JLH has translated a series of articles and opinion pieces about PEGIDA (Patriotische Europäer Gegen die Islamisierung des Abendlandes, Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West), the anti-Islamization movement whose meteoric rise over the past two months has earned it daily headlines in the German news media.
The translator includes his own commentary in italicized blocks interpolated within the text below.
This project began when I finally began to ask myself, “Why is this happening in Dresden? Why is it so much more successful than even the most successful HoGeSa demos in former West Germany? Why are its western spinoffs not as fabulously successful as those in Dresden? What foreseen and unforeseen weapons will its opponents bring to bear?”
The answer is complex and perhaps not entirely satisfactory. There is an element of magic in the Dresden demonstrations. Magic, however, can be transformative, or chimerical. Or both. So this is an inquiry into the elements that comprise — as the old film title said — “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.”
First, two quick notes from ZUERST — a steadily right-leaning blog — to set the stage.
1. PEGIDA Demonstration: 17,500 Participants on the Streets of Dresden
December 23, 2014
Dresden. Police estimated the tenth PEGIDA demonstration at 17,500 people.
So the organizers achieved another increase over their last number of 15,000. The head of PEGIDA, Lutz Bachmann, declared a hiatus for next Monday. The next demonstration is set for January 5th — one day before Epiphany. The group will announce time and place on Facebook.
2. Battling the PEGIDA Organizers: ANTIFA Targets the Right Name and the Wrong Man
December 22, 2014
On January 12th, PEGIDA intends to demonstrate for the first time in Leipzig. The left-extremist group ANTIFA has committed a major error in its battle against one of the organizers who is located there.
A man named Silvio R. was briefly mentioned on the leftist extreme internet portal “Indymedia” as the presumed leader of the LEGIDA demonstration. Thereupon, his house in the city’s Connewitz district was hit by a paint bomb; front door and mailbox smeared with tar. This “R.” was not the alleged organizer — just someone with the same name. In fact, someone with leftist sympathies: “I am absolutely the wrong guy,” he said to the Leipzig Internet Newspaper, and pointed out that he is in regular contact with the left-alternative scene in his district. This was confirmed by a local legislator of the Left party, Juliane Nagel. “He is not part of LEGIDA,” said the politician.
That was a preview of the Good and the Ugly. Now for a look at the Bad. How much will the leader’s past haunt him and the movement? Is he what seems to be, or what he once was? Is he a rascal in disguise or a redeemed sinner? Elmer Gantry or Paul on the road to Damascus? A mildly but palpably hostile review from t-online.de. This article refers throughout to “Pegida” rather than PEGIDA, and I have “normalized” it.
3. Trained Cook With Criminal Past: Lutz Bachmann Is the Leader of PEGIDA
December 16, 2014
(German Press Agency, French Press Agency)
[Photo caption: PEGIDA founder Lutz Bachmann acts middle class. He says he is not a racist. (source: Reuters)]
On Monday, 15,000 people followed the call of PEGIDA. More than ever before. Criticism from established political parties seems to have garnered the anti-Islam movement and its initiator more rather than fewer supporters. Who is the man who weekly draws thousands of demonstrators to the streets? Details about the trained chef — including his criminal past — have come to light gradually. Bachmann is now attempting to present them in the framework of PEGIDA.