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Facebook posts about the migrant crisis should be the least of Angela Merkel’s worries

1 October 2015

1:05 PM

1 October 2015

1:05 PM

So the German Chancellor has just been caught on microphone talking with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg:

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was overheard confronting Zuckerberg over incendiary posts on the social network, Bloomberg reported on Sunday, amid complaints from her government about anti-immigrant posts in the midst of Europe’s refugee crisis.

On the sidelines of a United Nations luncheon on Saturday, Merkel was caught on a hot mic pressing Zuckerberg about social media posts about the wave of Syrian refugees entering Germany, the publication reported.

The Facebook CEO was overheard responding that “we need to do some work” on curtailing anti-immigrant posts about the refugee crisis. “Are you working on this?” Merkel asked in English, to which Zuckerberg replied in the affirmative before the transmission was disrupted.

But here’s a question for Chancellor Merkel: doesn’t the problem start before that?

Consider this report in Deutsche Welle. There are no official statistics, but aid organisations, social workers and volunteers note that ethnic, social, cultural and religious tensions are on the rise in Germany’s overcrowded refugee shelters.


Separating refugees according to religion is now being mentioned as an interim solution to help alleviate the problems. Up to one million migrants are expected to arrive in the country before the end of the year.

Tempers flare easily at close quarters. In Leipzig last week, about 200 refugees wielding table legs and bed frames started a fight after they couldn’t agree who got to use one of the few toilets first. It took a large police contingent to calm the situation.

Other recent incidents include a riot at a refugee shelter in central Germany over a torn Koran and Muslim Chechens beating up Syrian Christians in a Berlin shelter.

Islam is a part of Germany, but Islamism clearly isn’t, said opposition Greens party leader Cem Özdemir, adding that tolerance must not be misinterpreted and exploited as weakness. But insults, threats, discrimination and blackmail against Christian asylum-seekers in particular are a regular occurrence, according to the Munich-based Central Council for Oriental Christians (ZOCD).

‘I’ve heard so many reports from Christian refugees who were attacked by conservative Muslims,’ said Simon Jacob, of the Central Council for Oriental Christians (ZOCD).  Yet that’s only the tip of the iceberg, the ZOCD board member told DW: ‘The number of unreported cases is much higher.’

Surely it is news reports like this that ought to be stopped?  For they are just the sort of thing that might make people less than 100% ‘yay’ about the transformation of their continent.  And some of them may then write about their feelings on social media.  So Chancellor Merkel won’t be able to sort out her Facebook problem until she’s sorted out her press problem.  But she won’t be able to sort out her press problem until she finds some way to sort out her facts problem. And what – apart from opening Europe’s doors to the world – is Frau Merkel doing about that?

Anyone who thinks the situation in Europe isn’t dire should reflect on this.  Hundreds of thousands of people from across Africa and the Middle East are pouring into Europe.  Neither Chancellor Merkel nor any of her colleagues have any idea who most of these people are, and none of them seem to have considered the long-term impact of this population-replacement on the long-term stability of our continent.  But what they are trying to do is to stop Europeans writing about this on Facebook.

The phrase ‘fiddling while Rome burns’ doesn’t really do justice to this, does it?


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