The Greeks are about ready to call it “quits” on EU membership, and apparently the Germans are willing to bid that beleaguered country farewell and good riddance. Concerns in Brussels a so-called Grexit will occur after the upcoming elections, they’re of little consequence to the German bankers though. Chancellor Angela Merkel and Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble told reporters this week the EU could get along without the Athenians. Talk about cool customers.
I’ve lived in Germany 7 years now. A fantastic country, clean, safe, picturesque, Deutschland has much to offer. However, warm handshakes and free spirited understanding are not available in quantity here. One thing the Germans are not, and that is accepting of ausländers (foreigners). If you’re American here, you do stand less chance of freezing to death socially, than say Romanians or Turkish people. But Germanic peoples just reflect a cool reality more honestly. Truth is, differences divide the entire EU, and harshly. Let’s just call a “spade a spade,” as my Mom always used to say. Europe’s differences are quant for a week or a weekend, but most nationals had as soon you took your culture home with you after vacation.
Bias, bigotry, cultural norms aside, here in Europe only socialistic glue holds together what are vastly different peoples. Yes, the French and the Germans still suffer one another, as do Poles and Brits, Spaniards and Slavs, and so on. On the surface, it takes a keen eye to spot the nuance, the indelible steely eyed look at the grocery store or doctor’s office. As cool and frowny faced as Germans are toward any foreigner though, if your Islamic you have “second class citizen” stamped on your forehead here or almost anywhere in the EU. European parliamentarians have said as much, let me illustrate.
- Danish Peoples Party (26.7% of the vote) founder Pia Kjærsgaard is quoted saying Denmark needs to keep it’s Christian religion the “way it is,” when asked about Islam.
- French Front National Party (25% of the vote) founder Jean Marie Le Pen recently said the cure for overpopulation is Ebola.
- The UK’s UKIP bunch (27% of the vote) would as soon shoot Romanian immigrants as keep them as house keepers. That party rose to prominence largely over fears of foreigners taking over the crown.
- Netherlands’ Party of Freedom (13.2 % of the vote) has suggested a tax on Muslim head scarfs, banning the Koran, and damning most east Europeans to anywhere east of the Rhine.
- The Freedom Party of Austria (20.5% of the vote) has a dogma that says it all really. “Us First” echoes Nazi salutes and far, far, right wonderland exclusivity.
- Pew Research discovered in 2008 that while Jews are negatively considered by large segments of the Europe population, Muslims are resented twice more unfavorably. Fully half of Germans surveyed expressed negative feelings toward that group. (so I’m not the only one noticing)
- Spotlighting Scandinavia, in his book NORWAY – A Triumph in Bigotry, Frederick Delaware frames the argument that utter “hatred for the Islamic faith permeates every level of society” there.
- Finally, neighbors like Romania and Hungary carry on what amount to feuds akin to bloodless wars over cultural and other differences. It’s fair to say almost all EU nations foster a kind of “muttered hatred” of one another, when all is said and done.
I could go on for weeks. Underneath BBC or Reuters news reports, in the shadows of western anti-Russian diatribe, we live in a world dominated by angry and diffused peoples. Here in Germany, even despite a real form of socialism, being disliked and shunned is a simple matter of where you are born. There’s even polls where you can vote for who is hated most. At this one, Armenians are thought to be most hated in Italy, if you can believe such polls even exist. Thanks GOD Americans are last on the list behind Romanians, Germans, the French and Albanians. Touching on Russophobia for a moment here, this study (PDF) by Raymond Taras at Malmö University revealed startling window into regional hostility toward not only Russia, but for the Turks, the Roma people, and all Arabs. With Poland as a centerpiece, Taras cracks open the Pandora’s Box that is Europe bigotry, and I quote on Putin and Russia in particular:
“The political resurgence of Russia under Vladimir Putin has resurrected Russophobia in the West, including in EU states, but it may never have wavered in the east.”
Worse still, if we can take Taras’ work to heart, Poland’s paranoia has been a subversive element in the EU’s overall disintegration policy wise. The ultra-conservative phobias leaders like Lech Kaczyński have fueled a seething bitter sentiment toward not just Russia, but all things former Soviet Union. That’s all fuel for a longer dissertation on my part. The real point of this post is, being an ausländer almost anywhere on our world, it’s just not safe in ultra-nationalistic waters. This is true in America as well, only less acutely for now. Here, in the village of Europe, being identified as one of “them” is just too easy. Sorry to say, but fearing American war planes bombing your old buildings to tatters is not the same as accepting that country’s citizens. Make no mistake people, German acceptance of Americans is in part, about just that.
For the European Union as what I’d consider a past potential, free movement across borders is good for the travel business. As for Romanian or Bulgarian industry? With Greece and maybe even Bulgaria headed to join Putin’s new Eurasian Economic Union, it’s easy to see only the strength of the euro held the European Union together in the first place. The idea, of a cohesive confederation for and of the people, that never really was in the first place. Now, with old wounds of hatred and distrust surfacing again, we see a continent right back in the 1930s. We’re likely to see the Sudetenland and other medieval thinking crisis surface now. At least the Czech Republic exhibits bi-polarity of a sort, with some leaning west, and some east. Let’s face it, what we’re seeing in Ukraine amounts to the expulsion of Russian speakers to the far east of that country. This is akin to the expulsion of Germans from Czechoslovakia, doesn’t it?
I’ll tell you from a personal perspective, the instant my little boy was treated differently in a negative way here, I literally could not believe it. After repeat incidences though, and after other ausländers brought nearly identical stories to our doorstep, accepting prejudice in Germany became all the more real for me. A final bit of “proof” in this pudding comes from a report by the Anti-defamation League recently. With hate crimes as a motif, it’s clear Europe has no real mechanism in place to even understand human rights, let alone measure them. Looking at this chart here, it’s clear that either Britain is the best at reporting hate crimes, or the most vehement peoples on Earth at carrying them out. Some nations have no means whatever of collating hate data, while others like Germany and the UK top all lists at occurrences. 47,986 hate crimes in Britain versus 472 in Italy, and so on? What has the European Commission done to stem the tide of hate within the union? They’ve made reports, and little more.
To end up here, for now, it’s pretty clear it’s just too late for the EU. Maybe it always was.
Breaking news as I finish this another Anti-immigration rally has taken place in Berlin versus mirroring the prior one in Dresden.
Photo credit: Feature image by Constablequackers and Wikipedia of protests against the idea of a black Santa.
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