This has probably happened to everybody: You’re trying to click the Like button on Facebook, then your hand slips, and all of a sudden you’re shocked to see you’ve made a horribly racist statement.
That’s what recently happened to Beatrix von Storch, co-chairperson of the Berlin chapter of Germany’s young right-wing party, Alternative für Deutschland (AfD). After party leader Frauke Petry had just declared in an interview that police should – “as a last resort” – shoot refugees who try to cross the German border, a Facebook user asked Storch for clarification: “Do you want to block women and children with force of arms?” Her response: “Ja.”
But wait! Storch is not a murderous racist – there’s a perfectly logical explanation! Her finger just “ausgerutscht” (slipped), as she told Der Spiegel over the weekend. So she slipped onto “J”, “a”, “.” and then “Return”? This short video explains how it happened:
I’ve written about Storch before: She’s also in the front row when Christian fundamentalists demonstrate against abortion every September in the middle of Berlin. But Storch’s simple Facebook response kind of trumps her position as self-appointed “protectors of life”, oder? She just admitted that “protection of children” only counts based on what passport they hold.
That’s not all Storch wrote in her application to win my Person of the Year Award. She is an aristocrat and wants to return land that was expropriated after the Second World War to the landed gentry (which would destroy the Tiergarten, among other things). Her grandfather was Hitler’s Reichsfinanzminister. I’ve never been a fan of aristocrats – I think it’s time to go to Ikea and get a Giljotin.
So is this just another story about some crazy right-wingers? Storch and Petry tried to back-pedal about their idea for a Schießbefehl (order to shoot). Storch made that absurd comment about her mouse, while Petry claimed she was misquoted. But despite all the criticism in the media, the AfD is currently enjoying better poll numbers than ever – up to 12 percent, i.e. the third biggest party in Germany.
Are they just demanding what the angry old white man on the street wants? A recent study claimed that 29 percent of people in Germany are in favor of shooting refugees at the border. To paraphrase Bill Hicks: My thumb is not on the pulse of this country!
Let’s try to end on a German lesson. Die PARTEI gives a small example of how important small words can be…
“Der Storch bringt die Kinder.”
(The Stork brings children.)
“Die Storch bringt die Kinder um.”
(The Storch [i.e. Beatrix von] kills children.)
That one “um” makes a big difference!