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Tolerance is dead

by DoDo Tue Oct 19th, 2010 at 05:30:09 AM EST

This past weekend, it was in all the headlines in Germany and beyond: chancellor Angela Merkel declared that "the multiculturalism attempt failed, absolutely failed!". Her actual speech was more nuanced: she described integration of immigrants in positive tones, as something that must be encouraged (fördern) and obligated (fordern). However, she continued with the claim that the obligation side was under-emphasized in recent times, which her government shall mend by imposing stronger demands on immigrants to integrate. A rather insidious and hypocritical argument from the leader of the party that made it policy to block pro-integration policies at every turn in the past three decades (clinging to the "guest workers" fiction to the third generation, opposing the double citizenship law, opposing reforms of Germany's jus sanguinis citizenship law, pursuing deportations, or calling for the codification of a "leading culture", not to mention the "Immigrant youth crime" controversy).

Merkel's burial of multiculturalism is the latest and most grave development in a story that started in the summer, which looks like a re-run of the Netherlands' lurch to xenophobia in the past decade. I described the beginning: the appearance of a well-heeled demagogue over-generalising and magnifying real problems of integration and deftly mixing it with utter paranoia, who was made into a martyr of free speech by the media (Bolkestein in the Netherlands, Sarrazin in Germany) in Green and Oriental Berlin. While Sarrazin was pushed from his well-paid job on the board of the Bundesbank, Merkel held back the top guns of her party. Only conservatives increasingly displeased with her centrism and their own marginalisation kept celebrating Sarrazin (and one of them even invited Dutch Islamophobe -- and freshly jubilant minority government lifeline -- Geerd Wilders for a speech before a paying audience in Berlin). But Merkel had no control over Horst Seehofer, Bavaria's increasingly erratic leader, who last week decided to ride the waves Sarrazin created -- even including a demand to entirely stop immigration from "other cultures".

What Merkel did was, from her position, an attempt to regain the initiative from Seehofer with a milder tone. But for anyone familiar with the media strategies that brought us Bush's America, it is recognisable as a giant lurch of the Overton Window towards xenophobia. And it drowned out what could have induced a move into another direction just a day before. After a Germany-Turkey football match, in which Germany's World Cup star Mesut Özil shot a goal against the team of the country of his parents, the President of Turkey scolded booing fans and declared that he is happy that Özil chose to play for Germany, and said that Turks in Germany should strive to integrate and learn good German.

The one upside is that, even though the media is churning out polls showing apparent wide support for hardcore 'integration' policies, the change of the political landscape doesn't look good for the parties that would advocate them: there is no right-populist party like in the Netherlands, and the SPD + Greens combination hovers around absolute majority in polls (with both parties above 20%).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Oct 18th, 2010 at 02:08:13 PM EST
A minor upside (because that wasn't the focus of media headlines) was Merkel's support for (figurehead) federal president Christian Wulff. In his speech on the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Wulff (who in his prior job as PM of Lower Saxony state installed Germany's first Turkish-German and Muslim education minister) declared:

Das Christentum gehört zweifelsfrei zu Deutschland. Das Judentum gehört zweifelsfrei zu Deutschland. Das ist unsere christlich-jüdische Geschichte. Aber der Islam gehört inzwischen auch zu Deutschland.Christianity is part of Germany without doubt. Judaism is part of Germany without doubt. However, by now Islam is part of Germany, too.

Of course, Wulff's simple words earned outrage on the right of Merke's CDU and its Bavarian sister the CSU. This was probably the trigger of Horst Seehofer's entry into the "integration" debate.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Oct 18th, 2010 at 02:17:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
compliments for a very well-written, topical and historically referenced diary.

very enlightening. angie is tacking harder right, like sarko, bottom fishing for votes in deep slime.

luckily berlu seems more subdued for the moment, his past is bedevilling him too much to allow much latitude for new deviltry of his own... for now, (that we know about).

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Oct 19th, 2010 at 05:49:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed DoDo. Great synopsis.

Is a lot of the "being reasonable" about "understandable" xenophobia that the young middle class haven't seen improvement in their lot, and are further told that it is going to be worse vis å vis lower or no benefits since they are paying for their elders and fewer people are paying into the system?

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Tue Oct 19th, 2010 at 06:18:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I haven't seen any statistics suggesting that the young middle class is the most prone to xenophobia -- in fact, I would guess the opposite.

The style of xenophobia propagated by the CDU (and to a lesser part the CSU) is markedly cultural (rather than faux economical) and has a long history. They first denied immigration, and wanted the "guest workers" to please return home onetime. When that became untenable, they insisted on total cultural assimilation. Implicit in that is not only an opposition to multiculturalism as a co-existence of communities with different cultures (as understood in the USA or Bliarite England), but the denial of multiculturalism within a person. Immigrants shouldn't be allowed to add to the culture. (As everywhere, this is also a denial of history; say the cultural input of past waves of immigration to Germany like the Huguenots or the Polish miners in the Ruhr Area.) This opposition to individual multiculturalism became explicit a decade ago when they opposed double citizenship: immigrants are to choose between being 100% German or 100% Other. And here it is again in the Sarrazin wave, in which the main theme is to make speaking German an obligation and stepping stone, rather than an opportunity to provide.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Oct 19th, 2010 at 12:17:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
With the coming economic difficulties, I fully expect xenophobia to increase in all social ranks. Scarce resources in "Darwin's & Hobbes' World" will make xenophobia seem more rational. As a recently naturalized citizen, that makes me a little bit nervous. But no fear! Apparently, I don't belong to the "subprime migration" wave of Turks and Arabs [/sarcasm].

