“Told you so, told you so.” That is the chorus I am hearing these days in the aftermath of the Cologne attacks. Be it online or talking to Mr. Li, to many Chinese people it seems what happened there was just a matter of time, since Germany opened its borders allowing “all kinds” of people to come in.
“It’s because we come from a developing country”, believes Mr. Li. “We know how bad people can be when they are surrounded by poverty and misery like that. You guys in Europe are so idealistic because you have such a great standard of living.”
Is it really as simple as that? Many a time in China I have found that people are much more pragmatic and the “better-you-than-me” mentality still prevails. The general lack of compassion for strangers has often been criticized with the countless cases of hit-and-run victims who did not receive help by passers-by. Yet, at the same time, arguably it is this type of thinking is result of historical factors designed to ensure self-protection and survival in a rough environment.
Maybe I am naïve and idealistic. In the end, if you have to chose between life or principles, wouldn’t it be foolish to pick the latter? Or would it be heroic?
For the first few days, the Cologne incident left me utterly speechless. I didn’t know what to think. I felt worried about the changes my home country is going through, I felt enraged that these men would even dare to act like this, on such a large scale as well, irrespective from where they are from or how they came to be in Germany.
I still believe that opening our borders was the right thing to do. I still know that I should not condemn the many for the actions of a few. Well, I guess you can’t call 1000 a few anymore can you? Luckily, the outrage expressed by Arab social media users is very helpful in putting things into perspective. But the attacks not just in Cologne, but also two other German cities on New Years have made me ponder my standpoint.
PC is over; there need to be consequences
No, I still don’t think that Merkel was wrong to save all these people, even if some of them might not have deserved it.
What I do think is that the perpetrators must feel the full force of the law. The gloves need to come off. I think it is unacceptable that the police tried to actively stop the information that there were Syrians and asylum seekers among the attackers from getting out because of the “political climate”. It’s a sad truth that needs confronting. I don’t want to hear any arguments of “cultural differences” or “lack of knowledge of local customs”. If a country gives you an inch, you don’t take its women. Germany has saved these men’s lives and this is the way its people are thanked? Talk about ungrateful.
What’s worse, two of the people arrested were found with notes that had been translated from Arabic; aside from reading “I want to have sex with you”, they also announced “I will kill you”. In what world is that a cultural difference?
These people need to be deported. There are no if’s and but’s, there is simply no discussion. Yes, their lives might be in danger if they return to the war zone, but they had their chance and they made the decision to destroy their opportunity at a peaceful life.
Of course Germany’s bureaucratic wheels, its PC-ness and its “original sin” mentality will all stand in the way of this move. I’ll say one thing; China would handle this without batting an eye.
Germany needs to stop letting historical obligation push it down like this. Any psychological debt has long been paid. Enough is enough. How can German tax payers expect to pay to put such individuals into a German prison? That is simply asking too much. And it tells other potential aggressors this: “Hey, come to Germany, they’ll save your life, let you grope their women and then put you up in a prison with three meals a day and no need to work.” It’s a land of paradise.
Angela Merkel, I think you are an amazing woman and I think you have shown much strength and compassion by opening the borders but now you also need to be strong enough to say “no”. Otherwise you make Germany look foolish and put its citizens at further risk.
No one is asking the women in Cologne
Aside from the question on what to do next, I found this article by DW very to the point. It points out how the whole debate in Germany to no one’s surprise has been focusing on the refugee crisis. What it is ignoring completely is the women who experienced these horrendous acts of aggression. At least the BBC is giving them a voice; kudos. But yes, Germany, why are you again forgetting about the actual problem of sexual assault?
Cologne mayor Reker’s comment perfectly sums up exactly what is wrong in the whole discussion of sexual violence towards women. Her suggestion of a “code of conduct” that women only travel in groups and keep an “arm’s length” from strangers was met with much ridicule but actually it is shocking that she, a woman herself, would push the responsibility to the victims and suggest they should limit themselves in their freedom. Stop the slut shaming, woman, this is the 21st century!
Here’s my code of conduct, ladies: go out, live your lives, don’t let misogynists stop you from doing anything you want to do. Oh yes, and bring pepper spray and take some kung fu classes, so you can crush their balls. I beg your pardon for the language. On second thought, I don’t.