|GATE - 4/93 - Botswana: Rural Industrial Development (GTZ GATE, 1993, 48 p.)|
How xenophobia in Germany affects interpersonal cooperation
Hostility towards foreigners in Germany is putting the credibility of the country's development aid policy at risk. This fear was expressed by staff members of the Protestant development aid organization Service Overseas in late 1991. Meanwhile, project partners of German development aid organizations and training institutions are also becoming increasingly concerned about escalating violence against foreigners. This was revealed by a survey that GATE carried out among 22 organizations in the late summer of this year. It was found that the impact of xenophobia on the work of the 14 organizations that replied varies considerably.
Training institutions such as the Carl Duisberg Society, the German Foundation for International Developement and the World University Service notice most clearly how attacks on foreigners have been making their work more difficult for two or three years now. Scholarship students from African, Asian and Latin American countries can no longer travel freely in Germany. The Carl Duisberg Society's reply points out that "fortunately," however, foreign students are "only affected by xenophobic or racist actions in isolated cases". But fear is casting long shadows: in the newly formed German states, "many of the students on scholarships awarded under programmes of the former GDR were fearful", and so "no longer went out after dark".
The students for whom World University Service and the German Foundation for International Development are responsible no longer feel safe in Germany either. As long ago as 1991, Barbara Kloss-Quiroga reported in the German-language DSE journal "Entwicklung und Zusammenarbeit" that "a South African student cut short his studies in Germany and returned home in January 1991, after being brutally beaten up three times within a short period in Weimar".
Fighting right-wing extremism as a domestic project
"In our work in Germany with students from Africa, Asia and Latin America, we unfortunately find that it has become almost impossible to find seminar dates which are Free of remembrance days' of right-wing groups; because on these days foreign students take care not to be seen in public or to travel long distances by public transport to the places where the seminars are being held. So it is meanwhile normal for African and Asian students attending weekend seminars to hire cars and travel to the seminar together. Relatives and friends of many foreign students are becoming increasingly worried when they see reports about the excesses of extreme right-wing groups in Germany. We would be very pleased if the NGOs in Germany joined a campaign against rightwing extremism, as a kind of domestic project." Kambiz Ghawami, World University Service
Verbal abuse and threats
Guests of development aid organizations have also suffered unpleasant experiences during their stay in Germany. Rainer Kruse of Bread for the World reported that "overseas visitors have occasionally been the object of verbal abuse and threats outdoors in public or in restaurants". He said that Bread for the World staff now had to accompany their guests, especially if they went out in the evening, and advised them not to go out alone late at night. Several counterparts had reported "impoliteness or even rudeness on the part of German border officials" when they entered the country, "especially at Frankfurt Airport". Although the travellers had valid visas, they had been questioned distrustfully and in an arrogant manner.
Yousif S. Toma of AT-Association explained: 'We know it has become more difficult to find traineeships for colleagues from abroad. and in particular from Africa and the Far East." According to Toma, "it isn't because firms are unwilling, but because they are afraid they may not be able to guarantee the trainees' safety".
Most of the organizations involved in development cooperation stated that so far none of their project partners had decided against visiting Germany because they were afraid of being attacked; or at least, it had not been cited as a reason for cancellation or postponement of a trip to Germany. GTZ and the private relief organization medico international had a different story to tell. Replying on behalf of GTZ, Andreas Schumann replied that partners in cooperation "must have considered whether they wanted to do a course of training in Germany, or whether it might not be better to postpone a planned trip." Reactions of this kind were noted in particular after the brutal attacks in Molln and Solingen, which were internationally reported by the media. Hans Branscheidt of medico reported that since about May of this year project partners, especially those from the Middle East, felt "unsure" about travelling to the FRG.
The Carl Duisberg Society reports that "there has not so far been any fall-off in applications" for its further training courses. In isolated cases, however, prospective students had had "a more critical and more cautious attitude towards residence in Germany." This applied in particular for to the USA, but also for Asian countries, in particular the People's Republic of China.
Mistrust in the "project environment"
While xenophobic tendencies are making the work of development agencies in Germany more difficult, they seem so far to have had a minimal negative impact on development aid projects outside the country. The executing agencies are highly respected by their counterpart organizations. However, some organizations (ARTES, medico) see their work overseas becoming more difficult in the long term. GTZ has received feedback from its projects to the effect that its counterpart organizations "are viewing xenophobia tendencies in Germany with concern." People working for other organizations are also repeatedly asked about developments in Germany. "We would like to put press reports into perspective," says Heimo Posamentier of AT-Association. Frequent and detailed reports in the foreign media are allegedly leading to "inquisitive" (Kubel Foundation) and even "concerned" (GSE) questions on the situation in Germany. Staff members of German Agro Action faced critical questioning, "in particular in countries like Vietnam," which are "directly affected." According to medico there is already some mistrust "in the project environment," notably in Syria, Lebanon and Turkey.
