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I think there is a cultural issue out there which affects German politics...
by MarekNYC on Sun Sep 18th, 2005 at 06:04:18 PM EST
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I don't know if I understand what you mean. The fact that the German women don't produce enough babies? Not an issue you would vote on. No German seems to be concerned about it. What about Inder? Immigration policies? I guess immigration is an issue. I am not in the loop who is for what in Germany. I know who the racists are, though, and those, who are afraid to touch the issue, because they are scared to be viewed as racist, I guess. So, can you explain what you meant and fill me in? Thanks.
by mimi on Sun Sep 18th, 2005 at 08:55:02 PM EST
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Kinder statt Inder was an anti-immigration slogan the CDU used in the statewide elections in Northrhine-Westfalia in 2000. The SPD had proposed a package of laws that would make immigration more attractive for highly trained professionals from countries such as India. The idea behind the CDU slogan was to improve education at home instead.

If you can't convince them, confuse them. (Harry S. Truman)
by brainwave on Sun Sep 18th, 2005 at 09:05:59 PM EST
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It was an election slogan of the CDU, alluding to the fact that the gov-t invited software specialists from India, to help alleviate a shortage in qualified personnel. Hence this rather nasty slogan, which was stupid, too. I mean, if universities could admit more informatics students in year X, that would mean more home-grown specialists in in year X+5, the earliest. Or, if Germans started producing babies like crazy, I can't see how these babies could become software specialists overnight...

I recall Merkel making a comparably stupid remark about Turkish guest workers having to become knowledgeable in German culture. The big problem is to define German culture: if it is the Great Classics, then many Germans would fall short of the mark. Not to mention that it is simply absurd to tell people what to read, what to listen to, and so on. If G. culture is defined as whatever Germans themselves are reading or consuming, one gets a hopelessly cosmopolitan picture. Hopeless from Merkel's point of view, that is. (Not to mention Turkish intellectuals in Germany, who bring their own stuff into the mix.)

A dog's a dog. A Cat's a Cat. (T.S. Eliot)

by BFA (agnes at ims dot uni-stuttgart dot de) on Sun Sep 18th, 2005 at 09:15:48 PM EST
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Thank you, BFA. I wasn't aware of that slogan, but it doesn't surprise me, including Merkels comments about Turkish guest workers.

Gastarbeiter "problematization" is something US religious groups invading Germany under the radar are doing quite effectively. I wonder if that is realized by Germans. I did run more than expected into Mormons in the US who did their missions in Germany with an obvious interest in our "immigration problems". I think they do more than their missionary duties would ask them to do, but obviously you can't say that aloud, because it would mean I discriminate against Mormons.

by mimi on Sun Sep 18th, 2005 at 09:49:08 PM EST
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Alas, I don't know about Mormons in Germany, but I can ask my colleagues here in Stuttgart (I'm Hungarian and a workaholic, so my 1st hand knowledge of things here is not so good). My impressions about Germans and Turkish guest workers are mixed: I think they don't like them, but on the other hand Turks are becoming better and better integrated, and they are just part of the landscape, period. Germany's favourite fast food joints are all Turkish, for instance. (And they are remarkably secular, they serve alcohol, e.g.)

There is at least one Turkish TV-station, and everywhere you go you see Turkish signs and inscriptions, too.

Even relatively conservative Stuttgart, btw, is incredibly mixed ethnically: Russians and other Slavs, Albanians, Chinese and Koreans, you name it. I think there is also a considerable US presence (with banks, corporations). "Real"  Germans here are slow in accepting for'ners (including Germans from elsewhere), but things improve with time.

Back to your initial observation: it's intriguing that Mormons should seek to discreetly stir up things.
Why would they do that? But I think the presence of immigrants is just a given -- and quite a few Germans can see the benefits of immigration, if only in the form of nice food.

A dog's a dog. A Cat's a Cat. (T.S. Eliot)

by BFA (agnes at ims dot uni-stuttgart dot de) on Sun Sep 18th, 2005 at 10:14:33 PM EST
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I have to be careful to draw conclusdions, but I was astonished to learn that Mormons send a lot of their followers to Germany for their missions and the couples I got to know had definitely quite "clear" opinions about our immigration problems and their own in the US. They drew comparisons and used rhetoric I don't appreciate. I know that in Germany such a rhetoric I heard would be clearly put into the right-wing neo-nazi corner. May be it was just a coincidence, but my fear is that religious sects and churches are quite active in Germany beneath the radar. May be I am just hysterical. I shouldn't make a generalization, because I have no proof.

So, take my observations with cautions and forget my generalizations. They might just not be fair and unfounded.

by mimi on Mon Sep 19th, 2005 at 07:38:43 AM EST
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no need to apologise. I would not be very surprised about this. In fact when I was young - ha, a mere 16 years ago, I went to a number of tent-missions and some such, not that I was particularly pious, I simply wanted to save my then girlfriend from becoming a christian fundamentalist, and so I had to go along to disprove all the indoctrination she experienced. I sort of succeded, although she then left me for a horse, but that is a different story altogether...

But at that time, there were quite a number of Americans on the "circus" (tent, making the rounds, eh) as well. Don;t think many of the once I visited were mormons, come to think of it, probably none, but even than, in the late 80ies, Germany was seen as prime missionary target. So there were probably quite a numbe of Mormons out there as well, but even for my Girlfriend they were too patently absurd.

Now to get the step from missionary to being against imigrants, in this particular case, it is more likely to be the against Muslim imigrants, bingo, Germany prime candidate of "Defender of the Christian Faith" medal.

However, as I will explain in my still forthoming magnum opus diary - Religion in Germany, the fundamentalist impetus does not rattle quite a bell as it does in the States, both Catholic and Protestant Mainstreams are to strong for that.

by PeWi on Mon Sep 19th, 2005 at 07:54:36 AM EST
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I looking forward to your magnum opus diary :-). Thanks for responding so kindly.
by mimi on Mon Sep 19th, 2005 at 08:12:46 AM EST
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