Mind terror in questions about asylum policy
Asylum policy is currently a much-discussed topic that divides our society into two camps. Quite unexpectedly, I have now come under fire personally because I dared to express my views on this publicly.
In December 2014, an association wanted to hold a benefit concert for asylum seekers in my department store in Görlitz. Some acquaintances in Upper Lusatia complained to me about this because most of the guests came from countries that are officially classified as safe. I followed up on these concerns, exercised my domiciliary rights, and stopped the concert. As a result, I was asked to make a statement in the newspaper. In the interview, I wanted to express the concerns of the silent majority about the current asylum policy and provide impetus for a factual discussion, and thus as a citizen and private person to fulfill my social responsibility.
Unfortunately, my remarks turned out to be somewhat terse and provocative, and were therefore misunderstood. The SPD-affiliated press in Görlitz and in Lübeck twisted the formulations a bit and sensationalized them, so some newspaper readers were outraged at me (in Lübeck, the topic is still being exploited journalistically). Many, however, recognized that behind every statement in the interview there was a well-founded and constructive core idea, and not heartless xenophobia or racism. In serious and detailed letters they thanked me for my courage and stated that I had "spoken from the heart".
I am unreservedly in favor of temporarily taking in people in Europe, especially women and children, who are fleeing because of war, but only as long as the emergency exists and accommodation is not possible near their homes. In any case, care should be taken to ensure that they do not expose themselves to danger during their journey and become victims of unscrupulous smugglers. At the same time, the world public must work consistently to bring peace to the trouble spots and not leave the field to gangs of criminals.
I mentioned the pogrom in Rwanda: With consideration for the pacifists of the free world, people wanted to avoid open war and stood idly by for a long time while several million defenseless people were killed. It is high time that the international community establishes binding rules for such cases and enforces their observance militarily in the short term. And in doing so, not to be deterred by the reality-blind peace-loving "public opinion." The forces that pretend to want the good always create the evil. They have also turned a blind eye to many other murderous conflicts, such as Srebrenica, where the Serbs killed eight thousand people. When Saddam Hussein had already solved his ticket abroad, the "peace-loving" chancellor Schröder left the alliance, in this case for electoral reasons, and gave that criminal courage again to hold out.
Generosity towards economic refugees, including those who deliberately put their lives in danger to find shelter in Europe, is not appropriate. They undermine our legal system, which requires a visa for legal entry. More than half of the inhabitants of Germany regard this as coercion and have no understanding for it. In our country, these proactive people are uprooted and out of work, they leave a vacuum at home, and the economic situation there continues to deteriorate. One should do everything humanly possible for them to stay where they are, and instead of spending so much money in Europe for their livelihood and accommodation, partly in container ghettos, one should rather help them to build up an existence in their home country. In doing so, the Samaritans should not act like colonial masters again, this model has had its day. And they should not transfer our conditions one to one there - for example, if large fields are laid out in agriculture, the small farmers lose their livelihood, if one sends used clothes, one hinders the development of small textile businesses.
The fact that Germany should suddenly open its borders without reservation is rejected by many citizens. Once again, our government wants to "do everything better"! Better than, for example, the governments of the USA, Australia, Switzerland and many other countries, which limit the influx more effectively. Or than previous federal governments. The U.S. built a fence between Texas and Mexico because it couldn't handle millions of visa-free immigrants. The new government of Australia, which has an international reputation for being a cosmopolitan, tolerant, friendly continent, has been effectively shielding itself for the past year from economic refugees seeking to immigrate across the sea without visas, with the success that no one is risking their lives to get there anymore. This new restrictive asylum policy is supported by the majority of the Australian population, just as my proposals running in this direction meet with the approval of most fellow citizens in Germany.
