I’m in Berlin at the moment, staying not far from Checkpoint Charlie, through which I passed many times during the Cold War, and not far from the spot where, sledgehammer in hand, I did my small bit to dismantle the Berlin Wall in November of 1989. So much has changed in the nearly 30 years since that memorable moment: McDonald’s and KFC have franchises on either side of the intersection of the Friedrichstrasse and the Zimmerstrasse, where the Wall briefly opened to allow a narrow passage from the American sector’s principal checkpoint across a short block flanked on both sides by the Todesstreifen of barbed-wire and machine-gun free-fire fields. On the western side — actually the southern side, by the compass — the fearsome Wall was gaily painted with graffiti; on the other, it was a blank slate of gray concrete, fully reflective of the Stalinist Leftist orthodoxy of the only captive nation that even remotely tried to make a go of the Marxist economic, social, and moral lie.
Now, three decades after the Wall came down, I’m back in East Berlin talking to old and new German friends — most of them Ossis, or East Germans — about the current state of Germany’s overriding social and political issue: the influx of more than one million cultural aliens, mostly from the Muslim ummah and thus by faith and profession profoundly opposed to Western Judeo-Christian civilization. And their answer is… not good for the Merkel administration.
Since the end of WWII, the German impulse has been to apologize for… well, just about everything since Arminius wiped out the Romans in the Teutoburg Forest in the year 9 AD. And, to be fair, they’ve had a lot to apologize for. In the western sectors, occupied by the French, the British, and the Americans in the war’s aftermath and united to form West Germany, they quickly got their economic system up and running, restored much of the infrastructure that had been obliterated, and got on with the business of building a social democracy that became a model for the rest of Western Europe. But the restoration of Germany society was in part paid for by the taxpayers of the United States, who supported an enormous military force (upwards of 200,000 military personnel at the time of reunification in 1990) as the U.S. and NATO faced off against the Soviets and the Warsaw Pact nations across Charlie and all over Europe.
The American presence preserved the peace and, eventually, was critical in the West’s victory in the Cold War. But it was bad for Germany in that it gave the Germans the luxury to take the “high moral ground” and abjure their own self-defense while they poured money into social programs. Having been effectively a ward of NATO and America, the Germans unhappily combined their war guilt with the mistaken moral superiority of their newfound pacifism.
The result was that they were completely unprepared for the consequences of their Ossi-raised chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to allow free entry to the “Syrian” “refugees” in 2015, a vast trekking horde of mostly male Muslims of military age from as far away as Afghanistan, who marched on the rich countries of the West, passing through Greece and Hungary and Italy on their way to the greener pastures of France, England, and Germany. Proudly proclaiming a “welcoming culture” and mouthing Merkel’s slogan, “Wir shaffen das” (We can handle this), Germany opened its arms to the “diversity” delusion.
What the Germans expected to welcome were people fleeing oppression, and who would abide by German norms of social civility, which include peace and (especially) quiet, who would quickly learn to converse and interact on a sophisticated level — who would become, in short, exactly like most Germans. What they got was an Islamic rabble wholly uninterested in Germany except how to exploit its hospitality while loudly complaining about it. The molestation of more than a thousand German girls in Cologne by Muslim “refugees” on New Year’s Eve in 2015 was the first indication that North African sexual norms were coming to roost in Germany. And while the government has downplayed “migrant” crimes against the local women, the word still gets out and around.
In Germany, the case of a young Muslim refugee charged with the rape and murder of a teenage girl has captured media attention and rocked Germany’s Jewish community: The victim, 14-year-old Susanna Feldmann, was Jewish. Missing since May 22, the girl’s body was found June 6 buried in a shallow grave near her hometown of Mainz. The case has rattled Germany, which is beset with worries about crime emanating from the large Muslim refugee population — many of whom are young, single men, frustrated and aimless.
While many facts have come out since the body of Susanna Feldmann was found and the suspect was arrested and interrogated, the incident still feeds populist speculation and anger at German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who in 2015 opened the door to more than a million refugees from the war-torn Middle East on humanitarian grounds. Many are young, single men between 16 and 30 years old — like Ali Bashar, the 20-year-old former asylum seeker who admitted killing Susanna.
