Merkel and Brexit

Kevin Drum:

For all the praise she gets, Angela Merkel has been one of the most disastrous European leaders in my lifetime. She's as responsible for Brexit as anyone I can think of, thanks to two catastrophic decisions she made.

The first was her insistence on punishing Greece following its collapse after the Great Recession. There's plenty of blame to go around on all sides for the Greece debacle, but as the continent's economic leader Germany held most of the high cards during negotiations over Greece's fate. Merkel had a choice: (a) punish Greece for running up unsustainable debts and lying about them, or (b) accept thatGermany bore much of the blame itself for the crisis and that Greece had no way of rescuing itself thanks to the straitjacket of the common currency. The former was a crowd pleaser. The latter was unpopular and would have required sustained, iron-spined leadership. In the event, Merkel chose to play to the crowds, and Greece has been a basket case ever since—with no end in sight. It hardly went unnoticed in Britain how Europe treated a country that was too entangled with the EU to either fight back or exit, and it made Britain's decision to forego the common currency look prescient. And if that had been a good choice, maybe all the rest of "ever closer union" wasn't such a great idea either.

Merkel's second bad decision was more recent. Here is David Frum: "If any one person drove the United Kingdom out of the European Union, it was Angela Merkel, and her impulsive solo decision in the summer of 2015 to throw open Germany—and then all Europe—to 1.1 million Middle Eastern and North African migrants, with uncountable millions more to come." It's hard to fault Merkel for this on a humanitarian basis, but on a political basis it was a disaster. The barely-controlled wave of refugees Merkel encouraged has caused resentment and more all over Europe, and it unquestionably played a big
role in the immigrant backlash in Britain that powered the Leave vote.


"A large swath of the Muslim-majority world has a serious problem with gays."

In the New Republic, Omer Aziz takes up a theme I've posted about before many, many times:

Growing up, I attended Koran classes in Toronto every day between the age of 6 and 16. I have traveled around the world and discussed Islam in Geneva, Jordan, Jerusalem, Iraq, and Turkey. I harbor no resentments towards Islam, and despite my current agnosticism, I still call myself a Muslim because the world of Islam has been an integral part of my identity for my entire life. I confess that when discussing Islam with white people, the writer in me tussles with the spokesman who seems to overtake the wheel of my mind, responsibly steering the conversation away from moral gray areas. The offer to become an informant on one’s culture will be familiar to any minority writer, as well as the guilt that comes with confirming a white person’s presumptions that a non-white culture may be inferior. The native informant trap is all too real for any non-white writer and must be avoided; it is doubly real for Muslims who can easily cash in by criticizing their own kind.

With all of that being said, the Orlando killer was a Muslim, and so it is worth stating this in the clearest possible terms: A large swath of the Muslim-majority world has a serious problem with gays. No, Islam does not have a monopoly on homophobia. Countries like Jamaica, Honduras, Uganda, Russia, and China have all passed anti-gay legislation. In America, Lawrence v. Texas, the pivotal Supreme Court Case that struck down the ban on homosexual sex, was decided just 13 years ago, in a 6-3 vote. Both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton opposed same-sex marriage in 2008. During the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, gays were evicted from their houses, fired from their jobs, and turned away from hospitals. Even after they had left this earth, their dead bodies were rejected by funeral homes. The great Martin Luther King thought homosexuality was a mental illness, which is probably why the great James Baldwin never spoke at the March on Washington.

Still, there is no getting around the truth that homophobia is rampant in the Muslim world. It is clerically justified and socially defended. Fifty-one states constitute the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), and ten of them punish homosexual activity with the death penalty, including Afghanistan, where the Orlando killer traced his roots. Nearly all the others have criminalized homosexuality with sentences ranging from one month to life in prison. Gays and lesbians are viewed as demonically inverting nature, as sinners, freaks, deviants, corrupters, insurrectionists, miscreants. Their sexual orientation shames whole families into denouncing them. They live in perpetual fear and perpetual hiding....

Even among far too many Muslims in the West—especially young Muslim males—homophobia takes on either a passive, silent form or an aggressive, vociferous one. In all those years in Koran classes, there was no end to the round-bellied mullahs opining on the Jews or the gays as we children unthinkingly nodded along. The word “faggot” was used as a routine epithet in our vocabulary, a stand-in insult for anything—what did it matter what the Koran said about swearing? Even as an adult, I have found myself time and again in conversations with young Pakistani or Indian or Afghan or Iraqi or Somali men (women tend to be more open-minded), and have heard such grotesquely homophobic comments in such casual tones that it was clear that homophobia was encoded in their—our—brains. I recall one such conversation from a few summers ago when a young Muslim man my age justified the stoning of gays because he said it was in the Koran. When I pressed him on whether he would stone gays himself, he said no, because the Koran stipulated four witnesses to the act and so corporal punishment for gays would never be a concern. (The Koran actually says nothing about stoning gays.) If you are a Muslim and think I am exaggerating about Muslim attitudes towards gays, walk into your local mosque this Friday and inform the imam that you are gay and watch his response. A shield of white liberal guilt protects socially conservative minorities from having their positions challenged, and this shield is harmful—it turns the intellectual space into a cultural ghetto where stale ideas become barriers impermeable to dissent and diversity....

