This weekend, more than 1.5 million people demonstrated against the far-right across Germany This mobilization follows the revelation of a secret meeting of the far-right AfD party during which there was talk of mass expulsions or even deportation of  foreigners, including those with German citizenship. A preposterous idea that has raised the ire of most of the citizens.

In Erlangen, my constituency located 10kms from Nuremberg, nearly 5000 people demonstrated on the streets of our city. Chanting slogans such as “Down with the Nazis, down with racism!” , “Nazis out of Erlangen!” , “Never again, it’s now.“,  „Say it loud and clear, refugees are welcome here!“ The AfD, (“Alternative für Deutschland”) is the original extremist party behind the plan to deport Germans of foreign descent.

The meeting of shame

It is very impressive to see the number of fellow citizens taking part in this demonstration.  For that I am sending a big thank you to the organizers and all the participants. Then with your presence, we are sending a clear message to the world: Namely, that we firmly oppose  the stupid statements and plans of the Far Right and their cronies, who wish for  the deportation of German citizens of foreign origin.

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We showed them in ever growing numbers that we stand for human rights and human dignity!

The reports about the secret meeting of the conspirators in Potsdam are stirring up fear. The conspirators have come up with a racist plan to expel foreigners, including those who have naturalised, in order to create an “ethnically homogeneous national community” in Germany. In other words to deport masses of people who do not fit into the image of a so-called ethnically pure society are to be expelled or deported. This is reminiscent of the 1942 Wannsee Conference where the deportation of the Jews was decided.

Together against the Far Right  

The Far Right Party uses language that is grounden in hate and indecency. Then, the conspirators speak of fellow citizens as if they were defective goods to which a return ticket is ready to be printedout. In order to organise a return to their country of origin or to one of their parents. However, this is not all, as if this was not enough, they had to add the use of the word “remigration” during this meeting of shame.

One might ask what exactly does this mean? This is the right-wing extremist framing for deportation fantasies that are based on the theories of low level populism. Important is to remember that the AfD defends such theories. Therefore, they should  not be voted for!

We must all stand together against this threat to our society. All democrats must resolutely oppose the deportation fantasies of the far right, because anybody  who values democracy cannot be indifferent to the horror plans of the right-wing extremist forces.

For years, the AfD regional sections have  increasingly been classified as right-wing extremists. However, the dangers posed by the far right are still underestimated, d ownplayed or ignored. Therefore, it is high time that we all stand up and confront this threat to freedom, democracy and tolerance in Germany. The mindset behind the disgusting word “remigration” poses a huge danger to all of us. The AfD and its supporters want to expel not only people with a migrant background, but also anyone who does not conform to their national ideas.  

All democratic parties must take a clear stand against this language and ideology. However, the parties alone cannot do all the work here. Civil societies must clearly stand up for an open, tolerant society. All of us gathered here today are sending a strong signal. But that’s not enough. Democracy requires commitment everywhere, not only just at the ballot box.

It is good that we went out to the streets and public squares to voice our disagreement. However, we must also make our voices heard on a small scale and set an example by expressing our indignation loud and clear and by demonstrating against hate speech and incitement. We know that the use of inhuman, contemptuous language is the basis for inhuman and violent actions. With today’s energy, we must speak out everywhere courageously, at work, in cafés, with family and friends, to stop right-wing extremist tendencies in their tracks.

Almost 80 years after the end of the Second World War, fascist ideas are trying to regain a foothold in our country. We must not, and we cannot let this happen again. If these deportation plans are not aken seriously and opposed by a broad majority of the population, our country is in danger of falling back into a dark past. If we do not all stand together, against the forces of the right extremists, we will lose the gains of democracy.

The fact that so many of us have gathered here today to take a stand against the shift to a right wing rhetoric, gives me hope. Then, we are the majority. If we stand together for tolerance and freedom and take a clear stand against the right-wing forces, we will win. 

For this reason, I want to ask each  and every one of us to seek and find within ourselves the power to resist the siren calls that are deemed to divide our country. Because Long live diversity in our society! No tolerance for intolerance!

I hope that in 20 years’ time my grandchildren will not be able to remember the AfD conspiracy meeting, and that like a needle in haystack, it will be difficult to find or recall in German history. We are the majority. It is  high time we proved it.

“United in diversity” is the motto of the European Union. Germany stands for diversity, it is against racism and against all forms of discrimination and exclusion: age, origin, cultural identity, religion, Afrophobia, Islamophobia, anti-Roma and anti-Semitism etc….” , Now is the time.

Dr. Pierrette Herzberger-Fofana is a German Green Party politician and member of European Parliament


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