Wir alle – all of us!
The Tollwood-Festivals in Munich originated in left wing alternative circles – initiating and supporting new life styles and ideas. Besides manufacturers- and arts markets, great international food and beverage and many interesting cultural entertainment events, the festival always has a main focal point. This year at the Winter-Tollwood the theme is: Wir Alle! which means All of us! in the sense of we all have to take action!
At the so called Welt Salon/World Parlor, you can find – besides a touching exhibition – presentations and discussions about “hot potato” themes concerning everybody that lives in the city. I visited a panel discussion about how we can protect our democracy and why this is necessary. Invited guests were Wolfgang Thierse, former president of the German Bundestag, Prof. Andreas Zink, an extremism researcher at the University of Bielefeld and Hans Leyendecker an investigative journalist and next years German church congress president. The discussion was moderated by Sybille Giel from the Bavarian radio, as they are a co host to the events.
Wolfgang Thierse grew up in the GDR and is very aware of the fact, that democracy’s implicitness is part of its endangerment. The nowadays and future generations take our freedom for granted as they did never experience this atmosphere of constant control, uncertainty and latent threat.
Professor Andreas Zink thinks that the main problem that many people here in Germany have and that also showed in the recent elections, is not fear, but a strong feeling of powerlessness.
Hans Leyendecker considers the changes in civil mainstream as the most dangerous thing. People he would never have thought this about are using intolerant and racist speech, without hesitation. He thinks the middle of our society is polarized and in danger of breaking apart.
All three speakers applied vividly to all of us, to speak up for tolerance and against social exclusion in circles of neighbors, friends and colleagues. We have to interfere – we as civil society have to build new bridges and make others aware, that we as human beings have much more in common than things dividing us.
The silver bullet to diminish fear and xenophobia is to create spaces were people of different origin meet and get to know each others.
It is important to strengthen the feeling of Germany being our native home and as well use all means, to integrate the human beings coming into our country as refugees, looking for help, shelter and probably a new place to live.