Our own experience, as well as that of other countries, demonstrates that merely being rich is no bar to a society's retreat into rigidity and intolerance once enough of its citizens lose the sense that they are getting ahead. [...]

But it would be equally foolish to ignore the effects of two decades of economic stagnation for a majority of the nation's citizens in bringing about these hanges. And it would be complacent not to be concerned now that the economy's prospects are in question once again. The history of each of the large Western democracies --the United States, Great Britain, France, and Germany-- is replete with instances of just this kind of turn away from openness and tolerance, [...]

The attitude of people toward themselves, toward their fellow citizens, and toward their society as a whole is different when their living standard is rising from when it is stagnant or falling. It is likewise different when they view their prospects and their children's prospects with confidence as opposed to looking ahead with anxiety or even fear.

Friedman, Benjamin M. The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth

Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 08:07:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"The style of xenophobia propagated by the CDU (and to a lesser part the CSU) is markedly cultural (rather than faux economical)"

I agree and I suspect this is not only the case of the CDU. This is a tad too often given a racial twist... I don't know about the Poles in Germany, but the spanish or italian immigrant waves decades ago were not exactly met with flowers and red carpets in the south of France. This kind of clash of cultures is intrinsic to international migration.
Recent anti-immigrant reactions could well be fueled by a sentiment of being overwhelmed rather than enriched by the new culture.
Funny enough, there was a report on France 24 the other day about young german-turks returning to Turkey to profit opportunities there and away from a "blocked" Germany.
What's more worrying though IMO is the situation reflected in this article:

"Long-term surveys are more reliable of public opinion and they suggest more stable and moderate views, but it's far from a happy picture.
Two-thirds (69 per cent) of migrants say they feel happy in Germany, according to a survey commissioned earlier this year by the Bertelsmann Foundation.
However, every second migrant says they don't feel accepted by German society, a figure rising to 61 per cent among those with Turkish roots. One in four Turks feels utterly alien in Germany

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 06:24:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed what the current push across Europe with the rallying cry "integration" forcefully overlooks is that integration needs both sides, and the greatest block of integration is the daily confrontation with xenophobes (which can be overbearing even if just every 20th man one meets in daily life is one of them).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 06:33:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I confess my own opinion on this xenophobic stuff shifted a bit the moment I have understood that one person acting xenophobically was doing so from the shock of my own behaviour which appeared, to her, as I came to see later, very unusual. And when I managed to forget for a moment my own inner conflicts by endless attempts to arbitrate between adjusting to a different way and holding on to my own identity, I actually did come to enjoy those moments of communion in my newly-found community. I still could not answer which way is better: assimilate and enjoy your new life, trying to forget a big part of your former self. Or holding on to most of it, and trying instead to get used to that reflex glint of "odd" in the other's eyes when looking at you. Balancing is a nearly impossible task, and in my experience most non-european, and even many european-origin immigrants find it way too hard to accomplish.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 11:48:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One of the factors at play here is the CDU's election loss in North Rhine-Westphalia last spring, and not only because it made Merkel more dependent on the CSU (Bavarian) rightists and their allies elsewhere.

The CDU in NRW was, for a "C-party", very open-minded about immigration and comfortable with multiculturalism. When in power, they were the first state government to raise immigration issues to the ministry level. Also, CDU mayors were instrumental in building community consensus in favor of mosques in Cologne and Duisburg.

But Rüttgers' CDU was voted out of office, the counterweight to the nativist wing has been discredited within the CDU, and both the bigots and the opportunists have taken note.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Tue Oct 19th, 2010 at 03:35:46 AM EST
What a year of wonders Merkel has had in 2010...

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Oct 19th, 2010 at 03:49:39 AM EST
Wulff counterattacks (while visiting Turkey). From the Süddeutsche
Zum Auftakt seines Türkei-Besuchs gab Wulff der großen türkischen Boulevardzeitung Hürriyet ein Interview. In dem Gespräch setzte Wulff ein erstes Zeichen - und zerstreute die Hoffnungen manch konservativer Unionspolitiker, ihr Parteifreund im höchsten Staatsamt würde zurückrudern. Wulff ruderte nicht zurück, sondern legte nach und widersprach in deutlichen Worten den Thesen von CSU-Chef Horst Seehofer über die mangelnde Integrationsfähigkeit von Türken.

"Ich wende mich gegen jedes Pauschalurteil", sagte Wulff der Hürriyet. "Zu behaupten, eine ganze Gruppe könne und wolle sich nicht integrieren, halte ich für falsch."

The FDP also attacks Seehofer
Noch deutlicher als Wulff wurde die Justizministerin Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger in ihrer Kritik an Seehofer. "Der CSU-Chef will hier offenbar auf der Sarrazin-Welle surfen", sagte die FDP-Politikerin der Passauer Neuen Presse. Der bayerische Ministerpräsident suche "nach einem Thema zur persönlichen Profilierung".
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Oct 19th, 2010 at 04:10:45 AM EST
Could this end up with the CDU and CSU splitting?

