INTERJECTION

A Call for an Open and Cosmopolitan Society

by Harald Christ

The majority of the German society has demonstrated over the last weeks and months that it wishes for an open minded, cosmopolitan, tolerant coexistence and that they are willing to welcome hundreds of thousands of refugees.

The majority of the German society has demonstrated over the last weeks and months that it wishes for an open minded, cosmopolitan, tolerant coexistence and that they are willing to welcome hundreds of thousands of refugees.
At the same time, the question arose how we should deal with people who do not want this. People who oppose an open society out of anxiety, ignorance or, in the worst case, hatred. We have to encounter these fears with enlightenment and transparency. With the support of politicians and the media, we can welcome people from different countries and integrate them into our society. This „welcome culture“ is already brought to life by numerous volunteers and citizens, who made the warm reception of refugees in the recent months possible.
In the coming months and years, we have to face the challenges of integration together. It is important to inform about the variety of the cultural differences. It requires acceptance to live together with these cultures in an open society. We all need to work towards a society in which attacks or assaults against other cultures and lifestyles have no space. This is a task for every single one of us. But it is also a task for the media and politicians to create the awareness that not every comment and not every point of view necessarily reflects the opinion of everyone. It needs to acceptance and respect to acknowledge that we are all different.
This is also my demand to all those who come to our country. The ground for our liberal-democratic order is

the cultural and social openness in everyday life. This includes, among other things, the acceptance of religious freedom, of the role of women and of the diversity of sexual orientations.
Insofar also a special protection for LGBTQI refugees needs to be established so that for example homophobic harassment and assaults in refugee camps can be prevented. Because an open society cannot allow that homophobic practices from refugees‘ homelands are transferred into our society. In 75 countries of the world, homosexuality is punishable; in eight of them homosexuals are under threat of the death penalty – among them Sudan, Saudi Arabia and Iran. Homosexuals can obtain asylum in Germany if they are persecuted in their home country because of their sexual orientation. The prosecution, however, has to be so serious that it constitutes a severe violation of fundamental human rights, for example, when there is the danger someone’s life or health is threatened, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Insults, abuse or threats do not suffice as grounds for asylum.
Since 2014, Serbia has been classified as a so-called „safe country of origin“. Just like almost all Balkan states, Serbia has banned the discrimination of homosexuals by law – a prerequisite for the ELI accession negotiations. This is an important step! But „juridical security“ does not mean social security or even acceptance. Therefore when it comes to the topic of refugees, it is important to make distinctions between groups of people, religions and countries of origin.
Germany has developed into a cosmopolitan, open and tolerant state in recent years. Now our task is to continue with it. Every person can take a stand for equality, tolerance and protection of minorities every day at a personal level by their behaviour and by their appreciative communication with their fellow human beings. Because we all still have a lot to do for the destruction of resentment and the construction of an open, cosmopolitan society in the world.
The TEDDY AWARD has a 30-year long tradition as part of the Berlinale and with its diverse films and campaigns, it presents again and again an important contribution to the fight for tolerance and openness. It can be sure of a worldwide attention, which it uses to help the persecuted, outlawed, threatened and marginalized, to give them a voice. This global voice of the TEDDY carries a call for openness, cosmopolitanism and acceptance.

Welche Zukunft hat die SPD?

Ein Streitgespräch zwischen Harald Christ und Ferhat Cato, einem
Bankier und einem Gewerkschafter, einem sog. Modernisierer und einem
Traditionalisten in der SPD. Das Erstaunliche: Beide sind seit über
zwanzig Jahren miteinander befreundet. Das Gespräch führte die
Publizistin, Frau Dr. Annekatrin Gebauer.

Welche Zukunft hat die SPD?
(1.22 MB – PDF-Datei)

Update zum Buch
„Deutschlands ungenutzte Ressourcen.“
Suite 101 vom 08.04.2012

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