According to GTZ, xenophobia in Germany has "become an issue that not only our project staff have to face, but also personnel from head office or short-term experts on official trips to partner countries." For this reason, says GTZ, the company's management drafted a statement entitled "GTZ takes a stand against hostility to foreigners", which was sent to all project personnel. The project personnel had then handed over the statement personally to the counterpart organizations. The Carl Duisberg Society is also doing what it can to counter the "nasty German" image abroad. Germans who travel abroad for training are now briefed on questions concerning xenophobia in Germany.
"We felt ashamed!"
"I remember what happened when Peter Kordjo from Ghana, my
colleague Winfried Laaser and I arrived in Echterdingen. We had flown in from
Amsterdam. The border guard asked Peter why he had come to Germany, although it
was perfectly clear from his passport that he had permission to work here as a
pastor for five years. Peter's reply that it was surely stated clearly enough in
his passport was met with the words, "But I want to hear you tell me!' The
intention was apparently to hold a brief but humiliating interrogation in full
public view. At this, Laaser and I lost our tempers: I refused to stand for the
defamatory tone, pointing out that I was also a citizen of this country and had
no desire to be turned into a "nasty German' by ignorant border officials....
Laaser threatened to lodge a complaint with the official in charge and asked
whether the procedure for appointing border officials included checking that
they had mastered the civilized arts of reading and writing. That did it.
Another border guard came up, and it wasn't until they both realized we weren't
going to stand for any nonsense that they waved us through. At customs they were
going to bother Peter again. They stopped when we told them he was with us. We
Joachim Lindau, Bread for the World
Better prepared fur role as ambassadors
"When we send Germans abroad for training we now pay more
attention to preparing them better for their role as "ambassadors". At the
preparatory seminars we brief theim on the political situation in Germany with
regard to foreigners. This applies first and foremost to our programmes in the
USA, where Germans on further training courses are asked about the reasons for
the xenophobia. We believe that this is probably also connected with the opening
of Holocaust memorials in the USA and the dissemination of information there
about the Holocaust."
Hans Pakleppa, Carl Duisberg Society
Credibility at risk
Ten of the 14 organizations which answered the questionnaire stated that they were fighting xenophobia in Germany above all through development and educational policy.
The Catholic relief organization Misereor takes up the issue of xenophobia in Germany in its publications and press releases. For its Projects Department, Misereor has issued a manual which is intended to provide information on the "manifold causes of human flight and mass migration" and at the same time serve as a guide for refugee aid and emergency relief work. Misereor's 1994 fast is dedicated to fighting "the increasing trend of violence towards foreigners." In the present situation Misereor believes it must take a stand, "because this development is jeopardizing the very foundations of the organization and its work both in Germany and abroad, which is based on openness towards all foreigners." In November 1991, the Members' Conference of Service Overseas approved a declaration which includes the statement: "Disapproval of and violence towards foreigners put the credibility of both government and church development aid policy at risk - not only in the eyes of our counterpart organizations."
At the end of 1992, GTZ for the first time ran an advertisement entitled "German Foreigners Speak Out", pointing out that GTZ employees are foreigners in more than 100 countries, where they collaborate with people from all cultural backgrounds. The text ends with an appeal to "support us in the fight against xenophobia and racism, and for a coexistence befitting human beings." At its 1993 annual general meeting, the Carl Duisberg Society approved a "tolerance project" aimed at promoting peaceful coexistence between Germans and foreigners.
With its "Information, not Capitulation" appeal, the WUS is pursuing a similar aim, formulated together with other organizations in the education sector. For its part, German Agro Action aims to bring about a more tolerant climate in Germany with relevant working aids and its "Window on Books" campaign, a series of readings and concerts given by overseas authors and artists in cooperation with the book trade.
Medico has reacted to xenophobia not only via internal appeals, but also "intensively" with "advertisements, press releases and pamphlets". ARTES, the Institute for Appropriate Rural Technology and Extension Skills, also reports on indepth cooperation with foreign experts in press releases, and organizes workshops. The Society for Solidary Development Cooperation (DOE) participates once a month in a joint demonstration by several NGOs in Berlin. Member companies of AT-Association are also active at local level (foreigners' advisory board etc.). At the Protestant Association for Cooperation and Development (EZE) and GTZ. staff have started in-house action groups. The private group of GTZ employees, which was founded in 1992, organizes many events aimed at combatting hostility towards foreigners in the Rhine-Main region.
Tolerance project of the Carl Duisberg Society: Creating a
"The priorities of the project are:
- Preparing German course participants by briefing them on the current political situation as regards foreigners in Germany, to enable them to give information in their host country.
- Providing foreign course participants with information on German politics in general and political developments concerning foreigners, at the reception centre, during their German courses and through backup measures during training.
- Press releases and PR work: more reporting on therelevance of political developments concerning foreigners for our participants.
- Functions organized by the regional CDG centres, with presentations of the society's work in the region, above all to promote contact between Germans and guests from abroad attending further training courses.
- Intensifying PR work relating to development and educational policy in the educational sector, in particular for vocational schools and companies which train personnel themselves."
