Monthly Archives: January 2010

Music Video “(Ich bin ein) Ausländer” by Alpa Gun

This music video “(Ich bin ein) Auslaender” by Alpa Gun, a German rapper with Turkish origin (www.wikipedia.org), depicts the integrations problem of immigrants, particularly the children and grandchildren of the Post-World War II generation. These people were often born in … Continue reading

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‘We Are Not Really Germans’ New Study Looks at Challenges Faced by Germany’s Muslims

This article speaks to the many difficulties Muslim immigrants living in Germany face with regard to finding work and participating in the public sphere. These issues not only effect new immigrants but also second and third generation children of foreign … Continue reading

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Deutsche Unis sollen Imame ausbilden

This article is about recent university developments in Germany. It states that universities are making moves to broaden their theology programs to include further study of Islam.  The response has been fairly positive and the Muslim, particularly the Turkish, communities … Continue reading

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Crossland, David. “Letter From Berlin:Xenophobia at the Heart of German Politics.” The Spiegel Online International. 01/02/2008. . 01/30/2010.

Summary and Commentary
Crossland remarks on comments made from a conservative governor who was responding to an incident of an assault of a elderly pensioner, by two alleged “foreign youths.” Conservatives demanded a so-called ‘crackdown’ on “criminal foreigners.” This article does a good job of providing in depth analysis of the problem of widespread xenophobia within political discourse and its impact in the obstruction of integration. Crossland highlights the conservative trend of “Brutal Populism” which invites xenophobic political rhetoric to appeal to its conservative base. What was remarkable in as the article notes, “Little attention was given in the press to an assault by 15 far-right youths on an Afghan family of five in the Berlin district of Lichtenberg on New Year’s Eve. The Afghans were setting off fireworks when the gang attacked them with sticks, but managed to escape into their apartment to ring in a happy New Year in Germany.”

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Racist Assault in Berlin: German Woman Pushes Angolan Man in Front of Train.” The Spiegel Online International. 3/3/2008. . 01/30/2010.

Summary and Commentary
The caption to this article read, “A 19-year-old Angolan man in Berlin narrowly escaped death Sunday after he was pushed off a train platform in Berlin by a 20-year-old woman who reportedly called him a “shit nigger.” The article only comments that this appears to be related to the string of violence against foreigners that began in the 90s immediately following the Mauerfall. Though the article is simple reportage of the incident and contains no commentary besides the simple suggestion that this hate crime was part of a larger xenophobic trend somehow normalizes the event while marginalizing it from the general population at large. What does it mean to respond to egregious violence by simply stating that this is just another one of those things that resulted from the fall of the wall, like higher taxes and the dissolution of social programs? Just something to think about.
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“Border Trouble: Europe’s New Wall.” The Spiegel Online International. 4/6/2006. . 01/30/2010.

Summary and Commentary
This article likens the immigration problem in Europe to the immigration hysteria of the U.S, so much as to call Spain the “California of Europe.” The fear of African invasion has even prompted discussion about the possible erecting of a wall between the two neighboring continents, more specifically between Spain and Morocco and the spending of obscene amounts of money to prohibit what appears to some to be the universal human right of mobility. The article reports that, “More than €40 million in EU funding has gone to Morocco to finance efforts to keep immigrants from reaching Spain.” Perhaps Europeans take for granted their new ability to travel and work freely within the EU.

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“Six-Month Limits: EU Reaches Deal on Detaining Illegal Immigrants.” The Spiegel Online International. 4/25/2008. 01/30/2010.

Summary and Commentary
Europe has demonstrated its ability to work together in united force. The EU debated for two years on a law that would make immigrant detention and deportation more consistent within the EU. Der Spiegel reports that, “In exceptional cases, illegal immigrants could be held for a maximum of 18 months, but most would be sent back to their country of origin after six.” Der Spiegel also states that, “The compromise deal would also entail a seven-day period for illegal immigrants to voluntarily return to their home countries.” Despite the fact that, as a French satirical reports, Police who escort immigrants back to their countries of origin would be eligible for frequent flier miles, and the fact that Europe has demonstrated its unity in action, I see no particular benefit for the communities that are impacted by such legislature. Perhaps speedy return, will allow potential immigrants time to devise with a better plan not to get caught.
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. “Christopher Caldwell on Muslim Integration’It’s Much Better If Things Are Discussed Openly.’” The Spiegel Online International. 12/23/2009. . 01/30/2010.

