Germany is only sad Satire
It is hard to believe that there was once a shameful poem by a self-proclaimed satirist, much acclaimed by intellectual circles in Germany, for daring to defame the self-implored “demon,” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, with abusive language of the worst kind. There was unbelievable media solidarity with this satirist across the country apart from a few upstanding, real satirists and cabaret artists who refused to conform to this kind of satire.
The German TV-magazine “Neo Magazine Royale” – which is anything but royal – completely discredited itself with this kind of satire, and when the German government had allowed a preliminary investigation that was discontinued a little later, a murmur went through the country of how it could leave a satirist who only spreads harmless satire in the rain.
Fortunately, the civil procedure continues today. However, the satirist feels abandoned in the Erdoğan affair. In fact, it is not an Erdoğan affair but the Jan Böhmermann affair. This deliberately hurtful poem transcends the decency and the right to human dignity, which should be afforded to every person, as well as the Turkish president.
And if Böhmermann now even wants to appeal as a fighter for the freedom of expression and divest this right from Erdoğan at the same time, then the bearable measure has been exceeded.
Let us imagine that Böhmermann wrote the same poem about Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu or about the president of the Central Council of Jews – Böhmermann would defiantly have stood trial for anti-Semitic sedition very quickly.
However, we saw the increase last month when, after a scandal at an art fair in Karlsruhe, an image of Erdoğan had to be removed under pressure from indignant Turks. But I wonder, why only under pressure from Turks and Erdoğan supporters? Does one have to be a supporter of Erdoğan to stop accepting such disgusting, tastelessness as art? Would it not be the duty of normal visitors to urge that such a picture has no right to be on display at an art fair? Here the artist, Thomas Baumgärtel relied on art and freedom of expression.
Incidentally, Baumgärtel had made this nonsense with Erdoğan in solidarity with Böhmermann two years ago and named it “Turkish dictator.” Even then he had received criticism and threats from Turks for this machismo and was then under police protection for a while, of course at the expense German taxpayers. There is also the question to ask of what is meant by Erdoğan supporters – can an outsider not denounce the work?
If Baumgärtel had dared to put a banana in Netanyahu’s butt and the picture was called “Israeli dictator,” there would have been an outcry from the public and the anti-Semitism process of the year would probably have followed. But since the whole thing only concerns the Turkish president, who is Muslim, the case looks very different.
Double standards concerning Israel
Once there was a free, democratic, basic order, a certain orientation that seemed to be the consensus in Germany. This seems in reality to be nothing but a pile of garbage. At least since it is possible in Germany to build massive hate against Islam and Muslims as a distraction from our own political failure, all the havens of hatred are open and we live in a country where Muslim migrants and refugees are under suspicion of having been instilled with anti-Semitism, and our German “Leitkultur” (guiding culture), the mother’s milk, including the obligation to recognize Israel’s existence and to internalize the Holocaust.
While pressure is exerted on the Turkish-Islamic Union of Religious Affairs (DİTİB) because of its proximity to the Turkish state, Jewish organizations such as the Central Council of Jews – and especially public corporations – remain untouched. And that, even though they openly profess solidarity to the Jewish state, do not deny ties to Israel and act as the political mouthpiece of the Israeli government. While Jewish organizations enjoy a license and everything critical falls under the table, Muslim associations and organizations are viewed as hostile.
With such nonsensical demands, one creates a climate in which more than questionable anti-Muslim hate sites such as “Tichy’s Insight” or “PI-news” thrive. Germany is the country where Alternative for Germany (AfD) party and Europeans Against the Islamization of the West (Pegida) followers can flourish, denouncing Turkish-origin citizens as herders and cameleers who are supposed to shy away from their mud huts. Some also want to deport Integration Commissioner Aydan Özoğuz to her ancestral country in Anatolia even though Özoğuz was born in Germany and she has a German passport. Özoğuz rightly said that instead of having to debate “Leitkultur” over and over again, one should set a social contract with the common value of the basic law as foundation.
Even more alarming to me, however, seems to be the development that the established parties are increasingly more active as AfD clones in order to hunt for electoral votes. In fact it is the case that more voters feel repelled by it, and only because of this was it possible that such a far-right party could move into the Bundestag.
However, the AFD’s attacks are largely limited to Islam and Erdoğan, while at the same time repeatedly stressing that they are on the side of Jews and Israel.
While the left-wing media is blowing into the same anti-Erdoğan horn and comparing AfD to Erdoğan, this comparison seems more than inappropriate. After all, it is precisely the Jewish state that has connections and admirers in the right-wing populist parties in Europe. The common hatred of Islam seems to be welded together.
How is it possible that the people of the poets and thinkers only 73 years after Auschwitz tried again to exclude and defame a religious community?
Good journalist, worthless journalist
It is incomprehensible why Germany works so hard for imprisoned journalists who serve their own paradigm but does not care about others. There are a lot of journalists in custody, also and especially in Palestine, for which it would be worthwhile to get involved.
However, the question is to ask what interest Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government is pursuing if it is so committed to one of the most controversial journalists in Germany. I was particularly struck by the particular zeal with which Deniz Yücel, the Die Welt columnist, was released from custody. Was it the election campaign or was it the fact that German politicians were closely connected with Springer publishing?
Yücel began his career with distasteful, even insulting columns for the “taz” and deprive the right to criticize Israel in Germany. However, the “taz” once had to pay 20,000 euros for Yücel as a compensation for the unbearable Sarrazin, for which he had wanted a renewed stroke. So a tasteless Springer satirist, we do not need. Even his work for the more than infamous anti-German broadsheet Jungle World, which also personally insulted me and maintains a more than questionable jargon, shows that Yücel does not shrink from anything when it comes to downgrading and aggressive insults. Yücel, Böhmermann and Baumgärtel, who are so vocal about freedom of expression, are not afraid to abuse it.
It is good that Yücel is free and I hope all journalists in custody are given their freedom. However, that does not change the fact that Yücel has shamelessly abused satire and seamlessly joins the Böhmermann and Baumgärtel line of tastelessness.
But why? Because he is a Springer correspondent and the media power in politics has always been excessive. We see this almost every day when German politicians report on the Springer press. The proximity of leading politicians, including Merkel, to the Springer Group raises questions. This group has already brought a lot of misfortune about Germany and is unbelievable with its one-sided Judeophilic love of Israel, and it is an implausibly large parts of German politics. Unfortunately, the current hate of Muslims, which is spreading epidemically, is being dumped on Erdoğan and Turkey in today’s Europe. That is just sad satire, nothing more.
*German activist and journalist