German AT Association
Not just a few misguided radicals hostility towards foreigners is a problem of our entire society
As a federation of consultants, the AT Association stands for its members' common concerns. Among them are the quality of our work and the promotion of sustainable development through truly equitable terms of cooperation. Most of our members frequently work abroad with diverse partners in the respective countries, including government agencies, NGOs and local private consultants. They attempt to promote locally appropriate solutions, of which technology is usually only one component among many others. We are often involved in social, economic, cultural and policy issues with local partners - sometimes to a degree that provokes criticism such as going too far and being paternalistic. Developing a particular sensitivity in mediating between different agencies and between diverse cultures presents a constant challenge. But a new challenge has recently been added which is far more difficult to cope with: an increasing number of the people we meet all over the world ask about what is going on in our own country. After the German reunification in 1989, these questions were primarily led by curiosity but basically sympathetic. Apprehension of Germany's increased strength and political development were the exception rather than the rule. Since 1991, this has definitely changed.
Nothing has done more damage to the international reputation of our country since 1949 than the dramatic increase of hostility and violence towards foreigners during the last few years. This is our daily experience abroad. But the damage is more serious than just a setback in international public opinion. Critical questions about social, cultural and political causes of these events directly lead to such basics as the role of our country in the world and our own role in international cooperation. Who are we to give advice to others if our society is unable to live in peace with anyone who is different? What effect may our advice have, if the environment from which it comes is so sick?
As Germans, we must be involved in keeping right-wing radicalism and violence from dominating the political agenda and from poisoning social and cultural spheres. Propagating and implementing the principles of Appropriate Technology in our own context is part of that task: participatory, decentral and situation-specific solutions are at the core of social and environmental compatibility, and require forms of people's involvement which are opposed to fascism. But in times of political regression, simply advocating AT is not enough. These times call for direct, outspoken and courageous political involvement. Hostility towards foreigners is not just a problem of a few misguided radicals but is deeply rooted in our society and is fostered by certain economically motivated policies.
As people involved in international cooperation, we must point to the complex and truly global nature of the problem.
Take an example:
Fear of unemployment is a major driving force behind the hostility towards foreigners which prevails in large parts of our society. It is instrumentalized for various political purposes, including the de-facto abolition of political asylum in Germany. The stereotype image of the "economic refugees' who misuse the right to political asylum to escape poverty and enjoy the luxuries of the West (which are not perceived as luxuries when consumed by Westerners) was very instrumental. "They take a way our jobs and live on our social benefits" is among the most frequently heard expressions of this prejudice. If we allow this type of argument to dominate the public debate, we contribute to the political degeneration towards new forms of fascism.
First, the argument is not true: migrant labourers do the jobs the Germans no longer want to do (another form of racism?), they subsidize the social security net (without enjoying equal benefits), and they compensate the deficits in our demographic development.
Second, the argument shifts the focus of the debate about political asylum away from the most important aspect, human rights and protection against political persecution.
Third, there is no simple numerical solution to the problem of unemployment, and it can certainly not be confined to our national boundaries. The discussion about immigrants and jobs has a wrong focus and leads to simplistic answers with fatal political consequences. The scale of the problem is global, it includes issues of political domination, economic exploitation, utilization of resources, distribution of goods and jobs, technological irrationality, and ultimately ways of life. Germany is on the forefront of those who are pushing, both politically and through economic strength, towards a global free market. Free to be dominated by the strongest - with disastrous impacts on entire societies and the lives of people. Is there not a striking similarity between our worldwide hegemony and the way we treat foreigners at home? Yes, the ignorance, the arrogance, the denial of the right to be different are the same - and all for the sake of short-sighted economic interests. Very short-sighted: based on an idea of "civilization" that ruins the planet.
Entwicklung und Fachkrafte g GmbH
Hostility and violence against foreigners accompanied by disinterest on the part of many people here have brought our county, especially the new federal states of former East Germany, into the headlines. Our partners and friends from Europe, Asia and Africa ask fearful questions about what is happening and we have to answer them.
The Arbeitsgemeinschaft Entwicklung und Fachkrafte (AGEF) works
in projects concerning migration and development cooperation. One of our key
tasks is to try to clear up the problems of the former contract workers from
Mosambique, Angola and Vietnam. These people came to work and to be trained in
the former GDR, but following the transition in Germany they have now become
victims of hostility. The name of the city of Hoyerswerda stands for many of
these events. In connection with the programmes for the contract workers we
suddenly became involved in their problems.
We witnessed how normal people, faced with social insecurity and unemployment, suddenly threw stones at the windows of their black neighbour and colleague, maybe hoping to drive him away, so that he no longer occupies his job.
After these events we relocated the victims to different cities for training and we considered what was to be done to prevent such outrager. It was felt expedient that a "round table" should be set up where representatives of the city, the training centre, the political parties, the church communitiy, the police and the Mosambiquans themselves could talk about the problems and discuss solutions to them. Of course we surely did not solve any social problem in this way, and probably did not reduce any reservations.
But the Mosambiquans have been accepted, because the participants realized that the jobs of the trainers were interlinked with the presence of the Mosambiquan trainees. Phrases and statements are not very useful!, it is the knowledge of global and local inter-dependencies that will lead to tolerance and a peaceful life together.
German Agro Action
Agro Action campaign: persons seeking political asylum not flotsam of their own accord radical change of course in north and south necessary
Berlin, 3 November '92 - The German Agro Action (GAA) has called upon the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany to finally tell the whole truth about the causes of the growing extent of migration and the rising number of persons seeking political asylum.
