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Monday, October 5, 2015

Ferdinand at a LEGIDA rally in Leipzig on 8/31/15

Translator Olliver Wichmann's foreword: This translation is not an endorsement of LEGIDA. However, in order to discuss this movement’s aims and merits, one has to analyse what they actually say in public. More importantly, where they are right and where not or how they frame events in order to further their agenda.

Hello Leipzig! Hello to the German people. I know it is dangerous and unusual that a black person, a black African is engaged in a movement. But that’s because I stand for justice – for one. Secondly, I was born in Germany. Though I’m not a German citizen, however through Germany – thanks to Germany, I was born. When I was born, there were complications – and I was near death. But German doctors found a solution and my mother used to tell me that if I had been born in Africa, I would have been dead, because at that time, there was no technology for it. That’s why I’m grateful for Germany.

Who has caused misery in Africa, who has caused poverty in Africa? It’s not the German citizens, it’s not the European citizens, and it’s not the American citizens. These wars, poverty, plundering of resources, torture, slavery, colonialism – that was not caused by German citizens. These were certain elites. And that’s why a well-known man from Africa, who unfortunately was murdered, Thomas Sankara, once said: “The humans, the folks who plunder or exploit the peoples, the world population are the same. They have a common enemy. The people who exploit Europe are the same who exploit Africa, that’s what I fight against.”

Well, I’m going to address two points quickly: The first is about immigration. I’m in favour of immigration, but qualitative immigration. I’m not going to accept that in Cameroon, my home country, we shall have mass immigration. Someone from Syria is never going to accept; someone from Saudi-Arabia is never going to accept; someone from Afghanistan is never going to accept that there will be mass immigration to his country. Rather, he would be in favour of qualitative immigration – and this is what is needed in Germany.

We want quality. We want competence. We want power. We want knowledge. We don’t want [unintelligible]. We don’t want murderers. We don’t want criminals. We don’t want the lazy and stupid. Germany is a country where work and diligence is expected. I know it, because I studied here. My father studied here. My grandfather studied here so I know it.

If you want to help Africa, if you want to help Syria or if you want to help poor countries you’ll need to leave those countries alone. But as of today, the elites have been controlling and plundering resources. I know it. But many Africans who live there possibly don’t. I know it, because my father was a diplomat. He was a mayor too, so I saw Africa’s wealth with my own eyes. Africa is not poor, Africa is so rich! Germany needs not take in these people, Africans and provide with paper money, because these people have gold, diamonds, cobalt, coltan – they’ve got everything in abundance.

What we need is that your elites, the economy, your elites have to leave these countries alone. Then the next day our countries – that’s why say to the fascists over there, that they haven’t got an idea about what is going on in Africa – no idea. I, my father was a mayor, this isn’t – I don’t pride myself with it, you know why I’m here. I have – I know what it is all about. I know my father, he was a colonel, he almost became a general – he even was in Germany. He saw what has been going on in Africa.

Our politicians are threatened. When they are alone, if you leave them alone, Africa will develop within the next five years. Even all the Africans living here will return, because there would be so much wealth. That’s why I’d like to say, these people, these politicians have to leave Europe alone. They have to stop everything, liberate those countries, liberate Africa, release entirely – that’s my message.

Finally, I’m going to talk about the effect, talk the effect of the people, but I think, in Germany one has to talk about resurrection, because the German people isn’t asleep – the German people is dead. And when you are dead, you need a ghost, some power to reanimate the corpse or resurrect it or to provoke, we want a particular force. And this force, which will cause the people to resurrect, is patriotism.

Without patriotism you cannot accomplish anything. However, with patriotism you can develop talents, those talents – this hero inside of each and every one of us can be activated. With patriotism, you can move mountains. With patriotism you can move, shake lakes – because I’m a patriot. This is a matter from the heart; it has nothing to do with your head. One has to be a patriot. You fascists, you have to be patriots. You have to love your country. That’s my message today.

Thank you.



Anonymous said...

Always funny to listen to and read these populists talking about how things must be changed. They have no clue about how capitalism works. Never studied history, economics, philosophy or anything properly for that matter. Quite embarrassing to listen to. All they want is to just get onto that stage and make the crowd love them in order to achieve their personal goals within this disgusting system. No different from any other politician in power right now.

Anyways, I've recently encountered this blog and want to thank you for what you are doing, very interesting indeed!

Linh Dinh said...

