Muhammad Ali Baig
WHY incumbent German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU) could not secure the predicted-cum-projected seats in the German Parliament? How the Social Democratic Party’s Martin Schulz failed to win the popular vote? Why and how Alternative for Germany (AfD) – a rightist-nationalist party unexpectedly won 94 seats in the German Federal Elections of September 2017? The results after the elections are perhaps astonishing for many political commentators since AfD has casted a surprise dent in the popularity of Angela Merkel and her party CDU/CSU. Consequently, the current political landscape of Germany is witnessing a constant uncertainty, ambiguity and turmoil.
Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) or Alternative for Germany is a far-right political party in Germany that is perhaps in its developmental or infancy stage – since it got established in 2013. Ostensibly, the virulent but strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of AfD attracted many voters all around Germany and the electoral results made it clear that its narrative has viable space in a liberal democratic Germany. AfD emerged as the third largest political party in German Parliament in aftermath of the September 2017 Elections. One has to appreciate and be thankful for the moralistic stance and open-mindedness of Chancellor Merkel particularly regarding the influx of immigrants – however, it remains uncertain that for how much long will she keep resisting the national, regional and international pressure?
AfD’s rhetoric though sounds a bit harsh but it has a strong support among the masses. Nonetheless, its leaders have to realize that Germany is a historic great power and they just cannot close their borders for immigrants and refugees. Instead, Germany needs a policy for policing and registering these migrants – to ultimately send them back to their native countries once peace or perhaps relative peace is achieved. Simply speaking against Muslims or immigrants would lead towards a bitter hostile environment.
On the other hand Muslims and other immigrants should also respect and wholeheartedly observe the German law, culture, history, traditions, values and norms – while should also contribute positively towards the development and security of Germany – since it was Germany that gave them a refuge in the first place. A lot of incidents took place where immigrants did deplorable and unacceptable acts against German citizens – which actually became fuel for the fire. Muslims are not enemies of Germany – since during both World Wars they remained a loyal ally of Germany. Similarly, many German Muslims are serving Germany including its official football team.
It is a hard and bitter truth that Germany is still fighting for its separate identity not only in Europe but in the world. It would not be wrong to say that after its unification in 1871 under the leadership of Chancellor Otto von Bismarck – many of Germany’s so-called friends remained busy to harm Germany in one way or the other. It is interesting that exactly 100 years ago German nation was fighting a war for its identity and survival – and now again Germany is facing a war – Germany’s enemies are the same, their strategy is the same; nevertheless, this time the tactics are different.
Why don’t we learn from history? The rise of Adolf Hitler and The National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP) in Weimar Germany was a direct result of the cruel Treaty of Versailles – concluded at the end of the First World War. The cruelty of the Treaty of Versailles can be imagined by this very fact that it contained 440 clauses and 414 of them were focused to punish Germany. It lost 14 percent of its territory with 7 million of its population and had to accept the responsibility for the outbreak of war. Had the Allies acted in an amicable manner with the Central Powers – Hitler, his ideological supporters and his vengeance and revenge driven warrior Generals would not have started the Second World War that ultimately consumed the lives of 60 million people. The Muslim Ottoman Empire also suffered catastrophically alongside Germany by the imposed Treaty of Sevres in August 1920.
The rise of the right is a cyclic phenomenon – some argue it happens every 100 years or so. The rise of the right in Germany is a direct result of the wars which were started by America and the United Kingdom. Now, Germany and many European nations while upholding moral and liberal values – are paying the ultimate price of those wars. The resurgence of the right in Germany is due to many reasons. Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) and its leaders have to look that why Germany is still under the illegal Allied occupation? Why no formal peace treaty with Germany after the Second World War has ever been signed? And last but not the least – Why Germany is under the continuous batter of US President Donald Trump?
— The writer is freelance columnist based in Islamabad.
Muhammad Ali Baig