Angela Merkel’s unbearable silence


Angela Merkel’s success is, to a certain extent, based on her talent for saying nothing and sitting controversial topics out. The ‚Teflon‘ chancellor kept quiet when the nation was debating things like the US intelligence agency NSA’s massive wiretapping or the question of marriage equality. But never before has her silence been this unbearable, inexcusable and irresponsible.

Almost every day, there is an attack on a refugee shelter somewhere in Germany. Asylum seeker’s accommodations are burnt down, besieged by far-right activists and locals, have racist slogans and swastikas sprayed on. And Merkel hasn’t said a word.

Never before has Merkel’s silence been this unbearable and irresponsible

Her silence has created a vacuum in German politics now filled by the hardliners in her centre-right CDU party. They are jumping on the bandwagon of semi-racist statements, calling for ‚express deportation‘ camps, axing benefits paid to asylum seekers, shutting down borders and reintroducing visa requirements for Balkans states. They all condemn the violent outbreaks of hatred, yet their talking points often resemble a more  respectable, suit-and-tie version of the anti-immigrant attitudes displayed on far-right rallies throughout the country.

There is only one appropriate term for the attacks on refugees and their accommodations: terrorism

Germany needs statesmanship and leadership in these days. The indiscriminate assaults on refugees cannot be left unchallenged. A moral authority like Angela Merkel has an obvious responsibility to unequivocally condemn the terrible acts of what should be called terrorism – committed against defenseless, traumatised refugees. She should remind her fellow citizens that their actions are especially horrifying given our country’s past.

Others are taking the heat for her. Local politicians, such as city council members and small-town mayors, are speaking out in defense of refugees. They face neonazis harassing them, besieging their houses and setting their cars to fire as a consequence. Their work is truly courageous while the chancellor, who doesn’t have to fear such attacks, is keeping silent. It is a shameful and bitter silence. A silence that is creating a moral vacuum, that might even encourage some to set fire to asylum seeker’s homes. The lack of clear condemnation by our number 1 is worsening the spiral of hatred and violence. There are many Germans who want to help refugees, who believe in a humane, tolerant, compassionate society – but they are increasingly intimidated by right-wingers. The racists are motivated by what they consider a unique momentum, a turning point in German’s attitudes towards refugees.

Racists are seizing what they consider a unique opportunity – a supposed tipping point in German’s willingness to accept more refugees

Mrs. Pokerface, please, please say something. We’re giving up on you.

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