Top German politicians have protested over the relocation of a prominent Swedish right wing extremist who has ties to German neo-Nazis to the city of Berlin. Patrik Brinkmann, leader of the Continent European Foundation announced he was headed to Berlin, come hell or high water. His organization said: “the aim of the Continent European Foundation leader Patrik Brinkmann is to move to Berlin by 2010 at the latest and create a Europe wide internationale of nationalists with national organizations from all European people.” These statements are aimed to create panic in an effort to generate publicity for groups that have limited membership and need all the media attention they can generate.
Yes, there are nationalist groups all over Europe, in east Europe they assault Romas and immigrants in an effort to secure popular support. They may garner a few hundred for a march but their bark is more effective than their bite. They never secure more than five to seven percent of a vote which is normal in all societies. The world will never eliminate such groups, they live on the fringe and will remain there unless people may dramatic shifts in attitudes. Focus on jobs, peace, building bridges between ethnic and religious groups and nationalists will remain in the darkness of fear.
SEnator Barack Obama’s attempt to give a speech at the historic Brandenburg Gate has been vetoed by German Chancellor Merkel. Unconfirmed reports indicate a member of George Bush’s staff made known to German diplomats the president’s anger toward their nation allowing a Democratic presidential candidate to give a speech at the Brandenburg Gate. Chancellor Merkel is now insisting to allow such an event to occur would be tantamount to Germany becoming involved in American politics. There are reports Obama might give a speech at the Tempelhof Airport which played a key role in the Berlin airlift or in Schoneberg town hall where President Kennedy gave his famous, “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech.
There are unconfirmed reports Germany is willing to allow Senator Obama use of the landing deck of one of its aircraft carriers which will have prominently displayed a huge banner proclaiming, “Mission Accomplished” the Republicans are beaten. The entire episode is merely a storm in a teacup which will have absolutely no bearing on the upcoming presidential election.
The simmering conflict between Turkey and Kurdistan erupted not in the mountainous areas of the Turkish-Kurdistan border, but on the streets of Berlin where factions representing each group came to blows. An anti-PKK(Kurdish Workers Party) demonstration degenerated into violence between young Turks and Kurds. By evening, a threatening mass of nationalist Turks had gathered around a Kurdish cultural center. Turkish marchers were waving banners attacking the PKK when they encountered Kurds who expressed their displeasure. “Soon bottles and stones were flying everywhere,” said a policeman resulting in injury to 18 police officers and the arrest of a dozen demonstrators. It appears the conflict on the border of Turkey-Kurdistan is now spilling over to the streets of Europe since thousands of immigrants from those areas are now living in Germany. The police, in particular, blame the “Gray Wolves,” the unofficial arm of what used to be the National Movement Party which was banned in Turkey in the 1960s for their virulent nationalism. Police also noted that as the riot got underway, right wing German nationalist youths entered the fray.
The history of the United States also contains stories of riots between conflicting groups, but one may hypothesize the riots in Berlin go deeper than conflict between groups. They also reflect feelings on the part of many young immigrants from the Middle East that Germany is not their home because of failure to have them integrated within German society.