The last Christmas sermon of our Federal President and the New Year's speech of the Chancellor, who is intent on maximum consensus, have contributed to people going to demonstrate - supposedly dull and selfish types, but in reality most of them are ordinary citizens who are worried that Germany will gamble away its heritage if the gates are opened unconditionally. Everything that we and our ancestors have won over the past centuries seems to be in danger from foreign infiltration - the right to freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the right to self-determination, equal rights for women, the right to vote, and jurisdiction independent of religion. Conditions in some urban centers, such as Berlin Neukölln (2), already bear witness to this. The guests also bring their conflicts to us, of which we have already seen some.
Decisions of such magnitude, whether we should really accommodate migrants in our country by the millions, should not be made by governments, but by the Bundestag, with a two-thirds majority, as in the case of an amendment to the Basic Law. All facets should be considered and charity should not be the only maxim. And the discussion is superfluous whether and in which God the immigrants believe: Islam does not belong to Germany today any more than Christianity, in both of whose names so much injustice has been done. In my opinion, there is no place for either in the consciousness of enlightened people, but in any case, faith is a private matter, including faith in the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus. Religion and politics are to be strictly separated from each other.
If the population is told today that it will have to take in perhaps half a million economic refugees this year, then many people feel "ripped off. If their calculations work out, two million will arrive next year, and they won't have it any better in their homeland than their predecessors. If our generous benefactors are consistent, they will also have to let these two million in. But where will that end? Should the immigrants from India and Africa succeed in improving their economic situation by settling in Germany, then the sorcerer's apprentices would no longer be masters of the influx; in Africa billions of people are waiting to leave (2)!
And what seems to be a good deed to some philanthropists today, becomes the starting point of new hostility and new injustice. The more foreigners settle here in the long run, the more hostile the attitude of a large part of the native population becomes. This is, by the way, quite normal human behavior; to abolish it would be utopian. Is it time again for a new experiment in Germany? The communism that emerged from our country has already failed! It has made life difficult for several generations and brought death to hundreds of millions. If today the moralizers with their new doctrine of welcome prevail, it would be our children and grandchildren who would have to pay the price!
There has always been a moderate migration in Germany and in Europe. People from other countries have settled and assimilated within two generations. And many Germans have emigrated. Immigration and emigration have balanced each other out for a long time. At the end of the last century, however, the proportion of foreign citizens in Germany skyrocketed from one or two percent to over ten percent. If this continues, it is to be feared that we will squander our heritage, which has been handed down over two thousand years, within a single generation. If you have nothing to lose, it won't matter much to you. A farmer who has inherited a farm and is supposed to pass it on to his children later will think differently: Are the "fatherless fellows" allowed to give away half his estate so generously to strangers?
And with such a sudden permanent integration of too many refugees and asylum seekers, there is a danger that we will fall behind in international comparison and lose our leading position in science and technology worldwide. Our lifestyle and standard of living would inevitably approach that of the countries from which the many migrants come. It might be difficult to maintain the level in school lessons, not only in German. Those who have their ancestral place in our country would have to communicate more and more in English in their daily interactions with the newcomers. But we are at home here and want to speak German.
When the Turkish statesman Erdogan visits Germany and announces in the soccer stadium that he considers the assimilation of Turks in Germany to be a crime against humanity, the alarm bells start ringing in many Germans. Because one does not wish a state in the state, but that our fellow citizens of Turkish origin merge into our people. In one statement of my interview in Görlitz, however, I have to correct myself: there has been a turnaround in recent years: My long-held fears that a huge influx of members of Turkish nationality, as was seen in the 1990s, would change the majority situation in a few decades and that residents of German origin would soon become a minority in our country seem to have been dispelled - immigration has now slowed down considerably, and in 2013 and 2014 about the same number of Turks even moved back to their country as came to Germany. I wish that the trend would not reverse again.
