Chemnitz as symptom
The European society becomes increasingly divided and the mounting tension will inevitably explodeSvetoslav Stefanov
Groups of young people march in the streets and chant “We are the people!” Other groups of young people go out into the neighbouring streets chanting “No to xenophobia.” In recent weeks, this has become a weekly event in the East German town of Chemnitz, whereas lately it has happened in neighbouring Koethen as well. In both cases the reason for turmoil was the death of a German after a conflict with migrants from the Middle East.
At first sight, the incidents may seem inconsequential and a far cry from the recent terrorist attacks in London, Paris, Nice, Berlin and Stockholm, but they are indicative of the mounting tension within the European society, and most of all in Germany. The country, which after 2015 has given shelter to millions of migrants from Africa and the Middle East, who are seeking better life in Europe, is becoming a crime scene - hundreds of incidents occur in which the locals suffer after a contact with the newcomers.
And expectedly nationalists, populists, pseudo-patriots or other - until recently - marginal elements, caught the wave of riots and started to reap dividends and add points to their rating. Far-right Alternative for Germany, for instance, managed to enter Bundestag getting considerable number of seats in the last federal election. Italy's League became a ruling party. The extreme right forces in Sweden are about to take apart the political mosaic for long, which is hardly accidental having in mind that Sweden ranks among the countries that in recent years have accepted most migrants per capita.
One simple fact is concealed behind it all, to which those who are now ruling in Europe just turn a blind eye, guided by rampant liberalism. The fact is that the newcomers do not want or openly resist integration into the communities that let them in. In plain words, integration means to accept and observe the rules which these communities abide by. And this proved to be a serious problem for the migrants, especially those coming from the Middle East. And they resolve this problem like they used to do it at home - pull a knife in a conflict with other men and resort to violence if a woman turns them down. This is a pattern of behaviour that has long been rejected in the European society.
What we witness now is a “clash of civilisations” on the mundane level, if we turn to Samuel Huntington's ideas. And this will inevitably exacerbate tensions, which sooner or later will explode. Chemnitz is just the first symptom. Regrettably, many media outlets are trying to present the events there as “inadmissible acts of far-right extremists”, as if to pull a knife and stab a person you argued with is admissible. Ironically, the German who was killed in Chemnitz was also of immigrant origin. He was from Cuba. But descending from a culture similar to the European, he managed to integrate into the German society, which does not apply to his murderers - a Syrian and an Iraqi, as well as the two Afghans who killed another German in Koethen.
The German media go on debating whether during the first rally in Chemnitz, following the killing, the protesters chased and beat up the migrants, as such information was apparently spread via social networks. The debates reached high political level after the president of Germany's domestic security agency, Hans-Georg Maassen, publicly denied such excessive acts, while Chancellor Angela Merkel said she doubted the accuracy of his statement.
The events unfolding after the incidents in Chemnitz and Koethen only show how much Europe is entrapped by its own misinterpreted liberalism. Because the majority of protesters in both of these German cities were not “far-right extremists or fascists”, they were ordinary German citizens who were driven mad by the fact that they no longer can live in peace in their own country where now someone may stab them just because they tell some newcomer not to litter the streets. Their daughters now can get in trouble in a disco club or at a music festival owing to some oversexed migrant who came to Germany from a totally different world where every woman is just a sex object.
Liberalism is a good notion but it is applicable only for certain cultures and attitudes. A free western European, and to a certain extent a free eastern European, are inclined to accept that people and their cultures do differ, but they can nevertheless co-exist. To this end, however, they need to make compromises which they are prepared to make, to this or that extent. Because they understand that one person's freedom ends where another person's freedom begins.
The newcomers, though, do not accept this maxim. To them any concession made by the locals means only weakness which has to be additionally and regularly used for conquering territory. Part of the European society has already understood this problem, the other part apparently is too exalted by pseudo-liberal rhetoric and continues to tread the path leading to a ritual suicide. The rallies in Chemnitz and Koethen have shown that the first do not want to put up with it any more, whereas the counter-rallies throw light on the scale of the division within Europe.
People have had their say. From now on it is the turn of politicians to say their word. It depends on them whether Europe will continue to encourage extreme liberalism leading to a deadlock or it will accept a more moderate model where security and peace of its own citizens is of primary importance while the rights of the newcomers come next to it.
The European politicians, on the local, national or European levels, have to clearly understand and demonstrate in practice that they are elected to serve their citizens rather that abstract ideas. Elections are looming large and this has always been a sobering fact, although it is common knowledge that most lies are told after hunting and before elections.
The situation may get out of control without urgent measures that will show to the newly settled in Europe migrants from lands to the south and east of the Mediterranean Sea that there are clearly set rules on the continent which must be observed. And now it is already on its edge. Chemnitz and Koethen are just symptoms. If no solution is found, a disaster with epidemic proportions may be unleashed.