I recently noticed a disturbing trend on social networks. People are much more willing to spread hate speech, racist slurs, anti-islamic propaganda, and extreme right-wing positions than before. I guess there has always been a certain amount of racism and xenophobia in society bubbling slightly under the surface, but now people are way more open about those positions. I especially noticed it in the German corner of the internet, but I guess it’s pretty much the same in other European countries, probably even world-wide.
As a German I am deeply disturbed by the fact that anti-immigrant, racist, and generally hostile ideas are spread openly. From what I’ve seen these ideas are mainly spread by people who feel insecure, weak and powerless, or overwhelmed. They are looking for reasons why they are in such a powerless position and instead of blaming the real culprits, they tend to attack people even weaker than themselves. War refugees, people trying to get political asylum, immigrants, etc. are blamed for everything. In most cases the people spreading this kind of hate are actually not bad people. They are just uninformed and in fear. Alas the media does nothing to set things right, instead major news corporations are using the people’s fears to make a buck. Even the government is happy to distort the facts and use people’s fears to further their agenda. During the financial crisis in Greece many German politicians spread false information about Greece in order to obfuscate what was really going on.
Especially because of Germany’s history I am particular sensitive when it comes to certain behaviours and ideas. In my opinion we have a special responsibilty to make sure that something like the Third Reich never happens again. But with each year that passes I get the impression that many people don’t care about this responsibilty anymore. In politics Germany wields its power over Europe more openly. Gone are the humble days of the Bonn republic. This is pretty obvious when you look at how our government forces its Austerity policies on all Europe. And it can be felt when thousands of people joined the PEGIDA marches to protest against immigration, refugees, and the “islamification” of Europe. Hate and fear are rearing their ugly heads again.
I am sick and tired of this. And I plan to do something about it. At the moment I can’t do that much, but I started by spreading real information over social networks, especially when people who I was “friends” with, shared links to questionable hate-mongering sites. I also openly stated that I don’t accept such things in my stream. Since I am both active in a political party and a workers union I try to use my positions to actively fight everything from racism to islamophobia. Instead of keeping my mouth shut, I tell everyone where I stand and oppose the spread of lies. I don’t want to remain silent anymore!