After the sledgehammer, diplomacy

Sophisticated argumentation is as familiar to the former Jesuit student as the sledgehammer method is to the former CDU secretary general. As a mediator, Heiner Geibler has repeatedly demonstrated that he also has negotiating skills. Now he is to take part in the dispute over Stuttgart 21.

Baden-Wurttemberg's Prime Minister Stefan Mappus has suggested Geibler as a mediator in the dispute over the "Stuttgart 21" rail project. Geibler is also ready to act as an "objective mediator," Mappus said Wednesday in Stuttgart's state parliament. Geibler comes from Baden-Wurttemberg. "And he knows the country and its people," the CDU politician attested.

Rottenburg-Stuttgart Bishop Gebhard Furst welcomes the proposal. He explained in Rottenburg on Wednesday that Geibler was an experienced personality who was respected far beyond party lines. Furst wished the mediation efforts "all possible success".

Mappus could be sure that his election would meet with approval even from opponents of the station project, including the Greens. For since 2007, Geibler has been a member of the globalization-critical network Attac. He joined the organization shortly before the G8 summit in Heiligendamm, Germany. It advocates social and ecological globalization, argued the longtime pioneer and lateral thinker of the Christian Democrats: "And precisely that, the humane shaping of globalization, is in my view one of the most important tasks of our time – if not even the most important task."

In the current dispute, Attac has declared its solidarity with the non-violent resistance against "Stuttgart 21" and called on all citizens to join the local protests. The network condemned the police action last Thursday with water cannons and irritant gas as "brutal, unlawful and in no way in accordance with the constitutional principle of proportionality".

"Make Ratzinger the village priest" Geibler has already learned what it means to swim against the tide in the CDU. In the CDU/CSU dispute over childcare, the former federal family minister scolded some of his party friends as being out of touch with reality. He called for an "international, social and ecological market economy" for his party's basic program. Social justice is one of Geibler's main concerns; he is committed to Catholic social doctrine and allows himself to be mocked for it, even as a "Sacred Heart Marxist". As the author of books including "The New Social Question" and "What Would Jesus Say Today??" bestsellers reach him.


Even as a Catholic, Geibler likes to lick the sting and mess with the official church. Thus, in 2005, he criticized the then head of the Church, John Paul II. and two of Germany's best-known conservative clerics. "If I were pope, I would make Cardinal Ratzinger and Cardinal Meisner village priests," he said. Meanwhile, Ratzinger is serving as Pope Benedict XVI. Head of the Roman Catholic Church.

Am 3. Born in Oberndorf am Neckar in March 1930, Geibler first studied philosophy, then law, was a magistrate in Stuttgart and then went to the Baden-Wurttemberg Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs. Elected to the Bundestag for the first time in 1965.

Opponent Helmut Kohl
As Minister of Social Affairs and Health in Rhineland-Palatinate – under his later adversary Helmut Kohl – Geibler pushed through, among other things, the first kindergarten law in the Federal Republic of Germany between 1967 and 1977. In the CDU, he rose to secretary general in 1977 and was replaced in 1989 after differences with Chancellor Kohl over the party's future course. In those years, he also caused a stir by saying that the pacifism of the 1930s made Auschwitz possible in the first place. Willy Brandt then called him the "worst agitator since Goebbels".

Heiner Geibler is married and has three children. He enthusiastically goes to the mountains and paraglides. In 1992, he crashed his paraglider and was seriously injured. On his website, however, the now 80-year-old still describes himself as a "well-known paraglider, mountaineer and climber."

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