TIME Magazine has just named German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, its Person of the Year for 2015, calling her the “Chancellor of the Free World.” So who is Angela Merkel? What can we learn from her?
To say that Merkel has had a very busy year is an understatement. After all, she is serving as a Chancellor of a united Germany for the 10th year and she also happens to be the de facto leader of the European Union. And throughout the year, she had to deal with several issues that would sometimes overlap each other: the Greek debt crisis, the plight of refugees fleeing Islam extremists and the acts of terror that had recently attacked Europe. Moreover, Merkel’s stance on these issues did not go unchallenged.
With Greece, Merkel agreed that Germany will bail them out, but she imposed strict terms, which became the subject of arguments for a while. And then came the German chancellor’s decision to let refugees in, insisting that they are not promoters of Islam extremists organizations but rather, victims of it.
To this, Donald Trump had once remarked that Merkel was “insane” and also said that these refugees are actually “one of the great Trojan horses.” And even when a leaked intelligence report about Islam extremism by Die Welt came out and her approval ratings dropped by more than 20 points, Merkel kept going, saying, “Wir schaffen das” or “We can do this.”
Who is Angela Merkel in her past?
Merkel was raised in East Germany by a Lutheran pastor father and a mother who trained to be an English teacher, but was never allowed to teach the said language. She was 35 years old when the Berlin Wall came down. That night, as she usually did on Thursday nights, she went to a sauna with a friend before checking out the historic scene. Then, she stopped by an apartment, talked with people had a beer and made her way to West Berlin. And as she turned 36, Merkel found herself taking office as a minister in the first government of a united Federal Republic of Germany. This started her steady foray into politics, eventually thrusting her into arguably the most powerful position in Europe.
TIME says that Merkel emerged ahead of number 2 Person of the Year contender, ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and number 3 contender, Donald Trump.