Thursday, May 05, 2016

When German readers are less PC than a Czech politician

Some Czech media inform us about an interview of Czech politician Pavel Bělobrádek for Die Welt:
Germany and its Chancellor have saved the Balkans
Interestingly, the Czech media usually choose a different title, one saying that the "refugee quotas remind Czechs of the Munich Treaty". Bělobrádek (=the Whitebearded One) is the leader of a small, sub-10-percent party. But the centrist party is in the coalition now (and was in it most of the time since 1989) and the party is probably the most PC and certainly the most pro-German one on the Czech political spectrum.

Its name is the "Christian Democratic Union – the Czechoslovak People's Party" (the name wasn't changed after the Velvet Divorce). At least the first party of the name must sound OK enough to German ears. It's also the only party in Czechia that clearly supports Christianity. And Bělobrádek has blue eyes and blonde hair, too (pics). And I don't even want to mention that he has pleased the bosses of the Sudeten German organizations by his recent visit and friendliness. Even the boss of the Sudetendeutschenlandsmannschaft whom President Zeman calls a Hitler after holidays in the fattening station (guess why) was pleased by Bělobrádek's gestures.

In the interview, Bělobrádek says that it's unfair to criticize Czechs for their lack of hospitality. We're helping and we're sending help to the Middle East, too. (He could have mentioned the numerous Ukrainians whom we have embraced – that was also a battlefront.) But we can't be helping according to other nations' wishes. He has mentioned Jesus' Parable of the Good Samaritan – I guess that it has never appeared in interviews in the modern Czechia yet. ;-)

Although he's a PC politician of a sort, he offers an innovative observation that the Czechs oppose the migrant quotas (the Czech public is clearly the most anti-Muslim populace when it comes to all sorts of related questions, even compared to other Visegrad countries) because they think that this decision – which was done despite our disagreement – seems analogous to the 1938 Munich Treaty (among Czech speakers, it's normally referred to as the Munich Betrayal [of Czechoslovakia by its Western European allies]) that allowed Hitler to annex the Sudetenland. The difference is that in 1938, it was agreed that the Germans may gain self-confidence and spread their power over the Czech lands independently of the opinion of Czechs. Now, it's the Muslims who should be allowed something similar. In both cases, it's the politicians in major Western European capitals who feel entitled to make the decision.

Bělobrádek advocates the help to the troubled Middle Eastern countries on their own territory where the aid is "cheaper by a factor of eight". So you can help eight Muslims over there instead of one who arrives here – for the same money. Moreover, if you allow the work-capable people to go from Syria to Europe, who will be rebuilding Syria when the war is over? He said many things that agree with the usual opinions by the Czech politicians. But his pro-Brussels credentials were also made clear. He "blamed" Václav Klaus' two presidential terms and the Russia influence for the unusually high degree of the Czechs' Euroskepticism at the end. Nevertheless, he believes that there won't be a referendum on the Czechzit anytime soon.

The title of the interview in Die Welt is based on his assertion that Merkel has saved the Balkans – because she has allowed the Muslims to continue to Germany while the alternative could have been for the Muslims to accumulate in the Balkan countries and seriously harm these countries. But he also said that Germany won't be capable of dealing with such an influx indefinitely. But his claim that "Merkel has saved the Balkans" has led to an interesting reaction by the German readers in the comments.

By far the most upvoted comment – with over 120+ upvotes at this moment – says:
"Germany and its Chancellor have saved the Balkans."
Why should I care about the Balkans? The lady should be saving Germany – but she's doing exactly the opposite.
Die Welt is as close to the German mainstream as you can get. But as you can see, it's perfectly possible for the readers of Die Welt to be far more critical of Merkel's welcoming policies than a Czech politician. We're often told that the Germans are far more disciplined – far less likely to complain about the government etc. – than the good-soldier-Švejk-like Czechs (and others). But I think that the amount of common sense among the German citizens is mostly being underestimated.

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