“The rhetoric of the rapidly growing Alternative for Germany party and its supporters indicates a potentially profound shift in German political culture: it is now possible to be an outspoken nationalist without being associated with—or, for that matter, without having to say anything about—the Nazi past.”
Jan-Werner Muller explains that “the AfD has fed off and in turn encouraged a radical street movement, the “Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West,” or Pegida, that has no equivalent elsewhere in Europe. And perhaps most important, the AfD’s warnings about the “slow cultural extinction” of Germany that supposedly will result from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s welcoming of more than a million refugees have been echoed by a number of prominent intellectuals. In fact, the conceptual underpinnings for what one AfD ideologue has called “avant-garde conservatism” can be found in the recent work of several mainstream German writers and philosophers. Never since the end of the Nazi era has a right-wing party enjoyed such broad cultural support. ”
This does not bode well for the future of Germany, or Europe as a whole, if things continue in this direction. But I think it is only if another major event (terrorist attack(s), severe economic downturn, another major wave of immigrants, etc.) befalls the German people will these groups be in a position to take power. Still, this is not good! Don’t they remember their own history?
Source: Behind the New German Right by Jan-Werner Müller | NYR Daily | The New York Review of Books
In response to the all too predictable backlash against Syrian refugees, Roy E. Finkenbine asks: “Why do Americans suffer these paroxysms of paranoia in times of stress? Why do we so often abandon our collective national values and target ethnic populations in the face of societal evidence to the contrary?”
With no real solution, Finkenbine observes: “As the nation, driven by fear rather than evidence, demonizes the Syrian refugees (and Muslims in general), one wonders how and when our collective sanity and sense of shame will return.” Let’s hope it’s sooner rather than later!
Source: History News Network | Oh, No, It’s Happening Again!
Watching the tragedy of Syrian refugees unfold makes me wonder if we’ve learned anything from the past refugee crises. It seemed that Europe had learned some lessons as they dealt with the refugee crisis from the wars in Bosnia and Kosovo during the 1990s. But the combination of economic crisis, anti-Islamic sentiments, and inter-E.U. bickering has set this latest crisis up to be a disaster. The U.S. response has been lackluster as well. We are better able to handle large numbers of refugees, and given the fact that we bear some responsibility for the crisis we have a moral obligation to help the victims fleeing Syria.
Maybe it’s too late, but for what it’s worth Alexander Betts, professor of Refugee and Forced Migration Studies, discusses the history of refugee crises and lays out five history lessons.