The NYT finally reports on the New Year’s Eve gropefest in downtown Cologne. The Köln train station is kind of the front door of Germany for travelers coming from England and the Netherlands. I changed trains there in 1980 and had two minutes to step outside and gaze at in awe at the great cathedral, which is likely Germany’s most visited landmark.
Reports of Attacks on Women in Germany Heighten Tension Over Migrants
By MELISSA EDDY JAN. 5, 2016 1147 COMMENTS
BERLIN — The tensions simmering beneath Germany’s willingness to take in one million migrants blew into the open on Tuesday after reports that scores of young women in Cologne had been groped and robbed on New Year’s Eve by gangs of men described by the authorities as having “a North African or Arabic” appearance.
Taking advantage of the New Year’s Eve street party, hundreds of young men broke into groups and formed rings around young women, refusing to let them escape, the authorities said. Some groped victims while others stole wallets or cellphones.
Witnesses described the atmosphere around the city’s central train station as aggressive and threatening, with firecrackers being thrown into the crowd in celebration.
I suspect that what the Muslim newcomers would prefer to do to celebrate is not to throw wimpy firecrackers into crowds, but to follow their time-honored tradition of firing AK-47s into the air. From Wikipedia:
Celebratory gunfire (also called aerial firing or happy fire) is the shooting of a firearm into the air in celebration. It is culturally accepted in parts of the Balkans, the Middle East, the Central Asian region of Afghanistan, the South Asian regions of Pakistan and Northern India as well as Latin American regions. In regions such as Puerto Rico and other areas of the United States it is practiced illegally, especially on holidays like New Year’s Eve.
Common occasions for celebratory gunfire include New Year’s Day as well as the religious holidays Christmas and Eid. The practice may result in random death and injury from stray bullets. Property damage is sometimes another result of celebratory gunfire; shattered windows and damaged roofs are often found after such celebrations.
Isn’t it time that Europe stop discriminating against this vibrant cultural expression with its racist gun control laws?
From the NYT:
It was not clear that any of the men involved were among those who arrived in Germany over the past year from conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. …
The assaults initially were not highlighted by the police and largely ignored by the German news media in the days afterward.
The attacks and the livid reaction to them presented a new political challenge for the chancellor, whose decision to take in refugees from conflict-ridden nations opened the doors to waves of migrants last summer and fall. As the number of asylum-seekers has grown and the challenge of assimilating them has become clearer, Ms. Merkel has come under intensifying criticism for failing to anticipate the social and economic costs of her policy.
The descriptions of the assailants — by the police and victims quoted in the news media — as being young foreign men who spoke neither German nor English immediately stoked the debate over how to integrate such large numbers of migrants and focused new attention on how to deal with the influx of young, mostly Muslim men from more socially conservative cultures where women do not share the same freedoms and protections as men.
The assaults set off accusations on the right and among some political commentators that the authorities and the news media had tried to ignore or cover up the attacks to avoid fueling a backlash against the refugees. …
Even beyond the usual circle of anti-immigration activists, similar concern could be heard over whether the government’s policy had come at too high a price to social stability.
“The government’s loss of control is not only taking place on the borders,” Alexander Marguier, deputy editor in chief of the monthly political magazine Cicero, wrote online. “For whoever gives up control of who enters the country no longer has control over the consequences of this action.” …
The police in Cologne say they believe several hundred men, ages 15 to 35 and visibly drunk, were involved in the violence that began when they tossed firecrackers into the crowd that thronged the square.
… “Nobody knew where to go,” Sascha Frohn, who said he was in the station on Thursday, told the public broadcaster WDR. “We stood with our backs to the wall and could see how people were robbed and German girls were groped. I was surrounded by a group of 50 to 60 people from Arabic countries. They would come up to us, shake hands and then try to reach into our bags.” …
Yet the commentary, by Heribert Prantl, also warned against the risks of the debate taking on a poisonous tone that would only make integration of the many young refugees and immigrants legitimately in the country that much more difficult. …
To prevent further violence in Cologne during the coming Carnival celebrations, when thousands of costumed revelers throng the streets for the beginning of Lent, Ms. Reker said that city officials would work to help women protect themselves and to explain the city’s attitudes and norms to newcomers.
“We will explain our Carnival much better to people who come from other cultures,” she said, “so there won’t be any confusion about what constitutes celebratory behavior in Cologne, which has nothing to do with a sexual frankness.”
Actually, it does.
Maybe the mayor of Cologne should explain to the Saracens that a certain amount of sexual frankness (i.e., women not being locked up in harems) is a big part of being Franks and has been since we Franks arrived in Cologne a few centuries before Charlemagne and Charles Martel. Do not forget that you are the ferengi here, and our hospitality is not mindlessly unlimited.