The chairperson of the Agro Action, Dr. Helga Henselder-Barzel, stated in connection with the large-scale demonstration against racism in Berlin next Sunday that it must be made clear to the public that people do not become human flotsam of their own accord, but instead are forced to migrate as a result of destruction of their environment, famine, civil war and lack of all hope. She also said it should be admitted frankly that the industrialised countries still obstruct the development prospects of poor countries by erecting massive trade barriers and are jointly responsible for environmental harm in the south and hence for migration processes.
Mrs. Henselder-Barzel strongly criticised the fact that it had now literally become "socially acceptable" to defame refugees from poverty in the countries of the Third World as parasites. She emphasised: "All that this does is to promote racism."
According to the information she supplied, some 75 million persons in Africa, Asia and Latin America migrate from their traditional home area in any given year - generally to another developing country. Mrs. Henselder-Barzel said that it was a serious error to believe that the influx of persons see king asylum could be reduced solely by restrictions of Articles 16 and 19 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany Instead hunger and poverty, the causes of the growing, global hardship among refugees, had to be eliminated. A >>radical economic, ecological and social change of course" was necessary - both in the north and in the south.
German Development Service
The German Development Service (DED) against hostility to foreigners
We, the German development workers in Berlin, are shocked by and outraged at the racist excesses in Germany. With regard to our Benin friends, we feel ashamed of the violence directed against foreigners. The pictures of violence are also shown by the local media. Here in Benin, we have been welcomed with frankness, respect and deep regard and every day we experience the meaning of hospitality. (...) We have found that you can learn a lot from foreign cultures and we think that this cultural exchange is a necessity in Germany, as well..." This protest was formulated by the development workers from the DED at their general meeting in Cotonou last year. Could there be anyone among the 1.200 development workers and people working for the DED abroad who would not agree with these words? Which of the development workers in Cameroon, Bolivia or Thailand in view of the news from Germany - would not feel uncertain and ask themselves to what kind of country they will return?
The development workers in Benin are not the only ones from the DED who made their concern public. There were statements, too, from people working in other countries, and in the head office in Berlin, management, works committee and the majority of the staff also declare 1 their position. The increasing violence against foreigners fills us working for the DED and probably all people committed to developmental issues with deep consternation - and also with a feeling of helplessness. It is difficult to convey experiences like those gained by the development workers in Benin to people using an aggressive hatred of foreigners as an outlet for painful personal crises or for the general problems facing society. Nevertheless, it is important that we stand up for our convictions. But what is even more important than the verbal protest against hostility to foreigners is the commitment to friendliness towards foreigners. By offering lessons on German for women and children who live in a home for persons seeking asylum, the "Work group Antiracism", founded by some DED employees, has been taking a step in the right direction. The DED sees itself completely as an organization promoting friendliness to foreigners, but it mainly operates abroad.
Which measures can the DED take in Germany? Prejudices are hard to change and if at all, most likely by personal experience. Regular and close contacts between those bearing prejudices and those suffering from them have the most lasting effect. This will hardly appeal to people heavily prejudiced against foreigners but perhaps to their sympathizers. People working in development organizations and former development workers could make valuable contributions to these contacts organized by recently returned development workers, Third-World groups, church organizations or institutions in the field of youth work and adult education. Having lived in both "worlds", they can mediate during discussions. By means of increased efforts in the area of education and information, the DED intends to support such contacts and initiatives. The DED hopes that people in Germany will realize and accept the fact that isolated centres of affluence cannot be defended in the long run and that in the one world, solidarity with others directly or indirectly also affects one's own life and own society. Not only in the countries of the South but also in Germany does development policy automatically imply social policy.
German Appropriate Technology Exchange
The rising tide of hatred towards foreign nationals in Germany has shocked and horrified broad sections of the community here. Daily reports of attacks on people who have turned to our country for protection and asylum bear witness to the crude racism currently at large in our society. Gangs of rightwing thugs are destroying the climate of peaceful coexistence with people of different colours and creeds which the Federal Republic of Germany has always enjoyed. This situation has given us, the staff of GATE/GTZ, profound cause for concern.
Both our work in development cooperation and our private contacts with people from many countries of the world have taught us that mutual trust, based on respect and tolerance, are absolutely essential if we are to live and work together in peace and harmony. Nothing must be allowed to damage this spirit of trust.
We, the staff of GATE/GTZ, shall be doing our absolute utmost to ensure that people from other countries can continue to live in Germany and to feel at home here without having to fear for life and limb. We shall fight to make sure that racism and nationalist hysteria do not take root in German soil a second time.
Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Technische Zusammenarbeit
The GTZ takes a stand against hostility to foreigners and racism
Development cooperation is what the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) is all about, and therefore, we feel very strongly about the wave of anti-foreigner sentiment that has swept over the Federal Republic of Germany. Our philosophy and our work are firmly rooted in the acceptance of many and varied cultures, an understanding of different peoples, and the desire to work together to find solutions. Xenophobia eats away at this foundation, undermining international cooperation. GTZ employees demonstrated their pro-foreigner solidarity some months ago with a private initiative protesting against these destructive tendencies. However, since the situation has intensified, we believe that it is up to the GTZ as a company to take a clear stand and join the ranks of those in politics, industry, art and German society as a whole who have expressed their profound disapproval of these xenophobic, racist outbursts. All opponents of doctrines and actions hostile to foreigners are called upon now more than ever to demonstrate their resolve and unity in order to put a stop to the shameful attacks on foreign citizens living here.
For many years now, Germans and foreigners have lived together in a spirit of openness and understanding, unmarred by racially-inspired acts of murder and arson. And it is for this reason that we are publicly voicing our concern and emphasizing our stance in unequivocal terms. The GTZ more than welcomes and i i determined to become actively involved in the various activities that have emerged in past weeks in protest of the assaults on foreign nationals.
However, it is not enough for the GTZ to pledge its commitment to isolated activities.
We expect that, both at home and at work, each and every GTZ employee will demonstratively champion this cause and thus join the fight against hostility to foreigners and racism.
It goes without saying that, even though feelings may run high, tolerance and a peaceful approach to these problems must prevail, as only then can we be true to our corporate culture which is proud of its global dimension.
Bread for the World
Protestant Association for Cooperation and Development
Association for Appropriate Technologie
Fourty-four year, following the resolution on Human Rights by the United Nations we are still far from achieving human rights for all. This year we have been shocked by the developments in our own country. The violent outrages against people seeking asylum, refugees and minorities are nothing but crimes. The defilement of Jewish graves and memoriats are intolerable. We cannot stand by and watch this happen.
According to the United Nations, one third of the people on our earth who are living in absolute poverty are suffering from violations to social human rights. Amnesty International calls out that civil and political rights are being violated in 140 countries of the world.
In many Third World states in particular, torture, "disappearance", terror and government-tolerated murder are widespread. Minors, e.g. street children are arrested, tortured or murdered at random. In the wake of collapsed totalitarian systems in Eastern and Southern Europe, political commotion and ethnic and national conflicts have broken out. Each day we are shaken by the news of inhuman rape of women in Bosnia Herzegovina.
Political suppression, mass poverty, ecological catastrophes and armed conflicts mean the ever more people have to flee their homes.
On this day of Human Rights, December 10, 1993,1 send out a plea to all people in our country to champion the cause of right and justice. I particularly address the member churches and their parish communities: do not let loose in your determined efforts to achieve human rights for all. A resolute stand must be taken against all violations to human rights wherever they take place.
- Church groups, parishes and every individual member of the community can participate in the many protests against violent suppression, torture, terror and government-tolerated murder.
- People bearing responsibility in political and economic life must be resolutely called up upon to fight the causes behind violations to human rights and the streams of refugees.
- By courageously standing up for people who are suppressed and menaced, we can all play a part in countering the acts of violence taking place in our own country and the feeling of insecurity and fear suffered by many of our fellow citizens.
- The potentials that our constitutional state gives us to counter violence and prevent it from taking place in the first place must be effectively exploited to the full.
The Word of Jesus Christ helps us to stand side-by-side with the poor, the weak and the underprivileged all over the world, and especially in our own country.
German Catholic Bishops' Organization for Development Cooperation
At the present time news about the increasing racism in our society and the growing readiness to treat foreigners violently is a matter of major concern.
The German Catholic Bishops' Organization for Development Cooperation, Misereor, has to take a stand on this matter too, since such a development jeopardises the very foundation of the Organization, whose work at home and abroad is based on fundamental openness to foreigners. Misereor would therefore like to explain the causes which induce people to leave their own country, in order to arouse understanding for such persons and to sharpen our own awareness for development policy. Our dealings with foreigners living in Germany should be seen as a challenge and as a crucial test of our solidarity with the poor in the Third World. We should like to encourage the people in our local communities and parishes to overcome their fears and reservations about foreigners in the neighbour-hood, to take the first step towards such persons of their own accord, and what is more to engage in forms of political advocacy too.
The discussion concerning dealings with refugees and migrants or with foreigners in general in our society relates specifically to the conception which Misereor has of itself. As an organization which supports the poor from groups which are foreign to us in ethnic terms, as a Church organization which of course knows no foreigners itself, and as advocate for the poor of the Third World in our country, Misereor is fundamentally in contradiction with all racism and all ethnocentric and nationalistic patterns of thought. Since Misereor also endeavours to combat the causes for flight and to render migration processes humane in cooperation with counterparts and partners in the field within the context of its development cooperation, it is in a position to highlight the exemplary contributions made by African states and their social groups in accepting and integrating refugees. This should help to break down prejudices and lead to a more positive image of Africa in Germany.
For local communities and parishes the question of dealings with foreigners who often seek asylum with us as refugees tests the very credibility of Christianity. We should become aware of the fact that solidarity is indivisible, that willingness to make donations on the one hand and a defensive attitude against foreigners seeking protection on the other represent an inconsistency which reveals generally irrational fears. At the same time it should be noted that a large number of groups and parishes are showing active responsibility in this field.