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Oct 19th, 2010 at 04:17:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Any idea how many votes the CSU would get outside Bavaria if that happens?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Oct 19th, 2010 at 04:21:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The CSU would certainly have a chance to draw away the Sarrazin-loving members of the CDU; but what I wonder about is where the economic liberal conservatives would go -- I'm not sure that tax-cut populism would be enough for them to be confortasble with the CSU.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Oct 19th, 2010 at 11:41:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Would be nice, but I haven't seen the Bavarians making that threat in the current brouhaha (though I may have missed it). Seehofer climbed back from making impossible conditions before.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Oct 19th, 2010 at 11:37:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Translating president Wulff's key sentence against Bavarian PM Seehofer for those not speaking German:

"Ich wende mich gegen jedes Pauschalurteil", sagte Wulff der Hürriyet. "Zu behaupten, eine ganze Gruppe könne und wolle sich nicht integrieren, halte ich für falsch."I oppose every blanket judgement", Wulff told the Hürriyet. "I think the claim that a whole group cannot or doesn't want to integrate is wrong."

As for the FDP's federal justice minister, her outrage was more predictable (she is a last fossil of the FDP's onetime social liberal wing, and was Seehofer's coalition partner in Bavaria before going into the Merkel II government), she used the same image I did in the diary: Seehofer tries to surf on Sarrazin's waves.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Oct 19th, 2010 at 11:48:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Süddeutsche provides some facts, including the facts that Germany is facing net emmigration, that the country that provides the most immigrants is Poland, and that last year there were less than 20.000 immigrants from outside the EU.
Wie viele Menschen wandern noch nach Deutschland ein?

Unter dem Strich niemand mehr: Vergangenes Jahr kamen zwar etwa 721.000 Menschen nach Deutschland, gleichzeitig verließen aber 734.000 Leute das Land. Wegen der Bereinigung von Melderegistern halten Statistiker die Auswanderungszahlen jedoch für etwas zu hoch angesetzt. Man kann also davon sprechen, dass sich Zu- und Abwanderung seit drei Jahren etwa die Waage halten. Die meisten Zuwanderer kamen vergangenes Jahr aus Polen (123.000).

Wie viele Fachkräfte kommen derzeit ins Land?

Aus Staaten von außerhalb der EU sind es weniger als 20.000, davon waren im vergangenen Jahr gerade einmal 311 Hochqualifizierte, also beispielsweise Spitzenmanager mit einem Jahresgehalt von mehr als 66.000 Euro oder Professoren.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Oct 19th, 2010 at 06:37:26 AM EST
Thumbs up for the Süddeutsche for still doing what all papers left of the FAZ and Bild did in the past: subjecting xenophobic claims about immigration to a reality check. For those not speaking German:

  • The first point is about actual migration stats. While Sarrazin and Seehofer were scaremongering, Germany already has net emigration, and the largest group of immigrants last year was not Turks nor Arabs nor any other "other cutlure" but Poles.

  • The second point is about the immigration of qualified employees. While Seehofer pretends that there are too many, those from outside the EU numbered just 20,000, and (in the not quoted part) those from the EU just 9,500, there are jobs for a lot more.

  • The article also points out that the claim of the CSU's general secretary about one million immigrants unwilling to integrate is without any basis in researched facts, the government is just assembling such stats. They give one example: the number of girls refusing to take part in school trips, which is 10% for Muslims, and 5% for others.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Oct 19th, 2010 at 12:00:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Here are some more details of immigrants to Germany based on country of origin
Hauptherkunftsländer der Zuwanderer waren im Jahr 2009 Polen (123.000), Rumänien (56.000), die USA (30.000), die Türkei (30.000) und Bulgarien (29.000).
The same number of immigrants from the US as from Turkey! I hope they make some effort to integrate, including eating at German restaurants rather than at McDonalds, or Wulff will have to make some comments on that when he visits the U.S.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Oct 19th, 2010 at 05:08:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Let me do the ET thing and do one better than the media, and bring some original
sources from the Federal Statistics Office:

  • Press release on immigration in 2009, with the above quoted numbers on the nationality of immigrants. Numbers of interest not quoted so far: out of the 734,000 immigrants and 721,000 emigrants, 606,000 resp. 579,000 were foreign citizens (a net immigration of 27,000); however, among Turkish citizens, the numbers were 30,000-40,000 = net emigration of 10,000.

  • Press release on naturalizations in 2009: of the 96,100 integrating this way, the by far largest group are the 24,647 Turks. That's 1.6% of the number of those eligible, slightly lower than the average, but much lower than the same ratio for citizens of Iraq (13.8%) or Afghanistan (10.3%) -- then again, the big wave of naturalizations was from 2000, when citizenship law was changed.

  • Press release on foreign residents in 2009: the number stands at 6.69 million, 32,800 less than a year earlier (a number including changes due to migration, naturalization, deaths and births). The drop is almost equalled by that in Turkish citizens: -30,300 to 1.66 million. There was a gain of the same size in citizens of the former Jugoslavia. Among EU citizens, there are major gains in citizens of Romania, Bulgaria and Poland (in that order) and major losses in citizens of Italy and Greece. As for the idiocy of jus sanguinis: 20% of foreign residents were born in Germany...

