Opinion: We can′t do this! | Opinion | DW | 31.08.2016
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Opinion

Opinion: We can't do this!

Exactly one year ago, Angela Merkel opened the doors to hundreds of thousands of refugees and pronounced her famous phrase: "We can do this!" But DW's editor-in-chief Alexander Kudascheff does not agree.

We can't do this because we do not know what we want to do. Do we want to look after people or do we really want to integrate them?

Because we do not know when we will be able to say: "We've managed to do this". After all, 25 years since German Reunification, too many Germans still say that we are not really united.

Because we only understand the task in technical, but not cultural, terms. Instead of learning to accept difference, we think that refugees will simply help solve our demographic problem.

We turn refugees into immigrants.

We cannot do this because we do not understand that some immigrants tend to be more conservative and religious than the average person in our modern society.

Because we cannot even imagine the effort it takes to make people from a different culture feel at home here.

Because we may have such a word as "Heimat" but we rarely give immigrants the feeling that Germany could become their home - in linguistic, cultural and political terms.

Because we are not "a country of immigration", we think that we have to deal with people who come to Germany on an emotional level and have no concept of approaching the issue rationally.

And because we do not seek out immigrants but just accept them.

Because we have a broken relationship with our own country - and do not have a reliably positive image of ourselves that we transmit. In other words, we do not have a "Leitkultur", or guiding culture, because we have a ruptured "fatherland".

Because despite all the talk we are not focussed on becoming a mixed, "colorful" republic as our president sometimes says so enthusiastically.

Because integration is a task that will last at least century and take three generations and we are blind to this challenge.

Because many migrants from Syria or Afghanistan will not "do this" because they are no match for Germany, a high-performing industrialized country with huge demands and a fast pace.

Because, according to our criteria and job market requirements, many immigrants do not know and cannot do enough.

Because "we can do this" is no more than a phrase that says "I am optimistic!"

Because optimism is not a German trait – whereas fear is.

And: Because one day, we are bound to say say, "we did this!" - even if we didn't really...

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