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Germany Against Itself

By       Message Linh Dinh       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink

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Though American dissidents are often branded as "anti-American," many if not most see themselves as opposed only to their government, not their nation or people. At the Occupy camps, for example, the American flag flew freely.

In Germany, however, the dissident crowd are often not just against the state, but their country and, perhaps only subconsciously, even their heritage. Many openly advocate for the dissolution of Germany. Even if this is only youthful, nihilistic posturing, its pervasiveness is telling.

In Leipzig, I've encountered this sticker several times, "NO NATION / FIGHT LAW & ORDER / NO BORDER." All over town, there are versions of the same message, "NO [heart shape] FOR DEUTSCHLAND / REFUGEES WELCOME" on a bed sheet banner, "MOVE AGAINST STATE AND CAPITAL. NO PEACE WITH GERMANY!" "Germany, you lousy Piece of sh*t!" "NO MAN IS ILLEGAL / RIGHT OF RESIDENCE / ANYWHERE." Taken to its natural conclusion, a billion Chinese can move into Germany tomorrow if they so choose.

Holding a bicycle over his head, a man is ready bring it down on his already bloody victim, lying on the ground. The caption to this lovely sticker? In English, "GOOD NIGHT WHITE PRIDE."

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More astonishingly, there's this in five-foot tall letters on an otherwise handsome building, "I [heart shape] VOLKSTOD!! FIGHT THE POLICE." "Volk" is both nation and people, for no matter how borders are shifted, the nation survives through its people. Even without a homeland, Palestinians can still count themselves as a nation, for example, as long their collective identity remains. Granted, the above death wish for nation and people, I spotted in Connewitz, Leipzig's hotbed for young radicals, or at least those who dig piercings, tattoos, dreadlocks and graffiti. Similar expressions of self-hatred are by no mean unusual in contemporary Germany, however.

Perhaps heeding the call for a more colorful Germany [bunte Deutschland], Connewitz' malcontents have thoroughly marred their own neighborhood with messy spray paint, and even gorgeous, brand new buildings are not spared. These neo-punks are no Jean Michel Basquiat's, that's for sure, not that I prefer SAMO on walls instead of canvas. Just about every other part of town is also defaced, if not to the same degree.

Punitively flattened at the end of World War II and shamed for 70 years now, many Germans seem to welcome their ongoing erasure as an unending atonement. Japan doesn't subject itself to such self-flagellation or, for that matter, Russia, whose Red Army committed widespread atrocities on subjugated peoples. In Dresden, I saw a sticker that showed a red flag over the razed city, with this caption, "8 May 1945 / DAY OF LIBERATION / OUR THANKS GO TO ALL THE ALLIED ORGANIZATIONS, PARTISANS AND RESISTANCE FIGHTERS." Germany had to have Nazism bombed or raped out of them, according to this thinking, so vielen dank to those who chopped her in half and deformed her until this day.

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From across the Elbe, Dresden's famous skyline seems unchanged, but close-up, you can see that most of the stones of its landmark buildings are clearly new. The damaged lesser edifices were never restored. Many are replaced by ugly, Communist-era structures. Now, it's claimed that only 25,000 civilians were annihilated when Dresden was flattened by American and British bombers, but many people, not just Germans, think the death count must be many times higher. Still lovely, Dresden was once painted by Canaletto.

In the popular mind, Nazism is seen in a vacuum. It's as if there was no Treaty of Versailles that bankrupted and ultimately starved Germany. It's as if your average German is, at best, a latent Nazi whose sinister tendencies will flare up if not constantly kept in check. As is, the word "Nazi" itself is ubiquitous in Germany but, ironically, it's bandied about most liberally by those on the left, for you can hardly walk a few blocks without encountering stickers or flyers denouncing Nazis.

In 1990, a huge Berlin march against nationalism and racism featured on its leading banner a line from Paul Celan, "Der Tod ist ein Meister aus Deutschland." Death is a master from Germany. Nationalism is conflated with death, and that's why all guilt-racked Germans must fight against it, but the absence of nationalism is also death. It is the drawn out death of Germany.

A 2014 Gallup poll asked citizens of 65 countries, "Would you be willing to fight for your country?" Nations with the highest percentage saying yes were
Morocco (94%), Fiji (94%), Pakistan (89%), Vietnam (89%) and Bangladesh (86%). Forty-four percent of Americans declared yes. Japan (11%) came in dead last, and Germany (18%) is third from the bottom. The two countries with the fiercest martial spirit from the last century have been pacified, and perhaps wussified, and that's why one hears of young Japanese men who spend all day, literally, in their childhood room playing video games and looking at porn, and grown men who have cute, wide-eyed little dolls as girlfriends. Some go to brothels only to get it on with sex dolls. Obviously, men who fear real flesh and blood can't be soldiers.

Yes, many Germans will cheer their unwillingness to fight as welcomed proof that Nazism has been mostly purged out of them. Germany is still a purveyor of mass death, however, through its promiscuous arms sales to Israel and, more recently, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Along with the USA, those are the countries behind the continuing butchery in Syria.

Wandering around Leipzig and Dresden, I see plenty of slogans denouncing Fascism, Nazism, sexism, anti-semitism and homophobia, but no mention of Germany's complicity in the Syrian War. The incessant discussion in the German media about the refugee crisis also sidesteps this gross, bloody stain on the country's conscience. Fighting its master's war, Germany lost 54 soldiers in Afghanistan, but with its passive allegiance to Washington's scheme against Russia and Syria, Germany is running the risk of losing so much more, perhaps even itself.

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In the past week alone, we have Berlin deciding to house 3,000 refugees in Langenlohnsheim, a village of 4,000. Neither its mayor nor citizens were consulted. At a town hall meeting in Lohfelden, official Walter Lubcke told citizens that if they didn't like the huge influx of refugees into their district, they should just leave. "Who is against the values here can always leave the country. That is the right of every good German." This country of 80.62 million people will accept 1.5 million refugees this year, and this was decided on without any input from its citizens. Next year, who knows how many millions will be welcomed by NSA-bugged Merkel. What's in her closet, I wonder? To protect her own career, Merkel must obey her master.

As long as you have war, you will have refugees, and since it doesn't look like the USA, with Germany and others in tow, is about to cease causing mass chaos and carnage, this refugee crisis is just beginning. When ordinary Germans dare to challenge Berlin's diktats, however, they risk being branded as Nazis, Rechtsextreme, braune Esoteriker, Altnazis, Pack, Dunkeldeutschland, Faschisten, Neonazis or Neofaschisten, etc.

Just as with Germany's self-destructive fealty to the US and Israel, there is no frank discussion here about its refugee policies. Those with questions or grievances, then, are forced to become increasingly strident as they scream from the fringe. Brushed aside and demonized, they might just become the hysterical berserkers they're already caricatured as. Should xenophobic outbursts explode down the line, they can be traced back to this initial suppression of dialogue.

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Linh Dinh's Postcards from the End of America has just been published by Seven Stories Press. Tracking our deteriorating socialscape, he maintains a photo blog.

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