German TV presenter sparks debate and hatred with her support for refugees

August 07 [Fri], 2015, 17:41
German TV presenter sparks debate and hatred with her support for refugees

A television presenter in Germany has triggered a huge online debate after calling for a public stand against the growth of racist attacks on refugees.

Anja Reschke used a regular editorial slot on Norddeutscher Rundfunk’s evening news programme to lambast hate-filled commentators whose language she said had helped incite arson attacks on refugee homes.

She said she was shocked at how socially acceptable it had become to publish racist rants under real names.

“Until recently, such commentators were hidden behind pseudonyms, but now these things are being aired under real names,” she said.

“Apparently it’s no longer embarrassing – on the contrary, in reaction to phrases like ‘filthy vermin should drown in the sea’, you get excited consensus and a lot of ‘likes’.

“If up until then you had been a little racist nobody, of course you suddenly feel great,” she said in the two-minute commentary.

The segment went viral within minutes of being broadcast, and by Thursday afternoon had been viewed more than 9m times, clocked up more than 250,000 likes, 20,000 comments, and had been shared more than 83,000 times on Facebook.

Reschke said the “hate tirades” had sparked “group dynamic processes” that had led to “a rise in extreme rightwing acts”.

Calling on “decent” Germans to act, she said: “If you’re not of the opinion that all refugees are spongers who should be hunted down, burned or gassed, then you should make that known, oppose it, open your mouth, maintain an attitude, pillory people in public.”

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Her appeal came a day after the head of the intelligence service, Hans-Georg Maassen, warned that a small number of rightwing extremists were in danger of escalating a wave of attacks.

He made specific mention of the group Der III Weg or “The Third Way”, calling them “dangerous rabble-rousers”.
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