  • Press release on inhabitants with a migrant background in 2008: the total (which includes everyone who was born abroad or had parents immigrating after 1950) is 15.6 million out of 82.1 million residents. Of this, 7.3 had a foreign citizenship (including double citizens). 10.6 million are immigrants themselves, including 3.1 million so-called 'late re-settlers' who got citizenship based on jus sanguinis (or being a spouse of one with German ethnicity). Of the rest, 1.7 million were born in Germany but got no citizenship. Of the total, 2.9 million are of Turkish origin, followed by 1.4 million from Poland and 1.3 million from the former Jugoslavia. Only 1.3 million of the total has multiple roots. Much lower education ratios and twice as high unemployment resp. higher low-paid jobs ratio should not come as surprise -- here a differentiation according to first- and second-generation as well as naturalized and non-naturalized 'people with migrant background' would have been more interesting.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 06:27:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Regarding naturalizations, just to emphasize: a major stumbling block for many of those not naturalized yet is the right-wing blockade of the double citizenship law. That is, most people have to forego their other citizenship to gain the German one.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 07:23:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Turkish law has been changed, but I think that Germany required that you not just renounce the foreign citizenship, but that the other country accept the renunciation. In some countries this is not automatic, and I think that Turkey would require that you did military service first.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 07:33:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
is that these developments in Germany are happening at lightning speed.

In the Netherlands, Bolkenstein made his astute commentary early nineties (and I fundamentally disagree he was anything but over-generalising, magnifying or paranoid, as testified in his 1991 keynote editorial). It was only in 2002 when the party of Pim Fortuyn maximally capitalized on the reality of a floundering multicultural society and the (global) trend of increased suspicion of everything Islam-y since 9/11. And still, this was before the bestial murder on Van Gogh, the clampdown on immigration by "Iron Lady" Rita Verdonk, and the emergence of Geert Wilders. It took more than 15 years.

Mostly it reminds of the quick rise of the Pim Fortuyn party in 2002. If Merkel really sets course on a strategy that follows the same one of the Dutch christian-democrat, JP Balkenende, it carries significant risks for political stability. Since 2002, the governments of Balkenende, and his own party the CDA, have considerably thrown up higher barriers for immigrants, which have indeed led to a decrease of the flow of immigrants. And yet here we are with Geert Wilders forming the invisible third man behind the fresh minority government. So what good did that ever do?

And let's not forget that the  enormous gain of the Pim Fortuyn Party during the 2002 elections likely created the most incoherent, unstable and moronic government the Netherlands have had, lasting not more than 83 days.

So to me, this German catch-up following a Dutch scenario is happening at a pace that may portent future political instability. Germany should be very careful what it should wish for.

by Nomad (Bjinse) on Tue Oct 19th, 2010 at 01:53:07 PM EST
Yes, the German right is moving into xenophobia without bring pushed by electoral gains by the extreme-right. I tend to see it as an attempt to pre-empt the scenario with a xenophobic party in parliament. The question is if they will succeed or if it will merely boost the existing neo-nazi parties.

Game theory aside, it shows that humanitarian values are no cornerstone if they can be abandoned like this.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Oct 19th, 2010 at 04:12:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
pre-empt the scenario with a xenophobic party in parliament

With emphasis on the fear of their own increasingly dissatisfied right wing splitting off.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 07:31:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
he was anything but over-generalising, magnifying or paranoid

Well, I learned of his views at the stage he had Eurabia visions and made historical comparisons, that's at least paranoid.

his 1991 keynote editorial

Do you have some on-line link that can be fed more easily into Google translate?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 07:30:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I wonder when it was when you learned about his views.

You draw a parallel with the role Bolkestein played in the Netherlands in shifting the public debate on the multicultural society. As I explained, this was from the early nineties until Bolkestein became a EU Commissioner in 1999. It is that time period you want to consider. The parallel becomes patently bunk if Bolkestein is retrospectively charged with everything he said in public since that time.

You can, as I did, look for his speeches and editorials at Bolkestein's website.

by Nomad (Bjinse) on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 10:14:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You draw a parallel with the role Bolkestein played in the Netherlands in shifting the public debate on the multicultural society. As I explained, this was from the early nineties until Bolkestein became a EU Commissioner in 1999. It is that time period you want to consider. The parallel becomes patently bunk if Bolkestein is retrospectively charged with everything he said in public since that time.

Not necessarily. If he has a subsequent history of making blatant and easily debunked bad-faith arguments and flat out lies, then it casts some doubt on the honestly and propriety of his previous conduct (which, being further removed in time, is harder to verify). Of course, it could be a case of him being a one-trick pony who used to have a point but felt that he had to crank his shtick up to eleven when everybody else started agreeing with him. But the alternate hypothesis, that he always was a dishonest crank, is at least as plausible.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 10:20:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
which probably lost the referendum in France, and thus fcuked up the EU for several decades at least, is an interesting case in point.

