Attacks in Cologne

Absolutely, but so far it seems that the exaggeration happens in the form of generalisation. The police and the government on all levels needed this like a hole in the head. Besides all their officers on the scene and hundreds of witnesses they have at least 350 hours of video. If they could credibly correct this downwards, then they would have every reason to do so.

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This is based on the Refugee Convention Article 33.2.: It is prohibited to expel refugees, except when they are convinced of a “particularly serious crime”. Germany defined this as imprisonment longer than three years, suspended sentences or shorter prison terms are most likely not sufficient under the Convention terms (but there’s an ongoing political discussion).

Similar to @KarlS for me it’s too early to see the outcome of this - but not all hope is lost: In the early 90s we had a similar combination of immigration (a result of the civil war in Yugoslavia and Spätaussiedler mostly from the (ex-)Soviet Union) with high level of right-wing extremism (prime example is Lichtenhagen). I was too young to follow it closely, but iirc the atmosphere was similar including the fear, that right-wing parties will establish themselves for decades. This did not happen, and imo Germany became a more open and liberal state in the following 20 (+/-) years.

Generally I think that we as a society live two huge lies:

  • Germany is not an immigration country -> no one is interested in integration, it is believed/hoped that foreigners will not stay
  • Right-wing extremism does not exists, and even if it should be it’s less dangerous than left-wing extremism -> xenophobic crimes will be ignored until it’s too late, related is the phenomenon that crimes commited by foreigners will not communicated transparently

This is a shame–great that you posted what is happening.

Something needs to be done to get to the bottom of who actually perpetrated the attacks, so people are not unfairly blamed–which could lead to unfair attacks and discrimination being levied against innocent people or ethnic groups.

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I agree that a retreat from a welcoming atmosphere is not a foregone conclusion, but did that immigration come with large scale and possibly organised attacks on the public rather than just paranoia from the right? Where Daesh has explicitly stated that they will send people posing as asylum seekers to attack Europeans and the European police seems unable to differentiate without profiling people, what assurance is there that risk to women or people in general is not the cost of integration? I haven’t lost hope at all, but I’d like to see a policy that is able to stand up to these sorts of challenges. Canada obviously doesn’t have much confidence in its ability to control the risks of single male refugees, and I imagine many other countries are going to follow suit if they still accept refugees at all. Integrating people like this would have a hugely positive effect on the world, but western countries like Germany have a long way to go from this point to convince the general population, men like this and apparently their own parties that integration is possible and acceptance is stronger than hatred.

(My personal opinion: Europe should be much firmer on illegal immigration and much more proactive in processing asylum requests from the region itself. While a number of more vulnerable people reach countries like Germany via the Mediterranean and mainland Europe, the great European obstacle course massively favours single young men - which is unfair and fails to address the needs of people who are more at risk. I don’t blame people who make the journey though, they are clearly doing everything they can to reach safety. I realise that this may not be a popular opinion).

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If I had anything to decide I would give the UNHCR and WFP the needed funds.

See WFP’s cry for help in December 2015: They had to reduce food rations for over one million Syrian refugees and asked for the negligible amount of 142M US$. Why the fuck ignored my government the pleas for help? It’s not a new situation, the Syrian civil war started in 2011 and all major relief agencies are active in the region and asking for funds since years.


It’s frustrating to see the general reluctance to be proactive when it doesn’t involve a military “solution”.

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I think you’re the most competent here to answer this: The BKA (one of the German federal police organisations) said that the crime of collective sexual assault is known in Arab countries and called “taharrush gamea” (not sure about the transliteration system). Is this common? Or did the BKA use single examples and overrated the actual number of cases in the middle east?

Mostly in places like Egypt and less observed, but still extant elsewhere. It doesn’t really involve robbery, however. That element is not typical from my understanding. It’s actually a phenomenon which I would liken to the Japanese chikan issue. I wish I had time to go more into it, and I will. Unfortunately I’m running late, but I’ll be back.

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211 male feminists in Leipzig who came to show their solidarity with women were arrested for rioting and vandalising property yesterday. 11 people from Pakistan, Syria and Guinea were injured on Sunday in apparent retaliatory attacks in the same city. It’s almost as if some people were waiting for this to happen…

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I don’t like that it is the case; but I find it difficult to argue with people who are pessimistic about the chances of integrating a refugee population that(by the time it makes it to the destination) skews young and male.