Sexual repression breeds maniacal obsessions. The old men who spend all their waking moments trying to veil women are themselves responding to the self-hatred that comes from self-abnegation. The young men who are tormented by the thought that two gay people might be in love somewhere are, in fact, bedeviled by the belief deep in their hearts that others are free but they themselves are chained to an antiquated morality. Something has gone terribly wrong in the mental and sexual life of a culture—once rich in diversity—when it is hijacked by a conservative puritanism that is autocratically enforced by repressed men.

Laws that are both impossible to follow and impossible not to break create a terrorizing bipolarity in the minds of individuals and the societies they inhabit. Such customs are passed on from generation to generation, abetted by an elaborate facade of traditional purity. These facades are exposed the moment they are challenged, but challenging them comes with consequences, often fatal. Thus, many Muslim families in the West still practice first-cousin marriage despite the many health risks this carries. In what twisted morality is dating bad but borderline incest ok? Homosexuality sinful but grandfathers marrying teenage girls virtuous?...

The fact that a gay bar was attacked by a Muslim man is not to be brushed aside or understated—it is the unconscionable but predictable consequence of a deep-seated homophobia. Which brings me back to the alleged homosexuality of the Orlando killer. His sexual orientation is not a laughing matter, nor is the Muslim-majority world’s attitudes towards gays “irrelevant,” as Yasir Qadhi said. Mateem’s sexual orientation and what Islamic culture says about homosexuality are central to this massacre. The killer’s unrelenting homophobia was a lethal synthesis of what he knew was true about himself and what he knew his fellow Muslims thought of gays. He appears to have been rejecting his own homosexual impulses, which are as natural as heterosexual impulses. His father was himself ruthlessly homophobic. Mateem was afraid of his god, of what his family would say, of how his culture would condemn him, and so his visceral shame became visceral hatred.

Muslim leaders have repeatedly been silent on the sufferings of LGBTQ individuals. They have treated them as though they were unworthy of god’s love. But in debasing gays, Islam’s homophobes have only debased themselves. The battle for civil rights and for dignity will never be won, peace in the Muslim-majority world will never be won, freedom of thought and conscience will never be won, until and unless a sexual revolution accompanies an intellectual one.

One of the reasons to oppose the uncontrolled mass migration of hundreds of thousands of young uneducated Muslim males (all of those adjectives are important -- let's abbreviate them as the suspiciously gay-sounding YUMMs) to Europe is because it will be bad for gays here. I know plenty of gay people, and I appreciate the fact that Germany is one of the most tolerant places in the world. Mass immigration of YUMMs will impair, and possibly destroy that. There are already hundreds of reports of gay or effeminate migrants being threatened, harassed, and beaten in German migrant shelters.

Pro-immigration groups have responded in three ways to this urgent problem.

The first is to denounce anyone who refers to it as xenophobic and racist. However, this strategy quickly ran into a buzz-saw of enraged opposition, and has shown rapidly-diminishing returns. If you spend enough time denouncing reasonable people as xenophobes and racists, the tables quickly turn and you begin to look like the screeching fanatic.

The second is to point out that there are anti-gay people and groups in Germany, as well. While this is certainly true, it's easily countered by two observations. First, while some Germans privately disapprove of homosexuality, it is quite rare for them to openly insult or attack people merely because they are gay. Germany is without doubt one of the most tolerant societies for homosexuals in the world today, and anyone who disputes this has lost touch with reality. Second, the observation that there are Germans with backward views is hardly an argument to import more people with backward views. If you're in a hole, stop digging.

The third response is to call for 'integration' courses in which a pony-tailed social worker explains why it's wrong to insult, beat, or kill gays. This course, it is assumed, will magically cause hundreds of thousands of people to abandon their most deeply-held convictions. This assumption is, of course, a fantasy. No self-respecting European urban liberal would ever agree to despise homosexuals simply because they relocated to a country in which that attitude is common. They may say they believe YUMMs will do the converse, but they probably don't. The question of what happens if the YUMMs don't change their mind is never addressed by pro-immigration groups.