Incredibly, he came to France to promote this directive, during the referendum campaign. As I remember, there were blatant, fairly easily-debunked bad-faith lies involved.

If I recall correctly, what he had wanted (before the directive was largely eviscerated) was that anyone (in the list of occupations concerned) could work in any EU country, while paying social security contributions only in their country of origin (i.e. at a much lower rate in many cases, or... not at all, if they didn't get round to filing the paperwork)

He denied fervently that it would work like that, but the directive was clear.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 01:28:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For the time being, try this from 2002 (Word!). It's an interesting piece: despite several Atlanticist overtones, bits of Orientalist kitch, and a rather stupid rhetorical argument on why Saddam is supposed to have chemical weapons, he comes out against the Iraq invasion with sensible arguments and dismisses Al Qaida and Middle Eastern regimes as serious risks for the West. So IMO clearly not a total fluke, and can think for himself, but there is a certain shallowness of analysis and certain idées fixes that look for confirmation.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 02:44:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Unfortunately, he seems to prefer Word, but I'll Google.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 02:36:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I tested one of Bolkestein's recent pieces for distortions. Quotes from him in orange/grey blockquotes.

In Amsterdam schorste het GVB onlangs een trambestuurder omdat hij een christelijk kruis droeg op zijn uniform. Het dragen van een islamitisch hoofddoekje boven datzelfde uniform is wel toegestaan. De tramconducteur werd door de rechter in het ongelijk gesteld.

An Amsterdam tram driver was kicked out for wearing a crucifix over his uniform, but the same company doesn't prohibit the Muslim veil above the uniform, Bolkestein claims. But he forgot certain details:

Court backs ban on tram driver's crucifix | Radio Netherlands Worldwide

A tram driver, Ezzat Aziz, had brought the case because his employer had forbidden him from wearing a necklace bearing a Christian cross outside his uniform. He had been suspended several times for wearing the necklace.

Mr Aziz claimed he been subjected to unequal treatment. He said that while he was not allowed to wear his necklace, there was no ban on Islamic women employees wearing headscarves.

However, the court sided with the Mr Aziz's employer. The Amsterdam public transport service pointed out that its employees are not allowed to wear necklaces of any kind, with or without religious symbols. They are allowed to express their religion visibly in other appropriate ways, such as by wearing a bracelet or ring. The court concluded that the rules were reasonable and there was no question of any religious discrimination.

Conductor banned from wearing crucifix necklace | Radio Netherlands Worldwide

An Amsterdam appeal court has ruled that the Amsterdam public transport service is within its rights to ban its conductors from visibly wearing a necklace bearing a crucifix.

...The court ruled that the public transport service wasn't guilty of discrimination because the rule wasn't against wearing religious symbols, but simply against visibly wearing necklaces. For security reasons the service's dress code bans employees from wearing any necklace outside the uniform.

The dress code allows the wearing of headscarves, as long as they bear the company logo. And the transport service points out that if Mr Aziz wants to express his religious belief, he's welcome to wear a ring or an earring with a crucifix.

Nevertheless, Mr Aziz says he's disappointed in Dutch justice. As a member of the Coptic Church, in Egypt he was barely able to express his religion. He expected things to be different in the Netherlands.

Een Nederlandse advocaat weigert op te staan als de rechter binnenkomt omdat hem dat door zijn godsdienst, de islam, verboden wordt. De desbetreffende rechter, Peter Ingelse, zei dat de advocaat mocht blijven zitten, omdat hij, Ingelse, zich niet beledigd voelde. De rechter vergat daarbij dat advocaten niet moeten opstaan uit respect voor de rechter, maar uit respect voor de wet.

Bolkestein tells the story of a Muslim lawyer in the Netherlands, who concluded from a Koran passage that standing up for someone who enters a room constitutes disrespect for people as equal, and thus refused to stand up when judges enter. Bolkestein then scolds the judge for tolerating it just because he did not feel insulted in his person, whereas standing up should be about showing respect to the law not his person. Well, that's both plagiarism and apparently a severe mis-representation of Ingelse's argument:


According to the Lawyers Association, Mohammeds refusal contravenes the rules of the court. 'A lawyer should 'pay respect' to the court. Not to judges as persons, but to the court as part of the rule of law.'

There is no legal rule however that says what 'paying respect' looks like. According to the dean of the Lawyers Association 'standing up when the court enters is the common way of showing respect'.

...Judge and Vice-President of the court of appeal of Amsterdam Peter Ingelse wrote in NRC (one of the larger national newspapers) on 8 September, that lawyers in the seventies and eighties bowed before the court. "Some almost kissed the floor", he said. Ingelse himself was a so called first aid lawyer, providing 'access to law' for poor people out of ideological reasons. "We did not like this bowing at all, so we just did not do it." He was convinced that 'respect' could only be earned and deserved, not enforced. Looking back now at his behaviour then, he concludes that respect for the court has not diminished, even if every now and then he sees persons in court refusing to stand up. He is more afraid of future diminished respect because of a forced way of enforcing rituals in court.

De Haagse Hogeschool heeft een kerstboom laten verwijderen uit angst dat moslimstudenten dit christelijke symbool (sic) aanstootgevend zouden vinden.

