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BERLIN (Reuters) - Fourteen years and a trillion euros after reunification one in five Germans would like to see the barrier that split the country during the Cold War put back, a survey found Wednesday.
A poll by the Forsa institute found a quarter of western Germans wishing the 15 million east Germans were cut off again by the Berlin Wall, living in a different state, while 12 percent of eastern Germans wanted out of the united Germany.
Many westerners said they were disgruntled because they have had to foot the bill for reunification -- 24 percent said they had suffered financially as a result.
In the formerly communist east, which has twice the unemployment as in the west and where wages are still below western levels, one-third said they were no better off financially because of unification and the end of communism.
The lingering divisions have erupted in recent months as Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's government attempts to reduce unemployment and welfare benefits, touching a nerve in the east.
Westerners are sometimes disparaged as arrogant know-it-all "Wessies" while easterners are at times referred to as 'Jammer Ossies' (whinging easterners) in the west.
The Forsa survey, based on interviews with 1,002 easterners and 1,005 westerners, highlighted a feeling in the west that easterners are ungrateful for the financial support they have received since 1990 and they should do more to help themselves.
Thirty-seven percent of west Germans said the 80 billion euros ($96.28 billion) the government pumps into the east each year was too much. But almost a third of east Germans thought it too little, Forsa said.
Two top diplomats recently said they were alarmed at the poisoned atmosphere. Former West German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher and former East German Foreign Minister Markus Meckel said they feared the east-west gap was growing.
-------------------- -Wash uffitze drive me to firenze
Yeah, I saw that article. I thought it was interesting, and not too surprising. It almost seems as if balkanization is a natural form of social entropy. Ultimately, people seem to want to secede from larger nation-states, and break off into smaller communities based on various arbitrary groupings like race, geography, etc...
People seem to be far more interested in difference and division than commonality and community. I'm not saying this is good or bad, it just seems to be the way people are...
On a related note, there was just an article in todays Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal about segregation. Milwaukee, as you may know, is one of the most racially segregated cities in the US. They commissioned a big study to find out why, and one of the results is a survey that came out recently saying that many people CHOOSE to be segregated.
For example, something like 20% of the hispanics interviewed said they would rather live among their own people. The numbers for whites and blacks were similar.
So it really seems kind of pointless to try and make everyone live together in a happy family, when it appears this isnt really the natural order of things.
-------------------- After one comes, through contact with it's administrators, no longer to cherish greatly the law as a remedy in abuses, then the bottle becomes a sovereign means of direct action. If you cannot throw it at least you can always drink out of it. - Ernest Hemingway
If it is life that you feel you are missing I can tell you where to find it. In the law courts, in business, in government. There is nothing occurring in the streets. Nothing but a dumbshow composed of the helpless and the impotent. -Cormac MacCarthy
He who learns must suffer. And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God. - Aeschylus
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