The Man Who Divided Germany: Why Sarrazin's Integration Demagoguery Has Many Followers

Part 5: Growing Political Concern

Photo Gallery: Sarrazin's Book Divides Germany Photos
AFP

The conservative CDU is also facing a wave of protests from members who disagree with the party leadership's critical view of Sarrazin. Letters are currently piling up on the desks of many party functionaries from members who, in contrast to the chancellor, don't think that Sarrazin should be censured. "Nine out of 10 letters that I currently receive say that Thilo Sarrazin is right," says Peter Hauk, the state parliamentary floor leader for the Christian Democrats in Baden-Württemberg. "In my opinion, it's not enough to simply criticize Mr. Sarrazin."

Hauk feels that the CDU leadership in Berlin needs to more clearly address the problems associated with immigrants. The party has to "take a tougher stance" on integration policies and clearly speak out on the issue. "Back when Wolfgang Schäuble was the interior minister, he didn't hesitate to speak his mind on the issue of integration," says Hauk. "I hardly see anyone in the CDU today who is making a comparable effort."

Among members of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party to Angela Merkel's CDU, there is also a growing sense of unease with the course that the chancellor has taken. "It would be wrong to condemn every statement made by Sarrazin," says Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann. Some of his ideas are unspeakable, he says. "But where there are problems, we have to clearly address them. And there's no doubt that our biggest problems are with some of the Muslims from Turkey."

Hans-Peter Friedrich, the head of the CSU group in the German parliament, had this to say: "When the population is up in arms, there's no reason to pat each other on the back just because we've dealt with the Sarrazin issue."

Former CSU leader Edmund Stoiber reminded Merkel that politicians had been punished once before, back in the 1990s, when they ignored the fears of the population. At the time, says Stoiber, people experienced on a daily basis how the constitutionally guaranteed right to asylum was "abused hundreds of thousands of times" in Germany. This resulted in the rise of a far-right party, Die Republikaner (The Republicans), Stoiber argued. "This should serve as a lesson to the entire political class."

Widening Rift

Members of the right wing of the CDU are increasingly afraid that the Sarrazin debate could further widen the rift between its conservative core voters and the party. They say that Sarrazin could easily become a symbol for how the Berlin political establishment is out of touch with reality.

Wolfgang Bosbach, for example, a long-serving CDU politician who chairs the domestic affairs committee in parliament, couldn't believe his eyes when he opened his local newspaper last week and read that German Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen had announced at a party conference in Münster that "80 percent" of CDU supporters reject Sarrazin's ideas.

Bosbach could only shake his head at such an alarming ignorance of the party's own voters. "It's probably just the case that the remaining 20 percent all live in my constituency," he jokingly remarked to a fellow party member.

Chancellor Merkel reacted by giving an interview to the Turkish newspaper Hürriyet, in which she described Sarrazin's anti-Muslim remarks as "absurd" and said that she could not accept such statements. The topic of integration is also on the agenda for a cabinet meeting on Wednesday. No consensus has been reached, though, on how a modern country of immigration should look. Germany has largely ignored the issue for decades, and it won't be able to make up for all the missed opportunities anytime soon.

'He Wants to Be a Martyr'

Hence the big question for the near future is actually a small one: How will Germany's central bank, the Bundesbank, get rid of Sarrazin?

Last Tuesday, Sarrazin was summoned before the executive board of the Bundesbank. He cited his right to freedom of speech. His colleagues, particularly Bundesbank President Axel Weber, suggested that he resign and made it clear that under no circumstances could they continue to work with him. Sarrazin wanted until the weekend to think it over, but Weber was only willing to give him until Thursday afternoon.

On Wednesday, his colleagues called him in for another serious talk. They said that he would get a few perks if he agreed to go. If he refused to resign, they would initiate proceedings to relieve him of his position. Sarrazin remained firm. "He wants to be a martyr," says one man who witnessed how he behaved in Frankfurt. He says that Sarrazin repeatedly bragged about all the people who share his opinions. And he doesn't care about the Bundesbank, says the bank insider.

On Thursday at 2 p.m. his colleagues asked him once again: "Do you have any statement to make?"

"No," Sarrazin calmly responded.

He was asked to leave the room and, afterwards, his colleagues decided to apply for his dismissal -- the first such event in the history of the Bundesbank.

