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Sascha Lobo on the reform of citizenship law: A question of dignity

2022-11-30T16:05:04.616Z

In truth, the debate about German citizenship is about racism and failed integration. The discussion reveals several monstrosities - from the right and left, from the conservative and the liberal camp.



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German passport: In the end, German citizenship is only worth as much as the values ​​it stands for

Photo: Fabian Sommer / dpa

Germany, a land of discussion, loves disguised debates.

There is a ostensible discussion about a "One Love" captain's armband, but it's actually about morality and truthfulness, i.e. whether the DFB is serious about its decades-old ethics talk.

Or one acts as if it were about military-political scenarios in the Ukraine war, but actually it's about how to get more cheap gas and fewer refugees as quickly as possible.

Now Germany is debating citizenship, but actually the debate is about racism and failed integration.

My father came to Germany from Argentina in his late 1970s.

He only received German citizenship shortly before retirement age.

It wasn't because he'd tried long or often unsuccessfully.

In addition to a few personal reasons, it was mainly the feeling of not being welcome as a South American with an audible accent on so many levels.

For example, that although he had studied law, not even his elementary school was recognized as an educational qualification in Germany.

Or that in the 1970s the so-called "alien police" had downright misanthropic powers in their hunt for alleged "sham marriages" between Germans and non-Germans.

Apartment searches almost at will, for example.

Then it could be checked

Anyone who has not experienced something comparable themselves or in the immediate circle of family or friends cannot even imagine in their nightmares what Germany without German (or EU) citizenship or even a solid residence permit meant - and in part can still mean today.

Mind you, it doesn't have to, but it can, because the German, overly complex, structurally exclusionary bureaucracy means constant uncertainty.

Depending on residence permit, citizenship and skin color, even a threat to their existence.

The simplification of German citizenship law is therefore first and foremost a question of human dignity.

Here, too, the current discussion appears in disguise, because above all attention-grabbing special cases are discussed and presented as normal.

But the majority of the people in question want little more than an everyday life where they have been living for a long time anyway.

Many of them, especially if they don't appear to be White German, are met with hostility for this wish, at least that's how they feel;

my dad definitely felt that way.

There is also a historical justification for this.

In the 20th century, when the Union was still the most right-wing party in the Bundestag and therefore had to deal with a number of problematic right-wing extremists in its own ranks, integration was not a particularly desirable option for them.

On the contrary, some politicians saw their task in scaring off as many immigrants as possible, and doing so with ever new and ever more malicious impositions.

A good deal of 20th-century conservative politics, perhaps on a good day, spoke of some form of integration, but in fact wanted to get rid of foreigners and "guest workers."

Especially Turks.

And this attitude extended to the highest offices.

In 2013 British secret protocols were released, according to which Chancellor Kohl told Margaret Thatcher in October 1982 that "over the next four years it will be necessary to reduce the number of Turks by 50 per cent - but he cannot yet say so publicly... It is impossible for Germany to assimilate the Turks in their present numbers."

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This is the real, historically rooted reason German citizenship is so hard to obtain: to keep open the possibility of what Nazis now euphemistically call "remigration," a racist, potentially violent mass expulsion of non-white people into nowhere .

Of course, it was never about preventing Norwegians, Canadians or Australians from getting German citizenship.

It was mainly about Muslims and people with dark skin.

To some extent this problem still persists.

Racism is still the big unspoken theme in many contemporary citizenship discourses.

Merely disguised and twisted and disguised, for example in the form of the infinitely condescending complaint of many conservatives that one should not "sell off" German citizenship.

Aha, in whose hands exactly does it become "junk" and what does that say about the people concerned?

Leftists and liberals bring their own problem areas with them

Unfortunately, that's not to say that leftists and liberals don't bring their own immigration and citizenship issues with them.

On the contrary, some left-wing attitudes on the subject fuel conservative and right-wing debates as well as vice versa.

For example, if you look at the statements made by the SPD and some of the Greens, it is somewhat irritating that economic necessity is so often used as an argument.

What may be a plausible argument for the FDP and many conservatives should actually be handled much more cautiously by the left: the evaluation of people solely according to their usefulness.

What is even more perverse in this complex of debates is the widespread unwillingness on the left to speak openly and analytically about the failure of too many attempts at integration in recent decades.

This is directly linked to the discussion about citizenship, because many people fear that left-wing integration only consists of handing over a passport.

Conversely, just as irritating, by the way, that conservatives always scream clamor and murder when they think it is about a "testing of attitudes" - except in the case of migration, where not enough attitudes can be tested before someone is allowed to immigrate, or even the holy, European ones Passport of German nation gets.

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But the heat of the debate about German citizenship can be explained in this way - it's actually about failing integration.

It's about the emergence of parallel societies, clan structures, social distortions such as ghettoization.

The conservative and right-wing, unspoken monstrosity here is that one would somehow like to be able to solve these problems by means of (mass) deportations, at least in theory.

What a German citizenship would ultimately prevent.

Ignore the left-wing and partly liberal monstrosity that in many cases integration in Germany has not worked particularly well so far.

And that there are several intertwined reasons for this: the rejection of the majority society, racism, different degrees of integration desires of various migrant communities, and in some cases certainly also the contempt for certain Western values.

Which in turn can intensify when they are rejected by the majority of society.

The only option is to flee forward

From my personal point of view, the only way to solve this vicious circle of problems is to flee forward.

Where mutual trust is lacking, the state has to reach out, who else?

In concrete terms, this means, on the one hand, radically simplifying citizenship law, making it much easier to obtain citizenship and, as described, making it humane.

And on the other hand, to promote integration more offensively, friendlier, but also more persistently.

The concepts for this have existed for a long time, as a look at Mechelen in Belgium shows, and Bart Somers in particular there.

The Belgian mayor has achieved a measurable and understandable change in the quality of life and the integration of his town.

Because at the same time he stretched out his hand, embraced multiculturalism – but also pushed hard for integration.

Yes, it is "only" a small town - but the positive examples of this pressing major problem of the 21st century between demographics, migration and integration are not so numerous that one could wait for more suitable ones.

In the end, German citizenship is only worth as much as the values ​​it stands for.

Source: spiegel

All tech articles on 2022-11-30

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