This was going to be another mildly depressing, snarky NSA blog post, all about the German and American governments’ latest attempts to pretend that they give a shit about your telecom privacy. They are at least putting more effort into this pretence now. They’re investing in the show. In fact, government responses to the whole business have now become a sort of big-budget Broadway production, with high-profile “talks” alternating with all-singing all-dancing declarations and “reforms.”
The latest is called the No-Spy Agreement, which we’ve heard a lot about from German politicians and not much about from American politicians, because the US knows well that it has nothing to gain from making any such concession to Germany, and that Germany’s attempts to make them feel guilty about Merkel’s phone being tapped aren’t getting them very far.
Like I said, all a bit depressing. So instead I offer you a happy celebration of a 25-year-old local SPD councillor in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern called Patrick Dahlemann. He became a hit this week when he released a video of his intervention in a NPD rally in his home town of Torgelow last summer. (It went viral. Well, German-viral.) Having been invited to take the podium by the local NPD leader on their “anti-asylum tour” of the provinces, Dahlemann accepted the challenge and delivered a stirring spontaneous riposte for his fellow townspeople:
“I understand that you’re scared, but please don’t fall for what these neo-Nazis, who’ve come from the whole state, have got to say. Easy platitudes won’t solve your problems,” he called out from the NPD’s stage. “Please don’t forget that these refugees are people ready to leave their homes because they fear for their lives, because they’re scared to show their political opinion, or because they’re persecuted for their skin colour and their religion.”
Nicely, the NPD – the party that keeps that keeps complaining they’re denied freedom of speech by the German media – filed a copyright claim when Dahlemann posted the video on YouTube, and had it blocked. “The video is illegal,” the NPD told Der Spiegel. “Herr Dahlemann did not ask if he could use our film material.”
Luckily, thanks to the hydra-headed internet, you can watch Dahlemann’s video elsewhere. See? Politicians are courageous sometimes. Even SPD ones.