by Ferdinand von Schirach
Lars Koch, a young fighter jet pilot in the German armed forces, stands accused of having shot down a plane hijacked by terrorists, with 164 passengers on board, on his own authority. In doing so, he was trying to prevent an even greater catastrophe from taking place, as the plane was on course for a sports stadium packed with people. In a modern courtroom drama the lawyer and writer Ferdinand von Schirach simulates an emergency situation that forces people to make almost unbearable choices. Which principle of law should take precedence: one that asks about the number of people whose lives are saved, or one that focuses on the preservation of every single life? How can a society based on democratic principles face the threat of terrorist attacks, which have long since reached Europe as well? How is the need for freedom weighed against the need for security?
By constructing an exemplary case, Ferdinand von Schirach comprises these questions into one: Just like the pilot must take a decision, Schirach challenges the audience to take a vote on the case, too, on the question whether he is “guilty” or “not guilty”.
Photos © Matthias Baus