Symbolic place of democracy: design of the Paulskirche in Frankfurt

Dhe old Federal Republic, the Bonn Republic, was an extremely symbolic state – in contrast to the GDR, which had placed itself in the tradition of the Peasants’ War of 1525, the anti-Napoleonic wars of liberation together with the Russian-Prussian brotherhood in arms and finally in that of the anti-fascist resistance and these three historical legitimacy claims also kept present in monument politics. In the West, the creation of analogous lines of legitimation was dispensed with because they saw themselves as a political provisional arrangement and therefore no separate lines of legitimation were designed. They were satisfied with the fact that the new self-confidence of the West Germans was expressed in the icons of the economic miracle, the D-Mark, the legendary VW Beetle and the Mercedes star, and otherwise left with the existing monument landscape of the 19th century, which around Bismarck and the unification of the empire turned. In addition, memorial sites of democracy, such as the Frankfurt Paulskirche or the Hambacher Schloss, did not play a major role for the collective memory of the Federal Republic, and the handling of these architectural monuments was accordingly.

Can a democracy afford such a casual approach to its founding and place of origin in the long term? Places of remembrance and monuments are central elements in the collective memory of a socio-political association and therefore elementary for its self-image. They are symbols for the togetherness of a nation that counteract the centrifugal forces of social life and political operations; if the democrats do not maintain and use these places of remembrance, it can be expected that the opponents of the liberal democratic constitutional state will seize them.

Promote democracy

Almost all events in German history that are seen as politically decisive and constitutive of identity have their monuments and places of remembrance, from the Teutoburg Forest to the Peasants’ War to the Leipzig Battle of the Nations, and the countless Bismarck statues in public remind us of the unification of the empire. All of them have little or no significance for the development of democracy in Germany. The persistence of a politically outdated culture of remembrance can be coped with if democracy is also asserted. But that is almost not the case: Hambach Castle, to which a protest march against the arbitrariness of the princes and for the political participation of the people took place in 1832, attracts more regional than national attention; and the Paulskirche in Frankfurt, where the first German parliament met in 1848/49 and, after long debates, on March 28, 1849, adopted the “Basic Rights of the German People” as a central element of the Imperial Constitution, and is used primarily for celebrations relating to Frankfurt as the place where German democracy was founded, it only plays a marginal role.


Democracy and Corona: Dare to be more democratic (

The Bundestag feels increasingly ignored in the Corona crisis. While in the corona denier scene there is talk of “fascist” conditions in view of the measures to combat pandemics, outside this scene there have been only a few who have considered the factual disempowerment of parliaments since the spring to be questionable. But for a few days now, the number of federal politicians who vehemently demand a return to normal parliamentary procedures for future decisions has been growing.

This is remarkable insofar as the number of new infections with the Sars-CoV-2 virus is currently increasing rapidly, both in Germany and in numerous other countries. The growing protest is likely to have something to do with the fact that the Federal Cabinet, above all Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU), is preparing the possibility created by the amendments to the Infection Protection Act of March 27 and May 19, in an “epidemic situation of national Scope «to bypass parliament with ordinances until well into the next year.

But: It shouldn’t be that easy to push through. Because meanwhile it is political heavyweights like Bundestag President Wolfgang Schäuble (CDU) and members of the SPD, Greens and Left Party and FDP alike who emphasize that the pandemic does not justify a long-term or even permanent annulment of fundamental and freedom rights without the participation of the parliaments in the federal and state levels . The Scientific Service of the Bundestag also spoke up at the beginning of the week with a statement in which the current government projects are described as “probably not compatible with the requirements of the Federal Constitutional Court on the admissibility of statutory instruments”.

Spahn’s special powers

Minister Spahn defended his plans to extend and even expand the special powers of the federal and state health ministries under infection protection law in an urgent procedure. He was aware that the measures taken over the past few months were “the greatest restrictions on freedom in the history of the Federal Republic” and “unreasonable demands” for each individual, he told ZDF on Tuesday. Nonetheless, the regulations are not “arbitrary”, have a “legal basis” and are regularly “discussed” by the Bundestag. So far, the special rights to issue ordinances have been limited in time and have to be extended regularly by Parliament. The current ones would expire on March 31, 2021.