Anyone who wishes to immigrate to Germany for any reason should be grilled extensively on their attitudes toward homosexuals. They don't need to agree to dance in a Christopher Street Day parade in crotchless chaps, but they must endorse complete tolerance toward gays and a categorical rejection of any form of persecution of them. If they show any deep-seated antagonism toward gays, they should be put on a permanent blacklist. Period.

Does this policy hold immigrants to a higher standard than Germans? Yes, and that's a feature, not a bug. As noted above: if in hole, stop digging.

Would this policy result in the exclusion of genuine refugees because they hate gays? Yes, and that's a feature, not a bug. If their hatred of gays is so important to them, let them seek refuge in a country in which that attitude is common. Providing asylum is a humanitarian duty, but it is not absolute. It can and should be balanced against the host country's legitimate needs.

Does this policy privilege gay citizens and residents of Germany above foreigners? Yes, and that's a feature, not a bug. The needs of people already in your country who have rights should always take precedence over the needs of outsiders seeking to make use of the mere privilege of immigration.

Will this policy privilege worldly, educated, tolerant Muslim immigrants over YUMMs? Yes, and that's a feature, not a bug.

Why is any of this controversial?


"Are 'Safe Zones For Women' Europe's Future?"

Swedish columnist Paulina Neuding bluntly states some uncomfortable truths: 

Indeed, the refugee crisis in Europe is more a matter of culture than of numbers. And cultural clashes are much harder to address than logistics – especially once they leave the regulated confines of the asylum center, which can mitigate potential conflicts with surveillance and design. How will individuals who cannot share a shelter with gays and Christians without harassing them be able to integrate into liberal European societies?

The German and Swedish governments have not placed a high priority on addressing this question. In fact, both have failed to take seriously the cultural differences – on issues like women’s rights, minority rights, family honor, and individual liberties – between asylum-seekers, mainly from the Middle East and North Africa, and the European societies where they hope to live. In Sweden, in particular, a strong commitment to political correctness has severely limited public debate.

In ignoring these differences, the political elites in both Germany and Sweden are risking some of their countries’ most valuable social assets, including security, stability, equality, tolerance, and individual freedom. Yet they fail to note these risks. They act like their hard-won social advantages are inexhaustible natural resources, rather than the product of centuries of development – a product that is far more fragile than is widely assumed.

Perhaps the most obvious example of the threat European societies faces occurred in Cologne, Germany, on New Year’s Eve, when more than 600 women were sexually assaulted – and in some cases also robbed – by large gangs of men, most of whom were illegal immigrants or asylum-seekers. Only four of the 153 suspects detained were German nationals.

Though mass sexual abuse is not unheard of in Europe, it has historically occurred only during conflicts – for example, during the Balkan wars of the 1990s and in the areas occupied by the Soviet Red Army at the end of World War II. What happened in Cologne last December has no equivalent in peacetime Western Europe.

Nor was it a one-off event. Shortly after the news of the Cologne attacks broke, it was revealed that similar attacks had taken place at the We Are Stockholm youth festival in the Swedish capital two years in a row, with young refugee men encircling and sexually assaulting teenage girls. Police had to escort 200 male attendees from the festival area last year....

In response to the mounting anecdotal evidence of sexual abuse, Swedish police undertook an analysis of all harassment that has been occurring in public spaces. Their findings confirm that there is a problem with immigrants acting in groups to attack women and girls.

In response to this so-called “culture clash,” Sweden has launched an initiative to educate young asylum-seekers about gender equality. Likewise, Germany created an informational website, offering advice on sex and sexuality, among other topics. Whether or not such initiatives ultimately have an impact, there is no denying that in Germany and Sweden – two of the world’s most open, tolerant, and equitable societies – women and girls now face a new reality....

Large numbers of police, together with safe zones for women, helped to protect against mass sexual assaults at the carnival festivities in Cologne in February. But, as the debate over refugees rages on, one must ask: Are “safe zones for women” Europe’s future?


Immigration Policy Should Exclude Crackpots and Fanatics

The father of the Orlando shooter, an Afghan immigrant who came to the USA sometime in the 1980s, hates homosexuals just as much as his son did, but thinks we should leave it to God to punish them. Plus, he makes long, rambling, controversial YouTube videos about obscure ethnic conflicts which have nothing to do with the US. This case raises the same questions as the Tsarnaev case: Why is the US welcoming and granting citizenship to crackpots with medieval views from the most unstable parts of the world? The question is also obviously relevant to contemporary Germany.

