What is #PEGIDA? (sad news from Germany)

I quickly want to go over what #PEGIDA is and why it exists. Basically it is a semi-nationalistic movement inside especially eastern parts of Germany that opposes migration to Germany and resembles a lot of thoughts that feel scaringly similar to the third reichs propaganda.

Actually I'd rather just write

Merry Christmas, everything is fine!

on this blog, but I feel obligated to write about this instead. Let me say up front that I myself am a fan of multi culturalism and an emigrant, I live in Denmark as a German.

So, what Germany is turning Nazi crazy again?

No, not exactly, but anti-semitic, anti-muslimic and basically the same ideas sipped through to a comparably large part of the population and protests against granting asylum to people in need are happening. Around 15.000 have participated in the protests.

The name stands for "Patriotische Europäer gegen die Islamisierung des Abendlandes", basically "patriotic europeans against the islamisation of the occident". The public television in Germany recently recorded about an hour of interviews among the participants, which showed a lot of disinformed and angry Germans exposing anti-semitistic views, paranoia and strong disagreements with the government policies on migration. This is shocking, because even though right-wing extremists are a lot more visible in the eastern parts of Germany, but usually not that many people from the rest of the population associate themselves with them.

The protests are targeting to prevent the spread of the Islam in Germany / Europe and to limit immigration. The interviews show, that the common right wing slogans actually dominate, even the call for "isolation and health checks" for foreigners was made.

Statistically 0,2% in the city of Dresden, where the demonstration happened, are actually muslims, which makes the fears of the protesters very irrational. From what I've heard from the interviews it sounds a lot like what I hear when I discuss right winged views with Danes.

It's not about people like you Jonathan, but people from Arabia or THESE places.
Okay, thanks.. because people of a nationality should be judged a certain way. (I don't often have much further contact with these people unless they're at my workplace)

The Fear

Throughout the interview it becomes very clear, that the fears of individuals and common superstitions have basically boiled together in superficial discussions on social media and that's how these people actually came together in real life, together with plenty of support from the real right-wing radicals. Most of the participants openly say that they are not Nazis, but 2 seconds after they go on about a common right wing / nationalist topic like that foreigners would bring diseases. (I can not believe I'm writing this)

The fears and concerns expressed often target that the foreigners do not deserve support or a right to live in Germany. Another woman said that if they are not in danger in their own country, they should (all) leave Germany. In the past decades the financial situation in especially parts of eastern has not been optimal and the unemployment rate is higher than in other parts, which geographically is close to Dresden.

Often mentioned points are:

  • not building mosques
  • not accepting asylum seekers

The huge problem about this entire idea is the generalization of foreigners as criminals, disease carriers, lazy and also terrorists. If we think back in history, we may have seen that once or twice. For me it's basically a symptom for the huge frustration in parts of the population. Frustration with politicians, low incomes, the fright of the unknown.

Best / Worst #PEGIDA quotes

There is a pegida Tumblr blog for the really, really dumbest things these people said.
Wir sind das VOLK!
This means, "We are the people" and originally actually was commonly used at the demonstrations that lead to the fall of the GDR (eastern Germany) borders and therefore in a way is... slightly misused.
I don't want the Islam as a state-wide religion
Germany actually has a pretty good separation of religion and state (also educational system).
The orders come from Washington and Tel Aviv
Interesting about this is that Tel Aviv is mentioned, because it usually comes up in conspiracy theories about the world order of Jews.
In the Islam infidels are worth less than cattle!
Wow big deal, you know how much shit is in the bible? Probably not.
The media destroy everything and lead it in a wrong direction.
Finally and not from the protests, but a great quote from two of my favourite podcasters is:
You have to realise you don't have a foreigner problem, you have an asshole problem.
Think about it ;)

Apart from being shown on the news, the full interviews have been published on the ARD/NDR website, here: Kontaktversuch: "Lügenpresse" trifft Pegida.

What now?

Since I'm following a lot of right wing activity through a watch blog called Störungsmelder I'm aware that there are Nazis in Germany, still. Usually though, they and their ideals are not represented by 15.000 people.

Still, this phenomenon is a FRACTION of what happens in Germany, but it's big in the media right now. I really hate to see this happen, that so many people fall for propaganda and generalizations, how people are being kept from answering the media, because the press lies.

Tagged with: #Pegida

Thank you for reading! If you have any comments, additions or questions, please tweet or toot them at me!