Schäuble had already warned on Monday, with a view to Spahn’s plans, “that the Bundestag must make its role as legislator and public forum clear.” Referring to the statements made by the scientific service, he had made proposals on how Parliament could be more involved in decisions on measures to contain the pandemic. The Scientific Service calls for “concrete authorization bases for particularly intensive and wide-ranging measures” to be created. The measures should be limited in time and statutory regulations of the government should be subject to the approval of the Bundestag. Alternatively, Parliament should be able to repeal ordinances.

Representatives of the Union parliamentary group complained that Schäuble could have sought a conversation with the MPs instead of submitting a written statement. In the other parties, however, his suggestions met with great approval. The parliamentary manager of the left-wing parliamentary group, Jan Korte, even sees “almost all of his group’s demands” confirmed.

For his part, last weekend Korte presented a five-point plan for dealing with pandemic regulations in accordance with the constitution. Among other things, he calls on the Federal Government to submit a report on the effectiveness of the previous measures “by the beginning of winter at the latest” and a “comprehensive week of evaluation” on this in the Bundestag. At the same time, the simple rules of hygiene, which “have been proven to counter the spread of the pandemic and have broad acceptance among the population,” must be enforced consistently and across the board, Korte demands.

Bundestag Vice President Claudia Roth (Greens), who criticized Spahn’s plans at the same time, expressed a similar opinion. It could not be that a minister would get “some kind of unlimited general authorization,” said Roth on Deutschlandfunk.

The FDP in turn rushes forward with demands for the complete lifting of the “epidemic emergency”. Their chairman Christian Lindner and Bundestag Vice-President Wolfgang Kubicki have expressed themselves in this direction in the past few days. The FDP parliamentary group submitted an application on Thursday. A catalog of measures contained therein is intended to give parliament more weight again. There is a demand, for example, that the “far-reaching and constitutionally dubious authorization to issue ordinances” should be restricted and that the ordinances should be waived.


Parity law: this is not how equality works – politics

A quick look at the map of Germany is enough to understand that something has to happen. In Bavaria, the proportion of women in the state parliament is almost 27 percent, in Saxony-Anhalt and Baden-Württemberg it is still far lower. Rhineland-Palatinate is one of the model countries on this overview – which means in numbers: 67 percent of the MPs are men. So it is right for the parties to try to change that. But the law of parity is the wrong way to go.

This Friday, the Thuringian rule was also rejected by the Constitutional Court in Brandenburg. The reasoning was similar in both cases: the freedom of a democratic choice counts more than the demand for equal treatment of women vis-à-vis men. It may be difficult to understand socio-politically, but politically it is correct. To run against it now with further parity laws only plays into the hands of right-wing populists. They carry away any success before the constitutional court like a trophy.

A look at France shows how it could work. There, the parity when drawing up the electoral lists is linked to the party funding. Only those who fill the electoral lists equally with women and men receive full state support. This is a strong incentive and still leaves each party free to make their own decisions. Since then, the proportion of women in the French National Assembly has risen to 40 percent. In the Bundestag they make up less than a third of the MPs.


Coronavirus: high time for a dispute in the Bundestag – politics

There was a short window of time in spring, at the beginning of the corona pandemic, when the dangers did not allow long debates. It didn’t depend on hours, but on days. A quick decision had to be taken to reduce citizen contacts as radically as possible in order to stop the exponential spread of the virus. It is very likely that the cuts saved many lives. Opposition politicians in the Bundestag also declared in those days that such a crisis situation was the hour of the executive. But now it is high time that the opposition and definitely also the strong government factions in the Bundestag – that the whole parliament assert its rights with self-confidence.

