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Friedrich Merz and »social tourism«: What is it now?


Friedrich Merz has triggered a storm of outrage because he accused Ukrainian refugees of “social tourism” to Germany. Deleted tweets and half-baked apologies included.

Enlarge image

Friedrich Merz in the Bundestag


What's the matter?

Refugees from Ukraine and Friedrich Merz's claim that many of them take advantage of the German social system and commute between Germany and Ukraine.

"We see with great concern that the decision of the #federal government to convince asylum seekers to benefit from Hartz IV payments will also lead to upheavals among the refugees from #Ukraine.

We are now experiencing a kind of social tourism in Germany,” Merz wrote on Twitter.

And then it wasn't long before #Merz and #SocialTourism became Twitter trends.

What is it about?

Friedrich Merz' right-wing populism and the headwind that he received.

Merz had tweeted the same statement from the "Bild" talk again, but then deleted the tweet and explained that he had expressed himself misleadingly.

And added: "If my choice of words is perceived as hurtful, then I apologize in all formalities."

A classic if-then apology that isn't and makes those who criticize him look too sentimental.

What is it not about?

The reality of life of Ukrainians who fled from war.

Merz has no evidence for his allegations.

It's also not about the upcoming strains this winter.

And certainly not about the German social system or questions of justice.

Who started?

In the lateral thinker scene, rumors were circulating that Ukrainian refugees were given preferential treatment when it came to German pensions.

The German pension insurance reacted to this false claim.

And in Düsseldorf, a guest of the AfD incited hatred against Ukrainians in the state parliament.

Merz is probably the logical continuation of these attempts.

Who steps in?

Quite a lot.

Here is just one quoted:

Why now?

Because populists like Merz obviously want to exploit people's fear of the costs of winter.

It's confusing - gas price brake, surcharge, cap - what's next and how does that help the individual?

Branding the weaker as guilty and channeling anger towards them is a long-serving trick.

Did not we have that before?

Yes, »social tourism« was the word of the year in 2013.

The reasoning of the jury at the time was that with this catchphrase »some politicians and the media deliberately created a mood against unwanted immigrants, especially from Eastern Europe«.

That was nine years ago, actually enough time to learn.

The slogan of "immigration into the social systems" persists, there is no firewall against the right.

And the refugees from Syria were also accused of being wealthy - pictures of people with smartphones were often used as evidence.

As if a smartphone wasn't the most important thing a person who has to flee needs.

more on the subject

Bitching about gender asterisks and children's books: Merz' "Trumpism" is poison, even in the light versionDer SPIEGEL editorial by Ann-Katrin Müller

What follows?

Hopefully a lesson for Merz and the Union.

Do I need to read anything else?

I recommend the editorial by my colleague Ann-Kathrin Müller from the week before last, in which she makes it clear how dangerous such false claims from the Union are.

Source: spiegel

All life articles on 2022-09-27

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