He claims Hague University banned the Christmas tree out of respect for Muslim students. The truth:

The Dutch higher vocational school `Haagse Hogeschool (HHS)` (calling itself The Hague University - but don't be fooled, it's not a university), has banned the christmas tree from its school. Well, contrary to many reports, not every where, but in in the main entrance hall. According to HHS they wanted a more international approach for the coming holidays so they choose `light' as a broad and positive theme expressed in light curtains, new years card and a charity action that fits more with the diverse character of its population. In other parts of its building there are christmas trees.

Engeland laat zien dat het nog erger kan. Daar heeft de gemeente Oxford besloten Kerst af te schaffen en te vervangen door het `Winterlichtfestival'.

Oxford supposedly abolished Christmas and replaced it with Winter Lights Festival. Here Bolkestein merely bought into a typical British media hysteria.

Oxford Inspires' Statement on WinterLight

We are sorry that a distorted and inaccurate portrayal of the WinterLight Festival in the press has given offence to people, and that the event itself has been so maligned.

WinterLight is a festival of winter events which happen from mid November to early January across Oxfordshire, many of which incorporate candlelight, fire or illuminations. Across Oxfordshire WinterLight features many Christmas events including Christmas Lights Switch Ons, a Christmas Festival and an Advent Fair. It also includes winter events such as pantomime shows, opera on ice and music concerts by candlelight.


WinterLight Oxford on 28th November coincides with the city`s Christmas Lights switch on event and with the re-opening of Bonn Square. WinterLight is happening in addition to Oxford City Council's Christmas programme which includes Christmas trees, Christmas Lights and the annual Carol Concert.


WinterLight does not distance itself from Christmas in the slightest. Oxford Inspires has not suggested removing the word "Christmas" from festive events. It has never considered doing so. The "WinterLight" publicity brochure features a Christmas tree on the cover and is in the format of an Advent Calendar with windows opening to reveal events.

In Neukölln, een stadswijk van Berlijn waar veel moslims wonen, zou een tentoonstelling worden gehouden over `De Derde Wereld in de Tweede Wereldoorlog'. Een klein deel van de tentoonstelling ging over de medeplichtigheid van Arabieren aan misdaden van de nazi's. Na protesten van moslims werd de tentoonstelling gesloten. De Berlijnse wethouder van integratie Günter Piening zei: `In een gemeenschap als Neukölln hebben we een gedifferentieerde voorstelling nodig van de betrokkenheid van de Arabische wereld bij de Tweede Wereldoorlog.'

Bolkestein tells of an exhibition about the Third World and WWII which was supposedly closed at the pressure of local Muslims protesting the showing of Arab Nazi collaborators. This is completely off, from Muslim through conflict parties to being closed:

Umstritttene Ausstellung: Neuköllner Kulturwerkstatt bekräftigt Kritik - Berlin - TagesspiegelThe Culture Workshop of Neukölln reinforces its criticism - Berlin - Tagesspeiegel
Die umstrittene Ausstellung ,,Die Dritte Welt im Zweiten Weltkrieg" ist am Donnerstag eröffnet worden - mit einer Distanzierung und verschärften Kritik von der Leitung der Werkstatt der Kulturen. Nicht allein die drei Schrifttafeln über arabische Nazi-Helfer lehne man ab, sondern alle 18 Texttafeln zu Kollaborateuren aus der Dritten Welt. Das habe die Leiterin der Werkstatt, Philippa Ebéné, bereits im Mai den Ausstellungsmachern mitgeteilt. Dies sei aber in der aktuellen Berichterstattung unterschlagen worden.The controversial exhibition "The Third World in the Second World War" was opened on Thursday - accompanied by a distancing and sharpened criticism from the leadership of the Workshop of Cultures. They reject not only the three tablets about Arabic Nazi helpers, but all 18 tablets about collaborators from the Third World. The leader of the Workshop, Philippa Ebéné, told this to the exhibition makers in May already. However, this has been missing in the recent media reports.
,,Es überfordert die Besucher, wenn die Opfer im Nahen Osten, in Afrika und Asien in einem Atemzug mit Kollaborateuren und japanischen Aggressoren genannt werden", erklärte Ebéné. Es sei schließlich auch in der wissenschaftlichen Aufarbeitung der europäischen Geschichte nicht üblich, Opfer neben Täter zu stellen. ,,Denkbar wäre, das Thema Kollaboration gesondert in einer Ausstellung im kommenden Jahr zu erarbeiten", so die Leiterin des Kulturhauses."It demands too much of visitors if victims in the Middle East, Africa and Asia are mentioned in the same breath with collaborators and Japanese aggressors", Ebéré explained. [According to her], it is not going practice to put victims next to perpetrators in the reprocessing of European history either. "It would be a possibility to work out the collaboration theme separately in an exhibition next year", said the leader of the Culture House.
Doch zu solchen Überlegungen kam es nicht. Nach ihrer Erklärung, vom Hausrecht Gebrauch zu machen, wenn das Thema Kollaboration in der Sammlung bleibe, erntete die Werkstatt-Leiterin harsche Kritik. Der Integrationsbeauftragte des Senats, Günter Piening, schaltete sich ein und vermittelte den Kompromiss, dass zumindest eine verkleinerte Ausstellung in der Neuköllner Werkstatt der Kulturen gezeigt werde. Der Vorstand akzeptierte das am Wochenende - ohne von seiner inhaltlichen Kritik abzurücken. Die Werkstatt plant, mit drei Veranstaltungen ihre eigene Position zu thematisieren. Ebéné selbst wollte beim Vermittlungsgespräch nicht zugegen sein. ,,Ich bin die Einzige, die biografische Bezüge zu dem Thema Kolonialisierung hat", erklärte die Afrodeutsche am Donnerstag. Ihr Name sollte nicht im Zusammenhang mit dem Kompromiss stehen.However, it didn't came to such considerations. After her declaration about exerting the right of the house owner if the collaboration theme remains in the collection, the workshop leader earned harsh criticism. Berlin's alderman for integration, Günter Piening, intervened and negotiated a compromise, so that at least a reduced exibition is shown in the Neukölln Culture Workshop. The board accepted that over the weekend - without stepping back from its criticism of the substance. The workshop plans to thematise its own position in three exhibitions. Ebéné herself did not want to attend the negotiation talk. "I am the only one who has biographical relationship to the theme colonisation", the African-German declared on Thursday. Her name should not be connected with the compromise.

