Arab World Fails in Mental Health Care, Germany Chooses to Pay the Price

Reutknife
A Syrian refugee in Reutlingen, apparently upset about relationship troubles, hacked a 45-year-old woman to death with a 40-cm döner kebab knife. He then ran shrieking through the city, hacking at other people with the knife, until a man in a BMW ran him over and brought the rampage to an end. Although only in Germany for a year, the accused killer had been in trouble with the police before for drug, property, and violent crimes (g). Early reports about the 27-year-old Syrian rejected asylum seeker who blew himself up in Ansbach, injuring a dozen other people, indicate he had a history of mental illness and had twice attempted suicide.

This is not normal behavior, even for people who (may) have withstood trauma. And this sort of behavior doesn't just crop up one day out of nowhere. It's a good bet both of these men displayed behavior problems back home, although given taboos and the language barrier, it will probably be hard to find out precise facts.

As I've argued before on this blog, it seems that among the hugely disproportionate numbers of random young males Germany allowed to wander across the border last year, there's a disproportionate number of violent, mentally ill young men. The reasoning could hardly be simpler: If you have 5 children, 3 of whom are men, and 2 of those men have jobs and/or families, who are you going to send to Germany to try to set down an anchor there and start the chain migration which, your hope, might one day allow your whole family to resettle? Two of your sons are founding families and/or generating income to support you, so losing them would be a problem. But what about your 18-year-old son, who has always seemed a bit 'off', who says odd things or deals drugs or has a nasty temper or sometimes talks to himself?

One of the reasons families might be eager to off-load family members with mental illnesses is because mental health care in the Arab world is totally inadequate

The Arab world is taken to mean the 22 members of the Arab League, accounting for 280 million people. The region has the largest proportion of young people in the world: 38% of Arabs are under 14. Life expectancy has increased by 15 years over the past three decades, and infant mortality has dropped by two-thirds. Around 12 million people, or 15% of the labor force, are unemployed. The quality of education has recently deteriorated, and there is a severe mismatch between the labor market and the education system. Adult illiteracy rates have declined, but are still very high: 65 million adults are illiterate, almost two-thirds of them women. Some 10 million children still have no schooling at all.

The health expenditure estimated as a percentage of gross domestic product is highest in Palestine (13.5%), followed by Lebanon (8.8%), Jordan and Djibouti (8.5%) and Egypt (6.4%) . Health services in all Arab countries are provided by public (government) and private sector facilities and out of pocket (this last category representing 63.4% of the total in Sudan, 58.7% in Egypt, 58% in Yemen, 56.1% in Morocco and 54.9% in Syria). In some countries insurance systems contribute to the provision of the service. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have come to be recognized as an important actor in the provision of health services, especially in countries with internal instability (in particular, Lebanon in late 1980s and Palestine now).

The mental health expenditure as a percentage of total health expenditure is not available in most Arab countries and not reported by the officials. Only three Arab countries have provided an estimate: Qatar (1%), Egypt (less than 1%) and Palestine (2.5%)....

Currently, most of the Arab countries are exposed to conflicts, wars, terrorism and fundamentalism, which may be the seeds for many behavioral and mental disorders.

Cultural beliefs of possessions and the impact of sorcery or the evil eye affect interpretation of mental symptoms. In this context, the first resort for the families of mental patients is not even the general practitioner, but the traditional healers, who acquire a special importance because of their claim of dealing with the “mystical” and the “unknown”. In the majority of Arab countries there is no interaction between the medical profession and the traditional healers. In Jordan, there is some kind of a relationship, which remains informal and unorganized. In Saudi Arabia, however, they constitute part of the staff, using religious text and recitation in management.

In conclusion, our data show that, in the Arab world, health and education budget assignment is below the recommended requirements far better quality of life. The budget allowed for mental health as a percentage from the total health budget, in the few countries where information is available, is far below the range to promote mental health services. The mental health human resources and the inefficient data collection by the official agencies are incompatible with the gross domestic product of Arab countries. An appeal for implementing mental health in primary care as stipulated as a policy in many Arab countries and to prioritize mental health in the agenda of politicians is urgently needed.

In the close kin-network and community you live in, your son already notorious as a problem child and/or petty criminal and/or target of a curse or evil eye, so he cannot find a job and isn't a suitable match for an arranged marriage. At home, he can do nothing but cause problems for your family. Abroad, nobody knows about his past, and he'll have a chance for a fresh start. 

