Monday, 15 December 2014

perfidy

Patterned after the Monday Demonstrations that brought down the regime of East Germany, the PEGIDA (Patriotsche Europäer gegen die Islamisierung des Abendlandes—Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident, the West) marches are growing in numbers and frequency but are still rivaled by counter demonstrations. The German government, rightly, condemns the movement as racist and xenophobic. Trying to lend a legitimising air to thuggish and insular attitudes that were first championed by football hooligans (at least in costume, one has a better idea of what one is up against), these marches are hardly proving to be a civil way to channel frustrations or fears, what with public opinion splintered, calls that immigrants refrain from conversing in their native language at home and arson-attacks on refugee housing. I believe there are two very different things occurring here and bigots always capitalize on this confusion: immigration politics are not threatening to displace one’s culture and the level of interaction that all of these marchers have had with any form of Islam is limited to seeing families out in public and making assumptions, which does not exactly equate to an agenda of systematically imposing one’s way of life and values. Petitioning one’s government over real concerns for reform is one thing and resorting to violence and fear-mongering is quite another. Ideology and identity are not the same thing—but both run both ways.