An investigation that turned up World War II German army helmets and other Nazi symbols stowed in the barracks has brought to light a legion of questions regarding possible far-right extremists in the German military. One of them is whether the Bundeswehr is a meeting place for right-wing extremists. "The Bundeswehr fundamentally offers many things that appeal to right-wing extremists: Weapons, equipment, war, a harsh tone, hierarchy," said Captain Florian Kling, a spokesman for the Darmstädter Signal, a military watchdog group made up of active and retired soldiers. Zero tolerance for extremists The Bundeswehr has taken a zero-tolerance approach toward extremists for years, Kling told DW. But how can a soldier with extremist tendencies be identified? "These days, no one is open about being a neo-Nazi, making a Nazi salute or pinning a swastika to the wall or their chests," he said, adding that modern extremists keep their views under wraps. The Bundeswehr is neither … [Read more...] about What draws right-wing extremists to the military?
Reflective of the structural problem
Of all the international institutions created in the aftermath of World War II (WWII), none matches the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in power and global influence. It is regarded by many as the "most powerful international institution in the history of the nation-state system." Having experienced the devastating effects of two world wars, the international community focused its efforts on the containment of inter-state conflicts, and the UNSC was charged to ensure global peace and security. To that end, it has the power to make decisions that other countries are obligated to accept and implement. A seat at the horseshoe table at the UNSC's chamber in New York City came to be seen as a marker of a country's global stature and significance. The chamber is adorned by a giant oil canvas mural, which depicts a phoenix rising from the ashes of WWII. Surrounding the image of the phoenix are scenes of hope for a new world being rebuilt after the … [Read more...] about Will the UN Security Council ever be reformed?
In the autumn of 1977, the guerrilla movement by the German left-wing terrorist group Red Army Faction (RAF) came to a head with the so-called German Autumn. On September 5, with the founding members of the RAF already in prison, some of the younger generation abducted West German industrialist and former member of the Nazi SS Hanns Martin Schleyer in an attempt to force their cohorts' release. Read more: Terror casualty Hanns Martin Schleyer - a victim of the national interest? On October 13, Palestinian terrorists sympathetic to the RAF causehijacked a Lufthansa flight from Mallorca to Frankfurt, also calling for their release. Their attempt failed, and RAF members Andreas Baader, Gudrun Ensslin and Jan-Carl Raspe commit suicide in prison. Shortly after, on October 18, Schleyer was killed. Andres Veiel, director of the award-winning films on the subject, "Black Box BRD" (2001) and "If Not Us, Who?" (2011), spoke with DW about his work and the history of … [Read more...] about The legacy of the 1977 German Autumn of left-wing terror
Ladies and Gentlemen, It is a great honor for me to be the recipient of the Deutsche Welle Freedom of Speech Award today. Firstly, I would like to express my thanks to the board of directors of the Deutsche Welle for considering me and my newspaper worthy of this award. I would like to also take this opportunity to extend my greetings to Peter Limbourg, the Director General of Deutsche Welle. I will always remember his visit to our newspaper to demonstrate his support for us after the headquarters of our newspaper was attacked twice in early September last year. This visit had demonstrated to us how valuable and meaningful solidarity among journalists is when any of us is attacked and freedom of the press is targeted. I must confess that I have rather mixed feelings about receiving this award. Awards are generally meant to bring contentment to their recipients. However, receiving an award for freedom of expression is not such a happy occasion. When the subject of the award you have … [Read more...] about Sedat Ergin: Deutsche Welle Freedom of Speech Award 2016 Acceptance Speech
"That video is all over the place. Where did it originate from?" "I guess someone first shared the link in Goder." "How about the Ferfers? They have a niche in finding stuff like that!" "I guess this time they were not fast enough!" This conversation does not take place in one of Gulliver's travels. In fact you cannot find any piece of relevant information if look for either Goder or Ferfer in Google or Wikipedia. At least that is the case if you try to look them up as English words. Welcome to the Persian blogosphere; the digital world in which people become political activists, fall in love, and create their own culture and language, all when they are sipping hot tea and punching keys on their keyboard. Welcome to Weblogestan This is a short introduction to the world of Persian bloggers and their daily use of the tools. This, therefore, is not an outline of events and names. Bloggers have emerged, they have started new projects and many of them have eventually shifted their attention … [Read more...] about The land of Goder and Ferfer, blogging with a Persian accent