As long as there's a country there offering a welcome and housing and education and money to any random young male who makes it across their borders, what's there to lose? Even the $5,000 for a smuggler isn't that much of a sacrifice, since you will no longer have that mouth to feed, and will no longer have to stay up at night worrying about what your unstable, unpredictable family black sheep might do tomorrow. And if he lands in prison or a mental hospital in Germany, everyone knows those are quite comfortable in comparison with similar institutions anywhere else in the world.  And maybe the change will do him good, he'll establish himself, and bring you to join him! What is $5,000 against the priceless prospect of being able to relocate most of your family to a nation which is infinitely more stable and secure than where you live?

More stable and secure for now, that is...


Germans Delighted At Prospect of Violent Pro-Erdogan Protests In their Cities

...or perhaps not.

Pro-Erdogan demos which recently took place around Austria features participation by the Turkish ultra-nationalist group the "Grey Wolves" and attacks on Kurdish shops and restaurants. The violence, and the high profile of politicized Islam in the demonstrations, was criticized by basically all Austrian political parties (g). Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz took the unusual step of summoning his Turkish counterpart for a stern lecture, and even said people in Austria who wanted to meddle in another country's internal politics should leave the country.

Which is pretty amazing, until you consider that all mainstream Austrian political parties are terrified of the growing support for the right-wing populist Austrian Freedom Party. Its candidate for the Chancellorship, Norbert Hofer, lost no time in pronouncing himself "deeply concerned" about violent protests in the middle of Austrian cities: 

You know, I bet a lot of Austrians agree with him.

Good news, everybody! All of this and perhaps more is coming to Germany! A pro-Erdogan group in Germany has just announced a demonstration scheduled for Cologne on July 31. They anticipate up to 15,000 participants (g).

I bet a lot of people in Cologne are going to wonder why large sections of their city have been blocked off. And why thousands of people are marching through the streets of Germany literally wrapped in the flag of some foreign country. And why they should have to pay for the police presence and cleanup -- and quite possibly arrests, prosecutions, and jail sentences -- for a demonstration about something which happened 2500 kilometers away. And why the obscure Turkish-Kurdish conflict, which 90% of Germans neither care about nor understand, is once again leading to violence in their own neighborhoods.

And, of course, they'll be wondering how many other global problems Germany just imported in 2015, when it let over a million random strangers from the most unstable parts of the world wander in with no checks or controls. The violent conflicts between different ethnic groups (g) in German refugee shelters are a sinister omen. 

This is why countries have borders.


Maybe Not the Time for Visa-Free Travel From Turkey?

50,000 newly-unemployed civil servants in Turkey: 

In the days since the coup was foiled, authorities have suspended or detained tens of thousands of bureaucrats for alleged links to the plot. Mass dismissals have also hollowed out the army, police, schools, universities and the state’s highest religious-affairs council, bringing the number of people in detention or newly unemployed to roughly 50,000.

“It’s total chaos. They are not applying any kind of law at this stage,” Gunal Kursun, assistant law professor at Turkey’s Cukurova University, said of the legal system.

Rights advocates have warned that the speed with which the government is firing and detaining opponents suggests authorities have bypassed laws requiring criminal investigations.

Just a few months ago we were being calmly assured by most mainstream German politicos that allowing visa-free travel from Turkey would be a no-brainer.

In any event, I would be fine with accepting a certain number of actual political refugees from Turkey. They're likely to be comparatively well-educated and orderly. Educated Istanbulites who visit Germany are often taken aback by the how unsophisticated many German Turks are. Most Turkish Germans are descended from immigrants hoovered up from Eastern Anatolia as factory labor, and have often preserved, for generations, many quaint customs and attitudes from the sleepy backwaters they came from. They have as much in common with an educated Ankarite as a genderfluid Green Party social worker from Kreuzberg has with a Bavarian Schuhplattler.

But let's be adults about this, Germany. Let's not simply throw open the borders, import millions of random Turks, and hope at least some of them are actually political refugees. That's what happened in 2015, and it really didn't work out very well. Perhaps this time Germany could do what every other country does, and make sure it actually lets in only genuine refugees. You know, by applying the law. Is that possible?


Random Migrants do Random Things for Random Reasons

Yesterday, a 17-year-old Afghan migrant hacked four tourists from Hong Kong nearly to death before being shot by police. Early reports indicate he was shouting 'Allahu Akbar' during the deed, and that a handmade IS flag was found where he lives. IS has already claimed him as one of theirs. 