It is the task of the parliamentarians to ensure that in the coming weeks and months there is no government without contradictions and without debates. The executive hour called in an emergency should be followed by many hours of democracy in dealing with the pandemic in the Bundestag and the state parliaments. The political emergency is not good for the reputation of democracy because it is robbed of its strengths. Thorough debates, supported by knowledgeable experts in committees, are the best way to ensure that good decisions are made and that these decisions are accepted by citizens.

It is true that impatient people like the Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder warn that a decision has to be made quickly again. And that’s right, the infection situation is getting worse. There are reasons to be alarmed. But it is wrong to fall into alarmism that tires people. Even if there are exceptions, the time for unprepared, hasty decisions should be over.

Söder has developed into a kind of super spreader for ideas that are too quick. In doing so, he himself provides new evidence on a daily basis of how necessary stronger controls can be for restless heads of government. He seems all too in love with the idea of ​​recommending himself as a kind of dikemaster in need for higher tasks. The sad Corona balance in Bavaria with a comparatively high number of infections and deaths does not invite you to ask for advice from him. As wrong as it might be to blame him for this balance sheet, his teaching to others was just as inappropriate. This crisis does not call for supposed political heroes who, depending on the political situation of the day, announce going it alone in the federal system or – as Söder did now – put a piece of federalism up for grabs.

It is thanks to federalism that different paths have been shown

In fact, federalism has proven itself in the Corona crisis, even if the last meeting of the prime ministers and the chancellor did not bring convincing results. Even for that hour-long meeting of the heads of government, it was true that it reflected the different problem situations in Berlin, Düsseldorf, Magdeburg or Western Pomerania. That was good. It is only bad if the country leaders get bogged down and fight in conflicts, for example over the ban on accommodation, which are secondary to the containment of the pandemic.

However, it is thanks to you that there have been debates over the past few months about different ways of containing the virus and that different ways have been tried in the countries – which was of great benefit in view of the lack of experience with the pandemic. You have raised awareness that it is good to discuss alternatives. In this sense, it was also helpful that the federal states obtained expertise from different experts – as long as there was a common baseline in the end and not, as was the case recently, cacophony.

For a few weeks, the dispute between the federal states contributed to the fact that the necessary debates, for example about the restriction of the free movement of travel, continued. The Bundestag, on the other hand, looked unsorted, the parliamentary groups and members of parliament did not find their role. The past few months have shown how fatal it can be when the AfD is the largest opposition party in the Bundestag. The deeply shattered faction cannot fulfill its task with its radical and often far-fetched position.

The other groups have long been looking for a new self-image as an answer to the pandemic, torn between supporting necessary decisions and important objections. It didn’t help if FDP boss Lindner occasionally exclaimed, but now no longer to go along with everything. Now his group, but also the Greens and the Left, are making specific proposals. They are exercising their rights and many citizens should respond gratefully.

A very important reason for a fundamental debate could soon be the struggle for the special rights of the Minister of Health through the Infection Protection Act. It is up to Parliament to decide how far restrictions should go – and where there should be.


In Thailand, face to face between royalists and pro-democracy

Face to face in the heart of Bangkok. Two rival protests brought together tens of thousands of demonstrators on Wednesday, October 14, reviving fears of unrest in a country accustomed to political violence.

While students have been demonstrating since July 2020 almost every day to demand the resignation of the Prime Minister and a fundamental reform of the monarchy, the opposing camp of the royalists has mobilized en masse to make its voice heard. Despite a brief scuffle along the route from the Democracy Monument to Government House, the two camps remained at bay.

The tens of thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators wanted to celebrate the 47e anniversary of the student uprising of 1973. They chanted «Prayut dehors! », “Long live the people! “, aimed directly at the current Prime Minister, former general of the junta in power after the coup d’état of 2014. Along the avenue which leads to the Government House, several thousand pro-royalist supporters dressed in yellow, the color of the king in Thailand, mobilized to express their support for the Thai monarchy. “The monarchy has existed for over 700 years, said one of them, they want to overthrow it. We came to bring our love to our sovereign ”.

