Munich Demo #2 photos and commentary here
Munich Demo #4 photos and commentary here
Author note 12/26/14: several sites are misrepresenting these photos to a non-German-speaking audience as the anti-Islam/anti-immigration rally. This is the COUNTER demonstration against Pegida.
Updated 12/29: A change.org petition calling for 1,000,000 signatures against Pegida has been started. While it can't hurt to sign (and you, indeed, should), the issue is that the governments of Dresden (Orosz administration, though early on has said they will not have dialogue) and Saxony have already said they are opening dialogue with Pegida, cementing its already-strong political influence, cowardice of Saxony's politicians, and confirming the farce that gave rise to this radical Christian movement that now the rest of Germany and Europe has to deal with. Since these governments have validated Pegida, and the rest of Germany is unwilling to do the unthinkable and hold the politicians there accountable for having played dangerous politics for years, the petition will do little, aside from giving some positive PR spin material for the German media to disseminate to cover up inability and lack of will to control such movements.
Pegida: What happens when something is dissonant and an entire society prefers to pretend (alternately, vilify those that speak out against it) it's not there until it grows out of control and threatens the stability of said society.
On December 22, Munich held a rally against the planned expansion of the so-called "Pegida" movement (author note: it should be noted that many points in the Wiki entry designed to make Pegida look more moderate are disputable) into Munich. An alleged populist and nationalist Bavarian party planned to bring the movement here after attending those held in Dresden (to, unsurprisingly, overwhelming success in such a short time). It is alleged that this party has distorted, as evidenced on youtube and other places, the history of the National Socialists, the White Rose movement, and the extreme right. They fluidly morph their platform and agenda into the current path of least resistance and have now tried tagging along on the Pegida platform. The leader of this party has even recruited Kurds to incite hatred against Muslims in Munich at Karlsplatz Stachus, while using a "Christian" and anti-ISIS platform (and, indeed, his speeches at these events are less spittle-infused when compared to his party's events). It is claimed by several media outlets that this party is under investigation by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution (Verfassungsschutz), which, in the wake of the NSU scandal, is no longer considered by many in Germany to be trustworthy. Pegida also uses a distortion of "patriotism" in their platform. For international audiences: it should be noted that in Germanic cultures, there's a blurred line between "patriotism" and "nationalism"/"national socialism" in their understandings of the differences of the two concepts. This is a rather significant point in understanding their tactics and only one example and aspect of how Pegida creates distortions.
There are varying numbers I'm reading regarding the turnout of the counter demonstraion- between 13,000-25,000. The planned Pegida rally was cancelled due to lack of turnout.
With specificity towards Dresden, this was beyond inevitable. The incompetent governments of Saxony and Dresden (the Orosz administration, mayor of Dresden) chose to ignore and suppress the warning signs for years, while the residents were in denial or too focused on keeping it quiet and vilifying those who let others know the reality. There's almost the appearance that Dresden's government tried to balance pandering to these elements and became arrogant in thinking they wouldn't escalate their radicalism in response to being disenfranchised. The federal government of Germany is also responsible, as they were more focused on covering up the disasterous social state of the former East Germany. Particularly interesting is an additional level of vilification when one writes about these events in English, for a worldwide audience.
Dresden holds Europe's largest neo-nazi march with a farcical show of resistance by the city. The reality is that Dresden is rather economically depressed and has social development still decades behind much of Germany and Europe. Such an event like the yearly Nazi march (which has expanded in recent years) brings much-needed money into the city. Rather than dealing with its social problems and the rise of the ultra-right, the city and federal government chose to play the numbers and statistics games, regarding the representation of the NPD in the Landtag, while pretending the people out on the streets with this sentiment didn't exist. The media freely repeated these complete distortions, so it's no wonder why many Germans feel this popped up out of nowhere. Study after study by the interior ministry (all available on pdf) regarding youths and far-right involvement went ignored or were claimed to be untrue. I lived in Dresden for nearly five years and observed all of this personally, as well as the personal attitudes of the people of Dresden, the lies used to cover up their far-right leanings, and the rise of the ultra-nationalists. These people didn't come out of nowhere. The far-right/anti-immigrant attitudes were also apparent among the educated classes, such as among instructors in the medical faculty of TU Dresden, and these behaviors were even tolerated by my classmates. Those who tried to discuss this and predicted exactly this rise of Pegida were labeled as "troublemakers", "leftists", or "crazy". Also ignored are the several holidays in Dresden where foreigners are advised (sometimes in writing via their employers, such as Max Planck) to not venture out of their homes due to violence against non-whites. How many more signs were needed to have prevented this?
What should be expected, as it pertains to Dresden and Saxony, is that Pegida will continue to grow there, if we go by the undeniable record of the Orosz administration. Such movements are simply too good for the economy and her administration is too weak to counter them because this displays the will of the voters- it would be political suicide for her to show any type of courage to stop this, rather than continue to play on both sides behind the scenes. For example, under her watch, the Dresden Nazi march has done quite well and even expanded to multiple events. Orosz is also one of the organizers of the farcical human chain against the nazis, which is much closer to a ceremonial exhibition than a sincere show of resistance. On one side, she allows the nazis to march and take over the city every year and terrorize foreigners and tourists, while on the other, she panders to the people resisting them- effectively playing both sides. In short, Dresden is only against the far and radical right when the world's media is watching, but what do they do the other 364 days of the year? Absolutely nothing. The Semperoper also had a farcical presentation during the last Pegida rally, but where were they to teach openness and tolerance for decades?
Furthermore, under the Orosz administration, a pregnant woman was murdered in a Dresden courthouse, in front of the judge, by a neo-nazi, which was criticized as another case where Dresden and Germany attempted to cover up its social problems regarding radicals in the far-right scene. Simply put, Orosz failed Germany over and over and now has "gifted" Germany another radical movement. Yet she, once again, slithers away with her reputation unharmed. Why is she so untouchable?
Also to be expected is that once Pegida gains a foothold using its Christian values/anti-Islam platform to unify many different people under it, it will then expand its agenda to a wider one based on race. It can't be overstated how disasterous this could end up being for Europe, factoring in Germany's considerable sway in the European Parliament and sovereignty transfers made in the wake of the Eurocrisis. Due to this, Germany has considerable cultural and legislative influence over EU and EEA nations.
Unfortunately, the Pegida issue is yet another example of the failings of local governments and the federal government of Germany to deal with its social problems and its past and it's now the problem of everyone else to deal with. Whether the will exists to counter this in the long-term or not remains to be seen. Certainly, the will to hold politicians accountable, such as Helma Orosz, who allowed the radical right to rise up on her watch, is 100% absent.
Germany still has a chance to deal with it, provided it has the will to follow through. Munich has a chance to not become another Dresden, provided this rather inspiring rally wasn't a one-time deal and they don't revert to the path of least resistance- that of covering up and/or ignoring the issues.
Muenchen ist Bunt here
Kein Mensch (Dresden) Here
Muenster Keinen Meter here
July 26th, Munich here
|"Patriotische Europaeer fuer die Blutaffrischung" (Patriotic Europeans For New Blood)|
at 1:14,the man speaking states clearly what Pegida's Endloesung is.