January 2015 must be the month I find myself more often shocked than ever before.. and I’m not easily shocked… (sorry for the long read…. but if you care, please do take the trouble…)
Today another Bärgida (the Berlin “spin-off” of the Dresden Pegida) march was planned, so were the until now successful counter-protests.
Though there were not more Bärgida people as last week (luckily…), our side was a LOT smaller, only 1,000. Still, they didn’t manage to march their planned route. Good atmosphere on our side, line dancing to Kurdish music, sharing hot ginger tea, a cinema along the Bärgida-route made it obvious where it stood (see pic), pogojumping up and down and making up silly songs to ridicule the other side.
After the protest, one of the Bärgida people, an elderly man, came to the other side of the fence to talk to us, something which I can appreciate, talk is better than shouting.
However. The guy was obviously well-read, and possessed the brains to process that information. But the result: the amount of (contradictory!) conspiracy theories I heard within minutes was…. amazing. The only one missing was the climate change conspiracy. All the other ones you might have heard of were mentioned .
So absurd, I could almost laugh about it, if his conclusions weren’t so damned scary. His opinions about religion, specifically islam, unions (after someone asked him if he realized he was walking together with declared nazis, he countered with, yes, but your side has the unions…errr…) or immigrants was plain… wrong.
I will never forget the faces of two young, probably turkish, girls, who were listening behind his back and realizing, he was talking (what to do) about THEM. They were so shocked… Other people kept trying to give arguments against his world view, pointing out the holes in his logic, referring to history, but he kept going on on the same track. And the scary thing, if you would (could!) accept his assumptions, he sounded almost reasonable…
Well…though I had trouble believing my ears, I got deeply and profoundly shocked, when in the course of the discussion the guy actually started to deny the holocaust…. This is also when people went to the cops to report him (denying the holocaust is an offense in Germany). I’m not a friend of reporting anyway, and in a way, I didn’t think the guy should be “punished” for the fact he was trying to seeking the discussion. But this.. No. Simply NO.
Open discussion yes… but this kind of “rationality”, based upon what a friend of mine described as “anti-history”, this is indeed where the train of thought goes far off track, facts don’t matter, and no common ground can be found AT ALL. This is were indeed reason stops, and an almost sect-like belief starts. And I can throw my naivety of “maybe, with reason and logic, we can take away the fear which brings these people to such intolerant behaviour” out of the window.
It was scary. And yes, the holocaust denial, I knew there were people around with this view, but to actually hear it.. I thought I couldn’t be shocked easily, but I was….to the deepest of my soul. How can someone deny the systematic extermination of millions of people because of their beliefs, their ethnicity, their political views or being gay?
What scares me the most, is that this guy was not some nobrainer who just wants someone to tell him what to do or a flag to follow…He might even be one of the people who is actually doing a pretty good job convincing others, by making some basic – plainly wrong – assumptions, and very rationally, somehow coming to the strangest line of arguments and conclusions. And who is not willing to readjust this line of thought when people point out how far his assumptions, or his conclusions, are from reality or based upon “facts” which are again and again proven wrong.
I’m all in favor of constantly questioning your own beliefs and assumptions, this is one of the reasons I wanted to hear this guy’s reasoning, but we bumped in such a tangle of paranoia and out-of-context taken facts or views, I just couldn’t even grasp the basics of it, it was too far out of my league: scientology sounds logical compared to it.
A discussion with scientologists is not possible, if this guy is representative of the “brains” behind Pegida, neither is a discussion with Pegida and their spin-offs possible.
All that remains… is shouting, hoping to be louder than them, and blocking their marches… Unfortunately.
And just because of the shocked faces of the two girls hearing what the guy said, if the Bärgida will march next week… I will be there to counter them. And the week after that. And after that…. As I hope many people will…. Maybe, if you would have witnessed what I witnessed this evening, you would. I hope. I sincerely hope…
Because, as cited at the Srebenica exhibition in Sarajevo:
“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil, is that good people do nothing”
And though I do not consider myself one of the “good”… I can not just stand by and do nothing…
(another edit: djeez, I secretly am a frikkin hippie…unfortunately not one that shouts “let love win”, but “don’t let hate win”… shit…)