This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Compassionate Germany

"A limitation strategy may even be both morally and politically necessary in order to preserve the state's ability to function."
"If democrats refuse to talk about limits, they leave the field open to populists and xenophobes."
German President Joachim Gauck

"The United States has left us, we are the orphaned kids in the playground, and there's one tough guy, Putin. It's really that simple."
Michael Naumann, (former German Minister of Culture)

"You have this hope the war will end. For one year, two years, three years, you keep this hope. You think, I owe my country something and I will stay."
"Until in the fifth year you realize there are five wars! The rebels against Assad, ISIS against the Free Syrian Army, the Saudis against Iran, the Kurds against ISIS, and Russia against America! And you lose hope."
Mulham, young Aleppo refugee in Berlin
Photo by John Beck

German media mostly avoid commenting that most of the Syrian refugees arriving, estimated to be up to 75%, are young males. Not that many families. There is an absence of minority groups, Christians, for example, Yazidis, Gays. They don't tend to congregate where they will become targets of young Muslim males. All these young men fleeing conflict, looking for future opportunities to brighten their futures. They are legitimately fleeing war, but they are also economic migrants.

There are problems, plenty of them, with the intake of a million refugees, haven seekers, migrants, in one country alone like Germany. Germany already had five million Muslims as immigrants, and now that number has been increased to equal, let's say, the number of Jews that Nazi Germany succeeded in exterminating during World War II, in the years of the Holocaust. This newer, charitable Germany with a conscience is determined to give safe haven to Muslim refugees.

Oddly enough, before the influx of the refugees German Jews seemed to feel they still had a place in Germany, just as pre-World War II, German Jews felt more German than non-Jews, fully integrated as proud Germans, incapable of believing anything so dire could ever happen to Jews in a country so civil, so given to the arts, so cultured. Now, once again the lives and well-being of Jews in Germany faces an uncertain future with the increased presence of a culture and a religion inimical to the presence of Jews.

And nor have Arab Muslims been respectful of Germany's women, let alone German law. There has been a reluctantly acknowledged incidence of crime events numbering around 200,000 that German police have had to respond to, attributed to the refugee population. German women have been taking to carrying pepper spray, have taken martial arts lessons, and are given important advice from their authorities, to have a care, in recognition of the changing face of the German population, else they will suffer unwanted sexual advances.

Accommodation to satisfy the needs of such a wholesale migration of humanity has strained the ingenuity and finances of municipalities. Expectations of the migrants and refugees are high for Germany has earned a reputation for generosity and compassion. Leaving local authorities not knowing where next to turn, their resources strained beyond recognition. Then there is the little problem that though billions of euros have been spent already, many more will still be required, since the spigot cannot be turned off, while the flood continues, and it does.

Those refugees and migrants expecting largesse must first register. But because Germany has more recently stated its expectation that when the conflict ceases, many of those flooding Germany will be asked to return whence they came, many decide not to register. They simply disappear, their identities unknown as is their whereabouts. That influx of Muslim men looms as a concern over female security in this new German society. All of this has led support for German Chancellor Angela Merkel to slide precipitously.

The point is, the conflict is in its sixth year, with no sign of abating, becoming more complex as time moves on. And in its complexity, new arrivals to the conflict represent new adversaries, equalling more refugees, there is no sign that the situation that is straining Europe will be resolved any time soon. Waiting for the United States to move decisively to settle the conflict at an earlier stage accomplished nothing whatever; that conflict has now metastasized, threatening to swallow a greater portion of its near geographic proximity.

Turkey, the source of the refugee flood, itself flooded with over two million, has not been averse to sitting back with satisfaction at the sight of Europe divided, in flux and threatened, inundated beyond endurance with a population it had no further wish to absorb; a continent which had already taken in vast numbers of immigrants whose presence is slowly but surely altering the customs, values, laws and religious devotion into one utterly unfamiliar and discomfiting.

One woman recounts for the press a scenario in her daughter's high school classroom with the recent admittance of a 15-year-old girl from Syria. The ring tone on the girl's cellphone was a muezzin's call to prayer, a disruption in the class which the teacher further exacerbated by her unforgivable burst of "so next you'll have a suicide belt!" A girl insensible to how her intrusively religious sound would affect those around her, and a teacher whose common sense was entirely absent in a display of oblivious stupidity.

In Nauen, a small town near Berlin with high unemployment rate, right-wing demonstrations held placards reading "Nauen will stay white", last year. A gymnasium meant to house refugees was subject to an act of arson and burned to the ground at a cost of about four million euros. "There will be more protests. In some ways, this feels like a bigger problem than German reunification", observed Volker Muller, involved in the promotion of intercultural understanding.

Germany's wartime Tempelhof Airport in Berlin with its 15-meter-high hangars is being converted into shelters for thousands of refugees. An estimated 7,000 will eventually be housed there. "It's our duty to find a place for them", said Sascha Langenback, spokesman on social issues in Berlin, predicting that another 60,000 refugees may arrive in the capital by later this year. There, two young men from Aleppo complained about the food, about the noise, about how difficult it was to study the German language, about how tedious life has been at the "emergency" center.

Image REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke
German soldiers set up tents and beds for migrants in a hangar of the former Tempelhof Airport in Berlin on October 25, 2015. (REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke)

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