The FAZ frets: "How Susceptible are Young Refugees to Islamist Propaganda?"

The only honest answer to that question is "we have no idea". The overwhelming majority of migrants know no German or English. They speak languages like Arabic, Urdu, Pashto, Dari, or Amharic. If you thought Germany was teeming with qualified, reliable interpreters for these obscure tongues, you are mistaken. The German government is scouring the nation for any person sentient organism who speaks these languages. But since there is neither the will nor the means to check out the bona fides of these volunteer translators, corruption, incompetence, and/or hidden political and ethnic agendas keep cropping up.

Therefore, until they learn German -- which many of them never will -- migrants are sealed in a linguistic isolation zone. They can communicate with the world outside their bubble only in the most primitive terms, and nobody from the outside has the slightest idea what they are thinking. This is one reason why there is so little information in the press about migrants who commit crimes: they can barely read or write, and speak obscure languages nobody in Germany understands.

Which means there's a 99 percent chance the migrant sitting next to your on the train poses no danger of whipping out his penis and ejaculating onto you (there's a lot of that going on), or groping you, or screaming at you for no discernible reason, or hacking you to death at random. But there's a 1? 0.1? 1.3? percent chance he might do something like that. You have no idea what that chance is.

Neither do the authorities, since they allowed this man into the country knowing nothing about his background, not even his name, and haven't found anything out since he got here. How could they? He speaks only Dari, is (either partially or completely) illiterate, and there is no way to verify anything he does decide to tell the authorities. Plus, there seems to be a far above average likelihood he suffers from a serious mental illness. Families seeking to cast an anchor into prosperous, stable Germany send their misfits and problem children, not the ones who have families and a steady job at home.

Can you see why European domestic security agencies began tearing their hair out when Germany opened its borders?

But they're not the only ones. If you have to use the train, as millions of Germans do every day, you have no control over whether you might end up sitting next to a crazy, dangerous migrant whom nobody knows is crazy or dangerous. Today the migrant sitting across from your did nothing unusual. And the next 100 you sit next to on your daily commute won't do anything either. But watch out for No. 102 -- he'll be a doozy! And thanks to the insurmountable language and cultural barriers, you'll have no idea what he decides to do if and when he finally snaps.

People do not like it when government policies needlessly expose them to unfathomable risks over which they have no control. Germans are especially resentful of this: see organisms, genetically-modified; and power, nuclear. A sense of powerlessness, insecurity, and mistrust translates into profound, seismic shifts in the public mood which nobody can predict.

Which is what we see today all over Europe.


Giovanno di Lorenzo on the Shameless Pro-Migrant Cheerleading of the German Press

In mid-2015, every single mainstream national media outlet in Germany formed themselves voluntarily into a phalanx of pro-Merkel propaganda organs. They ran huge headlines announcing 'Refugees Welcome!', uncritically relayed propaganda claims that migrants were well-educated and would rescue Germany's economy, insisted on labeling all migrants 'refugees', and spewed venom at anyone who dared spoil the party atmosphere.

Giovanni di Lorenzo, editor of the weekly Die Zeit, frankly admits this in this recent interview. The mood all over the press landscape was firmly pro-refugee, he says, and newspapers routinely stepped over the line into open advocacy of the German government's policy. He includes his own paper in this indictment. He admits that skeptical voices were ignored, and that the German press inflicted lasting damage on its own credibility by openly embracing and cheerleading for the current governing elite. He says the mood in various editorial offices only began to change on a deeper level after New Years' Eve in Cologne.

This comes as no surprise to those of us who politely declined the Kool-Aid™, but still, di Lorenzo deserves credit for stating obvious truths that many other media bigwigs still haven't acknowledged.

As Orwell once said, "To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle."

 


Why Most Migrants Will Never Learn German

Learning German is the key to successful integration, goes the platitude. Unlike many platitudes, this one is probably accurate and relevant. But what peddlers of magic pixie dust don't mention, often because they don't know it themselves, is that learning German is extremely difficult, and, for many people, impossible.

This is because learning any foreign language to proficiency or above as an adult is simply beyond the capabilities of most uneducated people. Period. Final. Add to that the fact that migrants to Germany from the Arab world are often marginally literate themselves, must struggle with an unfamiliar alphabet, and, as this documentary points out, are confronted with dozens of other challenges and distractions as they attempt to adapt to life in Germany.

