STEEZ

Michel Abdollahi: “BE YEKI MISAZEH, BE YEKI NEMISAZEH”

[Persian: One can take it, the other can’t]

1 February 2022

Photography:

Tim Bruening

Words:

Uwe Zhao

100% Zeit Verlag vibes when we tried to replay our own version of a German newspaper classic: “Auf eine Lunte mit MICHEL ABDOLLAHI.” For the record, the Persian-German journalist didn‘t smoke anything when he was visiting us at the office. Even though it was Friday in the afternoon — casual, as you can see — he refused to join in, because he had a meeting later with RTL’s program director. Very responsible, Michel. So the author had to smoke the prepared joint(s) on his own, which didn‘t make it easier to follow the smart entertainer.

For us, he’s the good soul of German TV journalism. Fortunately one can see him across many channels and he even runs his own broadcast service: Viertes.tv — where he promises to submit the uncut voices of their young and diverse editors. They got all the hot topics. From anti-rascism to climate crisis, from sexism to gender debate, from LGBTQIA+ to the legalization of drugs, you will find all socially relevant threads. “Michel the German shephard” has a good nose. And, again and again he’s willing to use his dis­arming charm to explain to the Germans, why they are wrong again.

“One can take it, the other can’t” goes the Persian saying quoted in the headline. Michel has a strong opinion when it comes to cannabis. “The main problem is that people don’t know what’s good for them.” Too much of something is never good. This also applies to anything from industrial sugar to hard drugs. He even warns about too much exercise. When asked about his friends, Michel states he is still down with his best friends from back in the days. Since 1986, to be exactly. Even though he lost a few on the way. The ones that couldn’t take it. Or did way too much. The dose makes the poison, but he found a good dose for himself.

Anecdote: It turned out Michel knew Helmut Schmidt — the infamous German Bundeskanz­ler from the late 70’s and later co-publisher of Zeit Verlag — very well. Abdollahi used to work for the Hamburg City Hall in the early 2000’s. Once, they were hosting a reception for a Chinese delegation including president Hu Jintao. The honorary citizen Schmidt was invited too. Michel was there to take care of Schmidt and to explain that smoking was not allowed in the town hall due to the sprinkler system. It worked out well for at least one and a half hours till the ex-chancellor — he must have forgot about the agreement — pulled out a cigarette and fired it up. Before Michel could do something about it, the foreign guests started in too. That was the end of the meeting, because they had to get all the smokers out of the building before the fire alarm set the sprinklers off.

Originally published in

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