What remains?

What remains?

Mesut ozil cheers here in 2012 © Alberto Estevez

Less than a week ago, soccer player Mesut ozil kicked off a debate about integration and racism. The question now is whether this debate will remain – and whether it might lead to the ie being addressed constructively.

Is there a debate – or just a brief outcry? In any case, just under a week ago, professional footballer Mesut ozil triggered a wave with his resignation statement: For days, he himself, the German Football Association (DFB) and the behavior of both sides have been the topic of dinner and journalistic articles. Quickly, a discussion about racism and integration also arose. And the role of sport in the inclusion of migrants.

For ozil had cited hostility in his statement last Sunday as the reason for his withdrawal from the national soccer team, after he had allowed himself to be photographed with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. ozil criticized especially DFB President Reinhard Grindel: "In the eyes of Grindel and his supporters" he is a German when the team wins, but a migrant when they lose.

Fading outrage?

The question is how to proceed. Is it a soon to be dying out outrage in the media summer hole, triggered by a celebrity?

Or is the case of a well-known professional soccer player suitable for drawing the attention of a broad public to long-standing problems with integration and also to the everyday racism to which non-celebrities with foreign roots are sometimes exposed??

When looking for an apartment or a job, in the office or on the street.

#MeTwo and its supporters

This is what the initiator of #MeTwo and his supporters want, for example. The social media hashtag is an action "against discrimination against minorities, from which a constructive debate about values should develop," says inventor Ali Can, author of the book "Hotline for Concerned Citizens. Answers from the asylum seeker they trust". The English word for the number two is supposed to mean that "two hearts are allowed to beat in my chest," he explains, "Because I am more than just one identity."

Admittedly, the hashtag is reminiscent of #MeToo, under which women in the sexism and violence debate report their experiences – so far quite persistent. And in part, structural problems were addressed in the course of the discussion. So Can also says that "a 'MeToo' debate, so to speak, is needed for people with an immigrant background". Foreign Minister Heiko Mass (SPD) wrote on Twitter on Friday:

"For those who think racism in Germany is no longer a problem, I recommend reading through all of the #MeTwo tweets."

In an interview with the Catholic News Agency (KNA), communications scholar Jorg-Uwe Nieland expressed the view that the consequences of ozil's resignation would continue to preoccupy society for some time to come. "The force of this controversy is enormous."

At the same time, however, he cautions that focusing on a single person can be a problem: "It loses sight of the system and the structures, and the complexity of processes and positions. This is not conducive to recognizing connections in sports and society."

When does a migrant "belong"??

Recently, a study by the Duisburg Center for Turkish Studies became known, according to which Germans with Turkish roots feel increasingly connected to Turkey. Head Haci-Halil Uslucan called it particularly problematic, according to Deutschlandfunk, that every second person of Turkish origin perceived the Turkish government and migrant organizations as his primary stakeholders.

Publicist Duzen Tekkal insists on the acceptance of values in Germany. In the "World" (Friday), she finds clear words: it annoys her when many migrants, including high achievers, now reduced to "their origin and victim status".

At what point does a migrant "belong"? Psychologist Ahmad Mansour says on Today.de: "The best, most motivated refugee will fail if he has no emotional access to the majority society." Mansour urges communication. One could not expect a conservative Muslim "to change and be integrated from one month to the next," he said. Communication means being pointed: Not only hang up posters with 'Refugees welcome', but also: we expect from you a clear commitment to our values."

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Christina Cherry
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