Not because Teh muslins! are intrinsically depraved, or terrorist sleeper agents, or any of that nonsense; but just because the history of ‘lots of uprooted young men packed together somewhere by force of circumstance’ isn’t particularly rosy. It doesn’t even have to involve immigrants. Extraction industry boomtowns, from the gold rush to contemporary fracking, tend to run into serious public order issues with a strong element of sexual violence. Our armed forces also have a great deal of trouble with people being raped by their own supposed-to-be-comrades in arms; and frats have worked hard to deserve their notoriety.

Doesn’t mean that there are zero decent guys in such situations; or that the degree and speed of the decay isn’t modified by the cultural background that the men are drawn from; but you certainly don’t have to believe in the special depravity of a given ethnic background, country of origin, religion, or similar to suspect that throwing a bunch of newly uprooted young men into a situation is rarely a recipe for making it safer and more stable. Even in cases where the state is strongly interested in avoiding trouble, and has an atypical degree of leverage(eg. the various US military bases in allied nations, where the people involved are subject to the UCMJ and Washington really, really doesn’t want any embarrassing incidents) we have some amount of trouble.

If you can get them attached to mortgages, 9/5 jobs, and white picket fences the odds are good that their depravity levels will trend back down toward the population level average; but doing that takes time even with all the goodwill available.

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The situation sort of reminds me of the fraught interaction between Ayaan Hirsi Ali and various elements of the European right wing(Geert Wilders being the most visible).

One is hard pressed to argue when a woman from Somalia tells you that cultural mores surrounding the treatment of women are dire; but many of the most enthusiastic and easy-to-access ‘allies’ are disconcertingly likely to be in it at least partially for the xenophobia, and may well actually have a pretty tepid record RE: womens’ rights when there aren’t scary foreigners threatening the honor of our white women.

(At the risk of going too general; even when ethnic and religious factors aren’t in play, it’s the age-old “womens’ rights as human rights vs. womens’ rights as property rights” thing at play. Even people who are horrendously regressive on the rights of women as people can and do get quite serious about protecting women as property from anyone who isn’t a duly authorized rightsholder. This makes dangerous reactionaries atypically well motivated allies so long as the threat is external; not so much if the problem is marital rape or the assumption that violence is just the normal consequence of inadequate modesty.)


Okay, so the phenomenon isn’t that complex, but basically it works like this: You have a big crowd and little police presence, and suddenly it’s a license for young men to go around gang raping. I don’t like this “taharrush gamea” reporting because it’s… weird. It’s basically the Arabic term for “group harassment.” It’s a description, it’s not like it’s a “Thing” that people go out and do when they’re bored and it’s part of some tradition… it’s a crime of opportunity and a relatively recent phenomenon. The way that the Daily Fail and others are reporting it, as an “Arab rape game” (which I suspect comes from someone misreading “gamea” as an English word at some point) is frankly ridiculous. The reality is that Egypt and other countries have had a problem, especially in public transit, with gropers. That’s where this starts.

During the Arab Spring, in Cairo, this problem became a lot worse and escalated from single men groping women in crowds to groups of men doing the same thing, and sometimes raping women. This is deeply connected to the particular brand of misogyny running through Arab society. The explanation is long, but it’s deeply wrapped up in some very old and culturally specific baggage about chastity and some serious complacency and victim-blaming among the general public. On the one hand, I don’t like to pretend that Arab society is healthy and never has any problems and is simply always misunderstood. That being said, I’m always reticent to bring them up because in Western circles it quickly turns into an essentialist narrative: “This is what Arabs are like.”

All of that being said, I don’t have stats, but the groping is sadly too common. The victims are often quickly blamed. This actually shows up as a theme in some Arabic literature written by Egyptian women. The trend is however mostly with regards to single men, rather than groups. Group attacks like this are likely becoming more common for a number of reasons I can only speculate on, but I suspect increasing regional instability combined with the way that Arabs are increasingly less insulated from other values systems and the collapse of older values systems that while certainly not perfect, may have limited some of the more egregious instances of misbehavior. I consider ISIS to be an extreme case of moral collapse. I think they took something very foundational in setting mores and attitudes and very swiftly discredited it.

Some of this is just navel-gazing on my part, and I trust you to separate my more speculative explanations from the more substantive bits, If I put on my amateur sociologist/anthropologist hat for a second, I think Merkel provided part of a great solution: Be much firmer and exhaustive in educating and impressing on newcomers the social rules of the society they are new to. I also think that the population of men should be more dispersed. It’s not necessary to separate families or anything like that, there are certainly enough single men that this is doable. You don’t need poor, bored, and sexually frustrated men huddled together getting ideas. This won’t mean that no one is ever going to be assaulted ever, but it could certainly limit the problem. I mean, there’s a real need to integrate people into society and give them a stake in it, or in the end it really doesn’t matter what you do.