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1. Sarrazin's genetic claims have truth
eric99 09/06/2010
This was an interesting article and it's about time that the debate on unassimilable immigrants is taking place. Although I haven't read Sarrazin's book, and am only commenting on the article, I generally agree with what he says and found the article seemingly objective. However, the comments by Diethard Tautz appeared absurd to me. He either has no knowledge of genetics or else is using his knowledge in the name of an ideology. Anyone with the slightest interest in genetics would know that each race and cultural group can be generally identified to a large extent by their genetic haplogroup. One can easily search the web and look up sites such as the National Geographics Genographic Project, DNATribes, FamilyTreeDNA, and others and order a kit and test one's own haplogroup. Groups such as Jews (who want to know if they are Levites, Israelite, Ashkenazi, Sephardim, Mizrahim, Cohens, etc) and Mongolians (who want to see if they are related to Genghiz Khan) are great users of these types of services. And yes, Basques have their own genetic identity. Apparently the author of this article had no knowledge of this or else would have either challenged Tautz's claims during the interview, or else provided explanations to the readers about the errors of his claims.
2.
josepht 09/10/2010
I concur with those who scrutinize his statistical claims. Germans have always been a hard working, studious bunch. It’s part of their culture. It will take more than a generation or two to assimilate foreigners. The family learning environment is key. If you can pluck a child out of a poor learning environment and give them something better…that works. I’ve seen it firsthand time and again. The problem is the parents of the child immigrants. They are likely more lazy and uneducated...because that's how they were raised in their home countries. That mind set is transferred to the kids. The only fix is to ramp up education for migrant adults. They should be taught to learn both German & English, and to learn a skilled trade or earn a professional degree. Do Germans care? Do the migrants care? In the end it’s up to them. Any notion of genetic inferiority is a cop out. People will learn…if they’re provided an environment to do so. People will work…if they see the fruits of their labor. A major problem with the German mind set is intolerance and lack of patience. This in and of itself is a behavior disorder that can be destructible to not only to the family structure, but also to immigrants who live in Germany. Germans need to realize they are not the only smart people in the world. For example, it is widely known they excel in mechanical engineering. On the other hand, Germany lags significantly in the field of electrical engineering. In today's world one without the other is not acceptable. The same could be said about social interaction with foreigners. For example, America is a melting pot. Every flavor of world citizen calls that country home. The benefits of such an environment cannot be denied. Granted there are intermittent problems, but they are openly discussed and worked out in the vast majority of cases. This brings me to my next point: Many Germans lack this sense of openness and simply do not assimilate well with others who are not like them. This is a cultural problem not an intellectual problem. As an employee in an American software company, we strongly rely on our development teams from around the world. Simply put, we seek out the brightest minds. We know first hand that intelligence and learning determined by how an individual is raised and educated, not simply by the shade of their skin. For Germany to progress it must overcome the backward notion of isolating those who are different. Rather, they should embrace the best that humanity has to offer and work on continuously improving their fellow citizens. Anything less is lazy policy at the national level.
3. Another disconnect
verbatim128 09/11/2010
---Quote (Originally by sysop)--- Thilo Sarrazin's controversial new book on Muslims in Germany has not only generated opprobrium from the political elite, it has also generated a mass following from the population at large. The tome may be full of inaccuracies, but it has struck a nerve. By SPIEGEL Staff http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,715876,00.html ---End Quote--- The Man Who Divided Germany? Thilo Sarrazin has, at worst, pointed at the existing division. He is blamed for a bit too much, something he dared reveal, a critical view from many in the population at large of what the political class decided to ignore: Multiculturalism taken too far and left unattended by the political class and pundits alike. Sarrazin's so called "integration demagoguery" may have just found the so called "followers", never noticed or dismissed outright before. He seems to be just as surprised as those who lament (envy?) that he, Sarrazin, is not alone in the great schism against political correctness. The Spiegel Staff who wrote this piece failed to explain the most important question of their own by-line, the WHY. Why, all of a sudden so many followers? Perhaps some "gene" shared by so many people who are tired of being taken for fools? Sorry, I could not resist that cheap shot. And that brings me to the sad lament of my own. The writers went into disputing, perhaps some not-so-scientific aspects of Sarrazin's claims, with bogus arguments--as eric99 pointed out aptly before me. But for good measure, and this disappoints me from Spiegel, they failed to provide the context of their quotes from Sarrazin's statements, namely the interview in which he mentioned the genes, indeed failing to provide the full quote which mentioned the Basques not only the Jews as said to have unique genes. And there are more examples of the same out of context use of Sarrazins words. I will not venture to speculate whether this was done on purpose or out of lack of intellectual fairness and curiosity. Just another disconnect. But without being dramatic about it, ignore the so-called followers at your peril: they will be harder and harder to dismiss than poor Thilo Sarrazin.
4.
BTraven 09/15/2010
---Quote (Originally by eric99)--- This was an interesting article and it's about time that the debate on unassimilable immigrants is taking place. Although I haven't read Sarrazin's book, and am only commenting on the article, I generally agree with what he says and found the article seemingly objective. However, the comments by Diethard Tautz appeared absurd to me. He either has no knowledge of genetics or else is using his knowledge in the name of an ideology. Anyone with the slightest interest in genetics would know that each race and cultural group can be generally identified to a large extent by their genetic haplogroup. One can easily search the web and look up sites such as the National Geographics Genographic Project, DNATribes, FamilyTreeDNA, and others and order a kit and test one's own haplogroup. Groups such as Jews (who want to know if they are Levites, Israelite, Ashkenazi, Sephardim, Mizrahim, Cohens, etc) and Mongolians (who want to see if they are related to Genghiz Khan) are great users of these types of services. And yes, Basques have their own genetic identity. Apparently the author of this article had no knowledge of this or else would have either challenged Tautz's claims during the interview, or else provided explanations to the readers about the errors of his claims. ---End Quote--- Perhaps you are right with your statement that ethnics can be distinguished by genetic material because every group has a special feature which makes it possible to indicate where someone belongs to. The problem is Sarrazin concludes from it that ethnics have different IQ. According to an organisation which represents all scientists who work in that field it is a wrong conclusion. http://idw-online.de/pages/en/news384817
5. Lets examine basic assumptions.
distantdrummer 10/06/2010
In Canada we have "multiculturalism", in Germany "integration". Why are these things simply taken for granted? Are they somehow inevitable? Is there some law of nature that states that every country must absorb the surplus population of other countries? Political refugees is one thing but allowing a flood of immigrants from war-torn countries into the society your forefathers spent their lives building up seems illogical. Why don't they fix the problems in their own country instead of just jumping ship? Is it safe to assume that as soon as the host country begins to resemble their native country too much, they will move on?
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Graphic: Muslims in Germany Zoom
DER SPIEGEL

