The internet is a wonderous place, where everybody can voice their opinion, more or less abiding the rules of grammar. There have been posts by Mr. Donald Trump telling Germany to “WAKE UP”, because of the attacks on new year´s eve in Cologne (women getting attacked by men including rape, apparently refugees or of foreign descent) etc., but that´s something we can discard if we try. Now there has been plenty of debate about racism and sexism and the two things getting tangled together around the Cologne debates. “Feminists”, aka anyone who understands what it´s like to be a Woman even in Western society, said, among other tings, that sexism was already in Germany before any refugees arrived. Thereupon they were accused of making light of the situation. The public sphere is in constant chaos, yet everybody seems to think they are correct, yet none of us has all the facts. Despite being pretty much factless and left to guess the current actual situation, we get caught up in outrage, spitting fire into the already raging fire and I really wonder how many of us have really stopped to think about what they´re putting out there. Me, I accept that I have opinions and that others have opinions. I accept that we are 8 billion people in this world, too many to agree on one thing. I accept that if I were in the situation of a Syrian refugee, I´d have tried to flee years ago. I accept that there are terrors in this world we can´t even imagine. I accept that fear can drive people mad and irrational and hateful. I don´t agree with it, but I accept. I´ve been trying my best lately not to be pulled into it all, not to be spooked into simply calling someone a racist, ignorant, intolerant, not to make random statements without any reason behind it. There are too many of us doing that right now. But at the same time, I find it really hard. Because I am scared. I´m scared of where we´re going, of how much hate there is to go around at the moment. The SVP (Swiss people´s party) has launched the “Durchsetzungsinitiative”. It relates to the “Ausschaffungsinitiative” we Swiss voted on five years ago. It basically means that a foreigner who commits a severe crime can be sent back to his or her own country of origin, banned from Switzerland for a specific amount of years. But they would still have to do their time in Swiss jail. The new initiative is a much more enforced version of the old one. The Swiss government, after the people accepted the “Ausschaffungsinitative” with a highly frustrating 53 % majority, was given five years to enforce the new initiative. It is to be enforced by 2016 with a “Härtefallklausel”, a clause that allows the juristiction to proof the individual sitution of the prosecuted and deciding on the gravity of his or her own personal situation which can impact the verdict, but the SVP is not happy with this type of enforcement because of this particular clause and because it took them too long. But they´ve had five years and they would have enforced it by now, had the SVP not brought up the new intiative. Also, the hardship clause (“Härtefallklausel”) had to be put in so it does not upset the constitution. What the new initiative wants is to bypass jurisdiction and a fair trial, so that a criminal foreigner could be banned from Switzerland without further trial or proofing of the circumstances. They´ve also added to the list of crimes because of which a foreigner could be sentenced to leave the country, even a second generation immigrant could be sent into their parents´ country of origin after two minor crimes. You´d be sent “home” after a more severe crime or after two minor ones. Even if you accidently injure someone with your car, you´re endangered.
Anyway, now that I´ve elaborated on this: Basically the SVP are on their own in this, since all the other (bigger) parties have taken a stand against it, but the people are not so sure. They are winning votes by promising security, scaring people into assuming their in danger from the “evil, criminal foreigner”. It´s sad, but it works. So, yes, I´m scared of the power of fear, if that makes sense. I´m scared the initative will get through, despite it clearly causing problems with the constituion. People are simply scared. When Germany was debating closing their borders, the SVP said Switzerland should do the same. The thing is, Germany is struggeling with managing the load of refugees seeking asylum in Germany, whereas Switzerland has only had to manage a few 100´000. In comparison to other countries, that´s peanuts. And yet the SVP acted like Switzerland had to take on the motherload. We don´t! We are fine! I fear for the future of this country, we are becoming more isolated, more hateful, one initiative at a time. The SVP are obviously and provocatively xenophobic, yet the people believe them, agree with them and accept their fear-driven, hateful, discriminatory initiatives. That´s what scares me the most.
We need to take a step back, breathe, assess the situation we´re in. We need to look at who´s saying what, but also look at why they are saying it. What reasons do they have, what do they get out of it? Who drives the fear, feeds the flame? Who haven´t we heard about in a while, who has the most to gain?
We have forgotten about the war in Syria. We didn´t care about the millions of refugees overwhelming the Greek people who were not getting any help for so long, we were half-heartedly saddened when dozens, then hundreds of people sank in cheap boats. But then the refugees came closer, they were granted asylum in our towns and ISIS, grown stronger and larger in our negligence of the conflict, started making headlines, killing “our own” on camera and launching attacks in cities we´d heard of. Forgive my cynisism, but would we be in this situation if we´d not ignored the conflict for about four years and let it unfold?
But I digress, it´s not about us, after all. It´s about them. It´s about the families, men, women and children who have watched their loved ones die, fled from a destroyed home and have been welcomed with hate into countries who have everything and don´t realize how lucky they are, including myself. It´s easy to get caught up in slogans, idealism and personal goodie-goodie feeling about what my principles are.
So, yes, wake up, but not to realize that the media or politicians are lying to you and forcing you to love refugees and not to realize that the threat is real or that it´s all a big conspiracy. No, wake up, breathe, take a shower and realize that it´s up to you to make up your own opinion about the situation, question everything and everyone, go into yourself ask yourself why you are reacting the way you are, what caused you to say what you said or to think what you thought. And when you feel yourself being pulled into this this swirl of accuations and unsupported “facts”, press repeat on the whole thing.
I feel like we´d all be a bit better off, but feel free to question me and my intentions 😉
I actually started writing this post because I saw a post on Facebook, but I drifted off after my introduction and never actually said what I set out to say. But, well, consider this as part two of this post. There is a Facebook Group called “Aufwachen Deutschland”, which means “Wake up Germany”. And it´s all about resisting ISIS and the muslim influence and refugees and all that. The page is a gathering of stories about evil refugees, lying Merkel and comments written all in CAPS. There is a new post going around the internet, initially posted by a girl named “Nicki” and shared by “Aufwachen Deutschland”. It says (translated from German): The German nation will never perish – because our women are maning up! Please support this movement! Like and share!” Then there´s a picture of said “Nicki”, a pretty blonde girl with a sweet smile posted underneath and the words: “Too pretty to wear a Burka”. And then: “Girls, we are simply too beautiful to hide! Show your beauty! We will never buckle or let them put us down! THE RESISTANCE IS A FEMALE AFFAIR NOW! If you agree, comment and share a picture of yourself, maybe linking to a woman who you think should do the same. Let us see how far we get, sharing is allowed.”
The whole thing is decorated with sweet smileys and heart-emoticons.
First of all I didn´t realize anyone was forcing us to wear a burka. And second of all, that post is scary in so many ways. She is implying that we are under attack while most of us have only seen the war on TV, she is implying that our “Western society” doesn´t force women and men into “buckling” to stereotypes, dieting, wearing make-up, acting in a particular way and furthermore she is implying that “prettyness” is woman´s way of resisting radical islamists. I am too atheist to wear a burka, but so far I´ve had no reason to tell anyone that. Even Muslim women are not “forced” to wear a burka or head-scarf, depending on family and upbringing. They have a choice and some do choose to wear it, just like we choose to comply with Western or Christian or local standards and views. We are determined by our circumstances and our environment and nothing is ever black and white.
Dear Nicki, you are not going to ever have to wear a burka, don´t worry. But please consider the fear and hate you´re spreading by preaching “defiance” against an invisible threat. This is just another post amonst a million of fear-fueled posts. Was it really necessary?