The Misereor Fasting Action in 1994 intends to support this commitment by showing concrete avenues of solidarity with the many refugees and migrants in our country and recommending exemplary initiatives with a broad-based effect. This action should encourage us to accept "others" in their otherness and allow this to enrich our own lives. This would result in the political conditions for a positive structuring of migration processes.
Society for Solidary Development Cooperation
Statement towards the hostility to foreigners in Germany
We, the members of the Society for Solidary Development Cooperation (GSE), are very much concerned about the growing hostility to foreigners in Germany. We know that there were many reasons for this but the official discussion about the rights of asylum and the corresponding policy of the German government made the political climate and the situation of foreign people in this country worse.
In our daily work we fight for tolerance, for a society which is open to all cultures and for partnership in the cooperation of people from different nations to solve the global problems of mankind. We strictly condemn violence and the discrimination of our foreign fellow citizens.
As a small non-governmental organization working on a volunteer basis, we work in projects together with our partners in Chile, India and Tanzania for the benefit of disadvantaged groups in these countries. On the other hand we connect these activities with efforts in German schools to inform the young generation about the problems of the people in other parts of our world and to show them how our life is connected with theirs. Therefore, we try to work out possibilities for German children to meet and get to know people from abroad, especially from the so-called third world. This we concern as on way to provide the hostility to foreigners.
One good example for this was the trip by 15 young people from Brandenburg to Zanzibar in 1992, where they worked together with the Zanzibarian partners in projects which are supported by our organization. Our contribution in the fight against racism and hostility consists, on the one hand, of an active work and support in those countries refugees and asylum-seekers come from and on the other hand of activities to sensitize the people here in Germany for the problems of the correlation between North and South.
Karl Kubel Foundation
Together with many other German citizens and organizations in the field of development cooperation, the Karl Kubel foundation condemns the growing racism and the attacks of violence against minorities and foreigners in our country. In the face of this development we are called upon to set clear signals in favour of solidarity, human dignity and human rights.
Chains of candles in demonstrations, declarations of solidarity and tolerant good-neighbourly manifestations make it clear that many people consider that living together with persons from different cultures enriches their life. The Karl Kubel Foundation sees itself as advocate for citizens of all cultures and expresses its solidarity with those persons whose attitude is characterized by sympathy, openness and respect.
For this reason the motto of the Karl Kubel Prize 1994 which is endowed with 100,000.00 DM, is
"LIVING WITH EACH OTHER - LEARNIG FROM EACH OTHER".
The invitation to nominate candidates for this prize is addressed to family-based initiatives against racism which signpost the way to living together in a spirit of mutual understanding.
The Karl Kubel Prize, which is awarded annually, aims at honouring and giving public recognition to model activities, projects and initiatives in the German-speaking world which are committed to the needs of children and families in our society and which sharpen public awareness.
The Bensheimer Kreis, an association of 35 executing agencies in the field of development cooperation, deeply regrets and vigorously condemns the excesses and the application of violence against minorities and foreigners in Germany.
The breakdown of the antagonism between east and west, the economic recession and the high levels of unemployment, nationalistic currents and other crisis-related developments in industrialized countries are now encountering increasing flows of migrants and refugees moving from the south to the north. All this has given rise to fears and to racism in our society and these have been selectively fuelled and instrumentalised by certain political groupings for reasons of party tactics and in order to enforce their own goals. However, closing the gates, hatred of foreigners and racism solve neither national nor global problems. Such "solutions" are more likely to destroy the last tenable foundations for living together in an atmosphere of human dignity and thus endanger the urgently necessary joint efforts to save and preserve life on our planet.
In order to be able to respond effectively to the challenges of or rage in the long term, a new ecologically and socially sound style of life is called for which is supported by understanding for international interconnections and which advocates a world society compatible with the future. This necessitates ecological restructuring of the industrialized societies and a fundamental reform of North-South policies. Far-reaching changes in current production and consumption patterns as well as in the potential for political structuring measures is equally indispensable for both industrialized and developing countries. Furthermore it is the task of forward-looking politics to promote understanding in the rich countries of the north for people from different cultural groups living together and to improve the legal situation of foreigners.
The Bensheimer Kreis wishes to join forces with all open-minded citizens and the decision-makers in social and political fields to ensure that it is possible for everyone to live together in Germany in a spirit of respect, tolerance and harmony. Only conscious understanding and commitment for development, environment and peace will create the platform for the future of a SINGLE WORLD.
BUNTSTIFT e. V.
Resolution Against the Normality of Violence
The political events of the past few weeks have brought about a profound change in the Federal Republic of Germany. A powerful shift to the right has shaken the fundamental pillars of democracy. Hoyerswerda, Rostock, Molln, Solingen are gaping, accusing wounds. The streets are filled with helpless rage. The grand coalition of the major political parties and the decisions of the Federal Constitutional Court are busily advancing the swift dismantling of the welfare state and fundamental democratic rights.
- The amendment of Article 16 of the Basic Law,
- the judgement of the Federal Constitutional Court on 218 of the Penal Code (Abortion Clause),
- the so-called "Solidarity Pact",
- the proposed introduction of no sick pay for the first day of illness are only a few of the items of bad news which reach us every day.
