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German hospitality: At home with enemies


Germany has a neurotic relationship to the term “guest”: there is no right to be one in this country – but there is always an obligation to behave like one.

Enlarge image

The motto of the soccer World Cup: »A time to make friends«

Photo: Frank Rumpenhorst / picture alliance / dpa

In my country, the phrase "You are a guest here!" is used to intimidate people.

It is used by people who want to convey to others that they are troublesome and undesirable.

The word "guest" is intended to remind of the provisional nature of a status, of the fact that someone is not perceived as a full member of German society.

The bureaucratically derogatory term "guest worker" and the phrase "You are a guest in our country!" mean that other people are not special, but different - and definitely not at home here.

An exception seemed to be the official motto of the 2006 World Cup "The world visiting friends", with which football Germany celebrated its exuberant hospitality - however, if you think about it more closely, the logic is a bit sporty that between



the world

is distinguished.

In Germany, the whole planet is only a guest.

deterrence and warning

The fact that the relationship to the word guest in Germany is neurotic culminates in the word “guest law”, which was also just a self-exaggerating shell for “right of residence”.

But being able to claim that "guests" have forfeited their "right of hospitality" and didn't deserve it, as FDP politician Klaus Kinkel put it with "Those who abuse their right to hospitality have gambled away their right of residence", or the left-wing politician Sahra Wagenknecht with " Anyone who abuses their right to be a guest has also forfeited their right to be a guest” – that turns a government into benevolent hosts who only demand that, at best, they should never be visited.

That's why the word "guest" seems so strange in political and bureaucratic contexts: there is no right to be a guest here, but there is always an obligation to behave like one.

At a press conference, Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) commented on the deployment of a Berlin police officer who, as part of a so-called threat speech, addressed the family with the words “This is my country and you are a guest here!”, which he recorded on video became.

When asked if that was racist, she replied, "No, I don't see that as racism." :innen in action, "when they experience such serious forms of crime on the street and take action there, that then sometimes clear language - that is sometimes spoken to."

In her expertise as a politician who wants to work against racism, Faeser should know that it is a problem when a person who is not affected by racism judges perceived racism alone.

And unfortunately, at the end of her request for understanding, it remained somewhat incomprehensible what exactly she meant by this alleged non-racism.

Should one forgive the police: inside that they sometimes have to speak

more clearly

in the heat of the operation - whatever that may mean at first - or does the sentence »This is my country and you are a guest here!« fall under those facts that in the In view of the serious crime, should it be allowed to be addressed clearly?

So, is it a kind of legitimate emotional professional discrimination?

Whether the case in question – the non-payment of a fine of 750 euros, which the father owed because he traveled three times without a ticket – falls under such a serious crime, I leave that to your judgement.

Since the father did not comply with the request for payment, he was pinned to the floor in front of his children in front of his children, as a matter of course he was spoken to on a first-name basis and referred to as a guest.

Part of the operation was also the threat to the wife, who is being investigated for coercion.

The purpose of such a speech is deterrence and admonition.

However, this should also work without discrimination based on origin, without referring to "guest" and "country", because - this may come as a surprise: In this country everyone actually has to comply with the laws, regardless of whether they are citizens: inside or refugees;

It doesn't matter whether you've lived here for generations or just recently immigrated.

Following rules has nothing to do with residency status.

However, to emphasize this is an expression of resentment.

And that, dear Ms. Faeser, is what you can expect from a police officer: make a clear statement without reproducing racism.

That must be possible – especially here, in my country.

Source: spiegel

All life articles on 2022-09-22

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