Being permitted to live in another country is not a right, it's a privilege -- I should know, I'm doing it now. A country's constitutional guarantees only apply with full force to nationals of that country who are within its borders. The USA, like any other country, is permitted to discriminate on any basis it chooses when it comes to deciding who should be permitted to relocate permanently to within its borders. This is why Donald Trump's proposal to ban Muslim immigration is quite possibly constitutional, as long as it's not applied to US citizens. It may be a bad idea, it may be bigoted, but it's not against the law.
 
Many people have some vague idea that countries are not allowed to engage in ethnic and religious discrimination when it comes to immigrants. There must be some international treaty or something that says this is not allowed, right? The answer is no: There never has been, and there never will be. Countries may voluntarily bind themselves to non-discrimination in immigration, but no international law can force them to do so. It's the privilege of any nation to choose whom it wishes to let in and keep out. Germany grants privileged access to Russian-Germans and Jews over all other ethnic groups, and this was and is legal and proper under international law.
 
This means that people from culturally remote, conflict-torn regions where backward views and noxious superstitions are commonplace (such as Afghanistan) can and should have to face high hurdles and extensive, days-long background questioning. Sure, we'll let Afghans in, but only if they have worldly, tolerant views comparable to the mainstream of the developed Western country they wish to relocate to (let's say the US). 
 
Allah hates gays? Permanent blacklist. Wife-beating's alright? Permanent blacklist. Any trace, no matter how remote, of sympathy for extremists? Permanent blacklist. Anything but 100%, full-throated, unequivocal support for Western-style representative democracy, with all its attendant flaws? Permanent blacklist. As a practical matter, this will mean the majority of Afghans who are given the right to permanently resettle in the US will be members of the educated urban elite.
 
This is a feature, not a bug.
 
In the next line over, Norwegians of Norwegian ancestry who want to enter the USA are whisked through with just a few superficial questions. Why? Because it's statistically likely that the majority of Norwegians hold views which will enable them to successfully adapt to American society. The chances of finding a Norwegian who prefers God's law to democracy or passionately hates homosexuals is so small, it can be ignored as a heuristic matter. 
 
A typical counter-argument is that there are plenty of American crackpots with extremist views, so why should America get to exclude Afghan crackpots? The answer is: Because they're our crackpots. They are our problem. The fact that we have problems in our society doesn't mean we should import additional problems from other societies. Especially societies we don't understand, whose problems mean nothing to us.
 
And even if this argument doesn't strike you as rational, it doesn't have to. If you are allowed to discriminate, that means you can discriminate for good reasons, bad reasons, or no reasons at all. If Germany wanted to, it could pass a law saying that only people with green eyes can immigrate to Germany. If some international tribunal asked Germany why, Germany would not even have to give an answer. 
 
Countries like the USA and Germany have enormous leverage: they are (comparatively) safe, prosperous, well-run societies to which millions of people would like to relocate. They should leverage their desirability to attract only the most adaptable and talented immigrants. Anything less is a disservice to their people.
 
Why so many mainstream German (and some American) politicians cannot seem to grasp these obvious principles has the world scratching its head.

Intercept and Return is the Only Workable Policy for African Boat Migrants

As I have been pointing out for some time now, there's only one workable answer to the coming African migration 'crisis': Europe must intercept all migrant boats in the Mediterranean and immediately return them to their place of origin. No exceptions. This is the Australian policy. Austria's foreign minister, Sebastian Kurz, broke the taboo two days ago (g) and said boats must be intercepted and people returned (after a brief on-the-spot asylum hearing). Other European politicians are still in denial about this fact, wasting time in virtue-signaling, but they will eventually have to buckle under and accept reality.

Typically, what happens now is smugglers pack a boat full of all the migrants that fit. Then they add 20% more, and send it off. The boats don't even have a destination. The migrants wait until they are in international waters, and then send an SOS signal. At that point, they are intercepted by European ships and brought to European territory to file asylum claims. This foolish policy is a pull-factor that has encouraged millions of Africans to pack their bags and bribe smugglers. There are now something like 800,000 migrant waiting in North Africa to board rickety boats.

If they are all brought ashore in Italy, this will be a crisis of unimaginable proportions. Italy is already a country with massive problems, and is already dealing with hundreds of thousands of African migrants sleeping rough, working illegally, committing petty crimes, and dealing drugs. Adding 800,000 new unskilled illegal migrants might well push Italy over the brink into -- well, it's hard to say, but it will be ugly. And trust me, those 800,000 migrants are all going to stay in Italy. No other European country will take them, except perhaps a token contingent for Germany. Austria has already announced it will monitor its border with Italy to prevent passage north. Italy and the EU have been locked in fruitless negotiations for months about what to do with the migrants.

