Faith room in a Christian country
The Bundestag, the parliament of Germany, a country that is one of the biggest economies in the world… I had been here years ago but I was only able to see the top part, where only visitors are allowed. This Sunday, for the first time, I had the opportunity to go right into the heart of the building.
This time, I strolled through the building with an extraordinary guide. This guide was Cem Özdemir, a deputy for the Green Party.
This place is not only a parliament building; it is at the same time a museum depicting the political psychology of a country that went through the trauma of the Second World War. This building was burnt by arson in 1933 and this caused Hitler to become a full dictator. The parliament was reborn as the fruit of this historic trauma.
In 1999, it was redesigned by world-famous architect Sir Norman Foster. I started visiting the building beginning from the faith room, from the cosmic room that reflects the spirit of the day of a Christian country.
The faith room is situated on the same floor of the parliament where group offices of the parties are. Nothing is written at its door such as “church or chapel.” As anywhere else in the building, Sir Norman Foster designed this room as a piece of art. Of course his mentality has been reflected everywhere.
This is a worshipping room but the venue does not have a religion. If you look at its seating order, you can say it is somewhere between a church and a synagogue. But the stone block cube in the center can be interpreted as the Kaaba by anybody who wishes to.
There is a wooden cross on top of this block; however, there are no fixed crosses on the walls. If a Muslim or a Jew comes to worship, they can remove that cross if they wish to.
On the paintings on the walls, there are symbols of the three major monotheistic religions. On the wall right across, there is a painting of a vague cross design with hundreds of nails by Günter Uecker. It reminds one of the nails that were pierced through Jesus’ body.
Right at the left side upon entering the room, there are two prayer rugs folded and put on top of the other. Also in a glass showcase, there are two Qurans, one in English and the other in Arabic, and a carpet with a mosque imprinted on it.
The European Union is called the “Christian Club” but at least there are plenty of interfaith discussions in the belief room of the parliament of its biggest member.
Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport
While visiting the faith room of the Bundestag, I remembered the worship room at Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport. The signs leading to the faith room of an international airport with 50 percent of its passengers who are international, it only says “Mescit” (a small mosque). In Munich and other German airports, the signs read “Prayer Room.” Just for your information…
During my visit to the Bundestag, one of the places that attracted my attention the most was the “Commemoration Corridor.” This was designed as a piece of artwork by the architect Sir Foster. In the black and dimly lighted corridor, there are hundreds of small boxes on both sides.
It reminds one of those boxes that you see in the cemeteries of some countries where the ashes of the cremated bodies are kept.
The names of past and current deputies of the German parliament are written on the boxes. We were able to find the one that has Özdemir’s name.
Meanwhile, Hitler also has a box there. We searched for it, but we could not find it. The reason is that young people who visit the place pull out the plaque in which his name is written and throw it away. Even if they renew the plaque, the same thing happens again. Since they could not prevent this, they decided not to place a plaque.
Among the boxes, there are boxes with the names of the deputies killed by the Nazis. A black band has been placed on them.
This is a truly moving corridor. These are boxes where most visitors stop to pay a moment of respect before.
A cruel dictator and his men who dragged the country into a wreck are all there. Those people who fought against the depraved dictator for freedom and democracy and have been killed are also there.
In this place you can understand that cruel dictators who run countries are sent to the waste basket of history by the next generations. Only God knows how they are treated in the other world.