Leader of the Eurosceptic, anti-mass migration Alternative for Germany (AfD) party has said her fellow Germans should not be afraid to be patriotic for a country which is under threat from mass migration.
Party leader Frauke Petry made the remarks in an apparently fraught interview with German magazine Spiegel, quoting Oxford academic and British government advisor Sir Paul Collier. Responding to the question “what do you have against immigration?”, Dr. Petry cited Sir Paul’s book Exodus, and said: “One thing is clear: The immigration of so many Muslims will change our culture”.
Exodus, subtitled ‘How Migration Changed Our World’ is the academic’s 2013 study on mass migration and highlighted how migration can damage both host an home nations. Looking to cities like London where “indigenous” Britons are now in a minority, Collier found increasing migration discouraged integration.
Sir Paul has also gone on record saying migration weakens social cohesion, and that migrants bring their “dysfunctional cultures to developed countries” and suggested it would be good if many returned home, as reported by Breitbart London.
Speaking on this change that migrants bring in her interview, Dr. Petry said there had to be a mandate for such a significant shift in national life. She said: “If this change is desired, it must be the product of a democratic decision supported by a broad majority. But Ms. Merkel simply opened the borders and invited everybody in, without consulting the parliament or the people”.
Although Dr. Petry clearly has significant doubts about German politicians, she is more enthusiastic about Germany itself, and used some of the interview to express her views on national pride. While lamenting that “nationalism and patriotism are regularly thrown in the same pot”, she said it was time for Germany to stop using the past and collective guilt as an excuse, and to embrace “healthy patriotism”.
Remarking that feeling love for your own nation should be “natural”, Dr. Petry said: “This stance includes taking responsibility for our history, but it also presupposes a healthy relationship to our identity, without which it’s impossible to act in a forward-looking manner both domestically and externally. We think it’s wrong that German politicians are exclusively wrapping themselves in the cloak of guilt”.
This position stands in line with her scepticism over the direction of travel towards a European super-state. Saying her patriotism was a natural response to the centralisation in brussels, Dr. Petry also batted aside the suggestion her party could be considered purely “far right”. Remarking on her criticism of banks and the Euro, she said the party was closer to the German Far Left party, rather than right-wing conservatives.
The interview also touched on Dr. Petry’s remarks in January on defending Germany’s borders. The subject has been a favourite for the German main-stream media, as Dr. Petry’s remark that the German constitution and national laws provided for armed border guards was quickly turned into a call for police to fire on unarmed migrant children.
While the Spiegel interviewer accused Petry of trivialising violence, she said the outrage over her remarks had been concocted from “faux scandal” and that “people wanted to wilfully misunderstand” her remarks.
A recent interview with Dr. Petry by German English-language broadcaster Deutsche Welle went viral as the interviewer Tim Sebastian repeatedly attempted to wrong-foot the AfD leader. Her remarks on German border guards were again a central part of the interview but much comment, especially among supporters of Dr. Petry surrounding the piece focussed on Mr. Sebastian’s confrontational style and constant interrupting of her answers.
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