Italy's other plan is to address the so-called 'root causes' of migration (g) by helping African governments better protect their borders and intercept migrants on the way north. In return, Europe will establish asylum processing centers in Africa and open up legal means of immigration to Europe. This is as far as the center-left Renzi government can go. But like the EU's agreement with Turkey, this silly plan outsources Europe's immigration policies to repressive, corrupt, and/or ineffectual states. The whole world asks why Europe should do this instead of simply securing its own borders effectively.

Other countries have long since grasped the nettle. Not only do they reject all illegal boat migrants, they openly announce that they are doing so, and explain why:

As the United States' primary maritime law enforcement agency, the Coast Guard is tasked with enforcing immigration law at sea. The Coast Guard conducts patrols and coordinates with other federal agencies and foreign countries to interdict undocumented migrants at sea, denying them entry via maritime routes to the United States, its territories and possessions.  Thousands of people try to enter this country illegally every year using maritime routes, many via smuggling operations.  Interdicting migrants at sea means they can be quickly returned to their countries of origin without the costly processes required if they successfully enter the United States.

When successful, illegal immigration can potentially cost U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars each year in social services. In addition to relieving this financial burden on our citizens, the Coast Guard's efforts help to support legal migration systems. Primarily, the Coast Guard maintains its humanitarian responsibility to prevent the loss of life at sea, since the majority of migrant vessels are dangerously overloaded, unseaworthy or otherwise unsafe.

The US, like Australia, unapologetically protects its own interests, and defends its policy as more humane than any alternative. 

But then, of course, the United States is notoriously hostile to refugees. Right?

Wrong. UN Dispatch places the US in the top four countries worldwide for refugee resettlement:

The United States. Influenced by its political and military position regarding conflict in Syria, the U.S. has not favorably made the news on the current refugee crisis, offering to resettle only approximately 10,000 Syrian refugees. Yet looking holistically at its system reveals a sunnier picture of U.S. refugee policy. The United States permanently resettles more refugees than any other country in the world, historically taking half of all applications received via the UN Refugee Agency. Last year, this amounted to about 70,000 refugees worldwide who, for the most part, were living in limbo in the country to which they fled.  The USA may not be a viable option for Syrian refugees, but large numbers of refugees from elsewhere are routinely resettled in the USA.

It's simple: if you bribe a smuggler, cram yourselves into boats, and try to sneak into the country illegally, you will be summarily rejected (except for Cubans, but that's changing as we speak). If you comply with the law, cooperate with international organizations, and can actually prove you as an individual face severe persecution, we will resettle you.

It's called setting the right incentives. And it's not only a reasonable policy choice, but by far the best one. All you have to do is give up a few sentimental illusions. But boy, do Europeans love those.


Schwarzenbek: One of the 13,816 New Epicenters of the Migrant Crisis

Schwarzenbek, Germany. Never heard of it before? Neither had I. But it does have an English Wikipedia page:

Schwarzenbek is a town in the district of Lauenburg, in Schleswig-Holstein,Germany. It is situated approximately 10 km northeast of Geesthacht, and 35 km east of Hamburg. Schwarzenbeks' coat of arms shows a black wolf on a yellow field, beneath the wolf, the water symbolizes the river Schwarze Beke (meaning Black Creek).

It's probably a typical North German village, with red-brick churches, quaint ivy-encrusted row-houses, and lots of tea drinkers. 15,000 inhabitants.

But then 78 migrant families, mostly Syrian and Afghan, arrived. They were sent to the middle of nowhere by the German migrant resettlement plan, the so-called Königsteiner Agreement, which is intended to spread the burden of resettlement evenly and prevent the creation of ghettos.

All the children had to be packed into Schwarzenbek's school system, which had to expand German as a Second Language classes. And a group of between 8 and 15 migrant boys, depending on whom you ask, are harassing and beating (g) the other children. Severely enough to inflict bruises and scrape wounds. Parents are reporting that their children are afraid to go to school. Nobody can figure out exactly why the boys are doing this, since they speak no German. But all the victims mentioned in the article are girls.

Of course, in rural areas of the third world, this sort of behavior would probably be countered by giving the boys a solid beating. Assuming, of course, that the boys' behavior was seen as a problem at all. But Germany's not that kind of country, so instead school authorities have called the parents in for 'discussions'. Not right away, of course -- they had to wait two weeks for Arabic and Dari/Pashto translators to arrive first. I can imagine those translators have their work cut out for them, traveling to one remote hamlet after another.

Parents have complained: "Principal Andreas Hartung did not try to minimize the problem, but asked the parents for patience: 'Give us time.' A new employee tasked with social integration has only been at the school for two weeks." Given that Schwarzenbek prides itself on being a stable bedroom community, parents weren't expecting their children being terrorized by gangs of foreigners at school. That's why they don't live in Hamburg.

