Frozen, Jan. '15

Not the recent Disney movie. The song by Madonna, burnt on CD by my dad some years ago before he died. And the social state many of us are in.

Dad-labelled Madonna CD Yesterday, while on holiday on the Eastern coast of Southern Africa, I discovered a copied CD with the handwriting of my dad on it: "Madonna frozen". It turned out to contain the main version of that prodigious New Yorker, whose career I've been following off and on.

I'm pretty amazed that my dad would listen to her at all, since he was usually into totally different kinds of music - classical, German "Schlager" (= folksy hits). This particular track, which I'd hardly paid attention to before now, sounds Arabian every time she's "ooo"ing, which makes it even more unlikely that dad would go for it.

What's particularly striking though is the synchronicity of the message. I am having a phase where I wonder who my real friends are (once again) - whether you can ever really be anything but a lone wolf (Hermann Hesse would say: wolf of the steppes) making your way, as well and humanely as you can, but never trusting others to really "get" you for any length of time. And I know my dad felt pretty apart from the world his last few years.

In the end it comes down to your invisible humility rating. If it's above BBB, you have a chance to be part of the world, perhaps enjoy that phase, talk to those who surround, & come after, you. One question: Who sets the rating? And how do I get to briefly see it?

As for my dad: It's like he persuaded Madonna to talk to me about this. Five times. Several years after he wrote those two words on that CD...

What also freezes me up is the sloppy way people who don't really care about refugees from East & South (seen from Germany) talk when "categorising" them.

Chancellor Merkel talked about refugees in her New Year's Speech a few days ago. She also addressed groupings like "PEGIDA" (basically "patriotic something-or-other against Islam" - one of several that cropped up in recent months), who have usurped the famed "Monday demonstration" slot used by Ex-GDR protestees a quarter century ago to initiate the downfall of that East German Soviet republic.

So, I would like to say that, apart from the two refugee categories Merkel & PEGIDA define (note they are not really the same if you believe the wording), there is a third one, that should be most welcome in Germany:

  • WAR refugees - people who are fleeing a war-torn country to stay alive, or have some small bright future for their family; of course, this includes fugitives from civil war, like in Syria
  • Political refugees - these are the ones mentioned mainly by Merkel; people whose lives are threatened within a harsh political system, i.e. for their beliefs or non-violent actions
  • Economic refugees - these are the ones explicitly addressed by PEGIDA; people who can't live a normal life due to the economic low in their country, often very poor compared to a German std. of living

Of course, the boundaries are blurry. Almost all countries on the planet have some explicit or implicit class system which damns certain parts of society to a less than normal state of subsistence. Of course, any kind of suppressed part of a population will look for ways to improve their lot - even if this tears families apart, to the point of both parents leaving their children, to make more money abroad...

In times of neo-globalisation, where travel anywhere in the world has become easier than just 5 decades ago, poverty will out.

Essentially, all refugees need to be looked at carefully. If there is to be any categorisation, let it be honest and say we want x new immigrants per year in this country, no more. (In the end that's what all the Conservative categorisation boils down to, though the nos. stay hidden as long as possible.)

So, while Merkel is not really addressing PEGIDA's concerns at all, nor PEGIDA taking note of the consequences of globalisation - and the cheap remote labour their personal wealth is based on - let's be more honest about refugees: Either you listen to them and - if humane, probably - get up & help them, or you ignore them. Everything else is just agitation and/or propaganda.

I don't want to ignore them.


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