The older you get …

8 Dec

… the longer the list of people who can kiss your ass. Some days I wish real life had a BLOCK button for people, just like Facebook.

It seems I made a mistake. I alerted the police that some anonymous people had smeared nazi swastikas all over our garbage collection area. (Using nazi symbolism is prohibited in Germany, for reasons.) As we only rent an apartment on the property, the police also went and spoke to several of the owners, making sure the symbols are removed.

Ever since, we have run into trouble with several of the “good people” living next to us. Some don’t greet on the stairs, some have started complaining about our holiday decoration in front of our apartment door (this is generally accepted, including reindeer and glowing santas, but supposedly our plush snowman was just “too tasteless”). The lady on the ground floor, who confronted me about “sending the police her way” has stopped taking in our post parcels (which she usually does for the whole house) – we found a parcel that had been missing for a week in the bike basement, with no notification of any kind in our post box.

I am starting to assume that some people around here have less problems with teen nazis with sharpies roaming the streets than they have with people who are NOT okay with teen nazis with sharpies roaming the street.

The guy thinks I should just have stayed out of everything – not alerted the police, kept my head down. “It’s probably just teenagers, they don’t mean anything by it.”

Yeah, I beg to differ.

Ever since Germany started taking in refugees in larger numbers, there has been a scary rise in right-wing rethorics, political parties (the AfD, a far-right party that wants to ban all Muslims, most foreigners in general, and also wishes to return women to their proper place in the home, where they should remain as devoted mothers in monogamous, heterosexual marriages), attacks against foreigners. A very dear colleague – a Tunisian grandmother, who has never said anything against her in her whole life, and has raised her children to be good Muslims AND good German citizens – has been harrassed on the street about her head scarf. When I go down the street with “headscarfed” friends, people talk about “those Muslims” – just loud enough so we can hear, never loud enough to actually confront them about it.

And every time someone from a foreign country commits a crime in Germany, the online comments start.

“All refugees are criminals!” (All Germans are morons.)

“They are sending their strong, young men to take over the country!” (Please, send only the goodlooking ones.)

“Well, I am still allowed to voice my opinion!” (literally, “Das wird man ja wohl noch sagen dürfen”, which has started sounding ridiculous even though it is a perfectly fine German sentence.)

“When you welcome refugees, you actively suppress their poor women!” (So suddenly the good German men care about women’s rights? Hooray!)

Let’s just say, I am not impressed. Even less with the openly expressed, “I wish all you good-meaning hippie Muslim-welcoming sluts get raped!” Or the accusation that all women who defend refugees have converted because they have a fetish for exotic men.

Good gods! Have these people learned no empathy? Can’t they imagine what it must be like to leave their countries, their families, their lives – basically everything they know behind to go to a country where about a third of the population either hates or at least distrusts you? That’s not something you do easily.

I think we have more than enough to share. We are incredibly blessed, and I think the gods – whichever one(s) you choose to follow – expect us to share our blessings with those in need. I’ve volunteered as a translator for our muinicipal refugee office (they need interpreters rather than translators, but I do what I know best), I’ve donated clothes and kitchenware, I give money to “Jugend rettet“, an organization actively saving refugees drowning in the Mediterranean. And I speak out against people making racist remarks – not to convince them, but to show that they will not go undisputed.

If only Western cultures had a seasonally appropriate story about people from the Middle East who were persecuted and had to flee to a different country …

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3 Responses to “The older you get …”

  1. Magaly Guerrero December 8, 2017 at 3:54 pm #

    I don’t even know what to say about the reaction of your neighbors. How they sleep at night, I’ve no idea. I guess they swallow the same potions as some of the people who live around me. The more this sickening kind of attitude spreads, the least I understand it. Like your closing paragraph suggest, it’s not like most of those people doing the hating aren’t related to someone who at some point felt unwanted. Empathy is dying, and the whole thing is heartbreaking.

    • diandralinnemann December 8, 2017 at 3:59 pm #

      And smacking them is not the solution. Or at least that’s what I hear. Still tempted to try.

      • Magaly Guerrero December 8, 2017 at 4:08 pm #

        Neither is kicking them in the teeth. I’ve no idea why. It feels quite sensible to me.

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