Wednesday, 23 September 2015
Are You A Nazi?
Ironically, in my last post I said I was looking forward to moving to a "delightful" town like Munich or Düsseldorf, or Hamburg. It turns out that in the space of only a few weeks, those towns have become a lot less delightful: Huge tent cities have appeared all over the place, container homes are being put up and municipal buildings are now the home of refugees from all over the world.
Only in August, the government was talking of 450,000 refugees Germany would be taking in. The figure quickly edged up to 800,000, then to a million, and now we hear that an additional 500,000 people want to complete the hazardous journey via Turkey before the winter sets in.
I will leave aside the question whether the best way of alleviating what is undoubtedly a global human catastrophe is bringing all those people here. I will also not discuss questions of demographical compatibility. Or the fact that the media continuously show pictures of refugee families and small children - whilst official Austrian Home Office figures established that 78.p.c. of refugees are young males.
I want to concentrate on the aspect I find truly amazing and not a little upsetting: The way this surely major societal occurrence is being discussed in Germany. Namely not at all. In canteens, round the coffee-machines, on commuter trains - the refugee crisis is always the elephant in the room.
That's because only one opinion is permissible: It's great. Germany is an example to the world. There aren't any problems (well maybe some tiny minor technical ones which with the right organisational approach will soon be ironed out). Everything is gut. Shut up. Any questions, doubts, fears, problems? You cannot be serious! Are you a Nazi? You must be very right-wing!!
So everybody shuts up. If you're an ordinary middle-class person with a family, a job, holidays, friends, the daily grind, the weekend to look forward to, I'd say it's most unlikely you will have a Second Life as a rabid Hitler-admiring "Deutschland über alles" singing Nazi. Yet the public mood is so fanaticized - one doubtful look, one wrong question, and you'll be labelled a dangerous right-winger and a "rabble-rouser". No ifs, no buts. It's a fact. Go away, Nazi.
The leader of the Liberal party (FDP) today said : "It's the refugees who will have to adapt, not the indigenous population". Wait for the backlash, wait for the slander. Nobody, however liberal their credentials, how fair their point, intellectual their background is immune - it is open season in Germany. Any doubts about the wisdom of taking in 1 million refugees year on year? Shut up you Nazi!