Germany: "we're sitting on a powder keg"

February 01, 2008, Spiegel Online
Immigrants Protest Death of Moroccan Teenager in Cologne:

Following the violent death of a Moroccan teenager in Cologne, hundreds of immigrants have taken to the streets in nightly demonstrations to protest what they see as evidence of their second-class status in Germany. Police warn the city could be ready to explode.

The owner of an electronics shop on Cologne's Kalker Hauptstrasse had rolled down the shutters on the windows in case there was unrest. Now they have photos of a 17-year-old Moroccan boy taped to them. The teenager, whose name was Salih, was killed in front of the shop two weeks ago.

The sidewalk is a sea of candles as hundreds of people chant: "Salih! Salih! We want justice!" They feel that Salih was one of them -- a youth from an immigrant family.

For the police, the case is clear cut. According to their version of events, Salih allegedly wanted to mug a 20-year-old German man, who tried to defend himself. But he panicked and pulled out a pocketknife that he plunged into Salih's heart with an unlucky stab. Prosecutors said it was a clear case of self-defense, and there are witnesses. But none of that matters any longer.

Every night last week, up to 300 protestors gathered at the spot where Salih died to demand "justice" instead of letting his killer walk free. They are protesting against "racism in Germany" -- but since it appears clear that this case involves self-defense, it's obviously about more than just the unfortunate Salih. It's more about how immigrants and their children feel they are currently being treated in Germany.

The incident has struck a chord with those who feel disenfranchised from German society -- those without a proper education or vocational training, those without a future. The frustration is palpable. "We're sitting on a powder keg," warns former police commissioner Winrich Granitzka, who is also head of the Christian Democratic group in Cologne's city council. "There's the danger we could see a situation like in the suburbs of Paris." ...
January 10, German Immigrants Have Had Enough:
After weeks of enduring a xenophobic onslaught from Roland Koch, the governor of Hesse, Germany's immigrants are fed up. The conservatives' rhetoric, an open letter says, is feeding prejudice and fomenting a social split.

It was bound to happen. After weeks of being portrayed by Hesse Governor Roland Koch as being little better than uncivilized savages, Germany's immigrants on Thursday struck back.

In an open letter addressed to Chancellor Angela Merkel and to Koch -- both of the conservative Christian Democrats -- an association representing some 100 immigrant groups in Germany expressed its frustration at the populist tones coming from Koch, as he campaigns for re-election in a Jan. 27 state vote ...

Koch began demanding that more action be taken against "criminal young foreigners" after a Dec. 20 attack, perpetrated by a 20-year-old Turkish man born in Germany and a young immigrant from Greece, on an elderly man in the Munich subway. But many of his comments have seemed to veer away from the problem of youth violence in Germany and taken on racist overtones.

He said "it must be clear that the slaughtering (of animals) in the kitchen ... runs counter to our principles." He also said: "People who live in Germany must behave properly and refrain from using their fists. That's how one behaves in a civilized country." ...

In Munich, meanwhile, anger is exploding over a campaign poster on display showing images of the Dec. 20 subway attack. The poster, displayed in support of the Christian Social Union -- a sister party to the CDU that exists only in Bavaria -- reads "No clemency for violent criminals" across the top. In small print on a silhouette of the attack's victim, it reads "so that you won't be next." Munich Mayor Christian Ude, a Social Democrat, called the ad a "low point in democratic culture."
February 1, 2008
German Conservatives Bicker over Integration (Again):

Once again, Germany's Christian Democrats are fighting over their position on integration. It is a debate they have had many times before. And it was supposed to have been resolved.

Germany's Christian Democrats thought they had finally figured out how to deal with the issue of integration. Just last December, the party followed the lead of its head, Chancellor Angela Merkel, and included the sentence "Germany is a country of integration" in its platform. After months of hard work by party moderates, the step was meant to put an end to years of anti-immigration rhetoric.

This week, though, it looks like the CDU is right back where it was at the beginning of the decade. Following an extraordinarily divisive re-election campaign by Hesse Governor Roland Koch -- one which several times saw him flirting with xenophobia and fears of immigration -- the CDU is once again divided. And with an open letter published by the party's centrist wing on Wednesday, the dirty laundry is hanging in public for all to see.

"The Union (the CDU plus its Bavarian sister party, the CSU) has to realize that Germany is de facto a country of immigration," the letter, published in the weekly Die Zeit, read. "Integration is so fundamental to the future of our country that it cannot be allowed to be degraded to a campaign theme." The letter, which was signed by 17 conservative politicians, went on to say: "We have to realize that violence is not a problem of ethnicity, rather it is one of education." ...

From a political power point of view, the calculations are clear: Germany's society is aging, and fully 38 percent of children in the country have an immigration background. But according to recent surveys, only 10 to 15 percent of Germans of Turkish descent would vote for the Christian Democrats ...

