June 25, 2008
This afternoon, Turkey plays Germany in a semi-final game of the Euro Cup. I really love the added political drama of international sports when one country plays its own former colony, like when Senegal trounced France in the very first game of the 2002 World Cup. Games like that don't happen much in the Euro Cup, but the long and mostly exploitative relationship between Turkey and Germany means this game is going to be a good one to watch, even if Turkey doesn't have the greatest chance of winning.
I happened to go see Fatih Akin's great new movie The Edge of Heaven last night at Film Forum, and it's all about messy interactions between Turks and Germans. His earlier movie, Head-On from 2005, was incredibly good; this one deals with some of the same difficulties of the Turkish population living in Germany, but gets into even better stuff about parents and children, the things people will do to try to take care of each other, and the unlikely connections that can form between people from different worlds. It was fantastic, but way too complicated for a brief summary.
(One note about the cast--the most famous actor in the movie is Hannah Schygulla, who was in a bunch of Fassbinder movies in the '70's, and played the title role in The Marriage of Maria Braun. She's still awesome.)
Germany's Ulrich Schnauss also played a free concert at the World Financial Center last night--I caught most of it. Now I just gotta get some stuffed eggplant and shish kebab and get ready to watch Turkey face Germany starting at 2:45.
In case you're interested, here's some background on the Turkish population in Germany. The short version: Germany invited Turks to come into the country after WWII because they needed cheap labor. Loads of Turks came over, and today make up the largest minority population in Germany, but weren't given citizenship. Most children of immigrants aren't citizens either. So today, there are millions of Turks in Germany, many of whom are 3rd generation residents and may have never been to Turkey, but aren't citizens. It sucks.
Starting in 2000, Germany allowed children of foreigners born in Germany the possibility of citizenship, so maybe things are changing.
UPDATE: Germany won, barely. They pulled out a winning goal in the last minute of the game, plus the whole world missed Turkey's surprise last goal because of satellite broadcasting problems. Bleegh.
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