Merkel macht frei

German chancellor Angela Merkel is facing down pressure to change Germany’s refugee policy in the wake of a deadly week of refugee related violence.

Mrs Merkel, who interrupted her summer holiday to hold the news conference in Berlin, said the asylum seekers who had carried out the attacks had “shamed the country that welcomed them”.

But she insisted that those fleeing persecution and war had a right to be protected, and Germany would “stick to our principles” in giving shelter to the deserving.

Referring to the attacks that have taken place in France, Belgium, Turkey, the US and elsewhere, she said “taboos of civilisation” had been broken, and they were intended to “spread fear and hatred between cultures and between religions”.

But in reference to her famous phrase “Wir schaffen das” or “We can do this” – uttered last year when she agreed to take in a million migrants – Mrs Merkel said: “I am still convinced today that “we can do it”.

“It is our historic duty and this is a historic challenge in times of globalisation. We have already achieved very, very much in the last 11 months”.

It’s Germany’s historic cumulative guilt for the actions of their fathers and fathers’ fathers. 

A week of bloody attacks has frayed nerves in Germany, which led the way in accepting asylum seekers from Syria. To date, two of the attacks have been linked to a militant group:

  • 18 July: An axe-wielding teenage asylum seeker from Afghanistan is shot dead after injuring five people in an attack on a train. IS claims the attack, releasing a video recorded by the attacker before the incident
  • 24 July: A Syrian asylum seeker is arrested in the town of Reutlingen, Baden-Wuerttemberg, after allegedly killing a Polish woman with a machete and injuring two other people. Police suggest it was probably a “crime of passion”
  • 24 July: A failed Syrian asylum seeker blows himself up outside a music festival in the small Bavarian town of Ansbach, injuring 15 other people.

At this stage we’re reminded that New Zealand also has taken in its modest share of Syrian asylum seekers.  They were vetted by the UN, and then blindly accepted by New Zealand to be “the right kind” of refugees.

If they are, they are welcome, they are valued and they are embraced.

But only time can tell.

 

– BBC


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