Yesterday, on the floor of the German Parliament, a politician from Chancellor Merkel’s own party, the Christian Democrats, read out the obscene and insulting poem that got the TV comedian Jan Böhmermann in so much trouble.
The MP who recited the poem, one Detlef Seif, did so in order to highlight how insulting it was to Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He wanted his fellow parliamentarians to understand why Mr. Erdogan was completely justified in taking legal action to assuage his sense of honor. As far as I can determine, Mr. Seif was not being slyly ironic in reading the poem, but completely sincere.
It reminds me of the referee in the classic Warner Brothers cartoon of the the prize fight between Daffy Duck and Elmer Fudd — “No rough stuff! None of this! Or this! Or this!”
Egri Nök, who translated this clip for subtitles, includes this explanatory note:
I’m not sure which point Seif is trying to make there. It almost appears he mixes up two things: Erdogan is sueing Böhmermann for insult anyway “in private”, as a private person. No one ever suggested that German legislation on insult be changed.
But paragraph 103 has nothing to do with that, it comes on top of it. Böhmermann is being sued twice and parallel: 1) by Erdogan the person for insult, which is up to the courts; and 2) for insulting the head of a state (paragraph 103) which was up to Merkel to give permission for.
And parliament is not debating #1, only #2.
Many thanks to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling. Language warning: Asterisks would have interfered with the impact of the text, so all the naughty words have been left in verbatim:
|00:00||Of course freedom of press and freedom of opinion are valuable goods.|
|00:03||Satire, absolutely clearly, is permitted.|
|00:07||But, Mister Petzold (Die Linke), to say —|
|00:10||that when Paragraph 103 Criminal Code remains in place,|
|00:15||your freedom of opinion and freedom of press were compromised,|
|00:20||is not correct. I notice time and again,|
|00:23||especially in the population, but also in the media, and even with colleagues,|
|00:28||that what Böhmermann said, in his alleged smear poem,|
|00:33||is not widely known. Fragments are heard.|
|00:37||I did not want to, but I’m going to read it out to you.|
|00:41||So one knows, what exactly was said. (Interjection: Now the fun begins!)|
|00:45||Sod-dumb, cowardly and hesitant / Is Erdogan the President|
|00:49||His boner smells like Döner/ Even a pig’s fart smells finer|
|00:54||(Interjection: Careful you might get sued!) He’s the man who punches girls|
|00:57||while wearing rubber masks|
|01:00||The things he loves the most / are shagging goats / and oppressing minorities|
|01:05||Kicking Kurds, beating Christians/ while watching child porn|
|01:09||And in the evening instead of sleep / Fellatio with a hundred sheep|
|01:14||Yes, Erdogan is all things considered / a president with a tiny dick|
|01:19||Every Turk can be heard chirping: / This dumb pig has shrivel-balls|
|01:23||From Ankara to Istanbul / Everyone knows the man is gay|
|01:27||perverted, louse-infested, and a zoophile / Recep Fritzl Priklopil|
|01:32||His head as empty as his balls / the star guest at every gang-bang party|
|01:36||until his dick burns when he pees / That’s Recep Erdogan the Turkish President|
|01:41||Ladies and Gentlemen — (Interjection: This was so unnecessary!)|
|01:45||I don’t need to ponder, this fuels resentments!|
|01:48||(Interjection: This was unnecessary!) — A person’s honour is clearly under attack here|
|01:52||and justice must decide if this recitation, in this form, is still covered|
|01:56||by freedom of expression and the press,|
|01:59||independent of the paragraph 103 Criminal Code.|
|02:04||Take this whole thing in for a moment, without taking into consideration the person.|
|02:10||Imagine you were Erdogan, and think about how you would take it.