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This Happened

This Happened — September 15: Lehman Brothers Bankruptcy

Lehman Brothers, a global financial services firm, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on this day in 2008. This event was significant in the 2008 financial crisis and had far-reaching implications for the global economy and financial markets.

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What is Chapter 11 bankruptcy?

Chapter 11 bankruptcy is a legal process in the United States that allows financially distressed businesses to reorganize their debts and operations while continuing their operations. It gives companies the opportunity to develop a plan to repay their creditors over time, potentially helping them recover from financial difficulties and avoid liquidation.

Why did Lehman Brothers file for bankruptcy?

Lehman Brothers faced severe financial challenges due to its exposure to subprime mortgage-backed securities and other complex financial instruments. As the housing market collapsed and mortgage defaults increased, the value of these assets declined sharply. Lehman's inability to secure additional funding and its deteriorating financial condition led to its decision to file for bankruptcy.

What were the consequences of Lehman Brothers' bankruptcy?

Lehman Brothers' bankruptcy had profound consequences on the global financial system. It triggered a crisis of confidence in financial institutions, causing severe disruptions in credit markets and leading to a credit freeze. The bankruptcy contributed to a wider global economic downturn, resulting in job losses, housing market troubles, and government interventions to stabilize financial markets.

How did the Lehman Brothers' bankruptcy impact financial markets?

The bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers had a domino effect on financial markets, causing panic and uncertainty. Stock markets around the world plummeted, and credit markets froze as banks became wary of lending to one another. The event exposed vulnerabilities in the interconnectedness of financial institutions and led to a crisis of confidence that required unprecedented government interventions to stabilize.

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FOCUS: Israel-Palestine War

Nazi History, Muslim Immigrants, Social Media: Talking Gaza In Germany Is A Hot Mess

The debate over the war in Israel is raging on social media. In this divisive atmosphere, it is impossible to call out anti-Semitism in Muslim communities or on the right wing without being applauded by all the wrong people. What Germans are failing to acknowledge is how much the country’s own history has to do with this.

pro-Palestinian demonstrators stand in front of a line of policemen as they chant and wave flags.

October 15, 2023: Approximately 1,000 pro-Palestinian demonstrators gathered at Potsdamer Platz in Berlin despite a ban on such assemblies.

Michael Kuenne/ZUMA
Hannah Bethke


BERLIN — These are dark times. The brutal Hamas attacks on Israel have crushed all hope of recovery, peace, freedom – of a victory for light over darkness. The global focus has shifted to the threat of political Islam rather than the horrors of the war in Ukraine, although this and other crises remain very much alive. Whichever way you turn, there is another threat looming: the economic crisis, the migrant crisis, climate change, the possible return of Donald Trump. There is no end in sight.

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However, since October 7, which is euphemistically being referred to in media reports as the day of "escalation" in the Middle East, there has been another form of escalation, this time around the tone of public debate in Germany. As the political boundaries are shifting, so are the limits of what is unsayable.

Admittedly, social media only represents a part of the public sphere, but nonetheless it has a profound influence on the debate. We can see this shift in all forms of online communication, which shape how we speak, what we share and what we see. The current discourse on social media reflects a wider breakdown of inhibitions and taboos, which makes it all the harder to find the one thing we need in order to have a reasoned discussion: objectivity.

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