A year after Hanau: racism in Germany
Several German federal states on Friday evening commemorated the victims of thefar-fight attack in Hanau on 19 February 2020. Press voices from across Europe reflect on why the commemoration and the debate about structural racism which was precipitated by the killings is so important for Germany.
The right eye has opened
Before Hanau far-right extremism was being ignored, Karar states:
“Instead of sounding the alarm, the political establishment was encouraging racism, xenophobia and 'Islamophobia' ... There was no social mobilisation against the far right. Even police measures were implemented halfheartedly. It was a golden invitation to the Hanau massacre. The German state was 'blind in its right eye'. ... Sadly the Hanau massacre had to happen before the problem was named by its name. ... [The commemoration] on the anniversary, and in particular the harrowing message from Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (who mentioned the attempts to purge the police of racism) are key if the fight against racism is to be put back at the top of Germany's agenda.”
Measures only scratch the surface
A year after the attack, republica.ro still sees plenty of open questions:
“Racism is still a structural problem in Germany. ... The government is taking further measures to deal with the phenomenon: tightening weapons laws, introducing strict laws against discriminatory speech, changing old-fashioned terms used to describe citizens of different origins. The term 'race' is to disappear from the German constitution. While the state works on refining the language, the victims' relatives are wondering whether the attack was preventable. ... Why were the emergency exits locked in a bar? To make it easy for police to raid bars frequented by 'foreigners'? Why were autopsies performed without the consent of the families? And why are 'foreigners' still considered a threat in Germany?”