That becomes a problem for Greta

Police officers carry away climate activist Greta Thunberg in Lützerath. The media-effective images seemed staged – and are now becoming a problem for the movement.

Anyone blockading and demonstrating in Lützerath in North Rhine-Westphalia knows about the power of symbolism: it’s not about defending the few remaining remnants of the already long-cleared spot from the wrecking balls.

The protesters there are actually concerned with the end of coal-fired power. About the end of fossil energy. That’s why we want to light a fire under politicians’ butts, finally wanting to even come close to achieving the climate goals. It’s about saving the world from impending collapse – it’s about the big picture.

The television journalist Nicole Diekmann is known as a serious political reporter. Completely different, namely quick-witted and funny, you can see them on Twitter – where she has over 120,000 fans. There she fillets political and social excitement around the Internet. Your book “The Shitstorm Republic” is available everywhere, you Blog can be found here.

Greta Thunberg stands for this fight for everything like no other. The young Swede, made famous around the world for her commitment to Fridays for Future, is the voice of her generation. A generation that no longer knows a world without smartphones and social networks. Who uses this admirably intuitively in her uncompromising fight for the climate.

Embarrassing video for climate icon Thunberg

Only: This fight does not seem to be that uncompromising. And: At least Greta Thunberg does not seem to be that well versed in dealing with social media. Thunberg traveled to Lützerath specifically. This ennobles the protest there and ensures huge media attention.

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This is how you create the immensely important publicity for the big, good cause. But now everyone involved is dealing with a video that the public does not like. And for understandable reasons.

Because the video shows a waiting Greta Thunberg, who is standing relaxed between two police officers, smiling and chatting. What is she waiting for? On the fact that the press representatives to be seen in the next pan have positioned themselves at the most favorable distance and angle in order to first photograph the patient and friendly group of people, police officers and activist, and then film and photograph how Thunberg is carried away?


Greta Thunberg in Lützerath: The most famous climate activist in the world is waiting to be carried away. (Credit: Hesham Elsherif/Getty Images)

“Staging” is also the keyword under which this sequence is spreading on social media. Depending on your political point of view, the disappointment is huge.

Thunberg’s own supporters are disappointed

Those who show solidarity with Thunberg and her family in the fight against the climate catastrophe feel betrayed. Clear. Revolution looks different. Anyone who rebels against a system does not joke with its representatives – and certainly not with the police.

Those who have nothing to do with the controversial figure Greta Thunberg, who condemn the protest in Lützerath, are angry with the police. For the same reasons as the Thunberg supporters. At least there is agreement on that.

Now you have to know: There have also been situations like this with Castor transports. They benefit both sides – and are one of the reasons why relatively few people are injured in these protests.

That was never a problem with the demos against the Castor transports. The difference: the protests against the Castor transports never had this one luminous figure that Thunberg represents for the climate movement. And, more importantly, no one had the misfortune that someone filmed the patient wait for the press and then posted it online.

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This shows the paradox of this young climate movement: on the one hand, the effect of the images and the power of social networks are very, very well known – but this power cannot be controlled by either side. A paramedic from the ranks of climate protectors did a much greater disservice to the cause of the protesters in Lützerath.

Paramedic for the protesters becomes a problem

In front of the cameras, she claimed that the demonstrators had been injured, some of them life-threateningly, that the police had “systematically hit heads” and that there had been “unrestrained beatings”. She tweeted that she had “every bone in the human body […] seen broken today”.

Impressive descriptions, startling observations, a stunned summary of police work – alone: ​​a completely wrong. The allegedly injured to the point of mortal danger did not exist. The young woman had to row back. An embarrassing process that is damaging to the climate movement. Because, of course, the paramedic’s first statements spread like wildfire – and of course the same thing happens with the urgently needed corrections to these false claims.



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