As many of my fellow Germans this week, I am shocked. I am stricken.
I am fighting for the appropriate words to articulate what I feel in light of the disgusting crime committed on New Year’s Eve. On the 1st of January this year, a mob of between 500 and 1000 mostly North African and Middle Eastern men went rampant in the city centre. The police in Cologne has received 90 criminal complaints – including one count of rape. I will not attempt to whitewash any of it. This is a heinous crime and must be identified as such. Justice must be served – but we must make sure that necessary justice does not degrade into generalised injustice.
Still I strongly believe that Germany with benefit from effective integration. In my personal opinion, paraphrased in the words of Angela Merkel:
It will be integral to not follow those who, with fear or even hatred in their hearts want to claim Germanness for themselves and only themselves, those who seek to divide us. It will be integral to keep striving to be a nation, in which we are confident and free, social and open-minded – with a will to achieve, with the will to do our very best.
But effective integration will never be achieved if we close our eyes to the sad, shocking recent realities. As a German nation, we must strive to be confident and free, social and open-minded – and in order to do so, we must uphold our values of lawfulness and coexistence, respect and human dignity.
Our values, our traditions, our righteousness, our language, our law, our rules – they uphold our society, they are the foundation for an exemplary, peaceful coexistence of anyone and everyone in our country, a coexistence governed by mutual respect of all in our country.
Effective integration will never be achieved for those who effectively don’t want to be integrated. We can not close our doors to those who have risked their everything fleeing from a cruel war. But we can not accommodate to those who defy the values of our society.
We should show solidarity, but we must remain reasonable. So, let us do the following:
- Register every migrant upon entry into Germany.
- Pass on the personal information to a separate office for a thorough vetting process. The perverse Paris attacks have shown that, while we certainly shouldn’t rush to generalisations and racism against migrants, Europe does face a threat of terror. For two decades, the German police and Bundeswehr have secured sustainable stability in Germany. Let us keep it that way.
- Closely monitor the criminal record of every registered migrant for four or five years. Should this record stay clean (with the exception of potential parking tickets, minor speed limit infringements and similar infringements), let us welcome the migrants with open arms. In the case of a condemnable criminal offence however, let us show consequent leadership. Effective integration will never be achieved for those who effectively don’t want to be integrated. They would have had their chance. As the perpetrators of the disgusting Cologne attacks, they will have wasted their chance. They must be expelled from the country.
- Administering just blame effectively in a mob of 1,000 people is impossible. So how to deal with occasions of collective guilt? My proposal is as follows – issue an official warning to avoid similar events for the period of five years. In the case of a repeated fallback, the individual in question must be expelled from the country.
- After the four to five-year-period, ensure that every migrant who has made the effort to become German is fully naturalised. Embrace those who embrace our values, our traditions, our righteousness, our language, our law, our rules.
- Internationally, push for the adherence of all EU member states to reasonable refugee quota. This is not only a relief for Germany – it is crucial to not overload one nation’s logistical capabilities and consequentially provide catastrophic conditions to those in need.
My fellow citizens – voice your opinions. Voice your thoughts. Our Germany is a free nation. It’s a strong nation. It is confident, social and open-minded. It is our duty to contribute to the peaceful coexistence in our country. That means to help those that are in need of our help. It also means to ensure that our progressive cultural identity is preserved. Let us keep being open, let us keep engaging in meaningful dialogue. Only by exchanging ideas, considering everyone’s perspectives openly and respectfully can we keep a country on course.
To the many peaceful refugees who sought security in Germany – I (and countless others) know about the shame and disappointment you must feel. You are not personally responsible for these cruel crimes. Those who hold you personally accountable let fear and hatred evoke unjust generalisations. And to the refugees that I know personally – you are all commendable human beings, an enrichment for our society. Just keep up your attitude. Say no to segregationism. Say no to racism.
Let us not be divided by fear or even hatred.