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, April 24, 2016

Talking 'About It'

"Of course we all talk about it."
"For a small town like Celle, this is really unusual, and murder is a serious matter."
Oliver Spiess, 53, Celle, Germany

"You read a lot about the refugees when it's positive. Like a refugee found money and returned it. But heaven forbid someone does something bad. If you report at all, then it should be everything."
"No one is really enthusiastic about the refugees."
Sebastian Nitz, 29, Celle, Germany
Liberal Teacher Takes In Muslim Refugee, His Colleague Finds What's Left Of Him
Vigil for beloved high school science teacher, Mehdi Hushmand

Mehdi Hushmand was an earlier immigrant to Germany, arriving there in 1979 at age 19, the year that Iran was transformed from a monarchy to the Islamic Republic of Iran when Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini ushered in the new age of Islamist revolutionary zeal after uprooting Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi from power. In Germany, Mr. Hushmand attended college, achieved citizenship and secured employment as a high school teacher.

And with the advent of 2015's flood of refugees into Europe from Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, Eritrea and elsewhere, Mr. Hushmand's compassion was stirred for fellow Muslims and he offered himself as a volunteer to aid the refugees in establishing themselves in his adopted country of Germany. All seemed well as he took a family from Afghanistan under his wing, taking a particular interest in their welfare. But all was evidently not well.

The popular science teacher was found murdered in his own home toward the last days of March in this town of 70,000 residents situated near Hanover. The town had decided to take in a significant number of refugees, under its mayor, Dirk-Ulrich Mende. The town set up their own refugee center and absorbed 3,000 refugees, planning to accept another 500.

As it happens, it seems that not all of Celle's German residents appreciated the influx of refugees diluting their German homogeneity. Comments appearing on the local newspaper's website on its section devoted to experiences of the townfolk with the refugees appear rife with resentment and suspicion. Mr. Nitz for one complained on the site that there had been no mention that the suspect in Mr. Hushmand's murder was a refugee.

In fact, the state prosecutors and police did take steps to ensure that the identification of the murder suspect as a refugee was shielded from the public, citing federal guidelines permitting authorities to withhold ethnic or other identifying features of someone suspected of crime when such details are considered to be irrelevant to the commission of the crime.

Mayor Mende admitted that he finally requested that state prosecutors make the identity of the suspect public "Otherwise I was afraid it would become a big theme", he said, though he felt the refugee background had little relevance to the killing. He was wrong on the latter, and right on the former; it has become a 'big theme'. And the killing had everything to do with a refugee taking ostensible affront at the presumed entitlement of a mentor.

The murder of the popular teacher happened in the wake of the New Year's Eve mass sexual assaults in Cologne and elsewhere. Then too police deliberately failed to describe the attackers as representing migrant men of North African or Arab derivation and for fairly obvious reasons; to avoid a public backlash. And so suspicions arising among people who feel they are being shielded from full information to enable them to form their own opinions is the outcome.

The Afghan man is said to have confessed to the murder, to German police. Mr. Hushmand, 55 and divorced, he claimed, insisted on marrying the refugee's 19-year-old daughter. At Mr. Hushmand's home he and the Afghan discussed the issue when an argument ensued and then the deadly attack. That, in any event, is the Afghan man's story, the man who arrived in Germany with his wife and their six children, whom Mr. Hushmand had befriended.

A close friend of Mr. Hushmand is having none of it, condemning the story as "complete rubbish". Had Mr. Hushmand offered to marry the young woman, he explained, it would only be to help her family be assured that they would be able to remain in Germany. Friends of Mr. Hushmand collected 4000 euros to return Mr. Hushmand's body to Tehran so he could be buried there, as he wished.

An estimated 600 people attended his funeral. And whatever money is left from the fund collected is to be used to care for refugees under age 18. "That would be in Mehdi's spirit", said his friend, Mr. Glaser.

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