s death:

Abdullah Ibrahim’s song ‘Mannenberg is Where It’s Happening‘, released in 1974, is often called South Africa’s “unofficial national anthem” and “the theme tune of the anti-apartheid movement”.

‘Mannenberg’ was an instant hit. However, “the idea that ‘Mannenberg’ the best-seller would someday metamorphose into ‘Mannenberg’ the struggle anthem would have surprised anyone who heard it in 1974. Its struggle credentials are by no means obvious. It is a song with few words, a lilting melody, and a gentle, hypnotic groove. There is, seemingly, nothing angry about it, nothing that would inspire people to stand up to the teargas, whips, and bullets of the apartheid state. And, yet, it did just that.”*

The video shows Abdullah Ibrahim, inter alia, in Nelson Mandela’s prison cell on Robben Island.

* Mason, John Edwin: Mannenberg: Notes on the Making of an Icon and Anthem, African Studies Quarterly, Volume 9 (2007) 25.

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Düsseldorf: Justice Department vs. Department of Justice

1280px-Justizministerium_in_Duesseldorf-Stadtmitte,_von_NordostenIn other news, the newly elected government of North Rhine Westphalia (Nordrheinwestfalen) in Düsseldorf decided to change the name of the Justice Department (Justizministerium) to Department of Justice (Ministerium der Justiz). Reminds me of Monthy Python‘s The Judean People’s Front, not to be confused with The People’s Front of Judea. When asked in parliament, the government conceded that the name change was neither increasing efficiency nor reducing bureaucracy.

Photo by Jörg Wiegels, showing the department’s building. Built from 1866 to 1870, it originally housed the Düsseldorf District Court (Landgericht).

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