The Bush invasion of Iraq has led to consequences which impacted Europe in ways not readily grasped years ago. He created a modern “fear psychosis” in which Islamic “terrorists” posed greater dangers to the world than any previous menace in history. His references to a “war on terrorism” raised the spectre of an ongoing conflict which threatened everyone’s life everyday of the year. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, speaking at a session with young members of her Christian Democratic Party, was blunt in her criticism of immigrants. She said the idea of people from different cultural backgrounds living happily, “side by side” did not work. “The multicultural approach has failed, utterly failed” and it was now the responsibility of immigrants to figure out a way to make native born Germans like them and cease fearing their presence. This is the first speech in which Merkel has moved to right wing ideas that Germany is being “overrun by foreigners” as a recent poll showed was the view of 55% of Germans. She went on to emphasize the importance of securing jobs for Germans rather than seeking elsewhere in the world for workers.
Supporting the idea of jobs for Germans makes sense. Of course, a high percent of Muslims in Germany who have an immigrant background were born and raised in Germany and, believe it or not, speak the language. The United States has been working on issues of multiculturalism for over two hundred years. We have not created a world in which all are equal before the law or in securing jobs, but we have moved forward. Chancellor Merkel simply does not grasp that those shouting hate toward today’s immigrant were once the new immigrant who encountered hate. Has she forgotten Nazi hate?