It is the first time that the royalists and pro-democrats face each other

Since the start of the protests in July, this is the first time the two camps have come face to face. Contacted by encrypted messaging, one of the student leaders of the Free Youth Movement explained that “The king is currently in Bangkok for ceremonies in memory of his father who died on October 13, 2016”. He added that “The instructions are clear among the students: no provocation, no conflict, no violence with the royalists or the police. We want to keep our movement peaceful from the start and show the Thai people that we are responsible ”.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha said the day before the protest that students were responsible for the economic crisis in Thailand. One way to discredit the movement. ” This is the kind of provocation we will respond to with non-violence, explains the leader of the Free Youth Movement. It is the credibility of our movement that the whole world looks on with curiosity. ».

“Nothing can be done in secret”

For Charuwan Lowira-Lulin, a Thai anthropologist researcher who was part of the rebellion at Thammasat University in Bangkok in 1976, “ these young people are impressive in maturity, much more than we were at the time. They know how to communicate with each other and with foreign countries. They know the intimidation tactics of the police and the government, they film everything, are there for every arrest. Unlike 1976, nothing can be done in secret, it is the strength of this movement that will continue to last ».

It remains to be seen whether these students will succeed in mobilizing well beyond the capital. For Thitinan Pongsudhirak, political scientist from Chulalongkorn University in Bankokg, interviewed by AFP, the students “ perhaps overestimated their strength and the movement lacks a clear purpose and program to attract large numbers of people ”. According to him, a real confrontation between pro-royalists and the anti-establishment movement is probable, but not in the immediate future.


Ramzan Kadyrov commented on the brutal murder of a teacher in France

Ramzan Kadyrov commented on the brutal murder of a teacher in France

A photo: Vladimir VELENGURIN

Head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov commented on the brutal murder of a school teacher in the suburbs of Paris. He condemned the attack and expressed his condolences to the relatives of the deceased.

Let us remind you that today an 18-year-old Russian citizen of Chechen nationality Abdulak Anzorov beheaded a French teacher for showing cartoons of the prophet to his students. The police shot the killer on the spot.

Ramzan Kadyrov noted that this is not the first time that attempts are made in France to blame the problems on the Chechens and assured that the Republic has nothing to do with it.

– The offender has no nationality. This is not the first time that people in France are trying to blame all their problems on the Chechens. I dare to assure everyone that the Chechens have nothing to do with it. Anzorov lived almost his entire life in France, spoke their language, grew up next to the French. I would like to emphasize that Anzorov visited the Chechen Republic only once in his life at the age of two years, – the head of Chechnya noted.

The politician added that this tragedy makes one think that the French society “often confuses democracy with permissiveness and demonstration of an inadmissible attitude towards Islamic values.”

Ramzan Kadyrov stressed that Chechnya condemns this terrorist act and opposes terrorism in any form, and also urged not to offend the religious feelings of believers.

As the website reported, the head of the press service of the Russian embassy in Paris stressed that the murderer of the French teacher had nothing to do with Russia, since his family was adopted in 2008 in France, where they have lived since then.


Literature: death of Ruth Klüger, survivor of the death camps

Ruth Klüger, who died Monday in Irvine, California, did not believe that we should no longer write poems after Auschwitz, and that the cinema should refrain from any representation of the camps. She herself was a poet, she remained so after the war, she was already so when she was deported at the age of 11, in 1942, first to Theresienstadt, then to Auschwitz and finally to Christianstadt. “I am not telling anything extraordinary, she writes in Refusal to testify, when I say that wherever I was I recited and composed poems. Many inmates in the camps found consolation in the verses they did not know by heart. […] It was above all the form, the quality of the language that supported us. ”