There is no hopeful 'but' to add here: people with low levels of education and academic ability in their native countries will be unable to learn anything but a few necessary phrases of German. Ever. Just as they will never be able to solve a quadratic equation or learn to play the saxophone.

A blog post from OUP reminds us of this:

Adult migrants often struggle to learn the language of their new country. In receiving societies, this is widely seen as evidence that migrants are lazy, lack the required will power or, worse, actively resist learning the new language as an act of defiance towards their new community.

Unfortunately, most of those who point the finger at migrant language shirkers vastly underestimate the effort involved in language learning. The consensus in applied linguistics is that language learning takes a long time and that the precise duration and final outcome as measured in proficiency level are almost impossible to predict. How long it takes to learn a new language as an adult depends on many factors, most of which are outside of the control of an individual language learner, such as age, level of education, aptitude, teaching program, language proximity, or access to interactional opportunities....

The list could go on and on. The general point is that your success at language learning is related to who you are and which hand you have been dealt in life.

The factors listed above – age, prior education, socioeconomic status, gender, race, religion, luck – are by and large outside the control of the individual. What second language learning research shows above all is that learning another language is not an easy feat. It requires a considerable investment of resources and it makes a huge difference whether you are learning in a supportive community or one that rejects you. The ultimate outcome of second language learning efforts is not purely an act of willpower or the result of the learner’s personal choices.


The World's Most Pro-Immigrant Societies Have Strict Border Controls

A Canadian friend sends me this op-ed from the Globe and Mail with a hearty endorsement:

Fortunately our policy makers ... know that support for immigration is highly conditional, and that the social contract with the public can easily be broken.

What is that contract? People want immigration policy to serve the national interest, not the immigrants’ interest. They want skilled immigrants who have something to offer Canada, who work hard, learn one of our official languages and won’t be a burden on the welfare state. Immigrants who have already settled here are among the first to agree.

People don’t sour on immigration for economic reasons. As a recent Wall Street Journal article pointed out, they sour on immigration if they feel it is a threat to national identity. Nor is race a big factor. The biggest factors are culture and assimilation. People want immigrants who will embrace our values – Western liberal values – of tolerance, inclusion and women’s equality. We also expect newcomers to put down roots and pledge their loyalty to Canada first. (If they embrace hockey, so much the better.)

Europe is in crisis because too much European immigration doesn’t look anything like this. The British ran into trouble because they’ve had too much immigration, too fast. Countries that can’t control their borders always face a backlash.

...Australia solved its border problem by diverting asylum-seekers to remote offshore processing camps. Humanitarians and refugee advocates are outraged, but Australians aren’t. They must be doing something right – Australia, like Canada, is among the most successful immigration countries in the world. About 28 per cent of Australians are foreign-born, according to the Pew Research Center.

When a boatload of Tamils arrived in Canadian waters in 2010, the Harper government detained them (some were eventually accepted as refugees), and the public heartily approved. This was widely taken as a sign that Canadians are racist. In fact, we’re no more racist than the Australians or the English. We simply think it should be up to us to choose who gets in.

As I've said many times, neither this blog nor its author is anti-immigrant. The questions, as always, are How many? Which ones? It would probably be a good thing if Germany simply copied Canada's immigration policy. Literally translate the laws into German, and be done with it. If Germany did that, it would soon begin attracting capable, talented immigrants who have the intellectual and cultural qualities that will enable them to adapt quickly to German society. Soon, they will begin finding and creating jobs.

Instead, Germany seems perversely dedicated to inviting huge numbers of immigrants who lack any of the prerequisites for successful integration. They will enter the social-welfare system, and many will never leave. The ones who do leave will compete with working-class Germans for low-skilled jobs, sparking rage and resentment. This is the worst immigration policy imaginable. It will drive ever-deeper wedges into German society, and will permanently associate immigration with crime and dependency in the minds of German voters. It will also lead to crumbling support for the welfare state.

This policy continues to be supported by the delusional belief that there are no significant cultural differences between potential immigrants -- that there is essentially no way to determine whether any immigrant is likely to adapt successfully to life in Germany. Therefore, it is impermissible to discriminate among potential immigrants -- inviting the ones who are likely to succeed, and keeping the others out. Although just about every other nation on earth (like Canada) agrees that this kind of selection is possible and is in fact essential to sound immigration policy, large sections of the German political elite cling to the opposite belief.