Not just since the union of the German Democratic Republic with the Federal Republic of Germany - although this accelerated matters - has there been a steadily growing struggle for distribution in Germany.
The political and moral consensus between women and men, foreigners and Germans, old and young, the sick and the healthy, the unemployed and the employed, the poor and the rich, and between labour and capital has been shattered. All dreams of a social utopia with more humane forms of coexistence, all hopes for a solution of the social and ecological conflicts by reasonable standards have given way to a naked struggle for survival and the uninhibited manifestation of power. The climate of violence against foreigners and other minorities and the recognizable will to engage in the application of military force abroad represent the "normality" to which Germany is to make its way after reunification in order to be able to survive in the international struggle for distribution of markets and power.
We, the federation of educational organizations and foundations close to the Green Party in the German Laender - BUNTSTIFT e. V. - have made it our goal to achieve nonviolent ecological restructuring of society and the assertion of human rights and fundamental democratic rights in Germany and world-wide. Ever since the day we were founded we have been endeavouring jointly with many other organizations and groups to put a stop to this threatening political development in Germany. However it is evident that all these efforts are not sufficient. The global crisis of our planet and the dangerous flaring up of fascism in Germany again oblige us to reinforce our efforts to fight for a society in which sexual equality, self-determination, cultural variety, human rights and democratic basic rights can be taken for granted.
Heinrich-Boll-Stiftung e. V.
Cooperating against racism - some initiatives
Racism and Xenophobia are on the rise in Europe in general and Germany in particular since long. But racism seems to have been (re)discovered by many in Germany only after the violent and open attacks on Non-Germans in Hoyerswerda, Rostock, Molln and Solingen.
Like hundreds of NGOs in Germany striving to build a civil society in a multicultural reality, the kits does not remain inactive in the face of such unfortunate developments and as a foundation for political education it has been trying to counteract these developments by organizing a number of seminars, conferences, public events etc. A few of these events are enlisted below:
- "A Night in Germany - Campaign against Xenophobia, Violence and Antisemitism" concluding program in Dresden on April 6, 1993. Authors from Poland, Czech Republic and Germany read from their works.
- "Minority and Literature" in Boll-Haus in Langenbroich on May 29 and 30, 1993. German speaking writers of Non-German origin exchange their experiences and discuss strategies how to transport more efficiently ideas on civil in their literary activities.
- "Resist Right from the Beginning Reject Violence" Seminar in Erfurt (May 24 to 28. 1993) on the strategy of prevention of violence.
- "Racism and Gender Questions", Women's Political Forum for Dialogue among East and West German women, women immigrants and Black German Women, 4th and 5th Forum in Friedewald (14th to 16th May and 22nd to 24th October 1993) and 6th Forum in Jena (13th November 1993).
- "Historical, Cultural and Political Situation of the Sinti and Roma". Symposium in Berlin together with Romani-Pen-Club.
- Series of Events "Multiculture within the Fortress Europe. Against Nationalism and Racism" in Cologne together with Kolner Appell e. V. e.g. "The Relationship to the Other - Thoughts on the Consciousness of being on the Wrong" (21. 1. 93); "Racism, Xenophobic Violence and Social Background" (25. 2. 93); "Intercultural Pedagogic" (2. 3. 93); "The End of Anti-Racism" (22. 4. 93); "Between Freedom and Pogrom - The Romas from Southeast Europe" (26.5. 93); "The Structure of Foreigners in the discourse of Multiculturalism" (24. 6. 93).
- Series of Events "Sinti and Roma Clicheas and Reality" from 17. 4. to 29. 5. 1993 in Freiburg together with Auslanderbeirat of the City of Freiburg. Among others "The Gipsy children of the St. Joseph Care in Mulfingen" (26. 4. 93); "Protect the Sinti and Roma against the GipsyLiterature" (10. 5. 93); "Not only with Fiddale" (27. 5. 93).
- "Trainer-Training" - Seminar in Cologne from May 14 to 16, 1993 on nonviolent action against rightwing extremist violence.
- "Lonely Escape - Unaccompanied Refugee Children in NRW need Help", a joint experts" congress in Cologne on May 27, 1993 together with Youth Departement of the Landesverband Rheinland focussing on the psycho-social aspects of the un-accompanied refugee-children.
- "Civic Forum Paulskirche 93" in Frankfurt 19. 6. 1993 together with some 40 organizations from human rights, peace and environmental movements focussing on 4 topics: Foreign Policy; the Role of the Bundeswehr; Prevention instead of inner armament; Ecology versus Economic Growth; Asylum: Germany as a de facto Immigration country.
- "Inventory of Pedagogic Concepts on Non-violent and Creative Conflict Resolution" - Weekend Seminar for ombudsmen in Bonn 24./25. 9. 1993 pooling together past experiences in this field for future strategy.
- "Encountering the Chilly Looks Make One's Soul Freeze". A short theatre performance on the situation of unaccompanied refugee children in Hamburg (30.9. 93) together with Eine Welt e. V. during the International Congress "Children - War and Persecution".
