HEIDELBERG, GERMANY -- The streets of this quaint university town are less photogenic these days. Much to the chagrin of the city fathers -- and businesses relying on tourism -- nearly every corner is filled with very un-Teutonic piles of garbage -- the detritus of a weeks-long public workers strike. The accumulated trash may be an eyesore -- and eventually a haven for vermin and rats -- but it hasn't kept the local university students off the streets -- or dampened their enthusiasm for "bringing down the system." All this I learned quite unexpectedly while visiting here to make a documentary on the life and death of General George S. Patton. Old "Blood and Guts" had liberated this city in 1945 and died not far from here after a car crash in December that year.
For two nights in a row, I was awakened by boisterous college-age shouting and laughter from the street in front of the ancient hostelry where our FOX News production team was billeted. Unable to sleep, I arose to go for a walk -- and stepped into a time warp.
Most of the noise was coming from the open portals of an Internet cafe and coffee shop a few paces across the cobblestones from the hotel. A bearded young man, wearing a beret and coiffed like Che Guevara, was speaking passionately in German to a half-dozen others seated at a round table. As I started to pass, he looked up and said, "Hello! You're an American, aren't you?"
"Why do you ask?" I responded.
"We saw you on the bridge with the TV cameras this afternoon. You are an American newsman, yes?"
"Yes, I'm an American, and I work for FOX News. We're here making a documentary about General George Patton."
"Are you here to cover the strike?" one of the bright-eyed youngsters inquired.
"No. I make TV documentaries for FOX News," I repeated.
"Good," the discussion leader interjected, ignoring my answer and clearly seeing his moment for 15 minutes of "on-air" fame. "You should document us," he said boldly. "We're going to Caracas to help 'the Revolution.'"
Immediately, one of the young women seated at the table raised her fist and said in German, "Nein!" and then, for the benefit of the gringo, she continued in English, "We're going to Paris to join our fellow students on the barricades against capitalism."
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.