In a time where Europe sees increasing news coverage about migrants both inside (ex: Paris, Calais) and outside its borders (ex: Syria, Lybia), there is a worrying uptake of public hate speech on the internet and attacks on refugee shelters. Yesterday evening, in the German television news program Tagesschau, broadcast on the German public-service television network ARD, Anja Reschke made a 2-minute, important statement on German public TV: “Open Your Month, Show Attitude.” While anyone can have an opinion on the way – and the extent to which – countries should receive and help migrants, there a universal, important message in what she said. Here it is in English (links and bold passages added by myself).
If I now publicly say: “I think, Germany should also welcome economic refugees,” what do you think will happen?
It is just an opinion, which can be expressed, and it would be good if the discussions around the topic would always be factual. But they aren’t. I would receive a flood of hate comments: “Scheiss Kanacken!” “How much more will we welcome?” “They should fuck off” “They should be burnt” and more of these, as always.
Until recently, these commentators did hide behind pseudonyms… but today, these comments are increasingly published under peoples’ real names. It seems that it’s not even embarrassing anymore. The contrary seems to be the case. Phrases like “These dirty bastards should drown in the sea” even get a lot of appraisal and high number of likes. Until then, when you were just an insignificant racist individual, you would just feel great.
Now, you could say that “There will always be idiots, just ignore them!” But these are not just words, and the arson attacks on refugee centers are a reality. Hate speech on the internet have already triggered worrying group dynamics, as the number of right-wing violence has risen. This has to stop.
One possibility is to sue these people, which is what is done increasingly. A Facebook-hater from Bavaria has just been sentenced to a fine for rabble-housing, which is a first step that shows impact. But this is not sufficient. The haters have to understand, that society doesn’t tolerate this.
So, when you don’t share the opinion that all refugees are freeloaders that have to be chased, burnt or gasified, you should let the world know very clearly. Speak up against it. Open your mouth. Show attitude. Publicly name and shame it. Some highly deserving blogs do that already, but there are still too few of them.
The last revolt of the honest (“Aufstand der Anständigen“) was 15 years ago. I think it’s time again. And I am keenly awaiting your comments about this commentary.
To end on a positive, light note: Here’s a creative and witty campaign against right-wing extremism, which won a Cannes Lions in the “Charities” category this year:
Please share this.