- Series of 11 events "The Other next to You" in Hoyerswerda from 3. 10. to 15. 12. 1993 together with the City of Hoyerswerda including talks, concerts of classical to hip-hop music, photo-exhibition, theatre-workshops etc. highlighting the problem of Xenophobia and Right-Wing Violence in Germay.
- "Better Protection against Racial Discrimination - Call for Anti-Discrimination-Law Now" in Cologne on 18. 10. 1993 together with Die 8% Immigrant Innenverein fur Burgerrechte und politische Bildung/Cologne.
- "Fremde in Bonn. Ein historisches Lesebuch" (Foreigners in Bonn. A Historical Reader) together with Bonner Geschichtswerkstatt/Bonn.
- "Aktion Kerzenlicht- Kulturzeitschrift" (Candle-Light Campaign. A Cultural Magazine). Publication of the virgin-no, together with the Kulturinitiative fur Frieden, Menschenrechte und Volkerverstandigung/NGelsenkirchen.
- Series of Events in Freiburg on the Gender specific Aspects of Right-Wing Extremism: "He Who Talks about Right Wing Extremism Can not Remain Silent on Partiarchy"; "Women in the Right-Wing Scene" (8. 10. 93); "Women and Right-Wing Extremism" (9. 10. 93); "The Dispute about the Causes of Racial Violence. Women as Victims and Culprit/Perpetrater" (10. 10. 93); "Women Kill Differently" (10. 10. 93); "I Do not Like Violence. (Unfortunately) You will Achieve a Great Deal Through Violence" (14. 10. 93), Film by Gabriele Mauch and Karin Redlich.
The concept of our work and examples of implementation
The organization Frauen-Anstiftung e. V. ("FAS") has not published any official comments on the current situation of increasing racism. Dealing with this problem complex represents an integral part of its educational and project work.
The FAS sees itself as part of the international women's movement. Cooperation with women from different countries and continents is in line with our conception of ourselves. Alongside our educational and project work, the search for conditions which will enable us to succeed in living with one another is also a part of our routine. Women from home and abroad make experiences jointly in practical work at all levels of our organization. Our objectives and the concrete work involved have always necessitated concern with the subject of "racism".
Racism (like sexism) as a propagator of structural violence in this society has long had its place in the concept and practice of the Frauen Anstiftung e. V., and not just since the "murderous relevance" of this topic, the many murders of Non-Germans.
A few examples showing the concrete implementation of our concept are set out below.
- Foreign women work in our decision-making committees and are considered for appointment when posts are to be staffed; a quota of 1/3 is allotted to them.
- In addition to running a decentral office concentrating on "Anti-racism", we support the self-organisation of migrant women's groups (medium contingent).
- Within the context of a cooperation agreement the Frauen-Anstiftung e. V. supports the elaboration of anti-racism guidelines for cooperation between foreign and German women and women's projects. This was preceded by a long, open discussion process and by working experience.
- The political situation in the Federal Republic of Germany represents the context for the programme of events under the motto, "On the way to a "Community of Strangers'?". It is characterized by concern with the growing hostility to foreigners and violently enacted racism. With this series of lectures the Frauen-Anstiftung e. V. wishes to make a contribution towards more profound consideration and discussion of the origins of and motives for racist and xenophobic attitudes and behaviour patterns. Moreover political examples of multicultural and antiracist practice in other countries are to be presented. Subjects of the lecture series are:
- The essence of a multiculture - attempt to describe the dimensions of difference
- Black feminism, black women's movement and its relation to the constitutional state
- Experience and perspectives of work with female migrants - a comparison between the Federal Republic of Germany and the Netherlands
- Female immigrants and the feminist/lesbian community in the USA
- Compound Ethnicity - Compound Identity: cultural variety in language
- The encounter programme "Black Women/lmmigrants (Movement)" and antiracism work in the women's movement (November/December 1993 in Amsterdam)
The "Foreign Women" working group within the Frauen-Anstiflung e. V. has assumed responsibility for initiating meetings on subjects such as Cooperation from Different Cultures, Being a Foreign Woman in the Federal Republic of Germany, Racism and Antiracist Work. In this connection it is organising the encounter programme described above chiefly in order to investigate/he experience of black women's groups, centres and organizations and to discuss the possibilities of supranational, Europe-wide cooperation with the relevant representatives.
A further example is the encounter programme between Turkish and German women and Turkish women living in Germany on the subject, "intercultural Cooperation and Exchange of Women between the Federal Republic of Germany and Turkey". A corresponding encounter programme was already implemented in Istanbul in 1991 by Frauen Anstiftung e. V. This year a "Return Encounter" will take place in the Federal Republic of Germany. Ten women from six women's projects in Istanbul and the head of the metropolitan district work of the City of Istanbul will meet women from women's projects in the Federal Republic of Germany for one week to discuss and work on various aspects of intercultural cooperation taking as an example the subject of (racist) violence against women.
Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Technische
Zusammenarbeit (GTZ), GmbH/GATE
Post Box 5180
Federal Republic of Germany
Telex: 41523-0 (gtz d)
The author's opinion does not necessarily represent the view of the publisher.
Frankenallee 71-81, D-60327 Frankfurt
Federal Republic of Germany