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11 January 2016

Is Cultural Coexistence in Germany Still Possible?

In the wake of horrifying tales of sexual assault in Cologne, Germany on New Year’s Eve, German officials have made two stunning decisions. The first, from Cologne, Germany, was Mayor Henriette Reker telling women to adopt a, “code of conduct,” to prevent further sexual assaults, which crossed the line into, “victim blaming.” The second, from the broader German government, was to crack down hard — not on those responsible for the assaults, but for those criticising the Muslim immigrants who may have perpetrated them (31 suspects were identified: At least two Germans, a Serb, an American, and 18 asylum seekers from the Middle East and north Africa).

Let’s take a step back and remember how all of this started. On New Year’s Eve, women celebrating in Cologne were reportedly groped, sexually assaulted and/or robbed as they walked the streets. More than 100 criminal complaints have been filed, 75% of which were reports of sexual assault. Two women reported being raped by the men, who were allegedly of North African and Arab appearance. Women in Hamburg and Stuttgart also reported similar attacks.

So far several dozen have been identified, most of which were asylum seekers. But due to Germany’s desperation to prove not only that it’s the most tolerant country in Europe but also that letting in hundreds of thousands of immigrants would have no disastrous consequences, the female victims of the attacks were initially ignored by the political class. Had the alleged perpetrators been white members of a fraternity, the international response would sadly have been completely different.

Suddenly the presumption that accusers of sexual assault must be automatically believed has gone out the window, the latest victim of European “multiculturalism” and Western political correctness. Gone, too, are the demands that women receive no crime-prevention tips, since that amounts to blaming the victim, instead insisting we “teach men not to rape.”

In the left’s pyramid of grievances, Islamophobia now outranks the war on women.

Many of the early reports ignored the question of the nationality of the alleged perpetrators altogether. Even the suggestion that the recent wave of immigrants from countries that view women as chattel rather than human beings led to the attacks had to be downplayed. Instead, women were told to take steps to prevent further assaults by adopting a, “code of conduct.” This “code” included the recommendation that women keep, “an arm’s length,” from strangers.

Now, crime-prevention tips are helpful and often obvious. Don’t walk down a dark alley alone at night. Be aware of your surroundings. These are commonsense and apply to nearly every crime.

But telling women to behave differently — even fearfully — in public places in the middle of the day does amount to victim-blaming. Why not just tell women to stay indoors or wear a burqa?

Furthermore, how would an arm’s distance stop someone intent on groping or sexually assaulting — especially if there were, as reported, 1,000 potential perpetrators?

In a just world, the blame would rest squarely on the men responsible — who currently appear to be of Arab and North African descent. It wasn’t until a week after the attacks that German Chancellor Angela Merkel finally agreed to changing the country’s immigration policies. This occurred after Cologne’s mayor victim-blamed the women, after the country (rightly) cracked down on those criticising the lax immigration policies, and after protesters at a nazi demonstration were pepper-sprayed (this rally should have never been allowed to happen in the first place). Still, it appears Germany was more concerned with looking intolerant against asylum speakers than the well-being of female victims.

Perhaps countries accepting refugees should also adopt Norway’s approach and literally teach migrants not to rape, which officials are doing now for new immigrants. Because if there’s anywhere in the world with a rape culture, it’s in the Middle East and North Africa, where women are lesser citizens and even treated as property. But pointing that out goes against the narrative — and, as we saw in Cologne, ignoring that reality leads to devastating consequences.

No, not all migrants are prone to violence and rape, and these attacks should in no way ignore or excuse the violence toward those seeking asylum.

One million migrants arriving in Germany in 2015, the Paris attacks, Germany's far-right parties Pegida and AfD growing – in some ways, as tensions over immigration increased, it seemed everyone was waiting for a major incident. For the last six months, every little punch-up in a refugee camp has been news, an attempt to create a horror story about violence in the “other culture.” However, despite the propaganda, German Willkommenskultur (welcome culture) survived largely unscathed, caring for refugees and teaching freedom and democracy.

But the shocking events in Cologne seem to have cracked what was always fragile. Unsurprisingly, right wing commentators – who over the year have been talking of refugees as if they were terrorists – are reacting gleefully to the events. It is completely normal to be appalled by what seems to have happened in Cologne. And it is completely normal to demand that every criminal has to be punished. It is also completely normal to discuss every fear caused by their behaviour. But too often in the past few days Willkommenskultur-Germans have been saying they feel “exploited”, “abused”, “cheated.” We know this behaviour. It is like angry parents whose children have got into trouble: “I did everything for you and what do you do?” As every parent, every German, has to learn: Just like every child, every refugee is an individual. Not every refugee will study hard and become a doctor.  Nobody ever said that the refugees, even when they were wrapped in insulation blankets after arriving over the Mediterranean, were all angels. One sure is to find bigots, antisemites and criminal gangs among them, just as you’ll find racists, rapists and arsonists among the German population (there were more than 200 arson attacks on refugee accommodation in Germany last year).

It  seems now that the people who always wanted Germany's Willkommenskultur to fail, who believe in a Germans-only state, are abusing the fears and insecurities people have over the background of the new arrivals. And more than that, they are abusing the dozens of women who were victims of assault on New Year’s Eve.