Where were you, Mrs. Merkel?


Angela Merkel’s success is, to a certain extent, based on her talent for saying nothing and sitting controversial topics out. The ‚ Pokerface‘ or ‚ 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 and irresponsible.

Never before has her silence been this unbearable 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.

Her silence has created a vacuum filled by right-wing hardliners

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.

Merkel did nothing when the flames of racist hatred were haunting our country

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 see neonazis harass them, besiege their houses and set their cars to fire as a consequence.

It is Monday, and after a weekend of Merkellian silence and one of the worst racist riots in a Saxony town called Heidenau, where far-right hooligans left dozens of police injured, the chancellor has decided to break her iron silence. Through her spokesman and personally in a speech later on Monday, she condemned the attacks.

Where were you in our darkest hour?

But do you think everything is alright now, Mrs. Pokerface? It is not. Your reaction was too late. The nation was waiting for your intervention when neonazis besieged the refugee shelter in Heidenau. People were begging for you to call to order the anti-immigrant extremists: 3,000 twitter users used the hashtag „merkelschweigt“ („Merkel is silent“), ten thousands signed a petition asking you to act. Where were you when Germany needed your moral authority. Where were you in our darkest hour, when the racist frenzy reached its current peak, when the streets of Heidenau resembled a war zone?

Angela Merkel’s silence has certainly been damaging. She, whose rational authority is widely respected, could have done something to prevent the hatred from escalating. It is not sure she could have stopped it. But as head of state, she had the obligation to try. Yet she did not.

This silence is the moral bankruptcy of Angela Merkel’s way of governing

We are seeing the disastrous effects of her style of ruling. Angela Merkel’s ‚ see no evil, hear no evil‘ policy is dangerous in a debate this harsh, emotional and hateful. The nation is divided over the question of how to deal with the refugees, and our leader turns a blind eye on the issue until it is too ugly to ignore. Angela Merkel, this does not work anymore. Your silence has contributed to the political climate of these days, a climate in which rioters feel safe to attack asylum seekers, police officers and volunteers helping the refugees.

Angela Merkel, your wait-and-see tactic – doing nothing while the flames of racist hatred haunted the country – was never this horrible. I wish you had intervened earlier. Just this one time, Mrs. Teflon.

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