.@BerlinStation @MishkaForbes https://t.co/yUn9z2ydNj pic.twitter.com/BF82yKFZnq
— Richard Armitage (@RCArmitage) March 5, 2016
.@BerlinStation @MishkaForbes https://t.co/yUn9z2ydNj pic.twitter.com/BF82yKFZnq
— Richard Armitage (@RCArmitage) March 5, 2016
~ by Servetus on March 5, 2016.
Posted in Richard Armitage Tags: Berliner Stadtmission, refugees, richard armitage
Beeindruckend. Scheint ihm unter die Haut gegangen zu sein. Die Bilder sprechen Worte.
CraMERRY said this on March 5, 2016 at 8:44 pm
That was very moving, actually.
csprof said this on March 5, 2016 at 8:54 pm
i love his work, of course I do, but this is when I admire him most as a human being.
RAmused said this on March 5, 2016 at 8:55 pm
Wirklich beeindruckend. Gut, dass er klar Stellung bezieht. Wenn man mit Kindern, die so eine Flucht hinter sich haben, in Kontakt kommt, dann muss man das tun. Nicht jeder wird ihm zustimmen – aber das macht nichts. Als Künstler, als Schauspieler und als Mensch “darf” er einen Standpunkt vertreten. Dafür sollte er sich nicht entschuldigen.
Elanor said this on March 5, 2016 at 9:00 pm
Lump in throat. I remembered when those fleeing Katrina’s wrath came to our little town and I talked to one of the extended families that was caravanning together while they got a hot meal at the recreation center. When I got back in my car, I started crying, thinking how that might have been me, my family, my friends. Then I wiped my eyes and went to the dollar store and bought boxes of crayons and coloring books for the kids, and pencils and search-a-word and crossword puzzles for the adults and took them back to the center. I held the bags out to one of the moms. No words were needed. The hugs said it all.
Yes, his kind, generous heart is a HUGE part of why I admire this actor.
fedoralady said this on March 5, 2016 at 9:12 pm
Reblogged this on the armitage effect and commented:
People who have a heart for those in trouble, in need, in desperate circumstances, win my heart. Thank you, RA, for your essential goodness and decency as a human being.
fedoralady said this on March 5, 2016 at 9:14 pm
There are no words to describe how much I admire him and love him ❤
Andrea Númellóte Anđelić said this on March 5, 2016 at 9:38 pm
I expected nothing less of him. He is reflected and articulate, and he sees the issue for what it is – a humanitarian crisis which we all have an obligation to react to in a meaningful and compassionate way. I am really glad to see he is using his celebrity in this way – raising awareness and actual funds. Yup, a good man. And someone who leads by his own example.
Guylty said this on March 5, 2016 at 9:50 pm
Thank you for sharing this Servetus! I found it extremely moving! He certainly has a big, tender and generous heart. As has been said, “I could follow such a one” or words to that effect.
Teuchter said this on March 5, 2016 at 10:41 pm
the “dumb actor” comments bothered me, but his heart came through loud and clear. I appreciate that he wrote about his experience and shared it in this way because it will touch people more than just a link on Twitter would. he’s using his reach as a celebrity for good and I greatly respect him for that.
KellyDS said this on March 5, 2016 at 10:43 pm
His inner man is greater than his very handsome exterior. Which, IMHO is the reason for his wide following. Wish the best for him.
Ann Hammond said this on March 5, 2016 at 10:56 pm
Abracadabra!..and my big crush is back.. happy sigh 🙂
Joanna said this on March 5, 2016 at 11:22 pm
funny how that happens …
Servetus said this on March 6, 2016 at 2:15 am
Dumb actor, not so dumb actor, somebody, complete nobody…it doesn’t matter. If you can articulate your feelings and make others understand that this isn’t just someone else’s problem, that it is everyone’s problem, then you absolutely should. And Mr A has expressed himself beautifully. His opinion matters. Not because of who he is, but because this is his world too.
Armitage is human and like most humans, sometimes he annoys me. Him writing this has served to remind me of some of the things I admire most about him.
kathrynruthd said this on March 5, 2016 at 11:30 pm
last sentence! Yes.
Servetus said this on March 6, 2016 at 8:45 pm
He has a way with words. The way in which he expresses himself shows a person who could also potentially be a great writer.
I admire that he felt sufficiently affected by what he witnessed that he wanted to share his observations and feelings by making those observations for us all to read. Thank you.
The balloon example is a good one. It serves as a reminder that these children are damaged so to speak and may do not react as expected. The normalcy of certain situations has been removed.
Mermaid said this on March 5, 2016 at 11:58 pm
Wow. His heart and intentions are beautiful. It is truly his simple efforts that make the loudest noise, as it is with us as well. Every little kindness does not go to waste. I too, and many others I know, are deep in thought about the same things he’s mentioned. He’s more than entitled to his thoughts and opinions and sharing them where and when he pleases. Our professions don’t qualify us as humans, our hearts and souls do.
Chazak said this on March 6, 2016 at 1:14 am
He did a great job of sharing his impressions and reactions to an emotionally charged experience. Legos and crayons can create a universal language, at least with children. I am glad he chose to write about it.
Kathy Jones said this on March 6, 2016 at 2:13 am
Me too! How can one fail to be impressed by him. He was obviously very moved by the experience. He seems to have a way with children by the way they responded to him. Loved the idea of them climbing on him!!
Teuchter said this on March 6, 2016 at 6:10 am
Incredibly heart-warming, the idea of Richard Armitage, or any man, really, willing to sit down with traumatized little ones, and draw punk-rock hairdos, construct with legos, and share a laugh with a child over a broom. I also loved the vulnerability of this piece of writing, of admitting that he brought balloons hoping to delight them, yet realized nothing could illustrate the disparity of children of his experience and children in crisis better than the possibility of balloons popping becoming a trigger.
jholland said this on March 6, 2016 at 7:14 am
This won’t endear me to RA fans, but I believe Rich is way in over his head on this. When Jude Law visited a refugee camp his team ended up being pelted with rocks from asylum seekers. What bothers me most, though, is how people insist on sugar-coating all of this. I’m a liberal myself and the Ostrich Syndrome most other liberals exhibit when it comes to this issue is shocking to me. RA is a sweetheart and means the best, but let’s get real. What happens when empathy is not tempered with reason and thorough consideration of the future? Acting solely on feelings is the quickest way to great damage and chaos! This is the mistake I think so many of us (especially German leadership) are making when it comes to the refugee crisis. I see no foresight and critical thinking going on – it’s all about knee-jerk emotional reasoning, a single-minded “help them at all costs, throw caution to the wind” mindset. It will not end well.The consequences of this are already evident, even outside of Germany.
Personally, I would love to know what he thinks about the unprecedented NYE attacks on women that happened in Cologne and other European cities with high refugee and migrant intake. Where is his empathy for the women who were sexually assaulted by a vast gathering of Arab and North African men? Where were the tweets about THEIR plight? Does he think it’s right that European women should sacrifice their safety in welcoming others? That’s not even taking into account the likelihood of jihadists taking advantage of the doors that were flung wide open before them. What about the victim-blaming that occurs when refugees/asylum seekers behave badly towards females – what about the fact that certain countries have actually deemed it necessary to try to “reeducate” asylum seekers not to rape and sexually harass Western women? Clearly, there are huge problems at work here, and most liberals refuse to discuss them.
So yeah. As much as I love Richard, he and I would come to cuffs over this particular subject. And my God, admiration for Angela Merkel? Where is my vomit bucket. Trump and Merkel are just two different extremes and I wish we could send them both to the moon.
Helga L. said this on March 6, 2016 at 7:27 am
Thanks for the comment and welcome. I don’t think you’re the only one who feels this way.
Servetus said this on March 6, 2016 at 7:37 am
Thank you. I don’t think I’m alone in these thoughts either, however, it seems the general attitude (even among my own friends) is that Germans/Europeans deserve whatever trouble they get (or will probably get in the future) and must obediently put up with it. The refugees suffer, therefore others must suffer as well.
Helga L. said this on March 6, 2016 at 8:42 am
‘what about the fact that certain countries have actually deemed it necessary to try to “reeducate” asylum seekers not to rape and sexually harass Western women?’
This might sound unsavoury, but education and integration might be best solution.
