Monday, October 18, 2010

German Chancellor's Anti-Multiculturalism Remarks Similar To American Right-Wing Fringe

I saw an interesting news story today - Kate Connolly from the Guardian reported on recent comments made by German Chancellor Angela Merkel in regards to multiculturalism:
Chancellor Angela Merkel has declared the death of multiculturalism in Germany, saying that it had "failed utterly" , in what has been interpreted as a startling shift from her previous views. The German leader said it had been an illusion to think that Germans and foreign workers could "live happily side by side".

"We kidded ourselves for a while that they wouldn't stay, but that's not the reality," she said at a conference of the youth wing of her Christian Democratic Union party at the weekend, referring to the gastarbeiters, or guest workers, who arrived in Germany to fill a labour shortage during the economic boom of the 1960s.

"Of course the tendency had been to say, 'let's adopt the multicultural concept and live happily side by side, and be happy to be living with each other'. But this concept has failed, and failed utterly," she said, without elaborating on the nature and causes of this failure.

Merkel's verdict marks a shift in her previously liberal line on immigration which had always put her at odds with the more conservative wing of the party.

While she stressed in the same speech that immigrants were welcome in Germany and that Islam was a part of the nation's modern-day culture, her remarks positioned her closer to Horst Seehofer, the Bavarian state premier of the Christian Social Union, who last week called for an end to immigration from Turkey and Arab countries.
I thought Merkel's comments were interesting because they are very similar to comments coming from the American right - I had written an article back in July that discussed an Andrew Mellon piece from Big Government that attacked the concept of multiculturalism, in which Mellon attempts to be an intellectual arguing that multiculturalism and moral relativism destroys the objective truth (as if he knows what he is talking about).

If you read Merkel's statements, you can see just why she and the right share a dislike for multiculturalism - they view foreign ideas and concepts as enemies of the state.  Merkel stated that Germans pretty much hoped foreign workers who helped fill a labor void would eventually leave, meaning that those people were not considered to be equal with Germans - much like the way conservatives view Mexican migrant workers, or Muslims, or pretty much any ethnic group as unwelcome(remember they viewed the half-black Hawaiian Obama as exotic).

While America has had a far better time with the integration of immigrants, there is also a role for the "native" population to play - if those already within borders reject the idea of integration, the immigrating population will be less likely to adopt their new home country's customs.  If the American right continues down their path of hatred things will only get worse - just think of the news reports of immigrant and refugee riots that have taken place in Europe over the past several years.  This goes completely against the Melting Pot concept and is a page out of Adolf Hitler's "Mien Kampf."  Interesting considering Merkel is from Germany...
Multicultralism... failed.  future of the GOP is Germany...

UpdateI had just saw an piece on NPR by Eric Westervelt that I thought was relevant to this article.  In Westervelt's article, he discusses the rise of anti-immigration sentiments in Germany.  I thought a particular quote from Turkish-born Green Party legislator in Berlin, Ozcan Mutlu, was very interesting being that it came from someone who is targeted by comments like the one Merkel made.
Many Germans still refer to those of Turkish descent — even if they're third-generation German citizens — as Die Turken, the Turks. Mutlu says as great as a change in education and immigration policies is the need for a change in mentality.

"I can feel German, I can dream German 24 hours. But as long as the majority does not accept me as one of them, we can't change anything," Mutlu says. "I'm a German citizen for two decades already. I took up responsibility for the German society. I'm serving the German people as a parliamentarian. But I’m still 'the Turkish guy.'"
Now cross the Atlantic and think of the rhetoric you hear coming from conservatives towards Muslims - just look at Fox News' Brian Kilmeade who recently made the comments on-air that singled out a single ethnic group.

"There was a certain group of people that attacked us on 9/11," Kilmeade said. "It wasn't just one person, it was one religion. Not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims."

Now if you were a Muslim, and you are being told that your faith breeds terrorists, then you can see how a negative stigma will be placed on not just your religion, but on yourself as well, and you will never be accepted by the "native" population.  Conservatives are filling up a powder keg and I bet your ass that they will look to point fingers when that thing explodes...

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