Civil Rights Hero Angelika Barbe Writes Open Letter to Singer-Songwriter Wolf Biermann

 

Angelika Barbe was an Eastern German civil rights activist. After the end of the dictatorship she co-founded the Eastern German branch of left-wing party SPD before she joined Merkel’s then conservative party CDU.

She published the following open letter on October 6th, 2017. It is addressed to songwriter Wolf Biermann who once moved to Eastern Germany as a believer of socialism before he fled it again when the regime turned against him. Biermann who criticizes the regime has never left the political left. The open letter is a reaction to his denunciation of voters who elected conservative party AfD.

Dear Wolf,

Since we participated in a hunger strike with Bärbel Bohley and other civil rights activists in the East Berlin headquarters of the stasi in 1990 we know each other personally. Before that I already worshiped you for your songs. I wrote down their lyrics and distributed them secretly. I was the only member of my party SPD who joined the hunger strike to open to the public the archives that kept the stasi files. I was defamed for it by [leading SPD politician] Wolfgang Thierse. You know I’m not a coward. And the majority of Eastern Germans are neither.

It’s too bad that you had no opportunity to talk with the many citizens I met in Dresden over the past years. Of more than 500 letters which we received at Saxony’s Institute for Political Education (German: Landeszentrale für politische Bildung) more than 90 percent complained that their petitions, letters and inquiries are not answered no matter if they go to mayors, deputies, land committees or other representatives of the establishment. The writers feel unaccepted, mocked, and insulted as racists.

Angela Merkel lands with the helicopter in Heidenau, flees again after an hour and does not solve a single problem. On the [townhall style TV show] Wahlarena she advises a cleaning woman to put her little money into the [subsidized semi-private] Riester pension scheme. It shows that they do not understand the citizens’ lives. She does not lose a word about what judge Jürgen Borchert calls a “transfer exploitation of the families”. She dares to promise raising the monetary payouts to parents with children (German: Kindergeld), which is at best a “restitution of theft” (Borchert). The practice is an unconstitutional taxation of the bare minimum income needed to eke out a life with children.

[translation note: She loses me here. It is mind-boggling what our rogue supreme court justices find in the constitution. Apparently, taxing parents with little income is unconstitutional]

Merkel leaves us citizens behind with the constant threat of terror. It’s even worse than that. Numerous media outlets, which deny us the full truth, appease us and say that hundreds of thousands unregistered illegal migrants are harmless despite numerous Islamic terror, knife and truck attacks. The government is silent on the loss of control. Ultimately, THEY are not affected personally. Rather “Merkel barriers” are set up when the politicians have their public appearance as it was the case on 3rd October 2016 in Dresden. There were even snipers on the roofs.

The victims of Islamic terrorist attacks are kept secret, true to the motto of socialist Eastern Germany’s ruling uniparty SED: “Where there are no victims, there are no offenders!” The loved ones of the Christmas truck attack victims on the Breitscheidplatz in Berlin were deliberately kept out of the Wahlarena TV show which featured [a rare] Merkel [public outing].

The Eastern Germans could not be conned and see fundamental rights such as Art 16a GG abolished [note: Art 16a GG is the right to asylum and refuge from war. Barber probably sees it threatened by its abuse for mass immigration, which sidelines the most pressing cases]. People are afraid of the future. As Merkel disregards the law [leader of the Bavarian branch of her party] Horst Seehofer calls it the “reign of injustice” for good measure. Norms and rules were wantonly overridden by Merkel without consent.

We have no real political culture at all. I miss the anti-totalitarian consensus, I miss the open debate on controversial issues, I miss the respect for those who disagree. A caste of elitist ‘opinion makers’, who even call themselves like this, abuses concepts such as tolerance and turn their meaning upside down.

Those who follow the press on a daily basis are faced with journalists, who are silent about the truth, knowing that people have access to the internet to communicate with friends and relatives in Western Germany about the situation (e.g. in Berlin-Neukölln, in Duisburg-Marxloh, in Essen). After all, we no longer have the Berlin wall.

