Right-wing terrorists want to instill fear in society. But their self-confidence is growing. The murderers will not achieve their goal.
Demonstration in Hanau after the attack Photo: Bernd Hartung
After Hanau, there must be no "more of the same!", is the message at demonstrations and in editorials. But what follows from this? It was the third time that a racist attack was carried out in Germany along the lines of a rampage. The motive: racism. The most frightening insight from these crimes is that the murderers are in our midst and can strike again at any time.
The perpetrators of Hanau, Halle (2019) and Munich (2016) were not organized fascists of the "Generation Hoyerswerda" like the NSU or the alleged murderer of the president of the Kassel government Walter Lubcke, even if they used their propaganda. Today’s perpetrators are ticking time bombs, and they come from the center of society, which is drifting further and further to the right. The situation is therefore red-hot.
Racism is not the poison that destroys society from the outside, as the chancellor claims, but a foundation that has supported the patriarchal capitalist order in the rich metropolises of the North since the colonization of the South. The crisis of globalized capitalism is accompanied by a frightening rise of right-wing populist parties, fascist movements and racism.
The right-wing populists are the intellectual arsonists and the godfathers of right-wing terrorists. Politicians of almost all colors take up their diatribes and enforce a rigorous isolation against the migration movement, demand faster deportations and more police against "foreign clans". The Hessian state government summarily had the VS files blocked for 120 years, but shortened this period to 30 years because this audacity did not go unchallenged. The involvement of Andreas Temme, who was at the scene of the NSU’s murder of Halit Yozgat in Kassel in 2006, was obviously intended to be forgotten. In 2013, the chancellor had assured the victims’ families of a complete investigation.
The urge for self-promotion
The declared aim of the right-wing terrorists is to instill such fear and terror and civil war-like conditions in society that they can stage themselves as a force for order against it. It is of secondary importance whether the murderers are "crazy," writes Georg Seeblen in the Zeit of February 21, 2020. The perpetrators believe themselves to be the executors of a fascist worldview and are driven by boundless hatred for all people they identify as the Others.
What unites the terrorists is their deeply racist, anti-Semitic and anti-feminist worldview and, not least, their drive for self-promotion. Their greatest role models are mass murderer Anders Breivik, who killed 77 people in Oslo and on the island of Utøya in 2011, and the Australian right-wing terrorist who murdered 51 devout Muslims in an attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 2019. Since the 2016 assassination attempt in Munich, where an 18-year-old student shot nine people in the Olympic Park, it was feared that racist attacks, like the one at Utøya, could also take place in our country at any time.
In his essay "The Laughter of the Perpetrators," Klaus Theweleit provides an explanation of what drives the murderers. They are "dominance types" and believe they are acting in the name of a "higher right. For Theweleit, these racist murder excesses are not exceptions, but the underlying normality of our society.
But what possibilities for action are left to us at all after this gloomy diagnosis? One answer is given by the mother of Ferhat unvar, who was murdered in Hanau: "My son should not have died in vain." She says that we are all responsible for ensuring that what happened to her son does not happen to anyone else. The perpetrators’ attempt to make them strangers is firmly rejected by the victims’ families. The first thing we should do is to stand by the victims and their families so that they are not alone in their pain, their voices and stories are heard, and those who were murdered become subjects and are not forgotten.
That was our lesson after the NSU exposed itself. It is encouraging how quickly the spontaneous call #SayTheirNames to Hanau was taken up and spread. But that is not enough, because we can do considerably more: create networks of solidarity in which people of different origins and histories meet respectfully, listen to each other, and together and resolutely confront everyday racism; show face, don’t let yourself be intimidated, take a public stand, and actively support the diverse anti-racist initiatives, thus helping them to become more publicly effective.
And further: fight institutional racism, for example racial profiling and the police practice of subjecting certain groups of people or places like shisha bars to special observation and stigmatizing them – and, last but not least, take initiatives in the politics of history in which the struggles of migration become visible in order to enable people to critically confront colonial and racist thought patterns and social power relations and not to take them for granted.
"Those who committed these acts should not think that we will leave this country," says Elif Kubasik, whose husband, Mehmet Kubasik was executed by the NSU in his kiosk in Dortmund in 2006. This statement and those of the relatives from Hanau testify to growing self-confidence among victims of racist violence. This gives us hope and impressively proves that the murderers will not achieve their goal. Because migration is irreversible – or as thousands shout at the demonstrations in the days after Hanau: "Yalla Yalla Migrantifa!"