[guest post by Dana]
Cologne Mayor Henriette Reker, who, on the heels of the New Year’s Eve horrible sexual assault of more than 100 women by Muslim asylum seekers, reacted by telling women to quit wearing short skirts and asking for it, sat down for an interview with Der Spiegel.
Throughout the interview, we see the mayor’s astounding levels of denial, ignorance, and intellectual dishonesty. She is unable to point to any commonly shared belief system influencing the Muslim assailants; she is unable to identify them as refugees in spite of the police report and statements from officers on the scene; and, she is bizarrely unaware of the high levels of sexual assaults perpetrated against women at the hands of Muslim refugees throughout Europe – a number which has increased dramatically with the recent wave of asylum seekers.
After reading the interview, it’s easy to see that as long as elected officials share the same myopic, politically correct, and dangerous views as that of Mayor Reker, women in the region, and elsewhere, will remain vulnerable and at risk. And no amount of “keeping at an arm’s length from strangers” will help.
SPIEGEL: The newspapers are reporting that a “sex mob” attacked women in Cologne. What’s your analysis?
Reker: Women were sexually harassed in a massive way. I always thought these were the kinds of dangers people faced in very distant countries. It’s not something I could have imagined in Germany. We cannot accept it. It threatens the balance in our country.
SPIEGEL: The equality minister in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia (where Cologne is located) has spoken of the “tip of a very dire iceberg.” What does this iceberg look like?
Reker: I haven’t seen it yet. I clearly live — at least when it comes to this — in a protected environment. These days it’s no longer even obvious what it is that you need to protect yourself against. That applies here in Cologne as well. But until now, I had been of the belief that the generation of advanced men rejected such inhuman practices.
SPIEGEL: Please excuse us. What is it that you mean by “advanced men”?
Reker: *I’m not fond of referring to enlightened men. I’m referring to new generations of men who consider equality to be self-evident.
SPIEGEL: What role does the ethnicity of the perpetrators play?
Reker: **You can only surmise in that regard. I’ve heard speculation that alcohol played a major role. It appears that the men come from a cultural environment in which alcohol cannot be consumed very often in public. But that’s no reason for us to impose a ban on drinking alcohol for North African men. That’s nonsense. It’s imperative that we ensure safety in such squares and in the entire city during the Carnival festivities (in February) and throughout the entire year.
SPIEGEL: Does Germany have a refugee problem?
Reker: We are facing the challenge of integrating the people who are coming here into our society. That also includes drawing them closer to our culture.
SPIEGEL: You have advised women to keep at least an arm’s distance from men at major events.
Reker: And I have been subjected to a ton of ridicule and criticism for it.
SPIEGEL: On social media, your advice has been illustrated with a Heil Hitler salute. The New York Times even reported prominently about it.
Reker: During a one and a half hour press conference, I was asked what preventative advice includes. I then gave this example in one sentence. Perhaps it was a bit helpless, but it also shows how helpless our society is when it comes to dealing with such incidents. Ultimately, it depends on the police doing their work and keeping such occurrences from happening in the first place…
A helpless Germany? More like a suicidal Germany…
Reker: I’m sorry that some women have understood this to mean that I am holding them responsible for the violence. But I don’t have to apologize for stating an example that is officially referred to by the City of Cologne. Besides, as you may have noticed, nobody is offering any constructive suggestions. I haven’t read anyone writing anywhere that the arm’s length proposals is nonsense, instead this or that would be better.
Could this unenlightened mayor possibly be any more insulting to the women of Cologne, especially those who were victimized?
It’s interesting that the mayor claims she has not seen any suggestions to help women more effectively protect themselves, or measures that can be taken to prevent further “incidents” like this from happening. Of course, if you are unwilling to acknowledge what is painfully obvious, it’s going to be a tough go. However, there may be another explanation for the silence:
As Western Europe’s most populous nation grapples with a historic wave of mostly-Muslim migrants, politicians and activists are decrying a rash of incendiary speech bubbling to the surface of German society. In a country whose Nazi past led to some of the strictest laws in the West protecting minorities from people inciting hatred, prosecutors are launching investigations into inflammatory comments as judges dole out fines, even probation time, to the worst offenders.
German authorities, meanwhile, have reached a deal with Facebook, Google and Twitter to get tougher on offensive content, with the outlets agreeing to apply domestic laws, rather than their own corporate policies, to reviews of posts.
Last September, German authorities worried by the increase in hate speech against refugees contacted major social media outlets, forming a new task force including the government, companies, industry associations and activists to tackle the problem. On Dec. 15, the task force announced an agreement for tougher monitoring.
Facebook officials now say they are reviewing posts more stringently and using legal opinions and language experts to determine whether users’ comments are infringing on German law. Sometimes, they say, it means parsing whether posts containing common insults are framed in a way that could be potentially illegal as opposed to genuine political expression.
It’s a frightening thing when an “incident” of mass sexual assault takes place, and officials believe the way to fight back (in spite of their “helplessness”) is to hold the victims responsible, squelch the free speech of its citizenry, punish those who both criticize the governmental policy that opened the door to this sort of calamity, as well as criticizing the belief system commonly held by the perpetrators.
*It’s unfortunate the interviewer didn’t press Reker further and ask her what she thought it was that prevented this particular group of males from being part of the “new generations of men who consider equality to be self-evident”? Mayor Reker, what could have possibly prevented this particular group from being
enlightened “advanced” like males in the West?
** It’s also unfortunate that the interviewer did not press Reker further with the following: If you are willing to blame the heinous behavior of these males on abusing the tenets of their “cultural environment”, then why wouldn’t the opposite be true: that the same “cultural environment” from which they came had already influenced their views of women, thus sexually assaulting them was seen as their right?
No wonder officials attempted to whitewash the “incident”.