As Angela Merkel prepared to leave her position as German Chancellor, she went on a final visit to the bird park. It was there that two parrots flew up and landed on her head. The birds’ beaks scratched her neck before they were shooed away. Merkel tried to laugh off the incident, but some have said it is an indication of how difficult it can be for women in politics.
I think we can see how difficult it is for women in politics. When they get to a certain level there are still problems and I had this problem myself, Merkel said. When you reach a very high level, parrots and other creatures can attack you, and this is obviously something that woman have to deal with.
The parrots have been identified as Macaws, a beautiful species from Central and South America that can live up to 80 years in captivity. These birds are known for their intelligence and ability to mimic human speech, making it all the more interesting why they approached Merkel when she was leaving the zoo.
While some have said that Merkel’s reaction was to laugh off the parrots, it is important to note that she has been previously attacked by other animals. For example, when US President Donald Trump visited Germany in 2017, Merkel posed for a photo opportunity but Trump made an aggressive pose with his hands, causing Merkel to cringe at his touch. This led many to say that Trump was trying to intimidate Merkel by his behavior.
This is a man who grabs women without their consent, thinks of himself as a type of political strongman and has been widely accused of sexual assault,” the Independent reports. “When asked about this photo, Trump said: ‘I’m sure I met with the chancellor brilliantly, and she [Merkel] is fantastic’.
And then there was that time during the US-North Korea summit where Trump met with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un who was accompanied by his foreign minister Ri Yong Ho. As they shook hands, Trump patted Ri on the shoulder like he would a child.
It’s all about dominance with this American president, and so often women are on the receiving end of it, whether you’re a world leader or not, Sophie Walker of the Women’s Equality Party told Metro.co.uk. The idea that Merkel was attacked by these parrots would be funny, were it not for the grim reality that she’s been attacked throughout her political career and will undoubtedly continue to be. This needs to change.
It can change though, and many people are hopeful that another woman will rise up and lead Germany in Merkel’s place. However, Merkel’s time in office has been met with serious criticism, especially toward the end of her tenure.
While supporters of Merkel have focused on her legacy as a guarantor of Germany’s economic strength and social stability, critics have decried what many see as compromises to the country’s culture of tolerance, including allowing over one million mostly Muslim refugees into the country in 2015 and 2016, reports The Guardian.
Many have said that Merkel’s days as Chancellor were numbered but her decision to leave has been met with justifiable concern about what comes next and how someone else will lead Germany after she was such a strong and resilient leader. And while parrots may have once again caused her trouble, she has faced much worse in the past.