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The Bielefeld congress

Fischer at the Bielefeld congress
Fischer at the Bielefeld congress. Photo: SWR

At the party congress in Bielefeld in 1999, Fischer tried to convince his party that military intervention in Kosovo was the only way to "stop a second Bosnia."

On the stage, against a bright green backdrop with the Greens' sunflower symbol and the congress theme "Bringing together human rights and peace," sat the party's national leadership. Fischer was wearing a black T-shirt and black sports jacket, his bifocals the only familiar accessory from his foreign minister apparel. Shortly before the congress got under way, a small group of anarchist Autonomen burst through the security lines. Scuffles broke out as they rushed the podium. In the commotion, one protester let fly a paint-filled balloon. The projectile hit Fischer squarely in the head, exploding against his ear and covering the right side of his face and torso with red paint.

Although doctors would later diagnosis a broken eardrum, at the time Fischer refused medical help. He had to give what was probably the most critical speech of his life since May 1976, when he pleaded with the West German left to renounce violence. This time he was telling them why they had to support it.

[pp. 271-272]

Joschka Fischer and the Making of the Berlin Republic. 2007. [Oxford University Press]

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