Meanwhile, according to the former chair of the roundtable Willkommenskultur, Christoph Ziehm, the mood in the town is threatening to change. Enraged parents are posting Facebook comments, some with racist overtones, about their experiences. Although the chairman says it's regrettable that a minority of children are besmirching the reputation of the majority who cause no problems, he also agrees that integrating these very foreign foreigners is a "major social problem" and says: "When it comes to the subject of equal rights for women, Syrian families are fifty years behind us, and Afghans are eighty."

And that comes from the chief proponent of Willkommenskultur.

Meanwhile, similar scenes are no doubt occurring in thousands of towns and villages across Germany. Stay tuned.


Putin to Europe: Take Our Chechens -- Please!

The number of asylum-seekers in Germany from Chechnya is on the increase (g). Chechens are notorious in Russian novels for being the most violent and fractious minority in the empire. The list of terrorist attacks carried out by Chechen Muslim terrorists is rather long (including the Boston Marathon bombing and several attacks at Domodevovo Airport). And this just in, fresh from today's headlines: "CHECHEN jihadists posing as Russian football supporters are plotting to attack English and Welsh fans at the Euro 2016 championships, security chiefs fear":
One of the big fears the French have is the threat posed by Islamic State terrorists from Chechnya and the Caucasus region. They are apparently planning to travel to France among Russian fans. 

“They will almost certainly avoid any stadiums because of the massive security and instead will look to shoot supporters drinking in bars or restaurants. “Their main target is most likely Russians but they will want to kill British fans as well as local French people because in their eyes they’re all enemies of IS.”

Mr Moniquet said large Chechen populations live in Germany and Belgium. Belgian police carried out investigations into extremists on the northern coast and in the city of Leuven last year.

More than 400 Chechen jihadists are fighting in Iraq and Syria while terrorist group Caucasus Emirate, which has as many as 15,000 fighters, pledged allegiance to IS last summer.

A young Chechen man whose family lives in Austria was recently asked during a TV interview what he would do if his sister left the house without a headscarf: "Then I'd kill her."
 
Young Chechen males are notorious in Germany now for being unusually likely to cause problems in migrant shelters. Many are Salafists who insult and attack fellow shelter residents for homosexuality, insufficient Islamic zeal, or apostasy. Just a week ago, there was a mass riot (g) between Chechens and Yezidis in Bielefeld, Germany. Dozens of people from both groups rioted, attacking each other with clubs and knives. Five people had to be hospitalized, some of them with serious injuries. A spokesman for the Yezidis reported that the hostilities started when Chechens attacked the (non-Islamic) Yezidis, calling them infidels. There are dozens of other reports of militant, violence-prone Chechens attacking non-Muslims and minorities in German migrant shelters.
 
Chechen migrants have formed criminal gangs in Austria, and are engaged in gang wars (g) with Afghans to control various rackets, giving them a "disastrous" reputation. A recent newspaper report from Austria, where many Chechen migrants have settled, concluded (g): 
The biggest problem for law enforcement is the Chechens. They are listed as Russian nationals in the statistics. There were 1528 suspected criminals in this group, which was 49.2% of all the suspected criminals among asylum seekers and illegal immigrants in 2014. In the first six months of 2015, 673 Chechens were registered as criminal suspects.
Russia, according to sources cited by the first link above, is intentionally funneling large numbers of Chechens into Germany to further destabilize the country. And, of course, to further re-stabilize Russia by dumping extremists and career criminals onto gullible Western European nations. And no, Germany's getting the criminals, not the persecuted human-rights lawyers. Under 6% of asylum-seekers from Russia get legal recognition.
 
German CDU politicians are now calling for the European Dublin regulations on asylum to be enforced on Chechens. These require asylum-seekers to file asylum claims in the first EU country they set foot in. For Chechens, this is almost always Poland.
 
So Poland would be responsible for housing and feeding thousands of illegal Chechen Muslim immigrants, notorious as the perhaps most violent and unpredictable group among all the various nationalities entering Europe. Plus, all of these people -- largely young males, of course -- will be frustrated that they couldn't make it to Germany. Actually, frustrated isn't the word. Incandescent with rage comes closer. Poland would also have to hire hundreds of new bureaucrats to decide their frivolous asylum claims. And somehow force them into planes for deportation.
 
Can you imagine how Poles will react to their rich neighbor Germany trying to dump this problem from hell onto them?
 
Vladimir Putin certainly can, which is why he may well be urging Chechens to set out for Germany -- the more, the merrier!
 