Refusal to testify was published in Germany in 1992 under the title of Live on, “Continue to live”. It was after having had a serious accident in Göttingen that Ruth Klüger began to write this story, very late, therefore, in the language of her childhood, before translating it herself into English. She was born in Vienna on October 31, 1931, she emigrated at the age of 16 with her mother to the United States, where she became a Germanist – a renowned scholar in her field – in the early 1960s. Her father was doctor. Accused of having performed an abortion, he was imprisoned in 1940, released, then he decided to leave Austria to join Italy. “And there, written by Ruth Klüger, he made the mistake of taking refuge from a fascist country in a democratic country, namely France. The French delivered it to the Germans. From the Drancy camp, he was deported in 1944 to Auschwitz and undoubtedly sent to the gas chamber upon his arrival. ”

Thirst in addition to hunger

No swimming pool, no cinema, except to venture into neighborhood theaters where we do not know her: Ruth Klüger describes the life of a lonely and independent little girl, in a Jewish family, middle-class on the maternal side, in the time of the anti-Semitic measures imposed by the Nazis. Living space is more and more restricted, the apartments more and more cramped. She was deported to Theresienstadt with her mother and paternal grandmother, who died quickly, like all the old and sick crammed into a makeshift hospital. Ruth Klüger joins the children’s building, thirty girls in a room where it would have been better to have three.

“In a way, I liked Theresienstadt, and the nineteen or twenty months that I spent there made me a social being, whereas I had until then been withdrawn, cut off everything, complexed and perhaps even inaccessible. “ Which does not mean that the camp was easy: “I hated Theresienstadt, we read the next page, this quagmire, this cesspool where you couldn’t reach out without bumping into someone else. ” She experiences hunger there. “There isn’t much to say about chronic hunger; it’s still there, and what’s always there is boring to tell. “

Auschwitz is different, it’s worse. For example, thirst in addition to hunger. One day, someone asks Ruth Klüger: “What were you kids doing in Auschwitz?” Did you play? ” Reply : “To play ! We were on call. In Birkenau, I was on roll call, I was thirsty and afraid of death. It was all, and nothing more. “ Thanks to a deportee who makes her understand that she must pretend to be 15 and not 13, and thus saves her, Ruth Klüger can leave Auschwitz for a labor camp, always in the company of her mother. “Simone Weil was right, I have known it since that day, the good is incomparable and inexplicable”, she writes about this woman who gave her good advice to the beard of the Nazi selection officer.

“Image ban”

In the title chosen for the French translation (by Jeanne Etoré, in 1997, published by Viviane Hamy), Refusal to testify, you have to hear several things. We cannot speak for the deportees, repeats Ruth Klüger, nor can we expect them to speak. She herself, for example, explains that she hasn’t told her children much. And it is the use of testimony that she questions. The pocket edition of Refusal to testify (Viviane Hamy Bis, 2005) contains a text entitled Misguided memory: kitsch and camps. She expresses in it why she finds “Suspicious” the multiplication of oral history recordings: “We are not witnesses, but raw material. The being who thinks that it conceals and who assumes his life is secondary. Our ability to distinguish facts from memories is called into question. We are no more than documents, living documents that others must read and comment on. It then appears another way of listening which coincides perfectly with its opposite, of not wanting to listen. “

What does she call kitsch? The opposite of s. The “pornography” sentimental, everything that rounds the angles, lessens the horror of reality, «a way around the problems, a complacent lowering». “Inconceivable”, “unspeakable”, “inexpressible” : all the vocabulary used by the generation of baby boomers to qualify what has been called the Holocaust and then Shoah – it is this vocabulary that is kitsch. For Ruth Klüger, it allows us not to try to understand. She rebels against the“Image ban” decreed by Claude Lanzmann, “Joining Adorno’s musical ban, who refuses any euphony about Auschwitz. In full XXe century, astonishing consequence of the Second World War, it is once again affirmed that there are sacred things that we do not have the right to reproduce, nor even to evoke in words ”.

Viviane Hamy editions have also published Lost on the way, where Ruth Klüger recounts and analyzes the double discrimination that awaited her in the United States in the 1950s, and hence the double emancipation, as a Jew and a woman, that she conquered. But it’s mostly for Refusal to testify that it will remain in the history of literature, and in history itself.

