In a country famous for the tearing down of walls – quite literally – a new one is being built.
Residents of Neuperlach Süd, a suburb of Munich campaigned for the construction of a 3.8-meter high barrier to protect them from a migrant camp which will host unaccompanied minor refugees in the coming days.
It’s taller than the Berlin Wall
The new wall is taller than the infamous Berlin Wall, used to separate East and West Berlin during the Cold War. When the city decided to move 160 young unaccompanied migrants to a newly build shelter – roughly 100 meters from a residential area – a group of locals went to court to advocate for the building of Germany’s new wall. They claimed that the presence of the camp could lower property values. In addition, concern rose about the “noise and behavior” of the refugees.
Further proof of alienation
Many Germans have criticized Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open door policy towards refugees. The building of this massive structure is just further proof of the increasing alienation. And recently, Merkel herself has she didn’t handle the refugee crisis properly. “If I could, I would go back in time to be better prepared for the refugee crisis in 2015, for which we were rather unprepared.”
Thus far, Germany has accepted 1.3 million asylum seekers since the crisis began. But, if anything, this wall may also represent the government’s failure to create plans to ease the integration process of refugees into German culture. There have been initiatives set up throughout the country – including German language courses and building social connections between locals and refugees, especially in the big cities. But without the ability to work for long stretches of time while waiting for the proper permits, asylum seekers can feel displaced and become downtrodden. Thus, the alienation continues to grow.
Recently, in the town of Bautzen in eastern Germany, there have two separate incidents of neo-Nazis hunting refugees through the street, throwing stones and yelling racial slurs at them. And in the town of Heidenhau, a group of 30 far-right supporters ambushed three young Afghan refugees. The victims required medical attention but were later released from the hospital. Since the start of this year, there have been 1,800 attacks on asylum seekers and their accommodation. This is a far cry from the welcome received last year at the Munich train station.
Many don’t agree with the building of the new wall in Munich
The Deputy District Chairman Guido Bucholtz said “I was frightened when I saw this monster of a wall”. He followed with “This whole propaganda really sucks.”
One couple even told the local media: “Donald Trump wants to build a wall for Mexico, and we in Munich Neuperlach build one to keep up safe from refugees.”