Now, though, the party once again seems to be fighting the fights of 2000. In that year, party big-wig Jürgen Rüttgers coined the phrase "Kinder statt Inder" ("children instead of Indians") to make it clear that he was against an SPD proposal to attract more computer specialists from India to fill vacant high-tech jobs in Germany. In the same year, another party heavyweight, Friedrich Merz, instigated a years-long discussion on "Leitkultur," or "leading culture," which made it clear that the CDU was in no way interested in multiculturalism ...
Aug 20, 2007, Mob Rule in Eastern Germany:
A group of eight Indians was attacked by a mob at a street party in eastern Germany on the weekend. All were injured, one seriously. The police deny there was a political motive behind the attack despite calls of "foreigners out."

Despite a mob's calls of "foreigners out," police are denying there was a far-right motive behind an attack on a group of Indians in eastern Germany this weekend.

The eight men were attacked by a mob of around 50 Germans at a street party in the early hours of Sunday in the small town of Mügeln in the eastern German state of Saxony. The trigger for the violence was a brawl on the dance floor in a party tent shortly before 1 a.m., police said. The reason for the brawl was not yet clear.

The Indians left the tent where the dance was being held but were then attacked by the mob, which chased them across the town's market place until they took shelter in a pizzeria run by an Indian. The owner let them in, but the mob tried to kick in the doors of the restaurants as a large crowd looked on. The restaurant owner's car was also seriously damaged.

Seventy police officers were called in to restore order. Fourteen people were injured in the incident, including the eight Indians, four of the attackers and two police officers ...

Attacks on foreigners are far from unusual in eastern German states such as Saxony, where there are concerns that far-right groups are gaining in strength and taking on institutional roles in some places. The far-right, neo-Nazi National Democratic Party (NPD) holds several seats in Saxony's state assembly, having won over 9 percent of the vote in the 2004 state election.
August 27, 2007
Far Right in Eastern Germany:

The attack on eight Indian men in the eastern German town of Mügeln on August 18 has triggered the usual soul-searching about the causes of right-wing extremism. But the debate usually subsides after a few weeks, leaving anti-Nazi campaigners and foreigners in eastern Germany to struggle on their own.

Everyone in Germany may still be puzzled by the case, but at least one German has made up her mind. Behind the bar at the "Mügelner Kneipe" pub, hardly 100 meters from the scene of the crime, the waitress has already formed her own impression of what happened in this small town in eastern Germany. "They probably weren't entirely innocent, either, the Indians," she declares. Besides, she argues, if Germans had beaten each other to a pulp here, the story would have barely have made it into the local paper. "Exactly," mumbles a patron at the next table as he sips his beer and schnapps, "there was even a warrant out for the arrest of one of the Indians."

More than a week after the attack on eight Indians in this town of 4,700 in the eastern German state of Saxony, it's still unclear what exactly happened in the tent in front of the town hall. So everyone has his own version of events -- not just in the town of Mügeln.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is mortified, Wolfgang Tiefensee, the cabinet minister responsible for programs aimed at rebuilding eastern Germany, calls the incident an example of "unacceptably excessive violence" and Wolfgang Thierse, vice-president of the lower house of the German parliament, the Bundestag, blames the "authoritarian legacy of East German days." Kurt Beck, the leader of the Social Democrats (SPD), is even considering calling for a ban on the radical right-wing National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD).

In short, the pundits, as usual, are busy ostracizing, interpreting and demanding. Some warn against over-dramatizing the case while others are worried that it could be trivialized. Anything is possible, as was the case in the past after attacks in Guben, Potsdam, Pretzien, Leipzig and Halberstadt. The wave of public sentiment is, most of all, an expression of one thing: the helplessness of government leaders ...

There are 4,500 initiatives in Germany addressing the causes and consequences of neo-Nazi sentiment. In the last five years alone, the federal government has spent €192 million on the issue.

Each individual project seems to be valuable. But not every village can have its own project. And unemployment and social uncertainty can only be partly to blame for far-right sympathies. Friedeman Bringt, who heads a mobile consultation team in Saxony, says that the real root of the problem is that many easterners lack empathy and are unable to understand other people's point of view. According to Bringt, many in the East accept violence as legitimate. Berlin theologian Richard Schröder agrees, saying that eastern Germany suffers from "a lack of civility." ...

The citizens of Pretzien, a town 20 kilometers (12 miles) southeast of the eastern city of Magdeburg, believed that they had discovered a strategy for dealing with their village Nazis. They got them involved in organizations like the town choir and the volunteer fire department. The approach worked -- until the summer of 2006. That was when the local cultural society sponsored a village festival and bonfire, and when a member of the organization suddenly demanded that revelers "throw everything foreign into the fire."

A US flag was tossed into the flames, followed by a paperback edition of the "Diary of Anne Frank." "It's all lies and deception," the man throwing the items into the fire apparently said. The mayor and about 80 people attending the event looked on but said nothing ...

The frontline may be clear, but what happened that night in Mügeln remains murky. What is clear is that everything was peaceful in the tent until midnight. Of course, says Gotthard Deuse, Mügeln's mayor, there were radical right-wing extremists on the market square. But, he adds, they're always there.

