It is highly likely that I am the least political of the contributors here. This stems from dinner discussions at my grandmother’s where both sides just spat at each other and nothing changed. No one actually listened. Everyone just went home feeling annoyed at the other.
Two years ago on 12 January, I found myself amongst tens of thousands at my first protest. What could possibly have inspired that?
Standing up against Legida.
That has finally paid off for the people who kept going to the No Legida counter demonstrations, which from the get-go had managed to have larger turnouts than the Legida group. The night of 9 January was the rally to celebrate the second anniversary of the Legida demos – but also to announce their end, at least in terms of regularly organised ones.
I have seen differing numbers quoted, as usual, but I’ll be generous and use the largest. According to LVZ (part of what Legida refers to as “lügenpresse”), 400 Legida supporters and 2000 No Legida ones braved the cold and took to the streets.
That sounds about right, since over the past two years, numbers have been dwindling and there were times when I thought only the radical elements were still participating. I must say I applaud those citizens who stuck to it, even though I don’t agree with what they are defending. It takes great dedication and a lot of time and planning.
Since Legida has said they think money is being wasted, I am happy to let you know they will no longer be draining the city of resources with their seemingly never-ending protests. Now Legida walks no more.
We can go through Leipzig city centre on Mondays again without detour and go to the main train station for cat food without being searched by police. Ahhh! Let’s revel for a moment in our new found peace, but then also think of what happens next. The movement itself is not dead.
On stage during the final demo, Arndt Hochstädter said, “Wir sind weiter im Internet, wie rufen zu Veranstaltungen auf, aber die zwei Jahre haben viel Kraft gekostet.” (“We will continue on the net and let you know when the next event is, but these last two years have taken a lot of energy.”)
He added, “Freunde, es soll kein Abgesang sein, aber wir werden uns hier auf der Straße künftig zurücknehmen, weil in Zeiten, in denen unser Staat von Außen und Innen bedroht wird, ist es nicht opportun, jede Woche oder jeden Monat tausende Polizisten von ihren Familien abzuhalten.” (“Friends, this is not a farewell, but we will stop the street demonstrations because now, when our state is threatened by forces inside and out, is not the time to keep thousands of policemen from their families every week or every month.”)
Cabaret with Stephane Simon, anyone?
I went to the Legida website to get an official statement, and also to try to understand them better. It basically says they aren’t giving any because the press is not to be trusted. In fact when you click on “articles”, there is a call for everyone to boycott LVZ.
Naturally, no matter how neutral you try to be, you come from your own perspective. And granted, this is an opinion piece, but I will try to be impartial. Do we have them wrong? Here is what I found on their website. You can decide for yourself.
FYI: There is a place to sign up. I have no idea if that gives you access to other info. I have just walked my way around the portion of the site that is open to the public. Since the call to boycott LVZ is from 15 September 2015 and there are no posts more current, I can only assume there must be communication elsewhere. Prior to that post are posts of various speeches given at demos.
“Wir sind gekommen um zu bleiben. Wir sind das Volk!” (We are here to stay. We are the people!)
There are the permits given by the city of Leipzig to protest. I, personally, would like to thank the city for all the work they have had to do over the last two years. It was not an easy task to bring in extra forces, to reroute trams, etc. I applaud them for protecting its citizens and allowing everyone the right to express their opinions.
I went to the Legida website “networks” pull down menu and found a YouTube channel. I like videos, so I was happy. Then I saw one where they were filming counter protesters. That’s ok, why not? I have seen both sides acting in offensive form, but this is different. They slow motioned people who spit at them. They have the comments turned off and call for anyone who can identify the people to contact them via email. What’s that?
I am well aware that there is an underground war between neo-Nazis and anti-fa going on, but – benefit of the doubt – if Legida’s claims that they are not part of it are true, why would they have this kind of vid on their official channel?
Oops, sorry. There I go, expressing my opinion when I am supposed to be neutral. My bad.
To be honest, I haven’t been watching them like a hawk over the past two years.
Let’s get back to what motivated me in the first place: their platform. Pegida’s Leipzig branch has generously provided it in English, French, Russian and Arabic to make it more international. I read it to refresh my memory and see if I had missed anything before.
It starts (original grammar preserved):
“PEGIDA considers itself as a political movement, free of any ideology, which picks up political and social problems of our time, in an attempt to create and implement solutions, together with its community members.
Due to a failed economic policy, the working- and middle class are continuously sinking into poverty. Wages and pensions are stagnating in ever decreasing proportions against raising living expenses. Instead of activating funds for highly required projects, horrendous amounts of money is being wasted.
Increasing crime rates, social combustion points and the ever growing paralell ethnic societies are alarming the people. The safety risk is further growing and the global conflicts are intensifying based on irresponsable domestic- and foreign policys.
A peaceful cooperation of sovereign nations worldwide must be the basis of a safe future for all of us.
Therefore we are standing for following points:
1. Protection, preservation and respectful handling of our culture and native language. Political and religious fanaticism, radicalism, the islamization, “Genderisierung” and premature sexual education in school must be stopped. Preservation of sexual self- determination.”
Feel free to read more, but that is really enough for me.
On a final note, while I’m glad to have my Mondays less obstructed, I am not sure that it’s better, considering what could take its place. I did read Breitbart was planning on opening in France and Germany to “help” with the upcoming election.