German activism: Don’t be that arschloch!

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In the wake of widespread anti-refugee propaganda, Aktion Arschloch (Action Asshole), a German activist group, pushed an anti-Nazi song, “Schrei nach Liebe” (Cry For Love), to the top of Germany’s charts. The song, released in 1993, tells a story of a fictional extremist who is insulted for their beliefs, ending the chorus famously with the word “Arschloch.”

Die Arzte, the punk rock band that released “Schrei nach Liebe,” wrote the song as a statement against the Hoyerswerda Riots of 1991. The riots began with a group of neo-Nazis committing acts of vandalism against Vietnamese vendors, and then later evolved into the bombing of asylum seeking foreigners. From there it became one of the most well known anti-fascist songs in Germany.

Now the song is being used against right-wing extremists who, much like the fictional character in “Schrei nach Liebe,” are against allowing refugees into Germany. Their beliefs are founded in what Aktion Arschloch calls rampant xenophobia.

These beliefs aren’t always covered up or hidden, either. “With the refugee-crisis, many people are more open about their xenophobia,” 18-year-old Anika (Nicky) Malzan explained, speaking about her experiences as a German citizen. “They either disguise themselves as concerned citizens, or are just outright racist and Islamophobic.”

And intolerance isn’t found only within Germany’s borders, but in other countries as well, she argues.

“The distribution [of refugees] in Europe is generally rather unfair, as countries like Italy and Greece, both of which are struggling heavily with their economy, take in very large numbers of refugees, while countries that are better off like Denmark flat-out refuse to take in refugees, or like Slovakia, take in a total of 200 refugees, but only Christians,” Malzan said.

The situation is undoubtedly too large for one activist group to completely resolve, but the impact Aktion Arschloch has had on Germany is substantial.  When asked what she thought about the group spreading awareness via “Schrei nach Liebe,” Malzan replied, “I think it’s pretty neat!”

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