The idea that there is something wrong with choosing among immigrants is one of the most dangerous political delusions shared by the German political class. Fortunately, the number of people in power who believe this seems to be dwindling every day. I will keep blogging occasionally about the issue until it dwindles to a tiny fringe belief, and Germany finally abandons its dangerous Sonderweg and adopts an adult immigration policy.

That may take a while, but progress is slow and steady. To paraphrase something Churchill once said about the US, Germany always does the right thing -- after trying everything else first.


Suspiciously Sickly-Sweet Sentimental Stupidity

We all love the Internet, and not just platonically, but it does have its unsavory corners. No, I'm not talking about Pornhub, I'm talking about those videos offering us Moral Improvement™ in the form of 90 seconds of manipulative piffle.

Let's take this example, showing a somewhat dusky-complected 6-year-old child actor on the streets of Tbilisi.  

First, she's dressed in shabby clothing. Everyone ignores her. Then, they dress her up in nice clothes, and people intervene to ask where her mother is, if she needs help, etc. They totally ignore a precious, beautiful, pure, innocent, doe-eyed six-year-old girl angel as if she didn't exist, based solely on the fact that she's not dressed nicely. 

Conclusion: people -- in this case Georgians -- are monsters.

Damn you, Georgians! Damn you all to hell

Black-hearted hell-hound that I am, though, I cannot seem to take the moral message to heart, even though it's so superficial simple. Twin demons of Skepticism and Worldly Experience bar the way.

For those readers who don't live in large European cities, let me explain. Everywhere large numbers of people gather -- tourist attractions, train stations, outdoor events, etc. -- you will see many children looking exactly like the one in the video. Dusky complexions, shabby clothes, the whole nine yards. And yes, people will generally avoid and ignore them.

This is because these are gypsy child beggars. And many aren't just beggars, they're thieves as well. How do I know this? Because I personally have been robbed by them twice. Once in Cologne, once in Piraeus.

In fact, I actually wasn't robbed by them in Piraeus, but that's only because I literally kept swatting them away. I was waiting in line for a ferry which had a one-hour delay. A group of 4-5 Roma beggar children were moving up and down the line, snaking in and out between groups of passengers. Some were begging, some were staging diversions, and some were trying to snake their little hands into travelers' bags. People with hard-sided suitcases were relatively safe, but backpacks were much more tempting targets. Two children surrounded my backpack, constantly probing the sides for hard objects, trying unzip pockets and reach under flaps. 

They literally paid no attention to me. I shoved them away, and they simply came right back. This lasted for 15 minutes. Only when I began shouting at them, which drew attention, did they finally move on to the next guy. Eventually, a police officer appeared, and they drew back somewhat. He immediately divined what I was shouting about. The guy spoke some English. I asked him why they didn't do something about them. "Eh," he said, "we'd like to, but there are just so many of them, and we don't have enough manpower. Same thing is happening at all the docks. If you make eye contact, they beg. If you have a soft bag, they try to get inside it. Either way, they just keep trying until they get something. They have nothing else to do, and if they don't come back with enough at the end of the day, their boss beats them. Sometimes their boss is their parents. My advice -- get a hard-sided suitcase."

Deciding to play the naive American, I asked whether they shouldn't be in school. "Sure they should, but we have no idea where these ones live. They always run away from us, and even if we catch them, they don't speak Greek or English. They're gypsies, that's what makes a gypsy a gypsy. Their parents are all illiterate, they don't care about school, they just want quick money. They've been living like this for hundreds of years. There are some gypsies who are decent people, but there's lots of them who live from sending their children out begging, and there's nothing we can do about it. Sometimes we raid the camps and register the children, but if we try to force them to enroll in school, almost all of them just move on. A couple stay, though, so there's some progress."

The guy seemed eager to practice his English, and both myself and the rest of the people in line wanted to keep him nearby, since the ferry was nowhere in sight, and he was keeping the Dickensian urchins at bay. I asked him whether they could be taken away from their parents if their parents were proven to be involved in sending them out begging and keeping them out of school. "Nope. We usually can't even determine who the parents are. They often don't have any documents they're willing to show us, they're usually illiterate, and often there's nobody in the entire family who speaks Greek or English, and definitely nobody who's willing to speak it with a cop.