He continues like this but my comment is long enough. Every single one of his examles are distorted to fit his argument, and the Dutch ones can't even be ascribed to a good faith misreading of distorted media reports. Sarrazin's way of arguing was the exact same.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 09:08:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Putting it badly, those who first break a story controls the story.    

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 01:15:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed the more benign reading of the above list from Bolkestein would be that it is a showcase of anti-Muslim hysteria in the media (instead of the intended illustration of self-doubting Westerners giving way Muslim cultural aggression). However, in the Dutch cases, he is not just channelling media spin, but adds his own misrepresentations and presents some arguments of the participants as if they were his own outsider observations: he gains control of the story long after it broke by suggesting a compelling pattern.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 02:32:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I should have though of this sooner: the Google cache of that Word document is easy to find and easily fed into Google translate...

I finished just three pages out of ten, but already I don't like it. Nothing yet about integration; he is talking about ups and downs of civilisations in sweeping tones, agrees as a liberal to Delors's contention that Christianity is one of the three bases of European civilisation with a sleight of hand and a mocking of Turkey, then goes into listing the illiberal ills of the Muslim world without considering any factors other than religion, and blaming all conflicts involving Muslims (with Israel at the end of the list) on the Muslims -- essentially, the worldview behind Huntington's Clash of Civilisations. So I'm sorry but it very much seems to me that he had the idée fixe about the Muslim Problem two decades ago already.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 04:02:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Pages 4-7 are about integration, and make much more sense after a bad start. Bolkestein starts out treating Muslim immigrants as a block, without differentiation, in effect under collective suspicion of importing the 600 year backwardness of Muslim Civilisation. But at least the statistic he quotes (20% of Muslim girls not part of education; pre-online reference I can't check) shows a problem with a minority, and then he goes on to compare the French and Dutch philosophy: the French state hostility to communitarianism and the Dutch tradition of pillarisation that leads to the positive view of compartmentalising even education among communities. He then asks, which is the better policy, and doesn't the Dutch policy reinforce segregation of Muslim immigrants.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 04:21:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The piece ends with more arguments against segregated and religious schools, where he asks whether liberal or fundie Islam would be taught; and an extended argument against voluntary integration programmes (in particular when husbands could keep wives at home).

He again cites examples from 20 years ago which I can't check back on, nor can I check whether Dutch law at the time regulated religious schools in any way. At any rate, Mohammed Bouyeri, the murderer of Theo van Gogh, did not come from segregated schools, and went bonkers in religious matters at age 25 after he turned a dropout and then his mother died, according to Wikipedia.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 04:49:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nomad: Germany should be very careful what it should wish for.

And yet, here is one sign that Germans remain quite reflective of the potential ultimate consequences of racism and xenophobia in their recent past:

Hitler Exhibition is a Visitor Magnet / Hitler-Ausstellung ist Besuchermagnet | Berliner Morgenpost - Soenke Schierer (2010.10.20)

In five days, already 15,000 people have come to the German Historical Museum.  The primary attraction for visitors is not the dictator himself, but rather his effect on the population.

It's 11 o'clock in the morning.  The German Historical Museum has been open for one hour.  Though the queue to get in keeps moving, it is nevertheless quite long.  The reason for this is the exhibition: "Hitler and the Germans.  The National Identity and Wrongdoing/Crime".  Since the start of the exhibition on Friday, more than 15,000 visitors have seen it.

The interest is great, and among all age groups.  After one hour, in a queue that already goes to several corners around the museum, young families with children, couples, and older people are waiting to bear witness to history.  Even 65 years after the end of the Second World War, Hitler and National Socialism obviously remain a subject that affects people. <...>

According to the museum, the exhibition is not just a striking display of the events of the Nazi period.  Nor is Hitler alone its main focus.  The exhibition deals much more with the dictator's effect on the population, and that is the subject which the visitor is meant to explore.  In this way, Germany society under National Socialism and its significance in Hitler's domination are also examined.  Hitler's ascent from an unremarkable character in younger years to an unscrupulous politician obsessed with power was made possible largely and even foremost through the population.

