A couple of weeks ago German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier caused a stir by saying that there are no native Germans — that is, there some people who have been living in Germany for a long time, and others who have been there just a little while, but there is no meaningful distinction between the two groups.
Here’s an excerpt from the Breitbart report about the occasion:
German President Declares There Are ‘No Native Germans, We Are a Nation of Immigrants’
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has declared Germany “is a nation of immigrants and will remain so”, asserting: “There are no half or whole Germans, no biological or ‘new’ Germans”.
Speaking at Berlin’s Bellevue Palace, where a small group of people with Turkish heritage had been invited to share their views on immigration, integration, and xenophobia in Europe, the German president strongly denounced “exclusion of and discrimination against people with foreign roots”.
When asked her own opinion about what the president said, Chancellor Angela Merkel voiced strong agreement with him, as you can see in the clip below. Many thanks to MissPiggy for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:
|00:00||Merkel: and really does highly respect the freedom of the press.|
|00:04||The Federal President deliberately made a statement against “everyday racism”|
|00:09||this week when invited migrants for coffee and said very clearly:|
|00:13||”There are no first or second class citizens and no biological Germans,|
|00:17||No Passport Germans” (German born vs naturalized citizens)|
|00:21||Why do not you make such clear statements?|
|00:23||Merkel: Well, I may not have said it in the last three days, but I have said to the young|
|00:28||people with a migrant background, many times, I am their Chancellor|
|00:32||as much as I am the Chancellor for those who have lived here for generations.|
|00:38||And in the Ozil debate? That’s a debate that has now taken off recently.|
|00:42||Merkel: Yes, I am … I have a clear opinion. One can disagree, whether it was|
|00:46||was wrong or right for Ozil (national soccer player) to pose with Erdogan in a photo|
|00:50||but the discussion and the way it was discussed afterwards|
|00:54||parts of that — I didn’t like that one bit. That’s where I am focused. What I mean is|
|00:58||we also have to concern ourselves about the feelings of those who are affected.|
|01:03||If someone with an immigrant background, whether it’s Özil or somebody else, says|
|01:07||”I do not feel properly treated in society”, then at least I have to take|
|01:13||that seriously and talk about it. Recently, I took part in a discussion with Turkish|
|01:18||immigrants and a girl wearing a headscarf — who just graduated from high school —|
|01:25||she said, “when I walk across the Friedrichstrasse, no one believes that I am|
|01:29||an A student in Math — I see that in the eyes.” I think you have to take this seriously.|
|01:33||because I do not experience this and that’s why I found the words…|
|01:40||Of course, it is not my task to praise the federal president or to evaluate, but I found|
|01:45||these words important and found his invitation for coffee a great idea.|
|01:51||In moments like these you can say it’s good to have a federal president who does that.
Hat tip for the article: Reader from Chicago.