My suggestion in the newspaper interview that Turks should return to their homeland on a voluntary basis, as Chancellor Kohl had also successfully initiated at the time, was also recently raised by the Danish government, according to the German-Turkish News of 25 September 2014. Because throughout Europe the formation of parallel societies is causing concern, in which, for example, European law no longer applies and in our country German lawyers no longer speak the law, but "justices of the peace" speak Islamic law. The mayor of Neukölln, Heinz Buschkowski, has reported on this from his own experience in his recent book "Die andere Gesellschaft" (3).
Many of my colleagues of Turkish origin were born in Germany and are fully integrated here. We have a trusting relationship, I am attached to them and I would personally regret it if they left us. However, even after ten or twenty years, some of their relatives have only a fragmentary command of the language of their new home country. From my point of view, language competence is the key to integration. For example, if I had not been able to read patent literature in German, my native language, many of my inventions would not have come about. So, in my opinion, if residents of Turkish origin in Germany talk in Turkish half the time at home, they fall behind in terms of educational and professional qualifications. At school, they show weaker performance on average than their German classmates, not only in German classes, but also in other subjects, due to their lower language skills. They are then given less confidence and are less likely to be encouraged to attend high school or take up university studies. University graduates of Turkish origin are still exceptions in Germany; Turks here mainly run greengrocer's stores and share jobs as cab drivers with Kurds; they rarely reach management positions. This is different in Turkey: there, people with the same prerequisites become engineers, teachers or doctors, in a similar ratio as here. It is probably not due to genes, as Thilo Sarrazin claims! Of course, there are many biographies that deviate from this description. In our company, we want to pay more attention in the future to specifically promoting our Turkish colleagues, for example through language courses or by entrusting them with more demanding tasks. They are our friends!
The tradition and cultivation of the German language is very dear to me, it is part of our heritage, and I object to it being used as a plaything by ideologically blinded "muddleheads" who, for example, want to impose on us every ten years a new neologism for the term "Negro," which I use without any discriminatory ulterior motive. Then, thankfully, the FDP politician Happach-Kasan came to my defense in the Lübecker Nachrichten (25.2.2015) in front of functionaries of the Lübeck students: "To want to attach a certain mental attitude to the use of the word Negro is opinionated and completely insensitive." For her, there was no doubt that Stöcker ran his company in a cosmopolitan and tolerant manner. She's right about that! Stöcker also despises the demand, made out of a petty sense of justice, that every masculine form should be joined by the feminine form when referring to people. Everyone goes along with it because they are not sure whether this fanaticism is justified or not. However, women will not gain a single additional place in a boardroom as a result; I offer a better solution below. When the citizens have come to their senses again, they will throw off this annoying ballast, I can hardly wait.
In Europe, there is an unprecedented cultural diversity, due to the history and peculiarity of the individual countries. We should protect this wealth. The French love wine, good food, fashion and erotic adventure; their tricolor vouches for our ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity. The English are into fish and chips, afternoon tea, double-decker buses and cricket, and they can't bring themselves to abolish the anachronistic privileges of the Kings and Earls. The Russians listen to the sound of the balalaika, they eat their fill of caviar and borscht soup, they drink vast quantities of vodka, they disassemble and reassemble their matryoshka doll every day. Italians sing all day and compose the most beautiful operas, they love mozzarella with tomatoes and basil, eat pasta, pizza and olives, they have good tailors and shoemakers and the best ice cream. In Poland, people dress neatly and elegantly, the best Pope ever, Chopin and Marie Curie came from them, and Poland paved the way out of communism. The proud Spaniards beat the bull, eat tapas and provide us with ham from the Iberico pig. Germany is known for diligence, punctuality, honesty and orderliness. We philosophize, write poetry and organize. We are the country with the highest musical culture, with the best cars and machines. Technologically, we are at the top of the world, and EUROIMMUN has contributed significantly to this.
