A year ago, hordes of people trekked from Africa and the Middle East across the Balkans
towards Germany, and at the time, I wrote, “If the Balkans collapse, then Europe will
collapse. The German run-of-the-mill social pedagogue, who grew up in the fields, forests and meadows will
have to learn that it is may be possible to catch, socialise and integrate a few heavy-drinking
troublemakers teenagers with a few juvenile legal support agencies and their funds. But it’s a different
story when faced with millions of traumatised people from every corner of the earth. It is no
accident of human history that our forefathers apparently preferred to carefully consider from
behind city walls and fortresses whether they believed that those wishing to cross their
drawbridge were approaching in peace. It is no coincidence that homes and cars have locks,
even in Sweden. Nor is it any coincidence that we do not hand over our credit card complete
with PIN to strangers. As highly honourable and laudable as charity and mercy are, they only
work effectively in an environment in which the person in need of help and protection also
understands and accepts the support bestowed as such a gift from the heart. This in turn
assumes that, for his part, the recipient acknowledges the principal legal sanctity of other
people’s property. One cannot be merciful per se to those who do not or cannot understand
the helper’s position.
When brute force makes the sensitive, intellectual and emotional
relationship between the protection-seeker and the protection-giver impossible, then every
benevolent act will fail. Anyone who has ever stood in the middle of a crowd of people that
suddenly changed into a force moving horizontally, with elemental force, unresponsive,
without being able to make contact, will know what will soon be approaching the Balkans. If
Europe, her borders, her values and her legal system do not physically resist this challenge,
then Europe will also mentally implode. To suggest the contrary, as is (was) the case for a
traditional German social worker within the integration service who operates with remuneration in kind, the
option to object and being entitledthe entitlement to the written form according to the formal hearing of
socially experienced people, is, if you’ll pardon the expression, out of touch. Now the issue
is: if the Balkans collapse, then Europe will collapse.”
Today, I compare my thoughts back then with the latest pictures from the suburbs in France,
pictures which their quality press are currently withholding from the wider German public by their quality press.
It is odd that we can have such a very different picture of the world. Some thought the new
arrivals were more precious than gold. Others were somewhat more anxious. I counted and
continue to count myself among the latter group. Oh, please, if only I had been wrong!
Translated from eigentümlich frei, where the original article was published on 26th February 2017.