Now the realization is dawning that few, if any, of Mutti Merkel’s kinder are going to turn into Germans or become assimilated into the host culture. The realization has been delayed by the international media’s cultural-Marxist insistence on conflating citizenship with ethnic nationality and declaring there is no difference between them. This may be true in the United States, which is unique among nations, but most definitely is not in continental Europe, where the modern nation-state first evolved; in Germany, the jus sanguinis made possible the prompt repatriations of the Volga Germans — whose families had lived in Russia for hundreds of years — after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Meanwhile, until 1990 when Germany introduced a very limited form of birthright citizenship, children of foreigners born and raised in Germany had no call on German citizenship at all.
It’s not a conclusion most Germans are comfortable with, but as the gap between fantasy and reality widens, inevitable conclusions are being reached. Merkel’s recent climbdown on “immigration” may have temporarily saved her administration, but it’s only a matter of time before she falls, to be replaced with someone who realizes “Wir kann das nicht schaffen.”
Chancellor Angela Merkel, who staked her legacy on welcoming hundreds of thousands of migrants into Germany, agreed on Monday to build border camps for asylum seekers and to tighten the border with Austria in a political deal to save her government. It was a spectacular turnabout for a leader who has been seen as the standard-bearer of the liberal European order but who has come under intense pressure at home from the far right and from conservatives in her governing coalition over her migration policy.
Although the move to appease the conservatives exposed her growing political weakness, Ms. Merkel will limp on as chancellor. For how long is unclear. The nationalism and anti-migrant sentiment that has challenged multilateralism elsewhere in Europe is taking root — fast — in mainstream German politics.
Ms. Merkel agreed to the latest policy after an insurrection over migration policy led by her interior minister, Horst Seehofer, threatened to bring down her coalition. Mr. Seehofer demanded that Germany block migrants at the border if they have no papers, or have already registered in another European country. Ms. Merkel, who supports free movement across Europe’s borders, has been opposed to any moves effectively resurrecting border controls until Monday night, when she made the deal to stay in power.
Anyone who’s ever spent a week in Germany — and I’ve spent a good deal of my life here — could have known that Merkel’s social experiment in soft-headed egalitarianism was doomed to failure. The Islamic invasion of the West is succeeding in places like France, where it has taken advantage of the French civic dogma of laïcité and the residual anti-Christian sentiment of the French Revolution, first by having the religious trappings of Islam ignored and now, as the Muslim population grows, by forcing the French to take notice of their faith and demanding its open expression in contravention of French law. Meanwhile in Britain, the church founded by Henry VIII in a fit of pique, and currently presided over by a 92-year-woman, looks to be on its last legs except in a strictly ceremonial sense; into this spiritual void has rushed the former colonials of Africa and Pakistan, bringing vibrant Islam with them.
Whether the Germans are made of sterner stuff than the Brits and the French remains to be seen. Certainly, everyone is trying to tread as lightly as possible, tiptoeing around the unpleasant truths while trying to avoid the even-more-unpleasant consequences of Merkel’s folly. At this point, the best that can be hoped for is a halt to further invasion, rapid processing of the alleged “asylum” seekers and speedy repatriation of those found to be unqualified, even under the generosity of the German constitution’s Asylrecht — which has already undergone a considerable rollback since 1993.
It’s important to remember that the Germans have seen this movie before, starring the Turks, who came as Gastarbeiter in the 1960s and, rather than returning home the way the Spanish, Greeks and Italian guest workers largely did, stayed in Germany to evolve a parallel society in which they stayed Muslim and Turkish. But the non-assimilation of a new, restive group of militant Muslims who’ve arrived not in search of a job but of a handout, is a whole new order of magnitude for Germany.
How will they react? With the Wall now gone for longer than it was up, Germans still shudder at the memory and don’t wish for Checkpoint Charlie to reappear in the form of restrictive immigration policies. But that Wall was built by the Communists, and meant to keep the East Germans in, whereas the nationalist movements now sweeping Europe want to keep Islam out — the way they have since the Battle of Lepanto and the Gates of Vienna. The Germans are going to have to decide, and quickly, which side of the Wall they’re looking at it. The future of Europe depends on it.