The rise of nationalism, national socialism, and xenophobia has returned to Germany again. It never disappeared as it never has, and it will only take a small event, such as another refugee crisis, to generate a tremendous response such as what happened in 2016. Germany went from being a very “refugee tolerant” nation among the people to expressing an outright hatred of refugees and a yearning for the “glory days” of World War II and before.
There have been outbursts of violence in Germany that have shown what is bubbling beneath the surface. One such example appears to have recently happened, where a German man executed nine people in an attack on a Turkish hookah bar before killing his mother and then himself.
A gunman killed nine people in two apparently racially motivated shootings at shisha bars in the German town of Hanau, police said. The suspect then killed himself, according to officers, after also killing his mother at his home.
Investigators believed a racist motive was behind the attack, said Peter Beuth, the interior minister for the state of Hessen. Angela Merkel said the circumstances of the attack needed to be fully investigated, and the shootings had exposed the “poison” of racism in German society. She pledged to stand up against those who sought to divide the country.
Nine people died in the attacks on the two bars on Wednesday night. Five others had life-threatening injuries, police said.
Some of those killed were of Turkish origin, a spokesman for the Turkish presidency said. “We expect German authorities to show maximum effort to enlighten this case. Racism is a collective cancer,” İbrahim Kalın tweeted.
The killer was named by police as 43-year-old Tobias R. His surname was not given, in line with German practice. German media named him as Tobias Rathjen. (source)
Attacks like this, while isolated, are not in themselves isolated things because they represent a social current moving right now.
Things are changing in Germany right now and many are not aware of it, nor do they expect it, but the refugee situation has reached public consciousness and has angered many to, if not the point of violence, to being able to ‘look past’ violence in a justifiable way.
This is not new. It has happened before. It is not because Germans are ‘bad people’, but this is a pattern of German history that is being exploited for political and financial gain. However, if it returns, and it likely will, it is possible that those who are exploiting it will end up being caught in their own designs and destroyed by it.