Wo kommen wir denn da hin?
Some kind of ghost surrounds Germany these days. Not that kind of ghost we know from a children’s tale. Not the kind of ghost that is cute and demands the swedish General Torsten Torstenson to surrender the thirty-years-war some 300 years belate. This ghosts wears a grey-brown mug and it reminds me in a terrifying way of town names that I had been remembering during my youth days of second division football clubs basically: Rostock, Solingen, Lübeck. Targets of deadly terror assaults towards war refugees during the early 1990s.
The crucial thing about today’s ghost terror is that it takes place more subtile than during the early nineties, that it is grounded more within society, and that it yet lacks that sort of terror, that we have met during the early 1990s.
Until my 19th birthday I have not seen any other chancellor than Helmut Kohl. By this, for a long time I have not known any other style of policy than the total lack of compromises. For as today I understand, that his policy of not understanding others always provoked a clear position of “No, not at all”, this attitude also provoked right-wing terror. Heavily, quickly, and it disappeared that quickly as well. Because even those who shared the “No asylum”-policy in 1992 had been terrified terribly by the assaults demanding death and anxiety among the needfuls.
And this style of policy also lead to a broad disobedience among publicity and all across society. No german band would have been without a clear statement against racism, no dustbin would have been remaining without a sticker “Every human is a foreigner – almost everywhere”.
Apparently enough, even neonazis seem to be smart enough to learn from their mistakes. Today’s wave of right-wing terror seems to be more subtile and better prepared. Instead of burning people, they now burn empty houses before people move in – without humans taking damage, outrage would most probably be lower. Instead of canalising xenophobia directly into assaults, they pretend to use democratic values, and create a brand called “Pegida” (Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the Occident) – it should obviously be allright to say that Germany has never been an islamic state. And as in 1989, right-wing parties gain seats in federal parliaments before terror reaches its peak – this time carried by a semi-public atmosphere of departure of seemingly proper citizens.
It scares me that Friday’s events in Dresden-Heidenau repeated during Saturday evening. I can see disgusting parallels to the terror assaults in Rostock-Lichtenhagen in 1992: Again, policemen are attacked as a replacement action because they can’t attack their first target, again the pictures remind me of Oktoberfest rather than of riots, and again, secondary ministers replace a chancellor’s word. Quoting the german songwriter Reinhard Mey, you could say “Better travel to Brazil than governing Germany – at least you can do no harm here then.”
But it is a fatal misconduction to even consider that it might be enough “to show terrorists the strength of law”. This already happens – with a delay of nine months. Until then, social networks have done all the damage they can. In the opposite to 1992, right-winged hustle receives positive reinforcement in social media, especially by people who – of course – never would have expressed it that way. Fire starts by words today, is enforced by a simple “like”, and I am still scared that real humans will burn nevertheless. It is definitely not enough to have the ministers for homeland security and legislation have their words – it is absolutely necessary that an absolute word of power is stated by the chancelorette: There is no alternative to hospitality in Germany, there is no alternative to a responsibility of a wealthy state towards war refugees. To prosecute xenophobian outcome afterwards is not enough – refusal as a silent attitude to life needs to be prevented.
I am convinced of the European idea. This may be due to the fact that I have been raised in Friedrich Schiller’s birthplace. “May all humans become brothers” has been indoctrinated to me between fifth grade and my A Level. Permanently. Maybe a little bit too aggressive, but I got the clues behind hit. Maybe we should call to mind of all those faithful patriots that it has been a German who wrote the European anthem, as a reminder that mental horizon does not take place between a fan and a TV system. As of yet it is August, but I’m scared of what happens when the beer runs empty and the temperature gets that comfortable that they can leave their homes during day, humming “Flys have short legs” and wearing cookie pants that read “Death penalty for child abusers”.
I could not use Helmut Kohl’s Bratwurst-attitude for my identification with Germany when I was 14 years old. By now, I am happy to be grown up and to live in Germany. Our education system allows a transparency upwards, we are football world champions (just like then), and the only thing really annoying me is the BD-Swiss-spots on Sky Sports News HD. Or, as Angela Merkel stated directly after the 2013 elections (and by then I have been unmployed, not blaming refugees or the press-of-lies for it): “There’s a lot of people who think that, besides all difficulties, we live in a good land. To pretend that we would live in one of the world’s most difficult countries, that’s a little bit complicated”. I would consider it appropriate if Angela Merkel would repeat those sentences in 2015.
By the way: I still don’t like Nazis. And I’ll never do.