It is the diversity of cultures that has shaped Europe over the centuries. If everything were to be mixed, the wealth of life forms and customs would be lost. If millions upon millions of people from other parts of the world were to flood into Europe, people who do not identify at all with the value spectrum of their host countries, but only aim at improving their income, then what distinguishes us would be thinned out and abolished. Most Europeans are against this. Every European country should preserve its identity. That has nothing to do with discrimination and xenophobia. Nor do I want us Europeans to spread out into other parts of the world again, as we did in the days of colonialism.
No country should abandon itself, but preserve its traditions, its language and its songs, which give its inhabitants a sense of belonging and security. One should not ingratiate oneself too much with foreign influences. We do not need to ingratiate ourselves with Americans and should avoid Anglicisms where German words exist. If our children learn mainly American repertoire in music lessons, as is the case in some schools in Lübeck, then our own songs fall by the wayside. We are not supposed to sing "Happy Birthday to You", but "Zum Geburtstag viel Glück". One can express one's cosmopolitanism in a different way, if one wants to brag about it. There are such beautiful folk songs in our country, they should be sung, the imported songs only now and then, not vice versa.
In my opinion, Germany should not be seen as a "country of immigration" and Europe should not be seen as a continent for immigrants, because we are already densely enough populated - unlike America in the past or even today Canada and perhaps Australia, or a thousand years ago Poland. We don't need foreign help to finance our pensions, that's just a cheap excuse, in case of need we could limit ourselves a bit without further ado. What an embarrassment if we had to exploit the newcomers for this. They would be busy for decades anyway, trying to get along here themselves, and they would be missing in their homeland. We have completely different possibilities:
Let's develop a "welcome culture" for our own young people! Entrepreneurs and politicians should make sure that our young people can better reconcile work and family life! EUROIMMUN has been living it for many years: In our company kindergartens, more than 150 children of employees are taken in and cared for on a full-time basis, from the age of half a year. The school children are picked up from school by a driver at lunchtime and taken to the after-school care center, while our teachers supervise their schoolwork.
Most children very much appreciate being with the kindergarten teacher during the day in the working week and with their parents in their free time. Fathers and mothers return to work a few months after a birth, then draw the same salary as before, and the company saves the expense of the lengthy training of a replacement. After all, those who want to take care of their offspring full-time for a few years do not need to take advantage of such support.
The still widespread view that a mother belongs at the hearth and must sacrifice half of her working life to her family is outdated. While others are pursuing their careers, she is torn away from her daily work routine, loses her own income and also loses touch with her profession. The laboriously acquired competence lies idle and is lost, she gets into a bad mood, a re-entry many years later requires efforts like for a new education and is often connected with a demotion. I appeal to the common sense of society, give both parents in every family the chance to develop freely professionally and to practice the learned profession throughout their lives, instead of sending one parent into a forced break for years for the purpose of child care. This is also how we at EUROIMMUN solve the problem of the lack of qualified personnel!
If such measures become widespread, the boardrooms will fill up with women by themselves, through qualification, not through government decree. Now men still have to be educated to realize that they have equal rights in housework (here I am personally a pioneer!). Under such conditions, parents can be encouraged to have children at a biologically favorable age, that is, at the beginning of a working or studying life, and not when one might need a doctor in addition to a husband to get pregnant. Welcome, dear children, you are chosen to finance our retirement!
Immediately after my unsuccessful interview appeared, the president of Lübeck University, Prof. Hendrik Lehnert, felt compelled to make the following announcement: "Tolerance, cosmopolitanism and a clear commitment to multicultural thinking and acting are inalienable values of our campus culture. We therefore distance ourselves most emphatically from the ideas expressed by Prof. Dr. Winfried Stöcker in his interview with the Sächsische Zeitung."
That was not fair. The president should have first informed himself about the background of this distorted interview. He knows the EUROIMMUN company in its entirety and we had pursued several scientific projects together. It cannot have escaped his attention that this company and its CEO are unsurpassed in tolerance and cosmopolitanism. I have always demonstrated this. Scientists from all over the world come and go with us. I respect everyone regardless of their origin or gender. I ensure justice and dignified working conditions. Whoever visits the company I founded and manage, at any location in the world, praises the friendly and familiar, non-discriminatory atmosphere. In terms of friendliness to women, we have just been ranked 7th out of 620,463 evaluations of German companies, even though we do not constantly make extra allowances for women in our salutations.
