The Turks hate India

Migration - emigration - flight
I don't understand myself ...

Correspondence | Photo: © Institut Max Mueller Bhavan New Delhi

Dear Aman,

I would like to describe to you what is happening here, I want to at least try, because I basically do not understand it myself. By the way, I feel like most Germans ... except for those who set fire to refugee homes: at least they know that they hate, and this hatred is what they are looking for, because otherwise they often have little in their lives to hold onto gives.

The others, on the other hand, find it difficult to say what kind of country they live in. At one point it seems to be a dark Germany that scares them because the citizens band together in a dull mass. Then again it seems to be a bright Germany that gives them courage because the citizens unite in solidarity. Then again it seems to be a dark Germany in which the politicians adjust their values ​​and their humanity downwards, while the necessary help comes from the population for all those who need them.

And there are many. 400,000, 800,000, 1.5 million people, from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Eritrea or the Balkans, they come because they are fleeing war and persecution in their homeland or because they want a better life for themselves and theirs Looking for children - these are the numbers for this year, for Germany alone, and as always, politics is carried out with these numbers, images are used to manipulate opinions, the media are suspected of being a party.

Was it possible to know that these people were coming? No, say the politicians who have looked the other way for years, who have ignored the war in Syria, who hoped the refugees would stay in the camps in Jordan or Lebanon, who thought the distances were too far and the sea too wide and the fences too high - they didn't know the people very much, that can be seen here again, they don't know the despair, they don't know what will all those who break open with a plastic bag in their hand have.

Yes, say those who have been committed to refugees for years, who have been interested in the war in Syria, which for four years has been an open moral wound in the West; yes, say those who think in historical dimensions and understand the widespread geopolitical devastation that the Americans have wreaked since they invaded Iraq and threw the country into chaos because they were not ready or unable to establish a democratic order there as they did in Germany after the Second World War.

You could go back even further, to 1919 and the betrayal of Woodrow Wilson, who broke his promise of independence for many countries after World War I, or well into the 19th or even 18th centuries to the ravages of colonialism, and maybe we come to that in the course of our correspondence: You can see that I really just want to tell you what is happening here, in Berlin, where I live and where the refugees encounter a bureaucracy that often only seems sadistic in its Kafkaesque opacity - and already the great world history breaks in.

But maybe that is also very appropriate for the current situation: Because the fates of the individual people who come here are mixed with fears that are older, raise questions that are more fundamental, open up dimensions that are more permanent. If, for example, rightly or wrongly, there is talk of a "new migration of peoples", then this choice of words already suggests that something between the Mongol storm and the Turks in front of Vienna is imminent. And in fact the fears that are often invoked, those of "foreign infiltration" and especially an "Islamization" of the so-called "Occident", are also the one word that I had not heard for a long, long time.

In a way, it is as if Europe has woken up from a slumber that lasted 25 years - and now that reality is breaking in with all its vehemence into this continent that is paralyzed in itself, it seems that many are overwhelmed . Germany, for example, has always found it difficult to admit that it is a country of immigration - conservative politicians refused to at least accept this reality. In the current situation, that takes revenge, because the country, which has an essentially unconditional asylum right, which is explained by the history of Nazi Germany, has no immigration law that meets current needs.

So much for today. I can tell you a lot more, about our Chancellor, who confuses everyone, but not herself, about scenes like I've never seen them in Europe, scenes of helpfulness and scenes of chaos, about my hopes, doubts, optimism and Pessimism. But I would be more interested in your view of everything that seems like a historical turning point for Germany, but of course not for large parts of the world.


Berlin, October 11, 2015


Georg Diez worked as an editor for the features section of the Süddeutsche Zeitung, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung and the Zeit. Today he writes about cultural and political affairs for Spiegel magazine and once a week his much-read column "The Critic" on Spiegel Online. He is co-founder of the experimental journalism platform and a book author. Most recently, "Alexanderplatz Berlin" (60pages) and "The Last Freedom" (Berlin Verlag) appeared on the right to one's own death. Georg Diez lives with his family in Berlin.

Copyright: Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan New Delhi
October 2015

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