Last Monday evening, I went to Hauptbahnhof to protest against Bärgida.
What’s behind the silly name? For the better part of a year, racists have gathered every Monday there to voice their discontent with refugees. Fortunately, they’ve never drawn more than a few hundred people or so. The original protest in Dresden, PEGIDA, mobilized up to 20,000 people on its first anniversary.
What should we call these people? Drunken old losers? Racist idiot-fucks? Potentially violent fascists? I’ve got a term that I haven’t seen in the press: terrorists.
Wait a minute – you haven’t heard about the wave of terrorist attacks rolling through Germany? There have been over 500 attacks on asylum seekers’ homes in this year alone. And not only that:
On October 17, Frank S., 44, stabbed Henriette Reker, leading candidate for mayor of Cologne. She won the election the following day, but is still in hospital. Initial reports described the attacker as a crazy person who had been unemployed for years. But Frank S. was a Nazi. (We’ll come back to him in a second.)
On October 21, the police detained 13 people in Franken after raids. They were planning attacks on asylum seekers. They had Nazi devotionals, firearms and knives. You know what the press reported they were trying to acquire from eastern Europe? Pyrotechnics. As if they were planning a fireworks show against asylum. Do you know another word for “pyrotechnics”? Explosives. Yet another word? Bombs. Yes, Nazis were building bombs.
Imagine for a second either of these cases had involved Muslims. We would have seen a panic about “terror cells”. We would have seen roadblocks and police raids. Everyone in the country with a slightly darker skin tone would be called on to distance themselves from the “terrorists”.
But no, these guys were white. They’re “concerned citizens”. And no one is asking Catholic Bishops if they condemn the violence.
Why does it seem so hard to recognise terrorists in Germany? One thing to look at is the role of the state authorities. At the PEGIDA demonstrations in Dresden, hundreds of Nazis attack people they think are immigrants, leftists or journalists. Yet Gordian Meyer-Plath, head of the secret police in Saxony (the Verfassungsschutz), said in an interview he can’t recognize a general influence of the extreme right in PEGIDA. No, the vast majority here are just “asylum critics.” (Kind of like referring to Goebbel’s book burners as “literature critics”, right?) Not terrorists.
It is terrifying enough to think that tens of thousands of racists are filling the streets and demanding the blood of refugees. But there could be a way to strike a balance with the situation… Why won’t they just call it terror already?