Whoever compares ISIS with peaceful Pegida protest marches must hate people who disagree. The Islamic scholar Bassam Tibi misses a culture of debate. A culture which does not alienate dissenting opinions and does not indulge in ad hominem attacks.

How can a citizen actually express his dissatisfaction? To go to the street is not respected, says the media and the ruling parties. Now many have gone to the ballots who eschewed them in the past. They are villified as stupid because they did not vote the “respectable parties”. But the Eastern Germans did not follow the advice of [Merkel’s right hand] Peter Altmaier or of some of the church leaders and stayed at home. They rather voted AfD because abstention from voting only strengthens the stronger parties. Such anti-democratic views as expressed by Peter Altmaier are a sign of a totalitarian mindset.

My grandfather was also a communist, fighting against the National Socialists in the underground. He was a simple toolmaker and later joined the newly formed SED. This changed after the [brutally cracked down protest on] 17th of June, 1953. He threw away his party membership booklet [comparable to the registration cards in the US] in anger for all his comrades to see. He had not fought the Nazis and put his family in danger to find his friends jailed. He did not want to support fascists who are only varnished in red. From then on he was considered a traitor.

I have opposed the second German dictatorship, the communist one, and I have been defamed as a “hostile-negative element.” I was punished with spying and professional boycott. I had to experience collective punishment with my three children and the poverty that followed from it. I do not want to have to endure a third dictatorship on German soil, especially not an Islamic one.

This is why I am supporting Sabatina James who converted from Islam to Christianity and has received death threats because of it which force her to live in the underground under permanent police protection. Her foundation helps many Christians with the same fate. How can aggressive Islamists in Germany be threatening peaceful citizens with impunity in the name of their faith? What do our ruling parties do? This is also the story of [civil rights lawyer] Seyran Ates. She lives under death threats after she founded a liberal mosque in Berlin. Where is the protest of the supposedly peaceful majority of Muslims living here?

Dear Wolf, as a Christian and an admirer of Václav Havel “I want to live in the truth”. I do not turn my eyes away from reality just because that would benefit the ruling parties. I am a CDU member and I support the CDU program of 2002, which is now represented by the AfD. If one has to leave the party, it’s not me but Angela Merkel.

After 1990, I have listened to hundreds of persecuted SED victims with grief and anger, trying to help them organize in my office and through the foundation. I organized talks to make amend the broken Eastern German biographies. And I have been badly slandered by the SED [now under the name LINKE].

Where there are no victims, there are no offenders. With this motto they hope to cover up the crimes and to deceive their naive contemporaries. Still the SED even refuses to compensate their victims for the unlawfully disowned property.

I understand the sorrow, the rage, the hopelessness, the helplessness, the powerlessness of many of my Eastern German fellow citizens in the face of their political, legal and social incapacitation, and I understand their decision on the ballots, which was also mine.

When the law is applied unequally, a society disintegrates. From inequality before the law follows injustice. The prerequisite for democracy and freedom is the rule of law. Those who have learnt to appreciate the lawful state, as the political prisoners of the lawless state of Eastern Germany (GDR) have, want to defend it and will not give it up. At every Pegida demonstration in Dresden a transparency is held up that says, “Because we know servitude, freedom is sacred to us!”

In the GDR the rulers said, “He who is not for us, is against world peace.” Today it is said, “He who votes AfD is a Nazi.” There is no worse defamation.

Whoever stands strong has the courage to contradict. No, we are not cowards. Anyone who dares to join Pegida must reckon with violent left-wing extremists who are physically assaulting the protesters, and whoever admits sympathy to the AfD must expect to be harassed personally and professionally. Do you know that retired President Gauck has said, “The elites are not the problem, the people are the problem right now”? Is there clearer evidence of the arrogance of power and the courage of the citizens who defy it?

With kind regards and the hope that you take my arguments seriously,

your “loser”, who “has been dwelling in Germany for a bit longer”,
your descendent of the “unhinged middle-class”,
your AfD voting “change denier” and
villain from “Dark Germany”,
also known as “the mob” [German: ‘Pack’, a common misquote attributed to SPD politician Sigmar Gabriel which symbolizes the arrogance of the elites],

Angelika Barbe

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