"You can't terminate parental rights if you can't prove who the parents even are. And even then, you're not supposed to take Roma kids away from their culture. Although frankly, if you ask me, if this is Roma culture I say it's not worth saving. There are plenty of Greek families who can't have kids or who have room for one more. These kids could be learning Greek, learning to read, eating properly, going to school, going to the doctor, learning to play sports and finally getting a job and supporting themselves. I'm not going to say they could be going to Church because I'm a Communist. But still, this is no life for anybody."

So I bet if you asked the people in the UNICEF video above, they would say: "I asked them to remove the girl from the restaurant because we have a lot of Roma beggar children here who do exactly what she was doing, snaking between the tables, stealing anything they can find. They are a terrible nuisance we deal with every day. I feel sorry for the children, but they do not want and will not accept assistance, that's not why they're here. Giving to them supports criminal gangs who exploit children. I give to charities that provide meaningful help."

And as much as that 120-second video wants me to think otherwise, I think that's a perfectly fair, rational, and humane response.


First-Person Testimonial from a Former Refugee Volunteer

This is a young German guy who, by his own information, studies computer science. Let's call him Udo. When huge numbers of migrants began arriving in 2015, he decided to volunteer to help some of them learn German and navigate German society. After negative experiences with the first two migrants he was assigned to help, he was then assigned to a young Syrian man in his early 20s. Let's call the Syrian guy Halil. 

Udo's task was to spend time one-on-one with Halil, teaching him about Germany, helping him with bureaucratic stuff, and generally hanging out. Udo went to restaurants and the movies with Halil, helped him with German, and talked to him for hours about his legal case and his background.

In the video, starting at abour 12:00, Udo describes the experiences with Halil that left him fully disillusioned and led him to stop volunteer work. Here's my summary of the main points in English. 

  • Halil was first registered as a refugee in Italy, and was supposed to be deported back there under existing EU law. Halil hired a lawyer, who won the case and got him a permit to stay in Germany. He then sent Halil a bill for €600. Halil was "outraged" that he was expected to pay for the lawyers' services, because after all, he had won the case.
  • When Udo told Halil that he, Udo, was an atheist, Halil was stunned, and his reaction was somewhat menacing. He said of course there was only one God, Allah, and everyone should believe in him. Halil thought it was a miracle Udo was "still alive" because God would not protect atheists. Halil drinks and smokes.
  • Halil said he believes nobody in Germany has to work, they get free money from the government. He said this is a common belief in Syria, and that is why many people are coming. When Udo explained this is not the case, Halil refused to believe him. Udo found it remarkable that in the age of the Internet, Halili had never bothered to try to find out whether this bizarre rumor was true or not.
  • Back in Syria, Halil was was the 'ass' of the family, his father bossed him around and forced him to run errands. They sent him to get the free money in Germany because he didn't seem to have much of a promising life ahead of him. When asked directly by Udo, Halil said his family had no problems in Syria, and that they were not going to try to follow him because "they're doing OK" there.
  • Halil claimed that he had studied, computer science. Udo was thrilled to hear this, and said "That's great news! Germany needs people like you, with skills. You could have a great future here." But when Udo, who studies computer science himself, actually questioned Halil, it turned out he was completely ignorant on the subject. Either standards in Syria are incredibly low, Udo decided, or Halil had simply told him a bare-faced lie ("knallhart gelogen"). Udo tends to think the latter.
  • Halil said there was drug dealing in the migrant shelter every night. Nobody has ever been arrested for it, and Halil assumed it was either not against the law, or tolerated. When Udo told him it was against the law, Halil became frightened of being arrested. The migrant shelter is right next to a middle school. Udo said it made him angry to learn that there was an active drug market in the migrant shelter right next to a middle school, and that the police were had done nothing. Udo thought the "rumors" about migrant selling drugs were "right-wing propaganda", but no longer believes this.
  • The straw that broke the camel's back, according to Udo, was when Halil reacted with rage to an official letter saying that he should begin looking for an apartment, which would be funded by the state, but that he should limit himself to under 50 square meters (538 square feet). He protested: "How can I live in a place that small?" Udo, being a student, lives in a 23-square-meter apartment, and must pay for it himself. Udo said he fould Halil's demanding attitude so frustrating that he called up the volunteer service and withdrew from the program.
  • Udo concludes by noting that he continues to be sympathetic to refugees and to treat each case on its own merits. However, the media "have not shown" many of the less-appealing sides of the issue. From his own personal experience, he now believes many of the things that he used to consider right-wing lies and propaganda are true.

