Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Robert Brown
Modern Germany through Film
Fear Eats the Soul Response

In some ways, I can totally relate to this film because of my experience in Germany with Germans but not necessarily about me. I saw how some of my friends and acquaintances felt about Turks living in Germany “living off of the system” etc, and it forced me to look at my place in Germany. I often asked my good friend Carsten “what about me?” when he ranted about immigrants.

“Yeah but you have a job and try to integrate, they don’t” he would say.

Did I try that hard to integrate? Not really. I learned German to a functional level. I didn’t have quite the problem Ali had with the shop keeper simply because of a different problem: most wanted to try their English on me once they knew I was an Auslander. I often had complete conversations where I was speaking German to them and they were speaking English to me. Now that was funny.

But I digress...I have some very sensitive thoughts about this film since I was in Dresden, closer to what might be said is the “neo-nazi” center of Germany. If I kept my head down and didn’t speak, no one thought differently about me since I looked “like they did”. But walking into the middle of a neo-nazi rally on Feb 14th in Dresden was an eye opener to what could be happening in Germany again. Hate never left. Hate never got tamed. It’s no longer the Jews, it’s the “Muslims”, which means anyone dark-skinned.

But for the Asians, and Arabs trying to work in that area it wasn’t very easy.

And even if they try hard to integrate; even if they speak flawless German; even if they do everything they can to shed their previous culture away, they still face resistance. It’s because they look different.


Tim Schaertel said...

So then, how is this different than what we see in the USA. I think most try not to judge, but deep down I am willing to bet we all get a little nervous when a "Muslim looking" person gets on our airplane. It seems as long as sin rules, there will be blind hatred where ever we find ourselves.

Robert said...

I don't think it's necessarily "sin" as you call it but a strong in/out mentality that has evident through, at least, recorded history.

And I disagree with your phrasing saying it's blind hatred. It's ignorant hatred. It's misinformed hatred. It's manipulated people acting on what they think is right.

Right after 9/11 I had to travel to Germany and I got really nervous, admittedly, when I saw a decent sized group of "muslim" looking people.

But I will not be manipulated like that ever again. I will not let the media and hate mongers do that to me again.

I met an Iraqi in Dresden. It was an interesting conversation. He was always happy towards me, friendly and everything - he knew I was from the USA but one day he asked me where specifically and I told him NY. He was very impressed. I asked him where he was from and he answered Iraq. I said "I am sorry" and he said he wasn't mad at me or people, he said something like "politics are politics and people are people" So, since then, I will not judge a person based on their origins or beliefs. My judgment will come after getting to know that person and deciding if that relationship is worth cultivating.

I hope I was clear enough.

Robert said...

Actually, try and find the movie. You may enjoy it.