Wieduwilt’s week: Greta Thunberg made me right

There are leftists who are unmoved by the massacre of the Israelis. This reaction causes entire ideologies to implode. With some people every debate is in vain.

It’s not hard to spot an idiot. My rule of thumb: Anyone who sticks on a lot of labels is an idiot. On the Internet, these are people who put a lot of flags, emojis and symbols in their biography, sometimes even vain self-descriptions, then they are called “free spirit” or “clear thinker”. In the analog world, these were and are bumper stickers. In the past, Sylt-dödel labeled themselves with island outlines, eco-friendly people had the “Nuclear power? No thanks!” suns and today some people put a “Fuck you Greta” sticker on the back.

The problem with my rule of thumb is this: I want a Greta sticker like that myself and I also want a combustion engine where I can stick it on with grim pleasure. What’s wrong with me? I can still rationalize the car thing because the completely broken, completely unsalvageable German Devil’s Railway blocks the route between Berlin and Hamburg, that’s no joke, as if people don’t have to go from one big city to the other.

I also feel an internal shift to the right in other things. It corresponds to an external shift to the right. Or rather: a disappointment with the left – not the party that is currently crumbling, but left-wing, sometimes progressive ideologies.

What does “free Palestinian” mean?

The truth is that Greta has truly earned the Greta sticker these days. The climate activist has hypnotized millions and is now using this mental dominance for her final solution to the Middle East conflict: “Free Palestine,” she shouts to the world, with a small octopus next to her, but of course, oops, it wasn’t meant to be anti-Semitic. It can happen that when common anti-Jewish ciphers were used at school, Greta sat outside with this cardboard sign.

But “free Palestine”? What that means is debatable. Some mean a liberation of Palestinian people in the occupied territories, i.e. in the West Bank, some mean an end to border controls in Gaza, although strangely enough they always only mean the Israeli border, never the barricaded and sealed Egyptian border. And still others simply say: free the world from Israel. And you hold a message like that into the camera?

The environmental movement shows hostility to Israel in many places. “Fridays For Future International”, an account that apparently operates under completely chaotic conditions and claims to be an advocate for the climate movement, has been trumpeting anti-Israel texts and images into the world all day long. For German representative Luisa Neubauer, this is no reason to rebrand the movement – the effort would be minimal and “Fridays for Torture” sounds very similar.

Shockingly “national”

So the left is losing the climate movement, but the left-wing public broadcasting media can no longer be relied on either. In the Tagesthemen, editor Julia Ruhs is shocking with the announcement that migration policy must now be thought of in a “national” way. She makes the quotation marks with her fingers because she knows that some people are freaking out.

So some people freaked out. On The alleged social democrat describes herself as a “do-gooder out of conviction” – I’m very proud of my little rule of thumb again.

The actually somewhat left-wing chancellor was emblazoned on the “Spiegel” with the line: “We finally have to deport people on a large scale.” Deportations have a cruel psychological effect, as anyone who deals with such procedures knows; families are torn apart overnight, the realities of life are shattered, friends are divided and so on.

My grim pleasure

Nevertheless, I watch with grim pleasure as a few Tiktokers, presumably of Arab origin, one in an undershirt, with ashen faces and complete consternation, state: Oops, Barrelo is in detention pending deportation, the state is suddenly taking action! “Crazy, crazy, crazy, crazy,” stammers one. Yes, crazy, I think, really cool.

Am I suddenly becoming right-wing? There have already been quite a few sudden changes to the law. The columnist Jan Fleischhauer wrote a whole book about it (“Unter Linken”). But these days the cases are increasing. In the Austrian “Standard” a social democrat and refugee worker writes: “Off to detention and goodbye, ideally. Celebrate the Hamas murderers at home. Baba and don’t fall.” Then I’m gripped by grim pleasure again.

Some of my left-wing, left-progressive, even feminist-gender studies educated friends share my anger. They harden and slide meter by meter to the right. They are repulsed and shocked by the ice-cold lack of empathy towards Israel that runs deep within their ex-heroes at the top of society: be it Greta, Fridays for Future, scientists, leading politicians or, quite simply, their own friends.

Left to bed and woke up conservatively

The Russian-British satirist and political commentator Konstantin Kisin has precisely observed how left-wing ideas are being destroyed by Hamas’s barbaric massacre. “Many people woke up on October 7th as progressives and went to bed that night feeling conservative,” he diagnoses. Kisin routinely works on the “woken” and as is well known, I refuse to do cultural war service. But his analysis is sound. The barbarism of Hamas and the shocking applause, be it in the form of silence, has shown one thing: with some people, every debate is in vain; no dialogue or integration helps.

The sociologist Armin Nassehi sounds similar. This is how he describes the left’s inner life: “You universalize your own little world, which believes in the power of the better argument and in the will to insight, which you like to attribute to yourself.” The migrant reality in Germany seems – oh ah – “hardly civilizable at the moment”.

These are all rather cheerless, grim statements. Where do they lead?

First: the willingness to talk disappears. That’s why you can’t “exhort” Israel to engage in diplomacy at the moment – a formulation that falls well below freezing point from Christoph Heusgen, Angela Merkel’s former advisor and current head of the Security Conference. Who should they talk to? With people setting living people on fire? In the same way, you cannot admonish Hamas fans in Germany; be they of left-wing or migrant origin.

Second: Other means are needed instead of conversation. Mandatory Israel confessions upon naturalization and rapid, frequent deportations can be such means. I quoted other suggestions in the previous column. Hardness can work, because hardness is “crass, crass, crass, crass.”

When is right to right?

The conscientious leftist in me naturally wonders how much right is too right. In Denmark, the state is currently bulldozing migrant neighborhoods so that people there can integrate better. Social Democrats are in government. I’m reassured: I’m not feeling any grim pleasure – yet.

I will observe the internal and external shift to the right. This is not fun, more like, to quote a great leftist, like peeling the onion. Please observe, dear reader. And if I ever put a label like “free spirit” on myself, please take action immediately.

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