Deuse had already gone to bed when, according to the police report, a tussle broke out on the dance floor at 12:30 a.m. There are various versions of why the fight broke out. Kulvir Singh, one of the Indian men who was seriously injured, says they had only been in the tent for two or three minutes when the mood suddenly changed. Apparently one of the Indians had danced with the German waitress from the Indian-owned Pizzeria Picobello. That, says Singh, was when people started pushing him and his fellow Indians who were on the dance floor. When they tried to leave the tent they found themselves engulfed in a cloud of pepper spray -- until Singh fell to the ground, presumably after being hit with a beer bottle.

There is also a German witness, Ronny K., a 21-year-old roofer from Wermsdorf. He wants to sue the Indians for damages. According to his account, the Indians knocked over an older man on the dance floor and were then surrounded by others in the tent. The Indians, says K., broke off the bottoms of their beer bottles and threatened people. According to K., he was hit in the neck with one of these broken bottles, and the wound required twelve stitches. That was when, according to K., the situation spun out of control. Kulvir Singh and his friends deny having had beer bottles in their hands.

The dramatic events that ensued are well documented. The eight Indians ran across the market square to the Picobello Pizzeria, pursued by a mob of 50 people. They locked themselves into the restaurant, whereupon the angry mob tried to force their way into the establishment. Windows were smashed, a car was demolished and the front and back doors were broken down.

It took 70 police officers to break up the mob, which had apparently formed spontaneously and was united in its dislike of foreigners. In Mügeln, ordinary citizens -- and not some organized, right-wing neo-Nazis -- were the ones who stirred up the pogrom-like mood, against people who, as Mayor Deuse insists, "were fully integrated" after having lived there for 12 years.

Deuse no longer knows what is right and what is wrong. And he fears that the incident has done long-term harm to his town.
January 02, 2008
Xenophobia at the Heart of German Politics:
A German state governor has won applause from fellow conservatives for demanding a crackdown on "criminal young foreigners." Immigrant groups and political rivals say he is playing with fire in a debate that reveals the widespread xenophobia obstructing integration in Germany.

An assault by two foreign youths on a German pensioner has triggered conservative calls for a crackdown on "criminal young foreigners" and exposed deeply entrenched xenophobia that casts doubt on this country's ability ever to fully integrate its 15 million inhabitants with an immigrant background.

The 76-year-old pensioner suffered a fractured skull when he was beaten by a 20-year-old Turkish man born in Germany and a 17-year-old immigrant from Greece on December 20 after he asked them to stop smoking on a subway train in Munich, where smoking is forbidden.

The pensioner recovered after a spell in hospital and recalls how they spat at him and called him a "Shit German" before kicking him in the head. Police arrested the attackers shortly afterwards and the case could have been closed as a cowardly assault by two violent criminals who both have long police records.

But a senior member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats, Hesse state premier Roland Koch (more...), seized on the fact that the attackers weren't German and decided to launch a debate about foreign criminals.

"How much are we prepared to take from a small proportion of violent youths, who frequently have a foreign background?" Koch, who is struggling in his campaign to win a third term in a state election on January 27, told mass circulation Bild Zeitung in an interview published last Friday.

"We have spent too long showing a strange sociological understanding for groups that consciously commit violence as ethnic minorities," he went on.

Koch added that Germany wasn't a classic country of immigration such as Canada or Australia. "In our country we don't get many cultures meeting to form a new one. Germany has had a Christian-Occidental culture for centuries. Foreigners who don't stick to our rules don't belong here."

His quote "We have too many criminal young foreigners" made a banner front-page headline in Bild on Friday. The paper praised him in an editorial on Wednesday, writing: "At last our politicians are quarrelling about the really important issues -- the safety of our citizens! Fear of crime and violence by foreign criminals has been accompanying us on bus and subway journeys for a long time."

Koch's comments fuelled conservative calls for "foreign" criminals to be expelled from Germany and were echoed by Volker Kauder, head of the conservative parliamentary group in the federal parliament and a close ally of Merkel.

Kauder told Bild am Sonntag that crime by foreigners had "been a taboo in Germany" for too long. "We need education camps for hard cases, closed institutions with an overall concept for therapy. Foreigners aren't our enemies, but criminals are -- and we can no longer afford to accept their mocking laughter." ...
OK, stay calm people. Affirmation time. Now say it three times and breathe after each one:
Diversity is strength
Diversity is strength
Diversity is strength
See, it's all better now. No need for alarm.

The ball is out, just call it:
French officials point to a host of causes — poverty, unemployment, the influence of criminal gangs — for riots that erupted this week.

But there's one taboo issue that officially colorblind France has been unable to confront: race.
[sigh] Breaking up is hard to do. Just get a divorce before your country is gone ...


Anonymous said...

This is all part of the Plan by the Global elite..

Abandon Skip said...

Plan or no plan, it's a hayride to hell, the way it's going.

Anonymous said...

Abandon Skip, just popped over to your site and you've got a wealth of interesting stuff. THis roundup on Germany is excellent and I think I have my own comments to post on it and link back to your posts here.

Anonymous said...

British patriot, unpopular as it is to suggest that these events are part of a plan by the global elite, it's obviously true. How else could they have achieved such dramatic changes to our world in such a short period of time without very meticulous planning? It would be impossible.