By Timothy Keathley
This summer, I was given the opportunity to visit my homeland of Bavaria. I began life here, learned to speak two languages here and always worshiped the German way of life. The southwest end of Germany has always been, in my eyes, the greatest place on Earth. Beautiful woodlands, breathtaking mountain ranges and medieval architecture come together to create the perfect atmosphere. The sounds of soccer fans screaming at the top of their lungs echoed through every stadium, no matter the size, on any given matchday. I expected no less than to be showered in nostalgia upon arrival. Yet this year seemed different. Something changed since I left Germany in 2014. Talks of terrorism and lack of national security flashed across the televisions in the Frankfurt Airport. Germany no longer seemed like the peaceful, yet soccer fueled land that I’d grown so fond of.
My “peaceful greeting” at the airport consisted of a band of security guards, each with an H&K machine gun, staring down each passenger to come off the plane. During the car ride to Arnstein, the small village where I would be staying over the summer, the most eye catching sight was the amount of graffiti on the once beautiful architecture. There was a clear difference in the mood throughout the entire country. I was blown away by the change that occurred over the past two years. Why did Germany resemble modern day Detroit? I’d never seen such a radical alteration in the state of a nation. I was determined to find out when and how Germany had been flipped upside down.
On my first day in Arnstein, my family attended the small town’s annual festival. Despite rain and cold temperatures, it seemed as if the entire population of Arnstein showed up to celebrate. Right away, my father and I began making friends with a few locals. Quickly, the topic of conversation switched to the political state of Germany. We took our fair share of verbal blows from less than sober Germans over America’s frontrunning presidential candidates. Yet each of them transitioned from America’s political tension to the issues that they were facing in their own country. Scapegoats for Germany’s decrepit state were thrown around all night. However, in the end, one person’s actions seemed to be pointed out by every individual we met at the festival.
Angela Dorothea Merkel, Stateswoman of Germany, was universally blamed for the country’s sad state. But how did Merkel’s actions cause heightened airport security, the defacing of historic architecture and an increase in terrorism in her own country?
The explanation was quite simple. In the summer of 2015, Europe faced the largest flood of refugees it had seen since the second world war. Refugees escaping tension in the Middle East, especially Syria and surrounding nations, fled their homes to escape a mixture of religiously and politically fueled conflict. Since then, Germany has allowed more than one million refugees into its borders (BBC). Upon arrival in Germany, they are given shelter in empty US military bases and all staples needed to live decently. Most would assume that this peaceful and politically powerful nation would take in those seeking refuge without any issue. They are fleeing conflict, ergo they must be peaceful individuals, grateful to have found a new home, right? Unfortunately this assumption is horribly wrong. More than 80% of refugees within German borders are undocumented (Breitbart Report). Though the vast majority of these refugees come to Germany to begin a new life, it is clear that many came to this country to spread violence and chaos.
Since 2015, Germany recorded an extra 402,741 crimes committed by refugees (BBC). Illegal immigrants and asylum seekers account for around 2.5 per cent of Germany’s population, yet commit a staggering percentage of crimes. It is no coincidence that since allowing such a high number of refugees into its borders, Germany has been littered with crime; and the German citizens all knew it. There was no other explanation by anyone at the entire festival. Everyone agreed. The number of undocumented refugees is too high and the amount of crime was directly related to this wave of immigration. There was a clear difference in the Germany I had left in 2014 and Merkel’s “New Germany” that I experienced this summer.
I was deeply saddened by this sudden transition. The country had been changed for the worse. German citizens, including myself, pray for the state of Germany. Since my departure, Merkel and many other political leaders have banded together to devise a solution for resurrecting Germany and its surrounding nations who also face this problem. In the end, Merkel allowed this ridiculous number of refugees into Germany. Now, the citizens are left to face the consequences.