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English as a foreign language

Living as a German in an increasingly English-speaking world

2010-10-27: We’re not all like that!

I am aware that, just by following the press coverage of leading German “politicians” and their “thoughts” over the last few weeks, you may think that Germany has turned into a racist Nazi state again.

Let me assure you that many ordinary Germans, like myself, don’t think along those lines at all, but see the facts on the ground.

“Multikulti”, the German model of a multicultural society, has not failed as our chancelor has said, quite to the contrary. It is alive and kicking all over the country. German society would not be anywhere near the same were it not for the influences we have enjoyed from outside our narrow cultural sphere. And, by and large, we like it that way.

Germany has a society that relies on immigration for survival. More people pack up and leave than come to stay, every year; we need to change that trend, and urgently. It’s clear that is in our own best self-interest to control immigration, like any immigration-dependent nation does. But first we need to make Germany an attractive country to come to and settle in. Racist comments are not the way to achieve this. Not having English as an official language puts us at an disadvantage already – no, I don’t want to change that, but you need to take this into account to keep things in perspective.

I’m not saying that there are no problems with migrants refusing integration. There are. But hey, there are Germans with no migration background who refuse to integrate into mainstream society. There are specific problems as well, like honour killings or forced marriages. Those are intolerable, no two ways about it. But they need to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis rather than by lashing out at immigrant communities in general. That is counter-productive.

We need to be welcoming towards everyone who wants to come and live and work together with us, and accept minimal standards of civility. Wherever they may come from. Please feel welcome to Germany.

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