Sunday, January 10, 2016

The day the DOOMMM Club has arrived in Germany

A very good report by Spiegel on Cologne and its aftermath. It touches on many subjects we have discussed on Facebook/Twitter. The rise of far right. The polarization. Here however I am linking only some pearls from the actual events and the part about what came to be known in doomspeak on Facebook as the Z epidemic - the arrival in Germany of American style paranoid political culture fueled by wild conspiracy theories. The events in Cologne seem to have brought the breakdown of trust in institutions in large chunks of the population to the tipping point. We are talking here about continuous degradation of political culture and the destruction of trust fabric that holds the society together. In many respects, this is when dooming starts in serious. You can say that this is the day when the DOOMMM Club made its arrival in Germany official.

I should notice that while the report is mostly focused on the hardening of attitudes on the right side, we should expect this trend to be sooner rather than later to be matched on the left side of the political spectrum. it's almost a law of nature that society evolves in tandem. Society is a wholistic organism and its parts interact with and have impact on each other. It's unreasonable to expect an average person to be able to keep his cool in the face of anger and insults from another person. Political polarization works pretty much the same way.

To put the events in Cologne into a wider context, lets say that The DOOMMM Club continues to monitor the impact of the Middle East on the general crisis of the United States of Europe aka the European integration project. We continue to bet on the events in the Middle East, attacks inside Europe and migration from North Africa/Middle East to fuel the rise of anti-immigration anti-EU far right political forces. At the very least we can expect bitter political polarization to undermine and deadlock Europe's political institutions and processes. In more extreme cases we can even expect electoral triumphs of political forces with explicit anti-EU agendas, putting in danger the entire European project and even the current global order with its orientation on supranational multilateral institutions the style of the UN and its various forums.

By DER SPIEGEL () {

"Upon arrival," it begins, "we were informed of the conditions in and around the station by agitated citizens with crying and shocked children." Many "upset passersby" ran to the arriving police to tell them about fights, thefts and sexual attacks against women.

Regarding the situation on the square in front of the train station: "Women, accompanied or not, had to run a literal 'gauntlet' of heavily intoxicated masses of men of a kind that is impossible to describe." There were fears that "the situation we were confronted with (chaos) could have led to serious injuries or even to deaths."

The report mentions deliberate attempts to provoke the police. One example is of someone who "tore up a residency permit with a smile on his face, saying: 'You can't touch me. I'll just go back tomorrow and get a new one.'"

Another example mentioned in the report was an unidentified man saying: "I'm a Syrian! You have to treat me kindly! Ms. Merkel invited me."

[...]

The Facebook site of public broadcaster ZDF has also become a kind of battlefield. There is talk of the "lying press," conspiracy and state-control. "We are being overwhelmed with hate and anger," says Elmar Theveßen, ZDF's deputy editor-in-chief. "The mistrust that we are being confronted with is worrisome."

On Tuesday, the station issued a public apology for the lack of coverage. "It was a lapse in judgement that the 7 p.m. evening news show didn't at least mention the incident," Theveßen wrote on Facebook. Such an open admission of error by a senior manager at a public station in Germany is rare, but Theveßen's act of repentance did little to calm the doubters.

All established media have been confronted with the same phenomenon. In Germany, there is a stable minority that is convinced that the country's broadcasters, newspapers and magazines are controlled by dark powers and have agreed to suppress bad news about foreigners so as not to endanger the political project of welcoming refugees.

More than 2,000 users have thus far commented on Theveßens post, with most of the missives of a horrifying nature -- a collection of conspiracy theories characteristic of the far-right. One user named Johannes Normann, formerly a regional leader for AfD, wrote: "Does 'our' news have to be first cleared by our trans-Atlantic 'friends'? After all, they 'ordered' the 'Islamic mass-immigration.'"

Those, of course, are just the voices of individuals. Yet according to a survey conducted by Allensbach, 41 percent of Germans believe that critical voices are suppressed when it comes to the refugee issue.

On the right wing of the political spectrum, that belief has become a certainty.

Another part of the truth is this: German society is becoming increasingly divided.

Source = How New Year's Eve in Cologne Has Changed Germany }