About the series
This is the first post of the Impressions of Germany series since the restart of the blog and since about a year. In contrast to the usual posts with photos about the sightseeing, this one is a summary of a discussion.
Personally, I prefer discussions over sightseeings, and I keep this in mind when to release new posts on this series. However, I have to put a warning on this post. As it is the first of its kind in this series, the writing style seem to be not that good. I hope to be able to produce better articles in the future.
About My Country Talks
The idea is as follows: every visitor of one the participating online websites can answer seven questions about politics with only a yes/no-option. Based on the answer, potential political opponents from the specified city are chosen. The contrahents are particularly those who answered most likely in the other direction.
If you’re lucky, you’ll get a match that you can accept or decline. Also, you get an invitation to meet with the person on a specific date and talk about the subjects. You are invited to travel to Berlin to join the official event under the auspices of the Bundespräsident (German article), too.
I filled out the form in July or August and got a match in September that I met in October.
We sat down for three hours and talked about personal/ work life and, to meet the purpose, about society and politics. Interestingly, we spent much time to talk about other issues like the filter bubble. At the end we only got few time left to debate about the questions we’ve been matched for.
We disagreed on five questions, yet were only able to investigate two of them. These were:
- Should Germany control its borders more strictly?
- Did the #MeToo-movement have any positive outcomes?
Of course, these questions can’t be answered with a simple yes/no. But for the sake to find political rivals I answered the first with yes and the second with no.
I have two main arguments for a more severe border control.
Especially on the borders to Czech Republic and Poland, only a few hundred meters away “travellers” from Germany visit prostitutes and pay only a small percentage for their services. It is very likely that the majority of these women suffer from extreme exploitation. I wouldn’t be surprised if many were held as sex slaves and put under drugs by their pimps. It’s a dark and cruel business and each visitor contributes to the suffering of these women.
I guess it’s hard to gain control over the situation in the neighbour countries itself. Further, I came to the conclusion that if there would exist regulations that could be enforced by tighter borders I would support them. So my “yes” is based on a theoretical background where borders had a positive outcome on this issue. But I’m not aware of any situation that could help.
However, a similar problem is human trafficking where women are brought as sex slaves to Germany, again especially on the eastern borders. Here I do see a possibility to at least exacerbate these crimes and I would strongly support stricter borders.
Of course, the issue is usually seen in the context of the refugee crisis. Yet, I find it hard to build an opinion on this side. My interlocutor emphasized that physical borders are expensive and inefficient.
My viewpoint on the #MeToo-Debate is more common grounded, I guess.
My major argument against a positive value of the debate is that it appeared to me that a few noisy people dominated social media and many online printing sites, too. Yet, especially the latter usually experienced a strong headwind from the commentators. I got the feeling that at the very end there’s a small group that applauded itself and the majority doesn’t really care or is even irritated.
Apart from the outcry, I haven’t experienced any changes. Often when I talk to women I confront them with some statements. I observed the following: if they’re political, they’re more likely to support the movement, if they’re less political, they don’t care or even oppose. Maybe it’s not a movement for all women (and men, as some activists sometimes emphasize), but only for a (small) subset.
Additionally, I think it’s insincere that the major protagonists of the movements are people from Hollywood. If Hollywood is a bad place, well, then it just is what it is – no one needs to become a worldwide movie star. It is immature to walk voluntarily into a no-go area, become a victim of a crime and then complain about it.
With respect to my viewpoints about the problems of sex slavery and similar hard issues I also have the feeling that many intellectual resources could be used better.
In short, I’m very sceptical of the hashtag while my opponent had a rather neutral view and not much to say.
At the end of the meeting we agreed on a second discussion on the remaining questions. Unfortunately, my partner didn’t react to an e-mail of me in which I asked about the second date.
Nevertheless, I will participate in My Country Talks a second time next year.
Featured Image – By geralt, via pixabay