"Three days after eight Indian men were attacked, injured and chased through an Eastern German town by a mob while the townsfolk looked on, Germany is worried that this latest incident will hurt its image abroad and scare off foreign investors," writes Spiegel International:
This incident was already commented on by some of our readers in the Black History post German Schools and Universities Don't Teach Black History
The eight men were attacked by a mob of around 50 Germans at a street festival in the early hours of Sunday in the small town of Mügeln in the Eeastern German state of Saxony. The trigger for the violence was a brawl on the dance floor in a party tent shortly before 1 a.m., police said. The reason for the brawl was not yet clear.
The Indians left the tent where the dance was being held but were then attacked by a number of Germans who chased them across the town's market place until they took shelter in a pizzeria run by an Indian. The owner let them in, but the mob tried to kick in the doors of the restaurants as a large crowd looked on. The restaurant owner's car was also seriously damaged.
Personal Comment: I don't know which I'm more outraged, ashamed and upset about: The incident itself - another brutal, racist attack on immigrants in Germany with a huge crowd of people watching - or about the impression I get from this article that the attack's negative PR effect seems to be the single most pressing concern for politicians, the media and the business community alike.
Endnote by Joerg: Check out "This isn’t the Germany I know" in the expat blog: Letters Home to You.
Historical analogies are always dangerous. George Will makes one nevertheless in the Washington Post:
UPDATE: More historical analogies between the United States and Weimar Germany: Andrew Sullivan calls President Bush "The Weimar President" after his speech at the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention earlier this week. And Kevin Baker wrote already in June 2006 in Harper's Magazine about "Stabbed in the back! The past and future of a right-wing myth." The articles were recommended by David and Axel in the comments section. Thank you!
After the First World War, politics in Germany's new Weimar Republic were poisoned by the belief that the army had been poised for victory in 1918 and that one more surge could have turned the tide. Many Germans bitterly concluded that the political class, having lost its nerve and will to win, capitulated.
Our regular commentators post very often interesting links in the comments section, which is one more big reason to read the comments section, whenever you got a bit of time to spare.
The two well-known sociologists Richard Sennett and Saskia Sassen claim that their colleagues are being persecuted for the crime of sociology and in the name of the war on terror. Their op-ed in The Guardian has the headline: "Guantánamo in Germany." Yeah, right...
They also claim that the "state of emergency prevails" in Germany, France and the US: "The laws meant for real threats are invoked to counter shapeless fear."
Every February, millions of Americans and Canadians celebrate Black History Month, sometimes referred to as African-American History Month or African Heritage Month. While the month-long series of events discusses oppression and prejudices against people of color, the main aim is to recognize the rich history and culture and significant contributions to society made by people with African heritage.
Patrick is a highschool history teacher and has written for us an essay about what he has (not) learned about black history in school and at university. You can read Bill's English translation of this essay at Jewels in the Jungle: Black History in Germany & Europe: An African-German educator speaks out.
Germany has a long black history, but only few people know about it and it is not taught in school. In order to shed more light on the history and contributions of black people in Germany, the Atlantic Review has teamed up with Jewels in the Jungle blogger Bill, an African-American who has been living in Germany for years, as well as two Afro-German friends of his: Patrick and Patricia.
While the Atlantic Review published only two posts as part of a Black History Month, Bill has written many more posts, which can all be found in chronological order (with the latest post on top) at Jewels in the Jungle: Black History Month.
And the Atlantic Review presents the original German version further down in this post:
Continue reading "German Schools and Universities Don't Teach Black History"
Seven U.S. soldiers have published their view of the situation in Iraq in the International Herald Tribune yesterday.
As responsible infantrymen and noncommissioned officers with the 82nd Airborne Division soon heading back home, we are skeptical of recent press coverage portraying the conflict as increasingly manageable and feel it has neglected the mounting civil, political and social unrest we see every day. (...) The claim that we are increasingly in control of the battlefields in Iraq is an assessment arrived at through a flawed, American-centered framework. Yes, we are militarily superior, but our successes are offset by failures elsewhere. (...) We operate in a bewildering context of determined enemies and questionable allies, one where the balance of forces on the ground remains entirely unclear.
The most important problems, however, are not military ones, but rather lie in the sphere of public security; they elaborate:
(...) a vast majority of Iraqis feel increasingly insecure and view us as an occupation force that has failed to produce normalcy after four years and is increasingly unlikely to do so as we continue to arm each warring side. (...) Washington's insistence that the Iraqis correct the three gravest mistakes we made - de-Baathification, the dismantling of the Iraqi Army and the creation of a loose federalist system of government - places us at cross purposes with the government we have committed to support. (...)
The most important front in the counterinsurgency, improving basic social and economic conditions, is the one on which we have failed most miserably. Two million Iraqis are in refugee camps in bordering countries. Close to two million more are internally displaced and now fill many urban slums. Cities lack regular electricity, telephone services and sanitation. (...)
Four years into our occupation, we have failed on every promise, while we have substituted Baath Party tyranny with a tyranny of Islamist, militia and criminal violence. (...) In the end, we need to recognize that our presence may have released Iraqis from the grip of a tyrant, but that it has also robbed them of their self-respect. They will soon realize that the best way to regain dignity is to call us what we are - an army of occupation - and force our withdrawal.
In their letter, the American soldiers point out that, no matter how good or bad an ally the Sunnis might be to the Americans now, "the enduring question is where their loyalties would lie in our absence."
Thomas L. Friedman makes a similar point in his op-ed piece in the New York Times (subscribers only).
There's only one thing at this stage that would truly impress me, and it is this: proof that there is an Iraq, proof that there is a coalition of Iraqi Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds who share our vision of a unified, multiparty, power-sharing, democratizing Iraq and who are willing to forge a social contract that will allow them to maintain such an Iraq - without U.S. troops.
Eva Haule of the leftist terrorist group RAF was released on parole on Friday. The court ruled that she no longer presented a threat to society. She has, however, shown no remoarse and has not "shed light on the numerous assassinations carried out by her group, many of which remain unsolved," writes Spiegel International.
She was convicted of killing two Americans in a 1985 air base bombing. She was in prison since August 1986.