The Title Invites Questioning

This is precisely what Rudolf Trabold, spokesperson of the German Historical Museum, sees as another key factor of the exhibition's success so far.  "The name of the program was selected quite consciously.  Each person must feel personally spoken to.  After all, each of us contributes to the "national identity [i.e. People's Community]".  Back then just as today.  The significance of that period's political-social conditions is extensively highlighted. The mobilization of social fears and hopes, which was so decisive for Hitler's party and his power political goals, is a central theme. ...


In fünf Tagen sind bereits 15.000 Menschen ins Deutsche Historische Museum gekommen. Der Diktator selbst spielt bei den Besuchern nicht die tragende Rolle - vielmehr ist es seine Wirkung auf die Bevölkerung.

Es ist elf Uhr am Vormittag. Das Deutsche Historische Museum hat seit einer Stunde geöffnet. Zwar geht es merklich voran, die Schlange der auf Einlass Wartenden ist aber trotzdem schon lang. Der Grund dafür ist die Ausstellung: ,,Hitler und die Deutschen. Volksgemeinschaft und Verbrechen". Seit Ausstellungsbeginn am vergangenen Freitag haben sie schon mehr als 15.000 Besucher gesehen.

Das Interesse ist groß und das in allen Altersklassen. In der Warteschlange, die schon nach einer Stunde um mehrere Ecken des Museums reicht, stehen Jugendliche, Familien mit Kindern, erwachsene Paare und ältere Menschen, die durchaus Zeitzeugen sein könnten. Auch 65 Jahre nach dem Ende des Zweiten Weltkriegs bleiben Hitler und der Nationalsozialismus offensichtlich ein Thema, das die Menschen bewegt. <...>

Nach Angaben des Museums bildet die Ausstellung nicht einfach plakativ die Geschehnisse der Nazizeit ab. Auch ist es nicht Hitler alleine, der die tragende Rolle in der Ausstellung spielt. Vielmehr geht es um die Wirkung des Diktators auf die Bevölkerung, die der Besucher erforschen soll. Und dabei wird auch die deutsche Gesellschaft im Nationalsozialismus und ihre Bedeutung für die Herrschaft Hitlers untersucht. Der Aufstieg Hitlers - in seinen jungen Jahren eine unscheinbare Persönlichkeit - zu einem skrupellosen, besessenen Machtpolitiker ist zu großen Teilen auch erst durch die Bevölkerung ermöglicht worden.

Titel macht neugierig

Genau darin sieht Rudolf Trabold, Pressereferent des Deutschen Historischen Museums, auch einen der Schlüsselfaktoren für den bisherigen Erfolg der Ausstellung. ,,Der Name ist Programm und bewusst so gewählt. Jeder soll sich angesprochen fühlen. Schließlich sind wir alle Teil der Volksgemeinschaft. Damals wie heute." Die Bedeutung der politisch-gesellschaftlichen Umstände der damaligen Zeit wird ausführlich beleuchtet. Die Mobilisierung sozialer Ängste und Hoffnungen durch Hitler, die für seine partei- und machtpolitischen Ziele entscheidend war, sind ein zentrales Thema. ...

Point n'est besoin d'espérer pour entreprendre, ni de réussir pour persévérer. - Charles le Téméraire
by marco on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 07:48:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Everyone is entitled of an opinion. I don't agree with some of Bolkestein's rhetoric, while I can support him entirely in many of his initiatives as a fee-thinking liberal (legalization of drugs, the Right to Die, and others) and even when I disagree, I find his writings thought-worthy. So there's that, and everyone can agree to disagree or whatever.

But on an opinion of the role of Bolkestein in the public debate in the Netherlands during the nineties, I expect people to do the homework that goes with that period. What I can do is try to provide a starter kit.

I suggest everyone read from Bolkestein this from 1991 which was the taboo-breaking start of mentioning the difficulties of integration in the Netherlands, this from 1993 on asylum seekers, and a fierce critque on Bolkestein and these epistles in 1995 can be found here. Finish with the indictment of the Dutch multiculturalism of Paul Scheffer here in 2000. The essay of Paul Scheffer, a prominent member of Labour (!), did not only vindicate Bolkenstein's writings, it effectively buried the halfhearted attempt on Dutch multiculturalism. Wim Kok, the former prime-minster, has vindicated Bolkestein's role in his book, "Met Kok", and relevant excerpts are found on-line here.

Yes, everything is in Dutch. That's just the way the cookie crumbles if you want to have an opinion on a Dutch politician.

Since those days, 9/11 and the rise of Pim Fortuyn. Scheffer remains today a well-respected authority and writer on the integration of immigrants in the Netherlands, and wrote The Unsettled Land.

Of course everyone is free to disagree with Bolkestein - except that reality has long caught up with his precautionary words in the nineties. If Bolkenstein was a demagogue then, a new word seriously needs to be invented for Wilders.

by Nomad (Bjinse) on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 04:29:55 PM EST
while I can support him entirely in many of his initiatives as a fee-thinking liberal

I first thought this was a typo, but I actually like this "fee-thinking liberal" concept :-)

by Bernard (bernard) on Sat Oct 23rd, 2010 at 04:41:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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