Graphic: Muslims in Germany


A Brief History of Integration in Germany
1949 -- The Constitution
The German constitution comes into force. Cognizant of Germany's Nazi past, the "Basic Law" provides for far-reaching asylum rights that include constitutionally guaranteed individual rights to sue for asylum.
1960 -- Recruiting Abroad
Some 280,000 workers from abroad are already employed in Germany. But more are needed. Recruitment agreements are signed in 1960 with both Greece and Spain.
1961 -- The Berlin Wall
The construction of the Berlin Wall puts an immediate stop to the flood of people flowing into West Germany from East Germany, meaning that new sources of labor must be found. Germany signs a recruitment agreement with Turkey.
1964 -- One Million Guest Workers
Armando Rodrigues from Portugal becomes the 1 millionth guest worker in Germany. He is given a moped as a welcoming gift.
1966 -- East German Recruitment
East Germany too needs to recruit workers from abroad to help with reconstruction. Between 1966 and 1989, some 500,000 people are brought in, mostly from Vietnam, Poland, Mozambique and other countries.
1971 -- Residency Made Easy
The West German government eases rules for residency permit applications. The change makes it easier for immigrants to stay in the country and leads to many of them bringing their families to Germany.
1973 -- The Oil Crisis
Due to the oil crisis and the concurrent economic slowdown, Germany ceases recruiting new guest workers from abroad. The German labor market is saturated with 2.6 million guest workers.
1983 -- Going Home?
The government of Chancellor Helmut Kohl passes a law that provides financial assistance to those guest workers who want to return to their home countries. But the law does not result in the wave of returns the government had hoped for.
1990 -- Fall of the Iron Curtain
With the fall of the Berlin Wall and the disintegration of communism in Eastern Germany, tens of thousands of ethnic Germans from the former Soviet bloc stream into newly reunified Germany and dominate immigration for a time.
1993 -- Xenophobic Attacks
Five people with Turkish backgrounds die in Solingen, Germany following an arson attack on the house they were living in. It was one of several xenophobic attacks in the early 1990s, including ones in Hoyerswerda, Rostock-Lichtenhagen and Mölln.
1999 -- Petition against Dual Citizenship
During the runup to a state election in Hesse, conservative politician Roland Koch -- who would go on to win the vote and become state governor -- caused controversy with a petition campaign against allowing immigrants in Germany to hold dual citizenship. The campaign was criticized for being xenophobic.
2000 -- Launch of Green Card Program
Then-Chancellor Gerhard Schröder announced a "green card" program, which was aimed at recruiting 20,000 IT specialists from outside the European Union. The move sparked a new debate on immigration.
2001 -- 9/11 Attacks
After the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the issue of security came to dominate the immigration debate. Immigrants were increasingly presented as being a risk rather than an opportunity for Germany.
2005 -- New Immigration Law
The so-called Immigration Law came into effect. It laid down new rules for immigration and included measures to promote integration within German society, such as the right to attend an "integration course."
2006 -- First Islamic Conference
Then-Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble held the first Islamic Conference. It led to the founding of a new umbrella group representing Muslims, the Coordination Council of Muslims in Germany. Previously, Muslims living in Germany had not had a unified lobby group to represent their interests.
2006 -- Citizenship Tests
The states of Baden-Württemberg and Hesse introduced so-called "citizenship tests." Foreigners living in those states who wanted to become German citizens were obliged to correctly answer a series of questions about Germany.
2010 -- Diverse World Cup Team
Eleven of 23 players on Germany's national football team at the World Cup in South Africa came from immigrant families, including Mesut Özil, Marko Marin and Miroslav Klose. The diverse team was hailed as a symbol of multiculturalism in German society.
Thilo Sarrazin's Urge to Provoke

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