Hi Anonymous,

I'm very glad you like this blog. Up until now, I've been reporting from mostly the Philadelphia area, with an occasional trip to other US cities. This Germany interlude is a nice change of pace for both me and, hopefully, the readers.


x larry said...

my thoughts exactly on this crummy speech. like watching a ballplayer talk in the locker room. but oh, my dad was a mayor, and a diplomat.

Ian Keenan said...

Great change of pace!

I agree with "If you want to help Africa, if you want to help Syria or if you want to help poor countries you’ll need to leave those countries alone. But as of today, the elites have been controlling and plundering resources. I know it. But many Africans who live there possibly don’t." Right wingers sometimes say that and left wingers say that. Moderates don't say it. Obama has tried to create a 'moderate' policy on Syria and there isn't one, there's only harmful and not harmful: not harmful would have to mean getting the US and Saudi Arabia out of their affairs unless the US really wants to fight ISIS. Obviously this guy's trying to put a good face on a hateful movement but on the surface, it's more coherent than a 'moderate' US-European policy, even if I don't buy into to what he's selling about his type of patriotism and what the movement stands for.

Olliver said...

I think this guy is a bit confused. On the one hand he has a vague idea about how the world actually works, even cites a person known as the African Che Guevara who considered Cuba as some kind of a role model, and yet he's unaware of how effectively he's been propagandised, since he adheres to the stereotypes of neoliberalism.

As neoliberalism is some kind of reverse socialism in that there is a redistribution of wealth from the poor to the rich and that there is the free market for the poor, but all-inclusive welfare for multinational corporations it is in bad need to explain away the growing inequality it causes. So it uses the well tried and tested method of scapegoating. The poor have been unsuccessful in life, not because there's a lack of opportunities and too little jobs available, but because they are lazy, stupid and need to be monitored, if not incarcerated.

So it comes as no surprise that his requirements of the ideal immigrant are in line with the elites he argued against. If the "best and brightest" flee a country it will cause a brain drain. But more importantly, for the host country it means that it can save the expenses for public education and employ those exports from abroad for less money, thus adding downward pressure on wages and salaries. You get the best of both worlds, slashing public funding for education and keep the people busy with hating each other and trying to survive, thereby retaining existing power structures.

In a similar vein is the myth that "patriotism" does wondrous things and those who wave the flag hysterically enough screaming "Deutschland einig Vaterland" will become successful in life. Those who fail have not truly believed in the magic, their sacrifice wasn't big enough or they otherwise have cheated the gods of the market. It doesn't matter that we still don't live in a democracy, where people's vote would be the base of all decisions. It matters even less that there is an economic dictatorship, where all power is in private, unaccountable hands with strict top-down control. That people at their work place never get to decide what to do with the fruits of their works, but are instead easily expendable "human resources".

Capitalism builds on totalitarian structures and exploitation, yet I don't hear any challenges from the person who supposedly has read Thomas Sankara. The fact that Ferdinand accepts the power structures as is, tells me that he too is an authoritarian who is quite content with the way the system works and values the prospects of getting to the top and thus become one of the rulers more than truth, equality and justice. They complain about the "elites", but not because of the injustice done to the ones at the receiving end, but more because of sheer envy. It's only about gaining power, privilege and control of public opinion.



About Me

Born in Vietnam in 1963, I came to the US in 1975, and have also lived in Italy, England and Germany. I'm the author of a non-fiction book, Postcards from the End of America (2017), two books of stories, Fake House (2000) and Blood and Soap (2004), six of poems, All Around What Empties Out (2003), American Tatts (2005), Borderless Bodies (2006), Jam Alerts (2007), Some Kind of Cheese Orgy (2009) and A Mere Rica (2017), and a novel, Love Like Hate (2010). I've been anthologized in Best American Poetry 2000, 2004, 2007, Great American Prose Poems from Poe to the Present, Postmodern American Poetry: a Norton Anthology (vol. 2) and Flash Fiction International: Very Short Stories From Around the World, etc. I'm also editor of Night, Again: Contemporary Fiction from Vietnam (1996) and The Deluge: New Vietnamese Poetry (2013). My writing has been translated into Italian, Spanish, French, Dutch, German, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Icelandic and Finnish, and I've been invited to read in London, Cambridge, Brighton, Paris, Berlin, Leipzig, Halle, Reykjavik, Toronto, Singapore and all over the US. I've also published widely in Vietnamese.