Trutherism is an interesting choice of expression, as both info-wars and briet-bart are pushing this story as hard as they can (prior links to google search, not the actual websites). There really feels like there’s some weird narrative distortion happening as this story crosses the ocean. With all the exaggeration and minimization, I’m a bit sea sick.


I’m not kidding when I say I feel I’ve gotten a better feel for what’s going on in Germany right now from this thread than from anywhere else.

One of the issues that some Muslims here have pointed out is that many of these men come over without families or other social networks that would positively influence their behaviour. They’re not just single -these groups of single men are their social circle.

The official statistics suggest that the rate of sexual violence is low among North African and Middle Eastern refugees. It’s hard to tell whether this is accurate and how much is squeamishness about reporting abuse, because there are plenty of sources that are happy to point out dozens of sexual attacks around Germany by people apparently from there or South Asia since NYE. A woman was assaulted on our bus route on Sunday - 30 men wouldn’t let her get off for two stops and the female bus driver didn’t notice as they just looked like a rowdy group of guys. Is this a new trend then, or just something that has been going on for a while? I certainly see men traveling in large groups all the time.

It’s actually not a theoretical issue to me at all - of the few centres in our area, they’re planning to increase the capacity of one to 3000. It’s much smaller than that right now, but there was a large fight there a couple of weeks ago (it’s the same one that I mentioned earlier which was the scene of religiously motivated violence. It’s already been the scene of a number of sexual assaults too, but these are of female refugees rather than locals and it’s hard to say exactly how much of that is happening. The women have separate facilities and sleep near the guards though). My wife is a nurse, so she has late shifts and sometimes gets called out for emergencies late at night. Are the rumours of increased sexual violence just that? Because there are quite a lot of them. If we are mature enough to deal with issues without closing our eyes to cultural problems or resorting to xenophobia, then that’s very encouraging. If not, I have to admit to being concerned about the safety of my wife, daughter and other women in the area.

And the suicide attack in Turkey? It was against a German tour group and 8 of the 10 fatalities were Germans. Apparently the bomber was Syrian. Aside from the tragedy of the events themselves, this is really not a good time to be Angela Merkel.

ETA: I should point out that the groups I’ve seen have always been peaceful when I’ve been there - it’s not buses full of refugees that concerns me, but rather trends of behaviour within certain groups.


In the Middle East? New trend. Possibly even not really a trend in the Middle East. Like I said, groping by individual men is too common (though I don’t want to give the impression that it’s a 100% certain thing for any woman who goes out in public, by and large it’s fairly safe for women to go out alone- except the KSA, but the KSA is an exception to a lot of things), but the group aspect is new. In the Middle East, it’s not really a thing that I’ve heard of happening until recently, and then only in cases like Tahrir Square and when there’s significant social upheaval. While the authorities have tended to turn a little bit of a blind eye to sexual harrassment in various forms, gangs of sexually harassing men aren’t tolerated. It’s been a while since I last lived there, but it’s just really hard to imagine that the authorities would put up with it. Unless things have really changed over the past few years while I wasn’t looking. That’s not the say there was never a case of group sexual harrassment until recently, but it certainly wasn’t a phenomenon the way it’s being described in Germany.

I dunno. I don’t know the numbers and I wouldn’t even know where to start looking them up, as far as Germany is concerned. There is such an aura of fear around this that it is tripping up my urban legend sensors somewhat, but I don’t have the right context, I’m not reading German news, I don’t live there etc. I am curious to know what proportion of refugees are perpetrating the crimes. My theory is that a relatively small minority are causing problems simply because that’s usually the case in general.

When I say single, I just mean unattached without families. I do blame the system that puts them all in one place at high concentration to some extent, but obviously that’s not the be-all and end-all of the phenomenon.

That’s interesting. I was actually thinking about Indian problems with rape the whole time I was writing my last comment. India has a similar sets of problems, but if you look at reported rapes, it comes off looking like the Middle East. It’s all very similar, and while I can’t speculate on the causes in India, I’m sure there’s a great deal of under-reporting going on.


Do we know if any group (e.g., Daesh) has taken credit for coordination yet?

If they’re smart, they will. Regardless of whether or not it’s true.


Depends on whether you are playing the PR game or not.

If I were playing the Evade the CIA game, I’d be perfectly willing to let Hezbollah or some other group take the heat that comes with sniping credit.

BTW, to be completely clear to the world, insofar as I can trace this, or all the other spectacularly horrible things that have happened as a result of Dick Cheney, let us know how regular Americans should help.

Cheney fucked up a lot of things in the world for a lot of years, but he isn’t us.

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