Once again, Europe is being effortlessly manipulated by politicians who have no illusions about human nature or culture, and who are unabashedly putting the interests of their own people first.

Random Crime by Migrants and Trust in Strangers

Anyone who grew up in the US during the crime wave of the 1970s-1990s learned never to open the door to strangers. If a stranger knocked at your front door claiming to need help, you were supposed to communicate with them through the door, and offer to call help. That's all. Criminals often faked accidents to gain access to homes, then robbed, raped, and/or murdered the occupants. As in this case. Of course these incidents were rare. Certainly 99% of the time, the people knocking at your door genuinely needed help.

But what if you opened the door to the 1%? Humans make decisions based on rare, spectacular, and recent risks. One random crime by a stranger has more effect on society than a thousands crimes committed by people who know each other.

Which brings us to the latest random murder committed by a recent migrant in Germany. The suspect is a Pakistani man who has been in Germany for 3 years. So far, there is no information about why he was allowed to stay that long. He has already compiled a criminal record. A week ago, he gained access to the home of a 70-year-old woman who lived near his migrant shelter in Bad Friedrichshall. He then beat her to death (g), stole property from the home, and left messages in English and Arabic in the home. Police say there is no evidence of any connection between the suspect and victim. DNA evidence ties him to the scene, as well as his possession of property stolen from the home. There were no signs of a break-in, suggesting the woman let him into her house.

Germany who visit the USA are often shocked by how inhospitable Americans are to strangers knocking at their door -- especially when the homeowner shoots at someone he thinks was a threat.

Now that Germany has imported tens of thousands of career criminals and mentally unstable persons from the Middle East and North Africa -- and spread them throughout the country -- Germans are going to have to unlearn their touching trust in strangers. It'll happen slowly, like the proverbial frog in boiling water. But once it's gone, everybody will notice.

Welcome to 1980s America, Germany. You're not going to like it.


An Open Letter to the EU's External Action Service

0114-France-Gay-Marriage

Did you know that the EU has a foreign ministry? Very few people do, since it it does very little. The number of foreign-policy priorities all 28 EU member states can agree on can probably be counted on one hand. So they do things like this:

Brussels, 12/05/2016
160512_02_en
STATEMENT

Statement by the Spokesperson on LGBTI rights in the United States

"The recently adopted laws including in the states of Mississippi, North Carolina and Tennessee, which discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons in the United States contravene the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which the US is a State party, and which states that the law shall prohibit any discrimination and guarantee to all persons equal and effective protection.

As a consequence, cultural, traditional or religious values cannot be invoked to justify any form of discrimination, including discrimination against LGBTI persons. These laws should be reconsidered as soon as possible.

The European Union reaffirms its commitment to the equality and dignity of all human beings irrespective of their sexual orientation and gender identity. We will continue to work to end all forms of discrimination and to counter attempts to embed or enhance discrimination wherever it occurs around the world."

I decide to send the three names credited with this statement the following open letter:

Dear Ms. Ray, Ms. Kocijancic, Mr. Kaznowski,

This is an open letter which I have also posted on my blog, www.germanjoys.eu.

I read with interest your pronouncement of May 12, 2016 calling on the states of Mississippi, North Carolina, and Tennessee to 'reconsider' laws requiring persons to use bathrooms which accord with the sex on their birth certificates. You promised to "continue to work to end all forms of discrimination and to counter attempts to embed or enhance discrimination wherever it occurs around the world."

I am a citizen of the United States, but I have lived in Germany for over a decade. I have paid German taxes which, ultimately, help to fund the EU. I am curious about your reasons for making this pronouncement, and have a few questions which I would like to pose and a few points which I'd like to bring to your attention.

The first question is, of course, why are the decisions of democratically-elected legislatures in American states important to the EU? With all the other crises engulfing Europe these days, who decided to give this issue priority? Do you have any proof that these laws will ever have any significant effect on EU citizens? Can you name one transgender EU citizen living in the State of Mississippi, for instance?

Do you have any evidence that your views reflect the will of a majority of EU citizens? Do you have any public-opinion polls showing that large numbers of EU citizens care about these laws? Did you check the legislation of all 28 EU member states to determine whether those countries have similar laws? Do you believe that the bathroom choices available to transgender persons in 3 states of the United States are an important issue to the people of, say, Hungary? Poland? Romania?

Can you point to any treaty provision or legal precedent that supports your interpretation of the ICCPR'S non-discrimination clauses, which mention only discrimination on the basis of 'sex'? Specifically, do you have any legal precedent for the view that that gender-segregated bathrooms -- the overwhelming policy and practice of every society and every nation -- is unlawful discrimination on the basis of ‘sex’?

I have found no legal authority whatsoever to support your interpretation. I would be much obliged if you could show me any.

