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.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Balancing the  Scales

"We have worked and paid taxes in this country, our parents built it up."
"How can it be that we are turned away [at area food banks] and those who just arrived get what they need?"
Marianne Rymann, 62, client, Essener Tafel, Essen Germany

"If you fight back, you're a Nazi."
"[The charity] was not founded to deal with the chaos of [Chancellor Angela] Merkel's refugee policy but to meet the demand that was already there."
AfD party Facebook campaign in defence of food bank decision 

"[We] felt compelled to ensure reasonable integration [after having seen an] increase in the number of migrants in recent years [with the proportion of foreign citizens rising dramatically]."
"We want German grandmothers to continue coming to us."
"[For the time being new customers will be restricted to Germans] until the scales are balanced again [between locals and foreigners]."
Jorg Sartor, manager, Essener Tafel 
Graffiti sprayed on the door to the entrance of the food charity in Essen. Photo: DPA

German authorities, when the government decided to open its doors in an unrestrained fashion to all the migrants that managed to make their way through Europe to their preferred destination in Germany known for its social networks, planned to distribute the 1.2 million arriving between 2015 and early 2016 evenly across the country so the cost and optimization of integration opportunities would be shared by all communities.

Many of the migrants had ideas of their own, where many among them decided to leave those designated homes and to move on instead to other areas, some of which had already received and were coping with a fairly dense concentration of migrants. The city of 600,000 people that is Essen has experienced a growth in its Syrian community from 1,300 in 2015, as an example, to close to 11,000 currently.

"It is a challenge", explained Peter Renzel, an official with the city of Essen. Most migrants live within the working-class districts of the north. "Some districts carry a disproportionate burden", he elaborated. To the extent that several food banks have taken steps to limit tensions that arise when needy Germans seeking assistance come hard up against Syrian migrants seeking the same, amidst rising tensions.
Food bank in Essen bars new migrant clients 'to ensure reasonable integration’
A Tafel Deutschland location in Berlin. Photo: Tafel Deutschland/Dagmar Schwelle

New rules have arisen segregating immigrants and Germans approaching the food banks for assistance, by time or by day. One of these food banks have gone further, banning young men from signing up entirely. The majority of the migrants that have streamed into Germany have been single, unattached young men looking for economic opportunities; in the process overwhelming Germany's social assistance programs.

Jorg Sartor is an ex-coal worker in retirement, since his mine closed. He has operated the Essener Tafel food bank as a volunteer for the last dozen years. Germany has about 930 food banks in operation, all dependent on the work of volunteers. And his is the only food bank exercising this new policy. The door of Mr. Sartor's food bank and its eight delivery vans have been defaced with Nazi graffiti in reaction to his decision to put a stop to allowing foreigners to sign up for assistance.

"It's absurd", he says.

One in three food bank users were foreigners until three years ago, he explained. But by last November that number changed to three in four. Leading him to decide to block any greater numbers of non-Germans from signing up so the food bank could continue to serve those foreigners already on its lists, only.

The problem is that Chancellor Merkel's government which generously opened its doors to over a million migrants and immigrants, decided that the burden of integrating them would fall where it might, and typically that burden has fallen on Germany's poorest regions. Where everyone competes for subsidized apartments, school placements, and free food from food banks.

Recently, many of those Germans who had lined up outside the food bank called Mr. Sartor a "people's hero". "He stands up for us", Peggy Lohse, 36, a single mother of three, stated. She might have been referring to the groups of young migrant men who sometimes simply elbowed their way to the front of the line. Leaving her to return home empty-handed on more than one occasion.

And according to Ms. Lohse, that kind of entitled assertiveness so intimidated some of the older German women that they simply stopped coming to the food bank for help altogether.

'Nazi' sprayed on food charity which refused to take new migrant clients
The word 'Nazis' sprayed on one of the charity's trucks. Photo: DPA

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