Claire Devarrieux


Steinmeier: Groko should improve the hate speech law – politics

It should become an effective instrument against hatred on the Internet: The law passed by the Bundestag on June 18 to combat right-wing extremism and hate crime is a central project of Federal Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD). But because of constitutional doubts, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier delayed the execution of the law week after week. Now the Federal President has apparently decided to give the grand coalition a chance to make improvements.

He will suspend the issuing procedure in order to “await the adoption of a corresponding amendment regulation by the Bundestag and Bundesrat,” it says in a letter from the Federal President’s Office to the Bundesrat Süddeutsche Zeitung present. Steinmeier had asked the federal government to “work out and introduce the changes as soon as possible”.

For the first time, the legislative package contains a notification obligation for operators of social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. You must report illegal posts to the Federal Criminal Police Office. However, because this would involve the retrieval of so-called inventory data, such as name, address and date of birth, it is very likely that the law would fail at the Federal Constitutional Court. Because on July 17th – after the Bundestag had passed the Hate Speech Act – the court published a decision according to which the retrieval of such data, which is actually not particularly sensitive, must be linked to certain conditions. That referred to telecommunications companies, but the decision should be transferable to social networks, at least that is how the Scientific Services of the Bundestag see it. Regulating the retrieval of such data in accordance with the constitution is by no means an insurmountable hurdle.

In the law now stored by Steinmeier, of course, no noteworthy restrictions are formulated. The Karlsruhe resolution states: “Even information about data whose meaningfulness and possible uses are strictly limited must not be allowed into the blue.”

Even in the office of the Federal President there seems to be no doubt that the set of rules is incompatible with the Basic Law. In the letter, the head of the office Stephan Steinlein wrote, it is said that Steinlein spoke with Lambrecht about the law on the sidelines of a cabinet meeting. “The unconstitutionality of the relevant norms was not in dispute.” According to the letter, this finding also applies to the Customs Investigation Service Act, which is also awaiting execution. The Office of the Federal President, it is said, had been informed that a change should be made by the end of the year under the leadership of the Federal Ministry of the Interior.

The path now taken by Steinmeier is unusual. The Federal President can refuse to issue a law if he considers it to be unconstitutional. Steinmeier would like to keep the law that has already been passed – only individual corrected paragraphs should be added.

The Green politician Renate Künast criticized that the effective fight against right-wing extremism was being further delayed because of a poorly crafted law. “That could and should have been done better,” she said to the SZ. Even if the decision from Karlsruhe only reached the public after the vote in the Bundestag, the concerns had long been foreseeable.

The Federal Constitutional Court had already objected to similar powers to access data in 2012. The Greens have therefore proposed a two-stage process in which the social networks initially only transmit the allegedly illegal post to the BKA, which can then – if it confirms an initial suspicion – retrieve the data.


Racism in Germany – “Not my anti-racism” policy

Is something wrong with me? I am seriously concerned with this question. My parents are from Turkey. And yet I disagree with those people with a migration background who have recently joined Persons of Color (POC) and lament the allegedly omnipresent racism in Germany, smell it in every German who doesn’t Person of Color is. I know what discrimination feels like. I should think the same way, right? Why don’t i do this

But the inflationary racism diagnoses remain alien to me. To put it in an exaggerated way, the finding can be described as follows: All white Germans are racists, they take on their mother’s milk and early childhood socialization, and usually do not even notice it themselves. POC in Germany, on the other hand, are, as it were, as collective victims of collective racism exposed to white Germans.

Most of the young activists want to define what is racist and what is not – according to the motto “Now we talk and decide for ourselves”. Yes, it is good when the majority society is quiet for a moment and listens to the stories that members of minorities have to tell, when men remain silent and hear what women experience as marginal, humiliating, derogatory. In the meantime, however, an unmanageable number of attitudes and actions are diagnosed as “racist”, every experience of rejection, rejection or criticism is related to origin and the right to prohibit whites from speaking on this subject is derived from one’s own experience of discrimination. This is how legitimate criticism of racism is exploited.