To take a much more fundamental issue than bathroom choice, marriage is now available to gays in every state of the United States. Are you aware that the largest EU member state, Germany, continues to deny gay people the right to marry, and has no plan to change that policy? And that the majority of EU member states denies gays the right to marry? Are you aware that large majorities of the populations of Eastern European states oppose gay marriage? Are you aware that just three years ago, one of the largest demonstrations in the history of France took place in Paris to oppose laws granting French homosexuals the right to marry?

Given the continuing controversy over this fundamental issue within the EU, why do you believe it is appropriate for the EU to take a stand on transgender bathroom rights in federal states in faraway lands? In particular, do you have any proof that your statement reflects the values of European citizens? 

I believe that a reliable representative poll would certainly show that a majority of EU citizens favors maintaining gender-segregated bathrooms. I challenge you to show me any evidence that this is not the case.

To sum things up, I believe it is the case that your statement (1) is backed by zero legal authority; (2) reflects a view which would be rejected by the overwhelming majority of the people whom you claim to represent; and (3) is directed at an issue that has no meaningful effect on EU citizens; and (4) is far too insignificant to be worthy of the time and attention of EU officials.

I think you should withdraw the statement and focus on issues that actually matter to the people of Europe.

Goodness knows there's no shortage of those, is there?

Sincerely,

Andrew Hammel

Düsseldorf, Germany


Crimes in the Times

Whenever I blog about crimes by migrants, most of my German readers shift uncomfortably in their seats. They maintain utter silence about the issue, never commenting one way or the other, and privately wonder if I've finally drunk das Kool-Aid of neo-Nazism. The reason for this is a simple cultural misunderstanding: most educated Germans perceive a strong taboo against discussing migrant crime, but I don't.

Nor does the New York Times. An article about the influence of violent crimes on today's election in Austria begins with this picture of the bruises inflicted on a grandmother when she was raped by a young Afghan male:

AUSTRIA1-master768

By any measure, the string of crimes has been terrible. A grandmother of three, walking her dog, raped along a riverbank. A 10-year-old boy sexually assaulted at a public swimming pool. A 21-year-old student gang raped near the giant Ferris wheel at Vienna’s famed Prater park. A 54-year-old woman beaten to death on the street.

The fact that the crimes were committed by recent migrants from war zones and an immigrant who had lived illegally in the country for years added an especially volatile element to the political climate ahead of the presidential election on Sunday, when Austria could become the first European country to elect a far-right candidate as head of state since the end of Nazism.

...

Ms. Bubits is also the daughter of the woman, now 72, who was raped while walking her dog on Sept. 1. Since the attack, Ms. Bubits said, her mother has gone from being healthy to ridden with anxiety and requiring close attention.

“It goes up and down,” Ms. Bubits said, but “it’s basically as if she was suddenly 90.”

On a visit to her home on Friday, her mother could barely shuffle a few steps without assistance. Ms. Bubits said she and her mother wanted to speak out about what had happened to emphasize that despite the problems many Austrians want to help refugees and make a place for them in their country.

According to court documents, her mother was walking her 13-year-old dog by the Schwechat, a river where refugees and residents often bathe. A young man helped her up a slope, but then, the documents said, “exploited her physical weakness,” threw her to the ground, “held her mouth shut, ripped her clothes and forced her to engage” in sex.

...

“It is all getting whipped up politically,” said Martin Mahrer, a lawyer who is defending one of three young Afghans who have confessed to raping a female Turkish student in a park on April 22. “People now want offenders to be really severely punished.”

Mr. Mahrer said some of these young migrants had arrived from war zones, with completely un-Western views about women.

“They do not respect the same things we do,” Mr. Mahrer said. But, he asked, are foreign offenders less equal before the law than Austrians?

If this article had appeared in German newspapers which consider themselves comparable to the New York Times -- well, actually, it wouldn't have in the first place. Respectable broadsheets don't publish photos of bruises caused by vicious rapists. Only tabloids would stoop so low. Respectable broadsheets don't let victims of crimes by ethnic minorities tell their stories -- that privilege is reserved for victims of right-wing attacks. If respectable broadsheets mention violent crime at all, it is only to tell their readers what things are permissible to think and say about the issue. 

In other words, respectable broadsheets are ignoring a problem that's obvious to everyone living in Western Europe. Serious crime by migrants is a vitally important public-policy issue in Europe today. It is literally changing the political face of Western Europe. Statistics are one thing, but anyone who underestimates the potential explosive impact of random violence against strangers in public places is a fool. And respectable broadsheets are full of these fools, which is why they are so surprised by the rightward lurch in European national politics.