Firstly, rejecting refugees with vague excuses about needing ‘long-term solutions’ is not acceptable. Short-term solutions are needed as well as long-term solutions (if the latter are even possible). Sending refugees back to where they came from means sending them to their death. So we ought to be able to rule that option out from the get go (if only). Restricting them to camps means subjecting them to inhuman conditions for an indeterminate amount of time (millions have been in camps in Turkey for over four years now). Letting people in is the only morally permissible option.
But you’re right, we can’t ignore the problems that come with an influx of refugees. Pretending that cultural differences won’t be an issue because we’re afraid of sounding racist or xenophobic is also not an option. This has been happening and it was wrong. However, the educational programmes that you mention are intended as the alternative to this, because they involve no longer ignoring risks and instead actively teaching refugees about the culture they are now living in and the expectations that come with it. Will they be successful? I don’t know. But as they’ve only just begun it’s too early to write them off.
culpablewitness said this on March 6, 2016 at 9:23 am
Thanks for the comment and welcome.
Servetus said this on March 6, 2016 at 6:15 pm
there have been 3 big refugee tents close to where I work since last July. One of them hosts unaccompanied underage male refugees. The other two are for families and adult refugees. Many of us have tried to help in small ways since then; and last July I too visited one of the tents and met some of the refugees. The experience suddenly made everything I had so far only seen on the news or read about in the papers become “real” and it affected me emotionally. “They” are human beings just like “us”. Many of them are deeply traumatized. A number of the women have been raped before they tried to escape and/or during their long way to Germany. They are all very worried about their loved ones back home which is the main reason why they need smartphones so desperately. They are their only connection with their families.
Never once in all those months have I been molested in any way on my way to and from work, not even while cycling in the dark during the winter months.
Yes, there have been fights in the tents – often over food – when the built-up aggression and frustration erupted. There have also been cases of domestic violence, i.e. fathers beating their daughters or wives. I am also 100% certain that there are criminals and Daesh fighters among all those refugees who have come to Germany although a social worker who is responsible for the unaccompanied underage male refugees said they were mostly fed up with religion/Islam as they had witnessed too many atrocities done under the cover of religion. (He is a practising Muslim btw).
It is tremendously difficult to deal with the constant influx of all those refugees, especially as they come from cultures which are so very different from ours. I have never been a supporter of Mrs. Merkel and I truly wish she and all other politicians had addressed the crisis at least 5 years ago. We have left southern Europe but most of all countries like Jordan and Lebanon alone with it for far too long and consequently it has now arrived at our door step and it won’t go away for a long time.
However, the refugees would have come with or without Mrs. Merkel’s invitation and they will keep coming unless we build a wall around Europe or Germany and then kill everybody who tries to climb it. The great majority of all refugees just wants to live and spend their lives in peace.
RA wrote about his own limited experience. As a foreign actor doing a job in Germany he could easily have ignored the situation and spent Saturday sightseeing or shopping or just chilling in Berlin. I am glad that he chose differently and that he made his thoughts public. He tried to show that the refugees he met are just regular people, and he appealed to our humanity. I do appreciate that very much.
Sorry for this very long comment Serv but I thought Helga’s comment deserved a detailed reply 😊
suse3 said this on March 6, 2016 at 9:39 am
Having been exposed at close range to another immigration to Germany (Russian Jews after 1989), what often strikes me about that situation in comparison is that they were wanted, practically invited with the support they were given to move to Germany. And yet all these things still happened (people with mob connections came, there were violent attacks between different individuals in Friedland, I’m sure there were crimes committed by immigrants against Germans although I don’t know that I knew about any of them, there were huge cultural and practical misunderstandings). So I think you’re going to have that any time you have a migration; it’s not just Syrians or whatever. If there is a true political will to solve the problem, it will get solved (disparity in numbers notwithstanding).
Servetus said this on March 6, 2016 at 6:19 pm
The first modern humain beings, named Homo sapiens, came from Africa to Europe using the same paths as Syriens and Africans now. They meet Neanderthals, some had children together. History seems forever repeating itself . Sorry sorry for my english language.
squirrel.0072 said this on March 6, 2016 at 6:04 pm
My impression re: Cologne is that the situation is somewhat more complex than I read in most op-eds about it. First, it has a history as a place where there are German / Turkish “problems,” including a situation where native Germans in the city’s residential districts were protesting the construction of mosques in residential neighborhoods, allegedly because they were too loud. Reker was elected by a clear majority AFTER she had been stabbed in public by a far Right anti-Turkish individual — i.e., she’s not only always been a pro-migrant / anti-Right politician, she owes her election to that stance. She was actually in a coma on election day and won anyhow. She doesn’t have a lot of maneuverability to be enter a discussion regarding migrants. Then, there’s the general problem with PEGIDA and Alternativ für Deutschland at the moment. I would say that the politicians’ stance is more than political correctness; there is a critical need for the center to stand up against the obvious racism that is displayed every week in public demonstrations all over the country. Continuing on, there’s the fact that the Cologne is sort of notorious as a party city in a party territory. The Rheinland is the place where the Carneval is celebrated most fully, and Cologne’s Carneval is kind of a special thing — people really do go there to spend a week out on the street, semi-drunk. So you really do have a situation where police are likely to be handsoff because that’s the local consensus (even if it turns out that the police mistake what’s going on) unless there is clearly a riot going on. Supposedly, the city police asked for additional support and didn’t get it — with the police president more or less deciding that there was no reason to suppose that this New Year would be any different than the usual friendly drunken Cologne new year. Finally, and here I agree with you, you have the problem that a lot of northern Europe is facing, which is that migrants don’t know how to interact when confronted with these particular cultural standards; I read recently about Norway’s issues: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/20/world/europe/norway-offers-migrants-a-lesson-in-how-to-treat-women.html I could add to that that the main train station empties right into the center of the city, literally at the footsteps to the Cathedral, so that it’s a natural area for rowdies to gather and easy for them to get to. Train stations in Germany are often sort of sketchy places anyway, admittedly less so now than twenty years ago when I was encountering them for the first time. My understanding is that most of the people who have been charged in Cologne were actually not immigrants.
Where I do agree with you is in the turn to emotion. I’ve actually been impressed by Merkel throughout this episode, but I agree regarding Trump although I think the parallel there is Bernie Sanders. No actual politics beyond slogans (“tax the rich!” “free university!” “single payer health care!”), and above all, no practical plan for how to deal with the problems we face; rather, let’s just scream to the crowd about some injustice they personally identify with and make sure that no matter what happens, they gradually become unwilling to compromise with others who want a solution. It’s no better when people do it on the Left than when they do it on the Right.
Servetus said this on March 6, 2016 at 6:12 pm
And I would add — it’s part of what makes Michelle Forbes so distasteful to me. The idea that how she feels about animals should determine policy regarding animals just because she feels so strongly about it — as if that should be obvious to everyone. There are actual people on the other end of this stuff, which she seems regularly to ignore.
Servetus said this on March 6, 2016 at 6:14 pm
Also, thanks for sharing. This is a wonderful post that I wouldn’t have seen otherwise (don’t twitter and rarely tumblr these days).
culpablewitness said this on March 6, 2016 at 9:24 am
Servetus said this on March 6, 2016 at 6:20 pm
Travaillant à Berlin depuis plusieurs mois, témoin privilégié de la détresse humaine des réfugiés, il ne pouvait faire autrement que de s’engager personnellement dans cette cause.
Par le passé, excepté pour les associations qu’il soutient ouvertement, il a toujours été très discret sur ses engagements personnels. Aussi cela a du être un dilemme moral de sortir du bois, comme le sous-entend son texte écrit.
Un gros affichage médiatique aurait pu passer pour une mise en scène indécente: celle d’une vedette de cinéma, qui s’affiche et se fait de la publicité, au dépend de victimes démunies.
Ici ce n’est pas le cas monsieur Armitage reste dans la sobriété et la mesure. Je l’en félicite. La réflexion collégiale à apporter, autour de cet évènement, a bien été conduite, me semble t-il.
Après je laisse, ceux et celles qui le veulent, discuter sur le compte tenu du discours, des bons sentiments et de la politique. Libre à eux, ici je parle de la forme pas du fond.
Comme je le disais plus tôt, il ne pouvait rester dans l’ombre. Rester muet devant tant de bouleversements, n’aurait pas été compris par les fans et le monde des médias… Peut-être un moyen de contredire ceux qui disent qu’il est “bumb”.
Chapeau bas, bien joué.
squirrel.0072 said this on March 6, 2016 at 5:43 pm
I think he absolutely did it in the best way possible for him.
Servetus said this on March 6, 2016 at 8:43 pm
The mass migration of people of a different culture into Europe hopefully will have more positive than negative effects. But I think it will take years to analyze the successes and failures when these cultures clash. Maybe clash is too strong a word. Maybe mingle would be a more neutral or hopeful word. But the children of these migrants are the ones that will shape the future in the long term. The gentle kindness shown by Richard and the volunteers will go a long way to welcome these children and start to build happy memories instead of horrific ones. At least that is my hope. The issue is so complex, and both sides (pro and con) have legitimate concerns, IMO.
Kathy Jones said this on March 6, 2016 at 8:34 pm
Germany really stands to benefit from this influx — assuming it can get its act together, which is a big question. Any country would be challenged by this kind of population movement, though, and the problem of how Europe should deal as a unit (the EU, in other words) with the migrants ultimately also has to be seen in the context of the EU’s struggle for integration.
Servetus said this on March 6, 2016 at 8:44 pm
I agree. What is the tipping point when integration becomes unsustainable? Isn’t it different for each country in the EU? And if it is, how can the EU act as a unit when it’s member countries are at odds?
Kathy Jones said this on March 6, 2016 at 8:54 pm
Some estimates say that the US was absorbing something like a million illegal immigrants a year during much of the 1990s (when our population is about 300 million). If Germany took in over a million this year and has a population of 80 million, that would be more onerous. And people in the US have been complaining about our situation for sometime already (even if it seems to be abating slightly at present).
I think what the last eight months or so have shown is that when push comes to shove, there are EU countries that will act in violation of EU law out of a sense (whether justified or not) of self-preservation. And when those people become threatening, they will tear-gas them (or worse).
Servetus said this on March 7, 2016 at 4:46 am
Hello, I’m commenting here for the very first time. But now I have decided to quit being a lurker, at least for a little while.
I am German and I have very conflicted feelings about this whole migrant/ refugee issue. On the one hand I am glad for everyone who could escape Daesh and make it to Europe. I would have done the same, if I were in their position. And now that they are here we need to make sure that they are gettting every help they need. Angela Merkel’s decision to open the borders for the refugees in September was definitely right from a humanitarian point of view. However, when it comes to the political point of view, Angela Merkel made a mistake. First of all, she made the decision herself without consulting anyone, not even the other politicians in the German government. And she did not consult the other members of the EU. The result is that she has politically isolated herself and as a consequence, Germany as well. We have been the “bad guy” since the Euro crisis with Greece and with opening the borders, Merkel has not only lost the Eastern European countries (which have taken a turn to right wing politics) but also Britain and her strongest ally France. That is really problematic, because it reflects on all other political decisions that are made on a European level. Britain is taking the EU referendum this summer and the refugee situation will be the deciding factor in wether they vote to stay or leave. On top of this, her decision has also sparked problems in Germany itself. Pegida is the stupidest thing Germany has seen since the invention of DSDS, but it is also the most prominent and most dangerous movement since the Nazis in the 1930s in my opinion. Through them racism and far- right political views have been made acceptable in the liberal political sphere. Some of them have even influenced the new laws for migrants, the “Asylpaket II” (for example that refugees are no longer allowed to bring their families to Germany after having applied for asylum without them). Heck, they even have their own party, the AfD, and this party has just taken 13,1% of the votes in the Kommunalwahl in Hessen. That is more than the Green party!!!! And mind you, Hessen is not even a former East German part. Its biggest city, Frankfurt am Main has one of the highest numbers of migrants in the whole country. I don’t even want to know what the results of an election in Saxony would look like. I am afraid that the huge number of migrants Germany has taken in last year are putting a rift through the whole society. And I am afraid that this would be able to give rise to the same extremism that destabilised the Weimarer Republik in the 1920s and helped the Nazis to build a facist regime, I know that this sounds overdramatic and even unrealistically dark to many people. But I have been living in Leipzig for the past two years and have recently moved to Berlin. I have seen the Leipzig branch of Pegida rise and I have participated in the demonstrations against them. The whole city has been divided over this and tensions have been running high. Leipzig has always been a very left- wing city with a strong Antifa movement. I had no doubts that they would eventually break them. That was until last December. I was visiting some friends in Leipzig when we witnessed an anti- nazi demonstration in a very left- wing part of the city. Police and neo- Nazis interfered and on the street in front of the cafe we were sitting in the whole situation got out of hand. I can only describe it as a sort of civil war fought between police, Antifa and neo- Nazis. Tear gas granades were fired, stones thrown, rubbish bins dragged into the street and set on fire to create makeshift barriers. The police broke the window of the cafe next to ours with their water cannon. I have never seen anything like that before and I don’t want to. The neo- Nazis got their revenge in January, when they destroyed the windows of nearly every shop in the very same street. Of course, Leipzig has always been a place of heavy violence and the Antifa has always got into trouble with the police. But this was worse than every single May 1st demonstration I have seen before.Now you might be asking “What’s that to do with immigration?” Well, the thing is that after this I overheard quite a few people talking, how those Antifa people were always causing trouble, especially with their involvement in the anti- Pegida demonstration. Some even suggested that they should be sent to Syria, together with all the refugees “since that is where they belong”. The whole political and social climate in Germany has heated up and this was only the most extreme eruption till today.
Furthermore, Germany has only so many resources. We have taken in 1,2 million refugees last year, that is quite a lot, given that Germany has only 80 million inhabitants. Many communities just don’t have the space and money to take in any more. Many shelters are overcrowded and short- staffed, They rely heavily on volunteers which is not a permanent solution in my opinion. Volunteers are good but they can do only so much and also many quit within the first three months.
So to sum this up: I am very conflicted about the whole refugee thing, i don’t really believe in Angela Merkel’s politics, but I still applaud Richard for visiting the center. This will not keep me from donating clothes and helping out in a refugee center in the summer though 😉
@Servetus: Sorry if this is too long and rambling. You do not need to post this. But thanks for reading it. I have very few people who are willing to discuss this and so I took the opportunity to write about it here. Apologies, if this is really selfish. Also, I really like your blog, even if I am not even that much of a Richard Armitage fan. I’m more of a Tolkien fan and Richard sort of comes with the package 🙂 So keep going!
Lola said this on March 7, 2016 at 4:27 am
Thanks for the comment and welcome — you are certain welcome also as a Tolkien fan (although I admit that I don’t understand all the ins and outs of that and probably put my foot in it from time to time). As you have probably realized I am a friend to the long comment …
I’m really grateful to you for raising the question of Germany’s role in the EU. This was the source of the angry outbursts at Michelle Forbes after her tweet on Saturday — which I could have explained except that I’m trying to keep my blood pressure normal and all the remarks about how she should just stand up for her beliefs (no matter how problematic or unaware of reality they might be) are freaking me out. I think most non-Germans / non-Europeans are under-informed about this aspect of the question. Germany can’t just act by itself; the problem is really located at the southern border of the EU; the southern border is a problem insofar as Greece and some of the Balkan countries see Germany as the source of their ongoing economic woes within the EU structure, not just as making the migration problem much worse.
Thanks for the personal report from Leipzig — I think Americans are also very underinformed about this piece of the puzzle. (I also find it very freaky — this is not the Germany I know, which always had a far Right fringe but nothing like this. Thinking back to the discussion of “no go areas” in 2006 around the World Cup, that now seems very naive.) Whatever the problem is of people who have these sympathies (and I want to make sure everyone knows that one can be opposed to further immigration without being on the far Right), appeals to their empathy are going to fall on deaf ears, I fear. I don’t think you’re wrong about Weimar. There have been a lot of studies of voting in Weimar over the years and they all point to one thing — center parties and center coalitions disappear as the electorate moves to the Right and Left ends of the spectrum. That seems to be what is happening in certain parts of Germany now.
And I can imagine that it’s frustrating for some fans to hear Armitage comment in this explicit way on the politics of a situation in a country he’s not all that familiar with. I think he’s trying to make a general point, but the fact that he is making it within Germany means it’s easy for the humanitarian thrust to get lost in all of the very real details of the local situation.
And I agree with you. Many things can be true at once: we need to help refugees, Germany can only take so many of them, Germany’s decision to act alone threatens EU stability, etc. We need to help them and we can’t help them all are statements that are both true, no question. (I think the problem is that some people argue that because not all can be helped, none should be helped, but obviously that isn’t what you are saying.)
So I think it’s great that you will be helping out even if you don’t support the policy. The refugees, after all, don’t make the policy except in a very remote sense.
Servetus said this on March 7, 2016 at 4:42 am
Lola, I can’t speak for Serv, of course, but I appreciated reading your honest viewpoint as a German about this complex situation. Thank you.
fedoralady said this on March 7, 2016 at 4:43 am
Thank you for your comment, especially the eye witness account of what happened in Leipzig. I also am German and share many of your feelings. There is only one thing I would like to point out: I don’t think that without Mrs. Merkel’s invitation there would have been no influx of refugees. In their eyes, Germany is a rich, free and democratic country. That’s why they all want to come here and they won’t stop coming. Unless a miracle happens and there is peace and an end to poverty where they are coming from, they will continue to come. What can we do? Sadly I don’t know…
suse3 said this on March 7, 2016 at 7:42 am
Die Politik könnte Versprechen einhalten und die Flüchtlingslager in der Nähe der Krisengebiete besser versorgen. Das würde sicher nicht alle abhalten, aber ich glaube, dass auch viele gerne in der Nähe ihrer Heimat bleiben möchten. Ich mache die Erfahrung, dass keineswegs alle Flüchtlinge dauerhaft bei uns bleiben wollen. Wenn Aussicht auf Frieden bestünde, dann würden sie gerne wieder zurück gehen. Auch nach dem Balkankrieg sind viele der Geflüchteten wieder in ihre Heimat zurück gekehrt.
Aber der ersehnte Frieden scheint unerreichbar…
Elanor said this on March 7, 2016 at 1:19 pm
Da gebe ich Dir recht. Dem UNCHR die finanzielle Unterstützung für die Lager zu kürzen war eine katastrophale Entscheidung, die die Flüchtlingsströme sicher noch verstärkt hat. Die fehlende finanzielle Unterstützung alleine war es aber wohl auch nicht. Das ganze Problem ist viel zu komplext für eine einzige Lösung… seufz
suse3 said this on March 7, 2016 at 3:35 pm
Servetus said this on March 7, 2016 at 4:30 pm
“Komplex” ist das richtige Wort. Es wurden schon an vielen Stellen Fehler gemacht und das schon lange Zeit. Einfache Lösungen wird es nicht geben. Wie heißt es so wahr bei Tolkien: “Die Welt rückt nah…”
Ein Land wie Deutschland, kann sich nicht abschotten. Das liegt nicht in unserem (wirtschaftlichen) Interesse und entspricht auch (hoffentlich) nicht mehr unserer Mentalität. Es hilft nur, einen Schritt nach dem anderen zu tun. Wir machen das vor Ort und ich hoffe sehr, dass die Politik sich berappelt und das auch in die Gänge kommt. Hoffentlich finden sie eine gute Richtung 😉
Elanor said this on March 7, 2016 at 3:53 pm
sorry — my reply got stacked way down below. I agree this is an important question.
Servetus said this on March 7, 2016 at 4:29 pm
So i have been reading the comments and first of all thank you for even reading my comment.
We need to help the refugees, no question there. Both those who are here and especially those in the countries surrounding Syria. And naturally many refugees would have come anyways to Europe, regardless wether Angela Merkel would have opened the borders or not. The problem is however that by declaring that Germany would take in everybody, many seem to have misunderstood that as an invitation to come to Germany. And this is where it gets unfair in my opinion. We are telling them. “Oh you can all come here BUT only if you make it via the Mediterranian Sea.” By that we are putting the refugees at risk as well. Crossing the Sea with small boats is extremely dangerous, even more so when you can’t swim, which many refugees can’t. Also, through this only men will come (because women and children are more at risk during such a journey), and only those who are “strong” enough to make it. This is extremely unfair since the groups who are most endangered in a refugee camp (single women with or without children, religious and ethnic minorities) don’t have the money and protection necessary to make it to Europe. We are even paying Turkey! now to close its borders to Syria, which is downright schizophrenic if you consider that German politics are still loudly declaring that we will take in everybody.
Like the comments above said it is an extremely complicated problem, and there is no easy solution. Only time will tell wether Germany made the right decision or not. But we could start out by not repeating the same mistakes we made before, during the first waves of Turkish immigration and then the Yugoslavian immigration in the 90s. And that’s what I don’t see from the politics and that is hugely disappointing to me. It didn’t matter that much wether the Turkish community integrated itself in German society or not, nor did it really matter if the Yugoslavian communities did, because they were rather small compared to the rest of the population. But this is quite a large, quite homogenous group of immigrants, and if we fail now, the consequences will be much more pronounced and entirely our fault.
Someone above mentioned the UNHCR: it’s true that the EU cut the benefits for migrant camps in the Middle East last year, and this is also adding a factor that “pulls” refugees towards Europe. What fewer people know is that the UNHCR has offered Germany assistance for the refugee crisis and Germany has refused that. They tried to hire someone from the UNO for their BAMF (central migration office), but this person has refused to work with people who are not open to new solutions.
Regarding Servetus’ comments about Richard and Michelle Forbes: I haven’t read the comments towards them, I didn’t know they were so negative. I thought it was a very good idea to visit a refugee center as long as you don’t treat the people living there like animals in the zoo, which they obviously didn’t. At least they were concerned enough to go and see what is happening with their own eyes and I am sure that they helped the children to experience a few happy hours after everything they have gone through. I am only angry at John Oliver, who I normally respect very much. But his take on migration to Europe was quite obnoxious and in some places almost cruel towards the people his team interviewed. But that is quite another topic. 🙂
Lola said this on March 8, 2016 at 12:13 am
A lot of the “Yugoslavians” have gone home, no? I think the problem (if the history oft the US is any indication) is that integration doesn’t really occur in one generation. You can kind of see what’s happening by the second / third generation.
I don’t watch Oliver, so don’t know what he said. To me this is another problem with current political discourse — the tendency of so many people to take their news from comedians …
Servetus said this on March 8, 2016 at 12:52 am
I want to be clear — because I really would like not to be misunderstood on this particular issue — about a few matters as regards my position on these issues.
1) I think it was good that Armitage visited and volunteered at the refugee center.
2) I think it was his right to write and share his feelings about it. This is definitely a case of “Armitage leads with the feelings” and there’s nothing wrong with that in my estimation.
3) I find nothing about his feelings as expressed illegitimate.
4) His feelings and observations speak well of him as a human being.
5) I think everyone is entitled to have an informed political opinion about the situation (including non-Germans, non-EU citizens), including me.
6) At the same time, since I don’t vote in the EU, I like to remain conscious that I am an outsider to this particular political problem except as it touches on US domestic and world politics (even if I read a lot about it).
7) I wish people would inform themselves critically and reliably about what’s going on and not just listen to sound bites.
8) In that vein, while I respect Armitage’s position I remain very concerned that emotion, rather than reason, is taking over these discussions. I am deeply suspicious of this turn, because emotion is not usually subject to negotiation or compromise, as we see every day on Twitter.
9) If put on the spot, I would say that in general (speaking as a US citizen with a long personal history tied to Germany and its culture), I am pleased that Germany has taken in all these people and also confident that Germany has the resources to deal with the problem. I have not been a huge fan of Merkel (particularly during the Greek euro crisis), but I have generally respected and/or admired how she has dealt with the migration question, except for her break from the EU.
10) At the same time, this is not only a German problem, it is an EU problem. The EU has to solve the problem together. I do not know how that can happen at present.
11) As Suzy’s reports show, if the German national government is going to take in all these people, it has to do a better job of helping out the communities that are expected to absorb these numbers.
12) I indict the US government for not taking a more proactive and helpful stance toward the entry of refugees (Syrian and otherwise) into the United States. I do not believe that US or US interests should take over decisionmaking as regards the migrant problem in the EU, but it has an important role to play in helping to alleviate the situation that it has been abdicating up until now.
13) I agree on the whole with the position that ideally these people could stay in their homes; however, in my perception most people who I hear making that argument are also opposed to taking the necessary steps in political and international diplomacy that would make that possible.
Servetus said this on March 7, 2016 at 5:12 am
Tout cela sur un fond éternel de guerre économique entre l’Europe, les Etats Unis d’Amérique,… pour la suprématie .
Il ne faut pas oublier que la destination des réfugiés politiques ne dépend pas seulement des frontières ouvertes ou fermées, mais aussi de leur portefeuille personnel.
squirrel.0072 said this on March 7, 2016 at 11:14 am
I’m not writing a book on the problem 🙂 The point here was mainly, because the discussion suddenly took a quantum leap into policy from what was mostly people saying that they appreciated Armitage’s comments, to point out some areas that I hadn’t spoken on and might be misinterpreted about. Not to undertake a general criticism of the way the nation-state operates in a capitalist world economy 🙂
Servetus said this on March 7, 2016 at 4:17 pm
I entirely agree with you Serv. As for RA, I think the discussion on here shows that the opinion he voiced on Saturday is making at least some of his fans express their opinion and their feelings on this difficult subject. As his fandom covers a range of cultures we can only benefit from exchanging our different views and experiences. RA is neither an informed politician nor a social worker in a refugee home. His opinion is bound to be based on his limited experience and on his emotions. This doesn’t make it any less legitimate though and I agree with what he said (Perhaps I should point out that he has expressed opinions in the past with which I didn’t agree. As a fan I don’t feel obliged to follow him everywhere 😉 )
suse3 said this on March 7, 2016 at 3:46 pm
Thanks for this.
I think we’re getting to a point where, if he says anything else about this particular question, the current prevailing “don’t analyze, don’t criticize” mood is going to be overturned. How much longer is he going to be in Berlin? 🙂
Servetus said this on March 7, 2016 at 4:21 pm
suse3 said this on March 7, 2016 at 6:15 pm
I think your positions are well thought out, Serve. I especially agree with point 12. We really are not doing enough, and until the elections are over, I don’t think it will get better. There seems to very little convincing some quarters that ISIS is not going to have operatives wait out the three to four year vetting process that Middle Eastern refugees have to endure before they are allowed into this country.
I’ve been reading how the Canadian government is dealing with their new refugees and it just seems so much better organized than our process of dealing with new people is, but even then the Canadian refugees sponsored by private organizations seem to do better at assimilating than those sponsored by the government.
At any rate, we could be doing a hell of a lot more, but I think we lack the political will.
RAmused said this on March 7, 2016 at 8:26 am
I think that for US policy on this question to change we would have to have a different Congress and that seems unlikely (no matter who is elected president). This isn’t something that can be accomplish by executive order, I’m afraid. Right now the administration would like to allow more Syrian refugees into the US but Congress has blocked this and the state governors have jumped on that bandwagon (which I found really upsetting, when it happened).
re: new refugees — my impression from the two immigrations I’m familiar with (Hmong and Somali) is that new immigrants have to have a non-government sponsor (family, church, or other gorup) anyway. Perhaps that is wrong.
I think this is an important question (even though, as a historian, I’m suspicious of counterfactuals): what would have happened had Germany not agreed to accept these refugees? Would they all be participating in a human rights nightmare of some kind on the EU southern border?
Servetus said this on March 7, 2016 at 4:14 pm
I think they would, like they do know.
Aber “unsere” Hilfsbereitschaft hat das Problem nicht gelöst. Es ist wie bei “North and South”: Einem hungernden Baby etwas zu essen zu geben ist keine (nicht nur eine) Frage der Vernunft, sondern der Menschlichkeit. Unsere Werte müssen uns etwas wert sein.
Elanor said this on March 7, 2016 at 4:47 pm
Yes, it’s like so many values — it’s not really tested under normal circumstances. You only know that it’s really a value when you fulfill it under less than optimal circumstances, when it might not suit you … (free speech is a good example of this, too).
Servetus said this on March 7, 2016 at 4:51 pm
Im Bezug auf die Meinungsfreiheit muss man manchmal wirklich tapfer sein 😉
Aber es ist wichtig, diese Diskussionen zu führen. In unserer Demokratie ist es mühsam, zu einer Entscheidung zu kommen. Nichts geht so wirklich schnell, möglichst alle sollen mitgenommen werden und die Kompromisse, die wir dann finden, sind meistens für keinen “das Gelbe vom Ei”.
Wie du gesagt hast, ist es wichtig, diese Diskussionen möglichst sachlich zu führen. Aber die Emotionen spielen bei aller Sachlichkeit eine große Rolle. Sie lösen viele Reaktionen/Handlungen aus und müssen bedacht werden.
Und ganz ehrlich, wenn du diese Kinder vor dir hast, dann ist das emotional. Man will helfen (und ich bin froh, dass dieser Reflex in unserem Land noch bei sehr vielen Menschen funktioniert).
Elanor said this on March 7, 2016 at 5:09 pm
I think, if we’re dealing with the question of “here is a child in front of us,” you’re absolutely right. And I would also agree that emotions underlie values and are related to them. I am glad children are being helped for whatever motivation. However, the people on the other side of this — the PEGIDA folks and so on — are also acting on the basis of their emotions and this is something I tried to point out above — that (for example) in the end there’s little difference for me between Sanders and Trump in terms of how they appeal to voters. It’s just that I happen to agree more with Sanders’ reading of the world than with Trump. When policy making becomes a kneejerk response to emotions, we’re in trouble. It’s actually something that I’ve always admired about Merkel — how capable of being unemotional she is, at least in public.
Servetus said this on March 7, 2016 at 5:34 pm
Es stimmt natürlich, dass auch die Menschen, die Flüchtlinge ablehnen, von Gefühlen geleitet werden (oft sogar sehr stark). Aber versteh mich nicht falsch, ich glaube nicht, dass Gefühle die (alleinige) Grundlage für politische Entscheidungen sein sollten. Sie müssen bei der Entscheidungsfindung aber ausgedrückt werden, um sie dann unter verschiedenen Blickwinkeln zu betrachten und auch durch Fakten gegenzuprüfen. Auch was überhaupt machbar ist, muss klar ausgesprochen werden. (Das macht Frau Merkel zu Zeit ununterbrochen, das wollen aber viele nicht hören.)
Aber sei ehrlich. Letztendlich sind immer Gefühle die Grundlage unserer Handlungen. Wenn Frau Merkel unemotional wirkt und sachlich, dann ist sie das vielleicht aus einem Gefühl für Verantwortung und Pflichterfüllung heraus, vielleicht auch weil sie ehrgeizig ist und beweisen will, dass sie auch mir richtig schwierigen Situationen fertig werden kann oder sie spürt ihr Gewissen, auf das man im politischen Alltag bestimmt nicht immer hört. (Vielleicht ist sie auch einfach nur stur … 😉 )
Elanor said this on March 7, 2016 at 5:53 pm
Da würde ich dir voll zustimmen, dass Helfen eine Frage der Menschlichkeit ist. Nur “Gibst du jemandem einen Fisch, wird er einen Tag lang satt. Gibst du ihm eine Angel und zeigst ihm wie man fischt, kann er sich sein gesamtes Leben lang ernähren”. Und genau das ist das Problem. Wir denken in vielen Punkten ein bisschen zu kurzfristig.
Lola said this on March 8, 2016 at 12:20 am
The bill to rebuild Syria will be horrendous. I can’t imagine the EU really wants to take that on — given the turmoil over Greece, etc.
Servetus said this on March 8, 2016 at 12:54 am
I think it will have to be something like the Marshal Plan for Germany after WWII. The destabilisation of the larger north African region is not only a problem for the EU. NATO, G7 and/or 20 will have to work together. International team work will be the key word.
Vanguard said this on March 8, 2016 at 1:14 am
i think that humans have a strong tendency to attribute feelings to others that those people don’t have, actually. I assume that if I feel something, then others must be feeling it, too. In actuality, I find this to be the case rather rarely, although maybe I’m simply unusual. I very rarely find that people who are stoic in public are actual also emotional in private; I think this is a literary/dramatic stereotype.
That said, of course, feelings play into our political decisionmaking and particularly into our value formation (the whole idea that “all men are created equal,” for instance, is supported primarily by emotional reactions these days and not any kind of reason or in fact resort to observable reality. We believe it because it makes us feel good). But I don’t want them controlling our political decisionmaking, at least not in the US. My impression is that feelings, when taken too seriously, prevent us from actually observing reality. That can be useful in some contexts, of course. But I can’t imagine that if you said to someone on the Far Right, “okay, I understand that you have many negative feelings about immigrants, but here are some facts that challenge your reactions,” that this would influence them in their opinion formation at all. Once feelings become supreme, rationality has little chance to succeed. And it’s very hard to change feelings. One reason it’s hard to watch what’s happening in Germany right now is my perception that a body of people (with whom I have spent significant chunks of my life) who are, on the whole, very reasonable and not inclined to sudden emotional reactions, a state of mind that supports not only a liberal attitude at home but stability in foreign policy, now seem to be changing their general attitude toward one that favors an emotionality that is incredibly dangerous just now.
Don’t get me wrong. I think the Germany should help refugees. I just think that arguing for it emotionally is a questionable strategy.
Servetus said this on March 7, 2016 at 6:05 pm
Obwohl der Grund, um für die Flüchtlinge zu sprechen letztendlich einem Gefühl der Verantwortung entspringt, so muss die Argumentation dennoch sehr rational sein. Das stimmt – gerade wenn es um Strategien geht, wie wir nach außen und inne mit der Situation umgehen. Aber wenn du von den Menschen mit extremen Ansichten sprichst, dann lassen die sich auch mit ganz sachlichen Argumenten kaum beeinflussen. Oft verweigern sie sich sogar ganz der Diskussion.
Sachlich betrachtet, sind diese Menschen auf der Flucht und wir können sie nicht ignorieren, weil sie unpraktischer Weise direkt auf/vor unserer Türschwelle stehen und weil wir uns verpflichtet haben, die Menschenrechte zu achten.
Gestern Abend hat ein Politiker aus einem östlichen europäischen Land in einer Talkshow gesagt, dass Europa “nur” eine Vertragsgemeinschaft sei. Dass wir auch eine Wertegemeinschaft sind, dem wollte er nicht zustimmen. Diese Haltung ist für Europa ein wirklich großer Streitpunkt und ich bin gespannt, ob sie auf dem Gipfel zu irgendeiner Lösung kommen.
By the way, I think, not only Germany should help refugees. There are many other countries that are able to do so just as well.
Elanor said this on March 7, 2016 at 6:38 pm
Yes — this is what I’m saying. Once we give way to feelings, there is no path back.
re: Wertegemeinschaft: I’m bothered by that because it’s the argument for keeping Turkey out. That said, if the EU is a Wertegemeinschaft, then this is a good test for it and then, indeed, other EU countries should help refugees. Somehow I think it’s a losing argument, though.
re: other countries — certainly, as stated above several times.
Servetus said this on March 7, 2016 at 6:42 pm
Glaubst du, wir sollten die Türkei aufnehmen?
Elanor said this on March 7, 2016 at 6:48 pm
Not this instant, given the current crisis, but on the whole, yes. I was strongly in favor in 2004-6. But one would expect me to say that; I am an American.
Servetus said this on March 7, 2016 at 6:57 pm
Im Moment kann ich mir den Beitritt überhaupt nicht vorstellen – eben wegen der Wertegemeinschaft 😉
Vielleicht wäre es vor Jahren realistischer gewesen, aber nun haben sie (wieder mal) eine “kritische” Zeitung gestürmt und übernommen … man könnte die sehr zweifelhaften Aktionen lange aufzählen.
Elanor said this on March 7, 2016 at 7:27 pm
Yeah, I’m not exactly excited about the news from Turkey, either. However, they are geopolitically inextricable from the current problem.
Servetus said this on March 7, 2016 at 7:31 pm
Ja und deshalb muss man pragmatisch sein und mit ihnen reden. Wie hieß das noch? “Die Politik der kleinen Schritte.”
Wir brauchen sie, sie wissen das und jetzt wird verhandelt. Das ist die Realität.
Elanor said this on March 7, 2016 at 7:35 pm
Und da haben wir schon das nächste Problem. Durch die Geldzahlungen an die Türkei macht sich die EU erpressbar. Das geht überhaupt nicht und schon gar nicht von der Türkei, die vor nicht allzu langer Zeit den Daesh sogar heimlich unterstützt hat. Irgendwie zeige ich hier nur Probleme auf ohne mir Lösungen zu überlegen… 🙂
Zur Aufnahme der Türkei in die EU: Servetus, mich würde interessieren ob du rein hypothetisch für eine Aufnahme der Türkei in die USA wärst. Wenn die USA in der Rolle der EU stecken würde.
Lola said this on March 8, 2016 at 12:27 am
I would be in favor of annexing parts of México, if it came down to that (if that was the real solution to our problem), or Cuba, although saying that makes me persona non grata to just about everyone I know. But if I were the EU I would have found a way to pay for Greece in recognition of the state of affairs that ECB monetary policy kept Greek structurally weak for a long time and that the accession of Romania et al. diverted necessary support and attention from Greece.
I don’t think the EU got into this situation quickly and I don’t see how it is going to get out quickly. Speaking structurally / sociologically, it’s not surprising to me that economies that themselves are still recovering from a severe shock in most people’s lifetimes (former Warsaw pact nations) are not eager to cooperate with the core EU states on immigration and don’t feel any especial solidarity with the nations that struggled most fully with this problem for years. So, ideally, I would say, no, Europe needs to integrate these states before adding more territory. However, Turkey is where it is and the stuff is happening that is happening. It has a huge and growing economy, and it’s been trying to get in for an awfully long time. If the EU incorporates Turkey, there is still a chance for some kind of acculturation, for Turkey to become a liberal democracy. My fear would be that under the current circumstances, there is not only no chance of that, the history of rejection will create a situation where Europe is building its own belligerent neighbor right on its border. In other words — if the refugees overwhelm Turkey next, you still have that problem right on your doorstep, except now it’s with people who are even less inclined to be tractable.
Servetus said this on March 8, 2016 at 1:10 am
Oh dear, the question re Turkey opens a can of worms that most politicians would rather not touch. There is a lot to the Turkey question that needs to be considered. Human rights only being a smaller part of the issues.
Vanguard said this on March 8, 2016 at 1:23 am
Yeah, and my point in mentioning it wasn’t to say we need to solve it here — it’s just that it throws light on the question of whether the EU is a “community of values” (or should be).
Servetus said this on March 8, 2016 at 1:43 am
Anne Will discussed it on Sunday in her talkeshow on German TV. It was an interesting conversation but as always the TV show format is not really conducive to in-depth discussions. They also touched upon the Turkey/EU question.
Vanguard said this on March 8, 2016 at 2:18 am
I accidentally stumbled across this post and the related comments. I’m very impressed – especially by those who volunteer to help with whatever they can. This is a first time for me. I never before replied to a blog post, and I’m not necessarily a fan of RA but have seen some of his work and liked it. My professional as well as personal background persuaded me that I probably should start engaging in this discussion with a wider audience now. I’m afraid this is going to be a rather long post. Apologies, please bear with me.
Professionally speaking I am interested in understanding what makes people tick, depending also on the place of residence and cultural background. Understanding cultural differences is key for my day job. I work with governments, EU, UN, NGOs, private multinationals etc. mainly on issues around climate change, corporate responsibility and diversity/inclusion. Before I get to some points made here in the comments section, I think I should say that I was born in West Germany, went to uni in the mid-90s in Leipzig (East Germany) but haven’t lived in Germany for about 7 years. After moving around for work, I now live in London (I have a degree in theatre management / Engl lit & history and cultural studies – don’t ask 😉 confusing, I know).
That being said, a very general statement regarding Germany and its current political discourse – I’m shocked. Not surprised but shocked. Thinking back to my uni days – East Germany always had pockets of far right nationalists and the political establishment even back then never did anything about it, quite the contrary if we think about Saxony’s government for example. In West Germany this was also there but after WWII fairly strongly opposed and kept under wraps by influential parts of society. I never imagined I’d see the day when the likes of Pegida and AFD get that kind of public attention and support in Germany. It does feel like history repeating itself but as my history professor once said – mankind usually doesn’t learn from lessons taught by history. Shame really. However, this leads to one the major political problems we face today: Political education or the lack thereof. People either don’t go to the ballot and vote (side note: never a good idea – being a free citizen means it is ones “democratic duty” to get off that sofa and get on with it. Even if there is no perceived viable option, not voting will help the “wrong” parties – very recent example: only about 48% of voters in Hessen (Germany) yesterday who cast their vote? What the heck? I remember the turnout we had in the UK for the Scotland Referendum – 86% if memory serves. A lot of people seem to have forgotten that our ancestor fought hard to give us the right to vote – What is wrong with us today? There is no excuse for not going to the ballot from my point of view, if you’re not around on the day, send the flipping letter. Especially if you then end up being one of those “concerned citizens” that again take these funny Monday evening strolls through Dresden. Following a convicted criminal and his buddies – google Lutz Bachmann – again I can only raise my eyebrows in wonder and frankly disgust). But it’s not only Germany, we see similar trends across other countries. There is a frightening shift to the (far) right these days. I have my theories why that is, but that is another discussion to be had.
The other issue is media and how we consume it. Most people form their opinion based on whatever the various media outlets feed them. I don’t know many people (unless they have to do so for professional reasons like I do) who actually sit down and read party manifestos – but is definitely something all potential AFD supporters should do, otherwise they will be in for a very rude awakening. I guess Mr Trump could end up being equally troubling for the US if the tone of the current debate is anything to go by.
Media is always to be taken with a grain of salt. I have journalists friends, I have to work with journalists and experience proved that sometimes what you say and what comes out in print doesn’t necessarily add up. I read in one of the comments above something about Merkel opening the borders to refugees. This statement went in similar form through a number of papers but it’s actually wrong. Germany’s borders where never closed to begin with. As part of the Schengen zone, people where free to cross country borders by land as they pleased. It was hailed as one of the advantages in setting up the EU in its current shape and form. Refugees had to buy train tickets and get on a train from Hungary to Germany. Suddenly Hungary decides not to let them board those train whether or not they had a ticket. That is in a nutshell when Merkel intervened. Now this goes to the very heart of the EU idea/treaty and is too complicated to go into detail here, but let’s just say that some countries suddenly without proper negotiation and adhering the EU processes closed their borders was the real problem and not okay by any stretch of imagination, furthermore, it was not helpful at all given the circumstances. Merkel did the right thing from a humanitarian (and Christian perspective – since a person’s religious background seems again a worry for some…) POV and did not close the border in Oct/Nov 2015. For which there would have been no legal justification anyway. We have to remember that Germany still has laws and treaties to follow. One of those rules/regulations says that everybody has the right to ask for asylum. Another treaty Germany signed as a result from WWII experiences along with other states is the UN’s refugee charter. It was signed, because we didn’t want to hear phrases like “The boat is full” ever again. Is this the time to go back on our word and rid ourselves of that humanitarian standpoint? Do we really want to support a rather lazy political approach when the times get rough? Or should we rather get into a more fruitful discussion to find a solution that helps the weakest. Bearing in mind that about 60 million people globally are currently displaced, the western world will face a lot more troubles in future if the can’t get their head around a sustainable solution soon. Borders, walls, fences, bombs or whatever will not work in the long run. Good for RA to find out for himself what some of the issues are. He could have stayed in his “ivory tower” but instead chose to get involved. Kudos to him. Every little helps. It takes guts, because I assume he got some harsh feedback to his statements. He like everyone of us is entitled to an opinion. Another point is that the EU has left weak member states like Italy and Greece alone to deal with this ongoing crisis for years. BTW – I wish I would read an equally passionate outcry about the TTIP (e.g. http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/aug/03/ttip-what-why-angry-transatlantic-trade-investment-partnership-guide ) compared to what is going through media and society when it comes to refugees. I could go on, but will leave it for now. I’m conscious that this a fan blog rather than a political forum. 😉 Thank you.
Vanguard said this on March 7, 2016 at 6:57 pm
Thanks for the comment and welcome, and thanks for taking the time to offer an informed perspective!
Fair enough re: the details about how Schengen did not prevent border crossings into Germany — I think all the Germans on blog know how Schengen works and were simplifying for the rest of the readers. Putting it in the way you do makes Merkel’s intervention look like a defense of Schengen (I hadn’t thought about it that way, but I’m not disinclined to do so), but I think it’s fair to say that this is not how it has been presented in the media (as you note). I definitely agree that it constitutes compliance with Schengen, which Germany was entitled (or obligated) to do without consultation of other EU member states. Is what we are seeing now a demonstration of the way that Schengen has benefited different EU member states to different degrees?
re: the failure of the EU to help out its southern members, this was the reason for the outburst regarding Michelle Forbes’ statements on Saturday. (Another uninformed American; she was completely clueless as to why her statement might have been inflammatory.)
I think because this is a fan blog, particular political issues get refracted / reflected in ways that probably don’t make sense to outsiders. The commentators have (varying) expertises beyond Armitage. Right now the split in the fandom is between people who are admiring or fairly uncritical of what he said, or willing to take it with goodwill for what it is, people who are accepting of what he said but realize that it doesn’t reflect the complexity of the situation, and people who are bothered by what they see as his naivete / lack of awareness. Fandom being what it is, some people in each of these groups are upset with others, because in fandom it’s important (to a greater or lesser degree) that the wish-object fulfill his fantasy role. With issues like this one, he really puts himself at risk of not doing that for large groups of people. So it’s definitely a brave choice on his part in that sense.
Servetus said this on March 7, 2016 at 7:16 pm
Well, considering that most of Germany’s economic power is based on export, of course Germany benefits a lot from the Schengen zone, and every political party would be/should be very hesitant to risk that.
In this instance Merkel didn’t have much choice. Yes, other EU member states were annoyed by Germany’s approach but political leaders have had now time to cool down and start negotiating and hopefully leading their countries. It’s the only way forward.
To your last point, I think Mr Armitage is pretty much like most other people who don’t deal with these complex issues on a daily basis and in their complexity. When I read some online comments from potential AFD voters for instance – they have no clue what the party really says in its manifesto and instead seem to take the headlines they read at face value. I guess a lot of people would tell him to mind his own business – being a Brit, an actor o top, when it comes to US or German politics. As an example: I am German but live/pay taxes in the UK – Does that mean I am not to have an opinion on Brexit or welfare cuts? Same goes for him and US politics in my book. I understand that he’s been in Berlin for a couple of months now – I’m pretty sure he got the vibe regarding the political climate by now and again is entitled to have an opinion on refugees in Germany too. It is at the end of the day more a European than a Germany only problem.
What troubles me these days is that people jump to conclusion before knowing the crucial facts (NYE Cologne would be another example from day one). Climate change is another hot topic, especially among the more conservative party followers. Don’t get me started on diversity 😉
Vanguard said this on March 7, 2016 at 7:39 pm
Which reminds me – Has RA ever said anything on the subject of diversity? It is widely discussed (think Oscars for example) across the arts. I recall the e.g. Tom Hiddleston or Benedict Cumberbatch are quite outspoken about it.
Vanguard said this on March 7, 2016 at 7:42 pm
Not that I am aware of — apart from general comments about needing a cosmopolitan atmosphere, and generally being supportive of female colleagues. Honestly, I he’s not important enough for most people to care about his opinions. He’s anti-gun (which doesn’t play especially well in the US) and pro-Affordable Care Act, and has said some fairly vague pro-environmentalist things. My guess is his sympathies are British center-Left politically and “leftie by feelings” personally.
Servetus said this on March 7, 2016 at 7:49 pm
RA ist tatsächlich nicht sooo bekannt, dass seine Meinung in der Öffentlichkeit eine größere Rolle spielen würde (anders als die George Clooney, der gleich die Kanzlerin besucht, was dann wieder in den Nachrichten ist). Aber uns hier bringt er ganz schön in Wallung 🙂
Elanor said this on March 7, 2016 at 7:55 pm
Hast du gesehen? Dass Mrs. Clooney beim Besuch bei der Kanzlerin wie folgt beschrieben wurde : “in Begleitung ihres Gatten, eines Schauspielers” 😆
Sorry, wollte mal wieder ein wenig Leichtigkeit in das schwere Thema bringen 😁
CraMERRY said this on March 7, 2016 at 8:02 pm
Recht so! Es gefällt mir außerordentlich, dass er immer mehr als ihr Anhang gesehen wird. Die Frau wird nicht unterschätzt. 😉
Elanor said this on March 7, 2016 at 8:05 pm
i saw that and LOVED it. Go, Amal Alumuddin!
Servetus said this on March 7, 2016 at 8:06 pm
Das nennt man: Perspektive zurechtrücken!
CraMERRY said this on March 7, 2016 at 8:07 pm
Aporpos Perspektive, wer hat je behauptet, dass Cumberbatch und RA in der gleichen Liga spielen? Pah – bleibt die Frage, wer in welcher spielt 😉
Elanor said this on March 7, 2016 at 8:13 pm
Die gleiche Liga ist blankes Wunschdenken. Sorry, falls hier bei irgendwem die rosaroten Träume platzen 😏 Aber eigentlich profitieren wir alle davon, dass er 2. Liga spielt. Die TC Stagedoor wäre sonst so nicht möglich gewesen. (wobei auch B.Cumberbatch eine fantastische Stagedoor -Leistung abgeliefert hat). Aber Treffen an berliner Dönerbuden würden bei steigendem Ruhm dann komplett entfallen. Lasst uns mal froh sein mit dem Status Quo.
CraMERRY said this on March 7, 2016 at 8:22 pm
Elanor said this on March 7, 2016 at 8:15 pm
Ich glaub, ich bin da recht realistisch . Er mag es wohl eher etwas bodenständiger und ich stimme dir zu, dass uns das nur recht sein kann.
Elanor said this on March 7, 2016 at 8:29 pm
Positively surprised! Did they also start discussing what designer he wore? That is usually the thing journalists would delve into when discussing female actors/politicians on a public outing
Vanguard said this on March 7, 2016 at 8:13 pm
Stimmt. Und dann ist die ganze Ernsthaftigkeit am A…. 😜
CraMERRY said this on March 7, 2016 at 8:15 pm
You should watch his press interview for “Hail Caesar” during the Berlinale. It is very funny since poor George is constantly asked to comment on communism and refugees. He seemed quite puzzled.
Lola said this on March 8, 2016 at 12:36 am
Servetus said this on March 8, 2016 at 1:12 am
Thanks. Too bad, would have liked to read his POV on that. I assume he is not in the same league as Cumberbatch. Not sure he should want to be tbh. From what he wrote I guess your right, I think Corbyn (Labour) is more up his sleeve than Cameron (Conservative).
Vanguard said this on March 7, 2016 at 8:00 pm
I think Armitage would like to have Cumberbatch’s role choice, but not all that attention (he seems to struggle with the attention he does get). We had a conversation a while back about possible electoral alternatives for him. The UK commentators seemed to think that the Green Party was not a serious enough option for him to vote for it and I think they all thought he’d vote Labour. He follows both parties on Twitter, but he also follows Anonymous and Barack Obama.
Servetus said this on March 7, 2016 at 8:05 pm
The Green Party in the UK is not strong enough in a national election to be of significant influence. That was part of my learning curve when I started to deal with Westminster. So, I don’t think he would go down that route. I assume is family background is also more Labour than “posh establishment”.
Vanguard said this on March 7, 2016 at 8:11 pm
They’re petit bourgeois, I guess you would say. I’m sure his grandparents’ generation would have voted Labour, at least on his father’s side, and I think it’s likely his parents would. On the other hand he has described them as “very conservative,” but I think that’s worldview more than a political attitude.
For more info on how I see this question: https://meandrichard.wordpress.com/2012/11/17/my-richard-armitage-an-interpretation-background-childhood-adolescence-professional-preparation-young-adulthood/
Servetus said this on March 7, 2016 at 8:18 pm
Clooney indeed – at least he married the right woman to lend his opinion a little more weight. 😉
Vanguard said this on March 7, 2016 at 8:01 pm
Leonardo DiCaprio is all quite visible with his environmental/political views. He also gets a lot of bashing for it. Somehow I don’t think RA is ready to put himself that much out there.
Vanguard said this on March 7, 2016 at 8:05 pm
I think he’s fairly clearly not ready to do that just yet, if ever. The other problem is that people will immediately call him out on his own carbon footprint. Or his leather jackets, or whatever. I don’t think he’s negotiated the whole question of relationship to his fans very well, and adding masses of people to that crowd wouldn’t help matters.
Servetus said this on March 7, 2016 at 8:15 pm
Vielleicht überrascht er ich ja, Servetus 🙂
Ich bin gespannt, ob das nur so ein Anflug war oder ob daraus ein ernsthaftes Engagement wird. Das macht das Fan-Dasein interessant.
Elanor said this on March 7, 2016 at 8:23 pm
OK, I admit defeat now. I don’t know enough about him or his fandom to have an informed opinion. I will have to read around more here 🙂
Vanguard said this on March 7, 2016 at 8:29 pm
I don’t think I’m a typical fan, but you are welcome to explore!
Servetus said this on March 7, 2016 at 8:35 pm
Vanguard said this on March 7, 2016 at 8:39 pm
I think I have exhausted this topic. I would like to thank Servertus to bringing the situation on Germany to my attention. To address the issue on US intervention, I believe we’re always going to be between a rock and a hard place. If we step in, we are bullies, if we do not, we are indifferent. The refugees crisis is of course all part of a much, much larger problem, and the complacency the current administration has towards that much bigger problem is a constant source of frustration. There are US entities helping. Some of whom he might consider “right wing” are among those. And I don’t just mean taking a bag of clothes on your day off, but full on commitments. It’s wonderful he did that, but to imply that the right wings are somehow invoking racial tension in the US is nonsense, and shows his complete ignorance concerning the border situation. If he is going to stereotype an entire group of people, than his speech on tolerance is pretty self-defeating. Considering he has quotes circulating about how his latest role is surprisingly non-violent, it amuses me to no end that someone who has made a career, and probably a comfortable one, off of glorifying violence for the sake of entertainment, can sit there for a photo op like Saint Wonderful and talk about hatred. I am sorry, but it’s hilarious, and distracts from the great purpose of the intense suffering these refugees are facing. Not to mention how many selfies he took on the Wall of China, yet I hear no cries of outrage concerning the oppressed and persecuted people of that country.
kari said this on March 8, 2016 at 3:01 am
I personally believe there are solutions to the US border problem that make the US neither a bully nor indifferent; however, every attempt to address the situation in Congress in my lifetime (whether the bill passed or failed) has failed miserably because all compromises involve some measure that is unacceptable to someone and no one seems willing to accept any small measure of a solution that does not square with their ideological preferences. There are reasons that Simpson-Mazzoli failed to have the desired effect — reasons that stem from both sides of the political spectrum. There are reasons the recent attempt at comprehensive immigration reform failed — reasons that stem from both sides of the political spectrum.
Nonetheless, the fact that attempts to compromise in the past and more recently have failed do not automatically mean that the most extreme solution on the table is the (only) correct one. Similarly, I absolutely believe that conservatives are trying to help people victimized by the border situation, because I know some of these people in Texas; this state of affairs does not change the fact that there are also conservatives who are clearly speaking in ways that inflame racial tension in the US, and I believe the person that we are talking about intends to do so and does it for personal gain. Those are points of distinction and slight disagreement.
I do not believe that suffering has a purpose. There, we disagree strongly.
Please look up “tu quoque” and try to avoid it in future here. Hypocrisy is annoying and frustrating. Pointing it out, however, does not constitute a political argument. An argument is the correct one independently of the lifestyle of the person who is making it.
Servetus said this on March 8, 2016 at 4:02 am
I am just putting my two cents in. Hypocrisy is rampant in politics, so I don’t think think it is two separate entities. I am not trying to be rude, but I have seen you use tu quoque many many many many time. Many. You seem to have a lot hate relationship with this fellow, and have often brought up inconsistencies, both in and out of context. I like you and I am not trying to insult you, but patronizing me by imploring me to look up logical fallacy is a little over the top.
I like your blog, was just trying to contribute. Please feel free to erase my comments. Again, I am not trying to be rude and I am sorry if I offended you.
kari said this on March 8, 2016 at 4:48 am
I’ve used it twice that I am aware of, and I’ve marked it and admitted to it both times, so I must conclude that you don’t understand what you are saying. To say that something is inconsistent is not tu quoque. Tu quoque is saying that because something is inconsistent it cannot be correct, or that because someone’s behavior is hypocritical, something they are saying cannot be true. Again, an argument is true independent of the person’s behavior who makes it. Or false, incidentally.
Since you decided to employ ad hominem on me, after you were warned once a few days ago, however, you are in violation of the comments policy. It’s not about like or don’t like, it’s about how you behave. You are blocked from commenting.
Servetus said this on March 8, 2016 at 4:52 am
Folks, one reason I don’t like to talk politics here is that somebody always spins out because they don’t feel bound by the comments policy. Given that I have a lot of political conversation in my real life, I’m going to close comments on this post now. If Armitage raises the topic again, we will come back to it, I am sure.
Servetus said this on March 8, 2016 at 4:57 am
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