There was a dramatic surge in right-wing violence in the first years of the newly unified Germany, and all the big attention-grabbing incidents seemed to occur in the former East. For three consecutive nights in August 1992, several hundred neo-Nazis - watched by up to 2,000 locals - attacked an apartment block for asylum seekers in the north-eastern town of Rostock. With the police unprepared and initially outnumbered, the violence continued unchecked until it culminated in an arson attack. The Rostock riots quickly achieved international notoriety. Pictures of drunken, violent East Germans doing Hitler salutes were printed around the world. This was not the dawn of a new, hopeful country that had been celebrated less than two years before. Authority vacuum Neo-Nazi violence was not just a stain on the former East Germany. Over 100 of the 370 rioters arrested in Rostock had travelled from the former West, where there was a string of horrific attacks on Turkish immigrants in … [Read more...] about The rise of the far-right in the East
US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew was less than amused when – in the middle of the Greek debt drama - his German colleague, Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble quipped, "we could take Puerto Rico into the euro zone, if the US were willing to take Greece into the dollar union." Thus reminding the Americans, that while the whole world seemed fixated on Greece and its debt crisis, a similar drama was unfolding in the Caribbean. Now, after ongoing speculation, it is official: Puerto Rico is broke. On August 1, the island state, which has a treaty of association with the USA, failed to service a payment for a $58 million (53 million euro) Public Finance Corp (PFC) bond owed to its North American partner. Instead, they transferred the paltry sum of $628,000 (566,000 euro). It was the first default by Puerto Rico since it became a US territory 117 years ago. In a statement, Melba Acosta Febo, President of the Government Development Bank of Puerto Rico (GDB), the institute that owes … [Read more...] about Puerto Rico – ‘Greeks’ of the Caribbean
The children's charity said it was "shocked" at the new police figures for 2015, which found that 130 children were killed in Germany last year - 81 percent of whom were under six years old. That represented a significant increase on the 108 killed in 2014. "Three dead children per week, 11 abused and 38 sexually abused per day - that shows that violence against children has become a part of everyday life," said Kathinka Beckmann, social studies professor at the University of Applied Sciences in Koblenz. "Children are victims of violence and abuse every day," Holger Münch, president of the Federal Criminal Police Office, said in a statement. "They're neglected, sexually abused, and the pictures of the abuse are published on the Internet. Child pornography is a mass phenomenon." Small steps Other crimes, however, showed a slight drop compared to 2014, with the number of abuse victims dropping by nearly 7 percent. Similarly the number of sexual abuse and rape victims also … [Read more...] about Child killings on the rise in Germany
Former Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, a smart European, fears that Austria is undergoing "Orbanization." In his eyes, the potential rise of a strongly right-wing coalition between the People's Party (ÖVP) of chancellor-in-waiting Sebastian Kurz and the far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ) reflects the nationalist wave that is sweeping across the Alpine nation and which could lead to a complete restructuring of the state - as it has in Hungary under Prime Minister Victor Orban. If the young but totally power-conscious Kurz and the FPÖ Chairman Heinz Christian Strache become coalition bedfellows, migration policy and domestic security, as well as structural political issues, would begin to move in new, possibly questionable directions. Read more: Austrian elections: Young, conservative Sebastian Kurz's People's Party wins poll Kurz and Strache share the belief that closed borders should be used first and foremost to keep asylum applicants and … [Read more...] about Opinion: A right-wing coalition in Austria threatens the EU
In all the months leading to the US elections, we were awash with talk about the hazards of letting Donald Trump - President "bad-hair-day" - become Commander-in-Chief. "He's a sexist," people would say, "a racist, a moron, a blah-blah… and he'll start World War III just to settle some petty squabble." No doubt we'll find out now that he has won the White House. But to think that his elevation would amount to a little war in itself; not even the pollsters saw that coming. "We're talking in the aftermath of a little nuclear bomb having gone off, so the survivors are still staggering around, wondering what went wrong," says Ben Page, chief executive of British pollsters Ipsos MORI. Clearly, a full, considered post-match analysis will have to wait. But what went wrong exactly? The US voted in a democratic election and got what the majority - at least in terms of electoral votes - wanted. True, it was close. We knew it would be. Or so we were told by the … [Read more...] about Big bowl of wrong: What good are polls and pollsters when they get you all wrong?