Tuesday, April 19, 2016

"Merkel's Road to Moral Surrender"

"How does European humanitarianism become a road to moral surrender? In Germany, they’re beginning to find out.
Jan Böhmermann is a German political satirist—think of a younger version of Jon Stewart—who, on his TV show last month, read aloud a lewd poem about Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The verse was replete with mocking references to the Turkish president’s anatomy, his alleged relations with farm animals, and his mistreatment of religious and ethnic minorities.
Was it funny? My wife, who’s German, puts it in the category of “so puerile you laugh.” But Mr. Böhmermann had a serious point, explicitly framing his poem as an example of Schmähkrtik, or abusive criticism, and therefore not necessarily protected by German law. His larger aim was to test the limits of free speech, much as the American comedian George Carlin did in the 1970s with his notorious “seven words you can’t say on TV.”
The ploy succeeded too well. The Turkish foreign ministry made a formal request of the German government to prosecute Mr. Böhmermann under a Wilhelmine-era law (known as Section 103 and previously used by the Shah of Iran and Augusto Pinochet of Chile) forbidding insults against foreign leaders. Mr. Erdogan has also filed a private suit against the comedian, who is now under police protection in consideration of the recent fates of European satirists who ran afoul of Muslim sensitivities.
None of this is surprising: The Turkish government is pursuing nearly 2,000 criminal cases against Turkish citizens accused of insulting Mr. Erdogan, some of which involve school-age children who posted material on Facebook. Mr. Erdogan’s bodyguards also recently roughed up some demonstrators protesting him in Washington, D.C. It’s in the nature of political thuggery to recognize no boundaries, moral or territorial.
It’s also in the nature of the liberal West constantly to seek an accommodation with the thugs. ZDF, the German public broadcaster that carries Mr. Böhmermann’s show, immediately pulled the offending clip from its website, though it promises to foot his legal bills. German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu that she found the poem “deliberately hurtful,” a comment her spokesman went out of his way to disclose.
More damagingly, the chancellor allowed the criminal case to go forward when she had the legal authority to stop it, claiming the judiciary is where the matter rightly belongs while promising to repeal the law under which the suit was brought. This is supposed to be the height of pragmatism, a way of mollifying Mr. Erdogan even as it’s unlikely that a German court will impose much of a penalty on Mr. Böhmermann.
But hiding behind judicial skirts does nothing to disguise Mrs. Merkel’s more craven calculation, which is her need to placate Mr. Erdogan after he agreed last month to keep refugees from flooding Europe through Turkey in exchange for billions in financial aid and visa-free travel for Turks in Europe. A deal is supposed to be a deal, but the Turkish president is not the sort to stay (politically) bribed. Hence the need to appease him in the coin of a comedian’s prosecution.
What begins in small concessions of principle generally leads to greater concessions. Germany might soon repeal Section 103 and Mr. Böhmermann may well be vindicated in court. But by now Mr. Erdogan knows that nothing is so morally flexible as a Western politician desperate to avoid a tough choice, so expect him to find new avenues to impose his will, and his values, on a pliable Europe..."

18 comments:

ricpic said...

Carlin was in a paradise of free speech compared to what an outspoken German faces today.

Methadras said...

Or anywhere else in the world for that matter. The concept of criticizing your 'leaders' without government sanction appears to be a uniquely American virtue.

deborah said...

I think this points up that we do take America for granted, as screwed up as things are getting.

Trooper York said...

Merkel is Paul Ryan with tits.

Sixty Grit said...

You are arguing facts not in evidence.

edutcher said...

She wanted to make a statement.

Some people, when they have nothing to say, insist on saying it.

deborah said...

I think this points up that we do take America for granted, as screwed up as things are getting.

that's been the case for about 80 years. What we need to do is stop worrying who gets "offended" and start unscrewing things.

ampersand said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ampersand said...

The concept of criticizing your 'leaders' without government sanction appears to be a uniquely American virtue.

Unless you are the producers of "The Path to 9-11".

Methadras said...

What is it about the RMPC mind that is willing to allow the very outspoken enemies of your way of life and to see your utter and total annihilation to come live with you?

Chip Ahoy said...

I've read about a television exposé on Hillary and the Clintons that was nixed. And I'm reading now about climate change alarmists pushing for a new and unassailable authoritah. Their new secular god that cannot be offended.

👊🏼💣💥💀🔫🔥

Do those show? They're offered on my new "frequently used" characters when I went for the ordinary é. I downloaded El Capitan yesterday and these showed up in their character map frequently used, to show me, I suppose, because I've never used such silly things. Did they work for conveying hostility? It's what is offered in frequently used. GAWL!

This is a similar thing except entirely different: I just now realized in the visual world the concepts for the words "earn" and "deserve" and "merit" are all the same visually. Any visual distinction would be without a difference.

It is conveyed by a pantomime of one hand scooping from the open palm of the other hand and it applies to all instances of earning a salary, deserving an oscar, and meriting another badge or a raise. Scoop to yourself. Isn't that odd now that you think about it? I always felt clear distinctions but visually there aren't any.

deborah said...

Royal Mounted Politically Correct?

Methadras said...

deborah said...

Royal Mounted Politically Correct?


Radical Marxist Progressive Collectivist

deborah said...

Thank you! I couldn't find it when I looked around.

Chip Ahoy said...

Now you can put on your Howard of Mayberry voice and go, "That's very interesting, Andy. Say, why is that important?"

And I'll put on my Andy of Mayberry voice to say in the lyrics for Madonna's How High that comes two songs after Forbidden Love and one song after Jump (that also has the word "earn") there is the tricky combination of both earn and deserve two distinct lyrics in English and they're the exact same thing visually. It seems a mistake but it's not.

How did I earn it?
Nobody's perfect
I guess I deserve it.

visually then :

how scoop to me
Nobody perfect
guess scoop to me

And that's perfectly visual and imperfectly lyrical.

ndspinelli said...

You can rape our women en masse celebrating the New Year. We can't say boo about that or about any Muslim. I see a new Hitler coming soon to a beer hall in Munich.

Methadras said...

deborah said...

Thank you! I couldn't find it when I looked around.


You won't. I made it up and I've been trying to coin it. I've been trying to say it enough times on here and twitter to see if I can get it into the fabric, the consciousness of readers

deborah said...

I would help, but I don't twitter or FB.

Chip, I think it has something to do with context.

deborah said...

Nick, I get your meaning, but your context is a little off :)