Merkel in the crosshairs after 200 reports of sexual assault and robbery by 'gangs of North African and Arab men' reignite debate on Germany's migrant policy.
A spree of 200 robberies and sexual assaults (including one rape) during New Year's Eve festivities in Cologne has sparked outrage in Germany, with many assigning blame to Angela Merkel and her controversial migrant policy.
The attacks, allegedly carried out by "gangs of North African and Arab men", have been described by Cologne's chief of police as "intolerable," and "crimes of a totally new dimension." Listen to a witness describe the scene (English subtitles):
With many already associating the attacks with Germany's open-arms refugee policy, Merkel has been quick to initiate damage control:
In a phone call with Cologne Mayor Henriette Reker Tuesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed outrage over the attacks, labeling them "disgusting" and calling for the culprits to be identified and punished as soon as possible.
But it appears that the City of Cologne has chosen a slightly different course of action:
The Mayor of Cologne said today that women should adopt a “code of conduct” to prevent future assault at a crisis meeting following the sexual attack of women by 1000 men on New Year’s eve.
The suggested code of conduct includes maintaining an arm’s length distance from strangers, to stick within your own group, to ask bystanders for help or to intervene as a witness, or to inform the police if you are the victim of such an assault.
Isn't this incredible? German citizens are now being told to "stick within their own group" in order to "prevent future assaults" by immigrants and migrants. Is this really a sustainable solution?
What's next? German women shouldn't "provoke" attacks by wearing short skirts?
We don't know yet exactly who these men are, or where they came from — whether they are documented immigrants, or migrants fleeing a NATO bombing campaign of your choosing — but it's almost irrelevant.
We are sympathetic to the desire to help refugees and immigrants find a better life, whether in the EU or the United States or Russia. But this should be done under the auspices of the rule of law — and with the stated goal of integration. Witnesses of the Cologne attacks say that the men spoke neither German nor English.
Merkel insists that this incident has nothing to do with her migrant policy, but admits in plain German that "we have to accept that the number of crimes committed by immigrant youth is especially high" (the translation offered by the YouTube video is inaccurate).
Our concern should not be interpreted as a xenophobic call for Germany to protect its "fragile white women" from "the evil brown men". It's about what kind of nation Germany wishes to be: A nation which invites others to share its rich cultural and social identity on its own terms, or a fragmented nation in which people are compelled to "stay within their groups" out of fear of "provocation".
It's a question of incredible importance, not just for Germans but for the whole of Europe.
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