This is a text about a feeling. If you do not like texts about feelings, you don’t have to read on here. Especially since I don’t have a name for this feeling yet, but I have noticed in the past few weeks that I am affected by a diffuse restlessness, I have a certain tension. Esso also goes to East German colleagues and friends. I asked her. You, like me, are watching what is going on in the west of the country.
I'm talking about the so-called hygiene demos. I mean the thousands of people who gather in Stuttgart and also in other places, especially in southern Germany, in Corona times, at least on the surface to demonstrate against the restrictions and measures of the federal government against the pandemic.
These protests are peaceful, sometimes even a happening. There are many women, couples, families with children and younger people on the street. The majority of these people actually look very personable. It is all the more irritating to me that they still have banners on which "Jesus saves life - Bill Gates destroys life", "We are the Basic Law" and "We are the People". Some are calling for Angela Merkel's resignation, just as the people of Pegida once said. But men who wear "German Empire" flags or black, red and gold braces with a cross on them form the minority again in this social minority.
Anger citizen's comeback
Externally, the "Resistance 2020" demonstrators do not correspond to the picture we have of the Pegida and AfD demonstrations in the east. However, they are currently being compared to Pegida. Because they seem to have long since entered into a kind of inner coalition with those we call anger citizens, anti-democrats and, rightly so, right-wing extremists. And which we have become accustomed to look at largely as an East German phenomenon, even though the AfD, for example, is dominated by West Germans.
In any case, I personally always assumed that such demos would only show up on East German streets in the future. In other words: Despite Stuttgart 21, I couldn't imagine a comeback by the West German angry citizen. I can't say exactly why.
I rub my eyes and ask myself: what's going on? Where does this skepticism of the system and media suddenly come from in the west of the country? Where does the belief in conspiracy theories come from? And the accusation against all those who consider the corona measures justified to be like underage citizens of a subject state's propaganda. Is there really a new Corona Pegida , as the picture wrote in its typical exaggeration? If so, how do we actually view this new phenomenon? How do we classify it?
You will be treated with more tolerance
Here I am again with my still nameless feeling. Probably it is nervousness and fear, we could look past the core of the hygiene demos.
I am assuming that the year 2015 and the debates about migration in the eyes of most West Germans were a turning point, but not as deep a turning point, did not trigger such an earthquake as happened from then on in parts of the East. At that time, the systematic skepticism that had been pent up for decades and the racism that was becoming increasingly common in everyday life and that had often already turned to violence, came to the surface. And none of that has disappeared to this day. The AfD has long since carried it into the parliaments with frightening strength.
But the year 2015 is still remembered as another turning point: It showed how strong the prejudices and resentments towards East German society are still in the West. Suddenly he was back: the brown east. And that meant almost everyone. So if I'm nervous now, if I'm a bit afraid, then I mean that the demonstrators in Stuttgart and elsewhere are milder and more tolerant and considerate than the demonstrators in the east. That one looks at them like a kind of black sheep of the family, but still invites them to the family celebrations - while in 2015 it often went unchallenged when someone in the west asked to rebuild the wall. If even good friends said to me that they would no longer go east.