Last Saturday a big counter demonstration took place at Oberhausen, a former industrial town in the “Ruhrgebiet” of North Rhine Westphalia, NRW, the western part of Germany, which now have less than 215,000 inhabitants. The town was founded in 1850 when industrialization formed the landscape between the rivers Lippe and Ruhr. All citizens were practically migrants from other parts of Germany, from Poland, Italy, Spain, Turkey and now by refugees, more from Kosovo than from Syria. The Left List and the Violets as parties stood by the refugees against the 5 members of PRO NRW, an extreme right wing party against Muslims and refugees, who were holding a demonstration. They were surrounded by many policemen, to be secured against 150 people of the Left List and the Violets. The Lord Mayor Daniel Schranz, most of the former candidates for Lord Mayor, including me, joined the counterdemonstration to show that we have a welcome culture here in Oberhausen for all refugees fleeing their war-plagued countries and that we will fight back neo-Nazis, Grey Wolves, Pro NRW, Pegida and all the other German extremists.
Fortunately enough, at Oberhausen, where the police was deployed to make sure the two counter groups do not collide, no citizens were listening to the speakers of Pro NRW. Their elocutions were overtuned by loud music, wild booing and shouting “Nazis out”.
Many Germans worry if the refugees want to overtake this country and intend to destroy their Christian culture by means of Islam and by not respecting European values and women rights and that there will also come on the heels of these refugees the Jihadists from ISIS and al-Qaida. Neonazis, PRO NRW, Pegida and other German extremists are using these diffused fears to get more power in German society.
At Dresden, Eastern Germany, the Pegida held demonstrations with thousands of its supporters, shouting their prejudices against refugees. About more than 500 criminal acts have so far been committed against refugees in this year and the number is increasing. The demonstrators claimed at Dresden that there were so many Syrian men, with their sexual needs, who were a big danger for fair-haired German women, and therefore there would be seen acts of violations and other such things.
At Cologne, the female candidate for Lord Mayor, Henriette Reker, was stitched down by a neo-Nazi German at Bonn. She, however, survived and was finally elected. Almost on the daily basis the German Chancellor Angela Merkel demands people to have contact with refugees, to get to know each other, and get rid of their prejudices.
In our town Oberhausen, Syrian refugees helped people working in the gardens and then even refused to be paid. So trust can grow in Oberhausen, but most Germans are not used to a multicultural society. They are still educated by their parents who lived during the Nazi time, with hatred against foreigners. The result is that they are scared by those they do not know and who in the present case happen to be refugees.
But the good thing is that 2/3 of the Germans have welcomed the refugees fleeing their bombed Syrian cities, victims of the IS and other war victims such as from Afghanistan. They are all collecting clothes for refugees and toys for the refugee-kids. My own Violet Party, too, helped refugees without being paid around the clock. Some helpers already have burnouts, because there is too much to do.
Lord Mayors are requesting urgent money-aid from the Government at Berlin, because only 36% of the taxes are given to the cities, which is by no means enough. We actually need a reform to get more from the government like Denmark, where 60% of the taxis are distributed to the cities.
Though sometimes it seems the problem is too big to stand, yet all democrats agree that there is no discussion about “whether” they should come and being integrated, but about “how” to do that. The refugee crisis will change Germany, but so it will enrich the country as well. Our birth-rates are decreasing and we need skilled employers to maintain our economy.
Writer: Claudia Waedlich
The writer hails from Germany. She is a literary writer, lawyer, politician and active member of Violets Party. She can be reached at
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