On his YouTube page Udo has turned off comments, because there was so much nastiness from all sides. I have to say I think what he did takes courage, and I appreciate it. Udo mockery will not be tolerated in the comments here, either.

I have one comment about Halil being the "ass" of the family. I get the strong impression that this is extremely common among migrants. The stories of migrants who appear to have mental problems (low cognitive ability and non-existent impulse control) are legion. Some have burned down their own shelters, many commit crimes on impulse and don't even bother to flee, they get blind drunk on alcohol and engage in all sorts of antisocial behavior. And this doesn't even count the tens of thousands of career petty criminals. There are, by now, thousands, of reports of sexual assaults by migrants. The same goes for migrants on trains or buses who begin staring at a female, then expose their penises and masturbate.

In a crowded train car.

That sort of behavior is not normal anywhere. Which leads me to believe that when families are deciding which young male to send off at to get a job -- or free money -- in Germany, they are likely to send the young men who are "touched in the head". After all, if you have four sons, and three of them are gainfully employed or already fathers, but one has never fit in and causes you constant trouble, who are you going to send off to the West to cast an anchor on the shores of paradise? You send off the Halils. After all, there are no special education classes or government programs for the mentally challenged in most Arab countries. If Halil leaves, your family gets rid of a troublemaker who costs money and constantly threatens the family honor, and in return you get a chance to relocate to Germany. From their perspective, it's win-win.

 


Immigration Skepticism is a Revolt Against the Elites

Megan McArdle talks to ordinary middle-class English people about immigration in Luton: 

I bought some Polish sausage and pastry at an off-license, some Indian dumplings and Thai noodles at a couple of food trucks, and I sat on a bench in the mall, listening to people from three continents chat with each other in more than half a dozen languages, none of which I spoke.

As an American, this did not strike me as odd; this is what our cities have been like for centuries, particularly on the coasts. One group of immigrants moves in, creates an enclave, then gets rich, assimilates and moves out, making way for the next group that will throw a little of their food, their language and their customs into our vast melting pot. But this is not normal in most of the world. Nor is it necessarily welcome.

Anti-immigration sentiment in the U.S. is often found in places that don’t have enormous immigrant populations, and wonks who proclaim this to be irrational seem not to grasp that those people may be looking at the places that have been transformed by immigration and responding with a fervent “No, thank you.” There’s a lot to be gained from globalism, the mixing of two or more cultures into something new. But something specific and local and much-loved is inevitably lost at the same time, and the people who feel that loss most keenly are the inward-looking people who stay in place, not internationalist elites.

So it’s not that my food was bad -- it was all quite good -- or that there was anything wrong with the immigrants serving and eating it. They all looked like quite nice people. But it was all very different from traditional British food, traditional British people. And no matter how hard we try to argue that it doesn’t matter, it does -- politically, if in no other way. Especially when things aren’t going all that well for the natives.

Somehow, over the last half-century, Western elites managed to convince themselves that nationalism was not real. Perhaps it had been real in the past, like cholera and telegraph machines, but now that we were smarter and more modern, it would be forgotten in the due course of time as better ideas supplanted it.

That now seems hopelessly naive. People do care more about people who are like them -- who speak their language, eat their food, share their customs and values. And when elites try to ignore those sentiments -- or banish them by declaring that they are simply racist -- this doesn’t make the sentiments go away. It makes the non-elites suspect the elites of disloyalty. For though elites may find something vaguely horrifying about saying that you care more about people who are like you than you do about people who are culturally or geographically further away, the rest of the population is outraged by the never-stated corollary: that the elites running things feel no greater moral obligation to their fellow countrymen than they do to some random stranger in another country. And perhaps we can argue that this is the morally correct way to feel -- but if it is truly the case, you can see why ordinary folks would be suspicious about allowing the elites to continue to exercise great power over their lives.

Much of what is foolish and tendentious in the German immigration debate is caused by the failure to realize that immigration affects people in different social classes differently. The Europhile consultants in Prenzlauer Berg associate immigration mainly with delectable ethnic food and cheaper home renovations. As long as they are unable to understand why supermarket cashiers don't share this view, they will continue being (hypocritically, disingenuously) baffled by anti-immigrant sentiment.