Out of sheer fear that his university, of which he recently became president, could get a little scratched, he drops a highly deserving scientist and international entrepreneur, who has done so much for the University of Lübeck like hardly anyone else, like a hot potato when its university medicine was about to go under the collar, and he delivers me to the sensation-hungry press without consideration or hesitation. His statements have really heated things up, a nice present for journalists in their variety-poor Christmas season. But it is precisely a university that should allow a diversity of ideas and views! And this president certainly does not own the truth.
It is also possible to arrive at a diametrically opposed assessment of my Görlitz interview, as evidenced by hundreds of letters that have reached me: "I have read your clear and unambiguous words and thank you expressly and most sincerely for this unequivocal message. If our regional politicians and media representatives now claim that you are harming the venerable department store in Görlitz with this, I think this is just a clumsy attempt to prevent diversity of opinion, and I see more and more the danger that we will fall into conditions that we actually wanted to overcome with the political changes in 1990." "Mr. Stöcker is right in his statements. He speaks out publicly what many citizens think but unfortunately keep quiet about." "Respect Mr. Stöcker, you have the courage to swim against the tide!" "After reading your interview, I feel the need to ask you to stay as you are!" "Your concerns on illegal immigration I share completely." "You have spoken from the heart, and we specifically say thank you for your clear words, as well as your courage to speak even uncomfortable truths." And from my labs, "We are behind you!"
My customers also see me in a better light than the Lübeck university president; they remain loyal to me, if only because they have known me for a long time and know very well that I am a kind-hearted person and am not guided by any base motives.
Such supporters do not want to be told what to think by any journalist or politician. Finally, in a democracy, the votes are counted - whether they are "good or bad votes". And if the majority of our population rejects an unbalanced influx of people from distant countries, politics must follow suit. And it does not suit our society well that some model democrats want to impose their worldview on those who think differently and brand them as morally inferior and discriminate against them.
Still two months later Prof. Lehnert lectured his students, quoted on 21.2.2015 in the Lübecker Nachrichten, he was grateful about the incident with the Stöcker interview in Görlitz, "because we can use it to make clear what we are and what we stand for, for cosmopolitanism and tolerance". Lessons in pharisaism - being bothered by trivialities (he said "negro"!) and not wanting or being able to see the context. He has still forgotten the Christian "ideas", such as forbearance and forgiveness. Professor Lehnert: I have stood for all this for a long time, with all my heart and with my deeds, and also for consideration, generosity, reason, foresight, and above all for democracy and respect for the opinion of others. But not for smear campaigns against independent spirits.
On the occasion of a celebration at the beginning of January 2015, when the University of Lübeck was renamed a foundation, an upper-class student senate member emphasized, "after all, money can stink," possible donations from EUROIMMUN -chief Winfried Stöcker should be consistently rejected. "His racist gaffes in a newspaper interview cannot be excused by anything". So it was to be read in the "Lübecker Nachrichten". The best opportunity to show the boss of a successful company his limits. But also an affront to my 2,000 hard-working and creative employees, from whom the funds provided (of almost one million euros per year) were honestly earned. There was nothing to be read of an objection on the part of the president of the university against such rude remarks. One must therefore assume that he shares this view, or he is afraid of the students. And now comes a clear announcement: Nostra pecunia non olet. EUROIMMUN will voluntarily not provide any more funds to the university as long as this president is in office. He has succeeded in doing what the state government failed to do five years ago: that Lübeck's internationally leading biotechnology company EUROIMMUN will have to look for a new location for its expansion and that several extremely successful and exemplary cooperation projects will have to be cancelled!