Summary and Commentary:
The Spiegel online interviewed Christopher Caldwell, author of a recent book on Islam in Europe, who argued, according to Spiegel Online that, “taboos and wishful thinking prevent an honest discussion of the issue.” Caldwell suggested in the interview that Islamic discourse in Europe has been shaped primarily by fear and framed by extremist views from both the right and the left. One the one hand, according to Caldwell, there are those who would frame the Islamic debate in terms of invasion and a trampling over on European culture and values, the they’re taking over mentality, and on the other hand there are those who voice that any concern over Islam is simply racism. Caldwell also argues that the debate has been closed for many and that open discussions are needed in Europe. Nonetheless, while arguably trying to complicate European discourse on Islam, Caldwell misinterprets or rather buys one of the central fears that has been perpetuated by the Anti-Islamic groups, the fear of Welfare abuse, which is often used to trigger or ignite anti-Islamic rhetoric. He explains French reluctance to pay taxes to support what he calls “state subsidy for religion” which not only misinterprets, the position of many recent immigrants with Islamic backgrounds but simplifies what he initially claims to be a complex problem and re-circulates one of the central lines within the anti Islamic debate.
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“Mediterranean Drama: Hundreds Feared Dead After Immigrant Boats Sink Near Libya.” The Speigel Online International. 03/31/2009. . 01/30/2010.

This article reports the tragic tale of what people from the undeveloped and underdeveloped world must go to because of failed economic plans and the inefficiency of development programs. Skilled labor is forced to go elsewhere in order to survive because industries in their native countries have been neglected. Continue reading

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Hagen Rether ausländerfeindliche Stimmung und Hetze

Comedian Hagen Rether uses his act to inform as well as criticize politicians and the media on the topic of immigrants and integration in German society. Videos of his acts can be found here

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Translating Tawada: A Workshop with Susan Bernofsky

Thursday, Februrary 11, 5:00-6:30pm UC Berkeley, Dwinelle Hall, Room TBA Susan Bernofsky has translated the work of such authors as Robert Walser, Jenny Erpenbeck, and Yoko Tawada from German into English. This workshop will address practical, linguistic and theoretical perspectives … Continue reading

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Was wir alleine nicht schaffen

About a year ago Xavier Naidoo’s song, “Was wir alleine nicht schaffen” (What We Can’t Do Alone) was posted on YouTube, since then over 400,000 people viewed the video and over 200 commented on it. Xavier Naidoo is a german … Continue reading

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Fast jeder fünfte hat ausländische Wurzeln

The article “Fast jeder fünfte hat ausländische Wurzeln” is a quick glimpse into the current demographic statistics in Germany with a focus on citizens with foreign roots. The article highlights the recent growth in this sector of the population by … Continue reading

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Gentrification in Hamburg – Can Ikea Save a Run-Down Neighborhood?

http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,673016,00.html This article illustrates the views of those for and against the construction of an Ikea complex to replace the dying Grosse Bergstrasse shopping center in Hamburg’s Altona district. Those in favor of the multicultural company believe that the revenue … Continue reading

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Islamist Violence in Europe – We Shouldn’t Exaggerate the Danger

http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,670050,00.html The recent attack on Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard has left much of Europe in fear of continued Islamic attacks against various communities. The article interviews Islam scholar Peter Heine on his views of the continued perception of terrorist danger … Continue reading

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“Architektur des Mordes”

This is an article about the recent rediscovery of the architectural plans of Auschwitz that are now on display in Berlin.  The Israeli Premier commented that the reminder of the catastrophes of World War II are critical in preventing similar … Continue reading

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Debate on Feminism and Islam

In a recent election in Switzerland, most citizens voted to ban the construction of minarets. Among those who voted for the ban were many Swiss feminists. Claudia Pinl asks whether it is fair to label the fears Western feminists have … Continue reading

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More people seeking asylum in Germany

In 2009 Germany saw an increase in asylum seekers, most from war-torn Afghanistan. Though this number is up 25% from 2008, the number of people seeking asylum in Germany is quite low compared to previous decades. In the 1990’s, the … Continue reading

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Workplace bullying trial begins

It is interesting to note that there are quite a few recent articles about discrimination in Germany, particularly if the victim is a member of a demographic minority in Germany. However in my opinion, it does not say that due … Continue reading

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Omulaule heißt Schwarz (Omulaule means black)

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