- Title: Obama and Merkel implore our own humanity in fight against terrorism
- Date: 25th May 2017
- Summary: BERLIN, GERMANY (MAY 25, 2017) (REUTERS) STAGE WITH GERMAN CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL AND FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA AT PODIUM DISCUSSION (SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT, BARACK OBAMA, SAYING: "In the eyes of God, a child on the other side of the border is no less worthy of love and compassion than my own child. We can't distinguish between them in terms of their worth, and their inherent dignity, and their deserving of shelter and love and education and opportunity. But, we are also the heads of nation states. And we have responsibilities to (our) citizens, and people within our borders." BRANDENBURG GATE AND STAGE (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN CHANCELLOR, ANGELA MERKEL SAYING [ABOUT REFUGEES FROM AFGHANISTAN]: "And to bear this dilemma, and to make the right decision, we can only do one thing: make decisions fast, and send people without a residence permit home faster instead of sending them first into the communities where volunteers invest so much work, that is the better way." BRANDENBURG GATE AND STAGE / AUDIENCE (SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT, BARACK OBAMA, SAYING: "But what we can find is ethical and moral principles that bridge us together. And when we focus on those things then we can make progress even if in our own families and our own faith communities and our own religious practice there are certain things that we are not going to agree with." MERKEL AND OBAMA AT PODIUM DISCUSSION (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN CHANCELLOR, ANGELA MERKEL, SAYING [ABOUT MIGRANTS DYING]: "It is a catastrophe. And therefore we have another military mission in place, the Sofia mission, that tries to save lives. German soldiers have already rescued some 20,000 people over the last years in the Mediterranean Sea. And so have many other nations as well. But that is not enough: we declare war on the traffickers and people-smugglers, they are traders of human lives, mafia-like structures benefitting at the cost of human lives." AUDIENCE (SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT, BARACK OBAMA, SAYING: "One of the biggest challenges as president of the United States - what I think is true for the chancellor of Germany or the leaders of many of these countries - is how do you protect your country and your citizens from the kinds of things that we just saw in Manchester, England, just a few days ago, or the things that we saw in Berlin, or in Paris, or in Nice, and how do you do it in a way that is consistent with your values and your ideals. Because if we degrade ourselves by thinking in the same savage ways, with disregard for human life as those who we fight, then we've lost a piece of ourselves. And that's not always easy." BRANDENBURG GATE, STAGE AND AUDIENCE (SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT, BARACK OBAMA, SAYING: "We have to do things in ways that do not degrade our own humanity. And that means recognising that even when we are justified in taking a kinetic action and taking a shot at a terrorist organisation, that this is still something that we have to carry with us. I would caution though people who are critics to remember though, these are groups that would be willing to explode a bomb in this audience right now. And we shouldn't be too complacent in recognising the need to fight against them - hopefully over time it's a battle of ideas and not just a battle of weapons - so that we convince fewer and fewer younger people to get involved with organisations like ISIS. But as long as they are functioning out there, we are going to have to protect our people." BRANDENBURG GATE, STAGE AND AUDIENCE
- Embargoed: 8th June 2017 13:06
- Keywords: Obama Merkel security protestant church congress Germany
- Location: BERLIN, GERMANY
- City: BERLIN, GERMANY
- Country: Germany
- Topics: Religion/Belief,Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA0016IC4E2V
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Former U.S. President Barack Obama told an audience in Berlin on Thursday (May 25) that humanity does not end at borders. "In the eyes of God, a child on the other side of the border is no less worthy of love and compassion than my own child," he said to applause from the audience.
But at the same time he said heads of states were responsible for their own citizens and had to protect them from threats such as extremism, "from the kinds of things that we just saw in Manchester, England, just a few days ago, or the things that we saw in Berlin, or in Paris, or in Nice."
Speaking at a panel discussion on democracy with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in front of 70,000 people at a spot where the Berlin wall once stood, Obama spent 90 minutes talking about international and U.S. issues without once mentioning his successor Donald Trump.
Obama, who was making his first speech in Europe since leaving the White House, also warned against taking peace and prosperity for granted.
Just four months before Germany's election, Obama's mere appearance with Merkel, broadcast live on four networks, raised concerns that he was helping her re-election campaign.
But Merkel and Obama stayed away from the campaign with their discussion focused on faith and politics in general.
He said he hopes to use the "little influence" he has as a former president to help young people be better prepared for the looming challenges.
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