Many many no longer know how to behave

As keenly as it is now being waged, the racism debate will not help to reduce injustice. On the contrary: it hardens the fronts, as I have noticed in my private and professional life. The impartial togetherness becomes more difficult; out of fear of being denounced as a racist, many no longer know how to behave, which topics they are allowed to address and what they should not ask.

“Where are you from?” Strangers I get into conversation with refrain from asking me that because it is also considered racist. But I like to explain my origins and sometimes even without asking. I am the daughter of Turkish migrant workers, have lived in this country since I was eight, am now 55 years old, and my origins have played a role for as long as I can remember. My sense of belonging does not depend on whether others admit it to me; I therefore do not consider the question of origin to be exclusive.

That doesn’t mean I haven’t experienced marginalization; many things were very exhausting and stressful, as I can see in retrospect. But: Would it have been much better in Turkey or in another country? It is not a German phenomenon that people, be it because of different social, religious and ethnic origins, or because of different lifestyles, are viewed as unequal and unequal, that they are therefore exposed to hostile attitudes and, at a further level, unfortunately, psychological and physical attacks . Unfortunately, there are prejudices against supposedly foreigners, exclusion and hostility up to violence everywhere.

The direction and tone of the criticism of racism is determined by a young, academically educated generation who, on the one hand, insist not to be reduced to their origin, but to be perceived as “from here”, but on the other hand to pursue identity politics themselves – not only through self-description as people of color but also in celebrating elements from the culture of origin. Politically problematic is the moral superiority that is derived from being affected without renouncing resentment or marginalization. “Your home is our nightmare” is the title of a volume of essays that brings together important authors of the new disintegration debate, such as Fatma Aydemir, Hengameh Yagoobifahrah and Max Czollek.

In Germany there is exclusion and violence against minorities, yes. But it is a free and democratic country, racism is frowned upon in the political, economic and social elites, and minorities are protected by the Basic Law. Is that supposed to be a nightmare?

Some descendants of migrant workers act as if their grandparents and parents had been brought here as forced laborers. But it was the economic and social hardship in the country of origin that led to people leaving their homeland. I am grateful, for example, that my parents emigrated to Germany. In Turkey my two sisters and I would not have had the chances we got here.

In the meantime, however, I have the impression that it is frowned upon as a POC to identify with this country and to feel in good hands here. In any case, I do not want to live in any other country because I am convinced that the democratic system still works best here and that I am a realist. A society without hierarchies, a country where everything is going well, is a utopia.

There was and is a lot to complain about

So that there is no misunderstanding: Not everything went well with the offers for participation. There was and is a lot to complain about in terms of society and politics. Criticism is justified, but aggressiveness is only partially helpful. The bad talk of this society and the bashing of entire professional groups such as police officers, the contemptuous designation of autochthonous Germans as “Almans” or as potatoes, may be good for empowering one another, but it does not generate any constructive discourse. It is well known that communication between people works much better if one does not shout, accuse and bombard the other person with accusations; that makes you tight and impervious to legitimate criticism.

Experience says: Anger does not offer a good set of instruments for change processes. Anger breaks a lot. The general accusation of racism does not simply brand active racists or carefree insensitive people, but also offends all those who are of good will but do not know the – often elitist – language codes of the new anti-racists.

How seldom migration occurs in school as part of world history, how few mechanisms of discrimination and racism are explained, is something I experience again and again in my courses. Diversity, with all of its advantages and challenges, is a reality that is not adequately conveyed and which too often is presented primarily as a problem. This needs to be changed so that resentment does not determine the situation or lead to crime. To do this, people have to learn to think from different perspectives. In this way knowledge and empathy can be built. But not by banning a large part of society from speaking.

Canan Topçu is a publicist and teaches at the Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences.