Never entertained the thought before … never predicted the agitators like Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Geert Wilders would prove there is racism in our community. Or did I … ever since the terror attacks of 9/11 and the response by the U.S. with the War on Terror, the community and even family structure have changed. Over night people became fed-up with “foreigners”, mosques, veils and different cultures. Poking our nose in the affairs of sovereign states led to another major influx of refugees. Major players dealing Europe a blow as it was trying to create unity after unbridled expansion eastward. Brexit will reposition the United Kingdom where it feels more comfortable, more at home … Britain First? Or is Theresa May off to Donald Trump to cozy up for special treatment on trades and abandon his promise of America First?
The EEC of the Six used to be an economic community with fundamental human rights and a common goal.
Today it’s being torn apart by populism build on nationalism and anti-immigration parties. It’s just amazing the headline I saw today …
Most of the former Soviet satellite state still live the past, fight decades or even centuries old conflicts. That was not the intend of the Union of the Six.
Neighbor versus neighbor
One prime example of this physical and psychological segregation can be seen in the struggling city of Duisburg, which is cut in half by the A40 highway. The southern part of the city is clean and well-maintained, home to an upscale pedestrian shopping district and all of the city’s cultural attractions. The northern half is dirty and derelict, poorly connected to public transport, filled with empty shopfronts and men spending their days on street corners smoking.
“We’re used as some sort of symbol for criminality because we don’t look like the rest of Germany,” said Gamze, a young shop clerk fed up with her neighborhood being labeled a “no-go zone.”
“I was born here. My children were born here. I’m German.”
More below the fold …
But the mistrust is widespread, both north and south of the A40. For Gamze, it was the Romanians and Bulgarians who brought danger to her community. For some Romanians, it was the Syrian refugees. And for one elderly ethnic German man, “this all began with the damn Americans.”
AfD brings ‘hate-filled view of Islam’
According to the Brost report, only 37 percent of Ruhr Valley residents believe that Islam belongs in Germany. Compared to 2015, far fewer people say they have Muslim friends or that they believe that Islam “is a religion like any other,” and more people believe that Islam is discriminatory against women.
The number of respondents who believed that Germans had to work just as hard at integration as new arrivals also dropped significantly, from 33 percent to 18 percent.
Additionally, 49 percent of residents believe that living together “between ethnic Germans and Muslims,” is “somewhat difficult,” compared to just 40 who view the situation as “uncomplicated.”
The study accounted for the drastic changes on two fronts – the refugee crisis that began in earnest in the summer of 2015, and the rise of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) in the Ruhr Valley.
In The Netherlands, the party PVV of Geert Wilders appears to have passed its summit and is losing voters. The local council elections in a fortnight will shed some clarity where the Dutch stand on tolerance towards its citizens, the second generation of immigrants from Turkey and Morocco. The economy is doing quite well and unemployment is low. Perhaps this optimism will make the Dutch once again clear headed what the fundamental issues in life truly are.
Just as In many other countries, the Dutch are lacking political leadership. PM Mark Rutte has become a caricature of himself coming from the party of the affluent and corporate welfare. There is room for new ideas, policy and a rebalancing to work on the inequality in society. Tough times ahead.