Barenboim declares support for Angela Merkel’s refugee stance

Barenboim declares support for Angela Merkel’s refugee stance


norman lebrecht

October 24, 2015

‘I am a great admirer of Mrs Merkel‘s campaign,’ he has told the German press agency:

By making the clear statement “We can do this,” Merkel really stuck her neck out, he said, arguing that now she must not lose her nerve. If she manages that, “I believe she will prevail.”

Barenboim, 72, said refugees who had been accepted needed to have greater support through cultural education.

“Germany has been exemplary in how it has dealt with its past during the Nazi era,” he said. “But now the next step is necessary: Germans should also be ready to share their great German culture with the new arrivals … That would be the best defence of European values.”

barenboim german cross


  • Neven P. says:

    And I felt so bad for missing the VPO post yesterday… Thank you, Norman! Both Merkel and Barenboim should be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

    • Neven P. says:

      Barenboim needs not to worry about the cultural education of refugees. Saudi Arabia has already offered to fund the construction of 200 mosques in Germany alone.

      • Edgar Brenninkmeyer says:

        Disturbingly, these mosques will preach Wahabism, which is a gross and pernicious distortion of Islam.

        • Tommo says:

          Wahabism is the essence of Islam and follows the Qur’an to the letter. It is no distortion of that hate filled death cult as you are soon to find out.

          • Edgar Brenninkmeyer says:

            Your prejudice prevents any further discussion. What a pity. Of course you know – I assume you know – that there are many different traditions within Islam. Wahabism is one of them. It is also known as Salafism. It is a relatively young branch of Islam, propagated by the rivivalist preacher Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (1703–1792), in what we know today as Saudi Arabia. The vast wealth of this state allows for rapid spreading of this extreme form of Sunnism. I suspect that many of those fleeing are moderate Sunnis, Shias, Alawites, Sufis, and other Muslims who do not accept Wahabism as the only and genuine expression of Islam. (What Islam really needs is a Reformation. But this topic is different from the one under discussion here.)

            Thankfully, Angela Merkel does not give in to those calling for an end to accepting more refugees. At a town hall meeting in Nuerberg she expressed her understanding of those who feel worried and even threatened because of the refugee crisis, acknowlediging the danger of Germany’s society losing its common ground: “We must do everything we can to maintain our common ground”, she said, adding that she advocates “as many encounters as possible”, so as to prevent further prejudice and rejection and make further integration of refugees possible. “Yes, there are many refugees. But we are 80 million Germans.” (quoted after Der Spiegel Online, Oct. 26, 2015)

      • Alvaro says:

        You know what Neven, at least someone will pay for them, unlike the 1000’s of rotten churches that your european empire imposed around the world product of the looting of the natural reserves of the countries they were trying to “evangelize”, the enslavement of their people, and the extermination of entire populations over 5 centuries.

        I’d be worried if they opened churches….

    • Mike Schachter says:

      Rather unusually, they gave the Peace Prize to people who deserved it. I am sure Barenboim is angling for it to expand his already colossal ego.

      • John Borstlap says:

        The current restoration of the Berlin State Opera includes raising the top of the doors behind the scenes, to give enough space for B to move freely through the building without having to stoop.

  • Dave says:

    Maestro Barenboim need not worry. I’m sure that none of the refugees will be living next door to him.

    • RW2013 says:

      There is, in fact, a refugee shelter a few hundred metres from Barenboim’s Berlin apartment.

      • David says:

        Let’s hope the Maestro invites a few of his new neighbors over to visit.

        • John Borstlap says:

          My fly on the wall informed me that B has already made plans to strongly help them integrate into Western society by binding them on chairs and playing to them complete recordings of Boulez’ Pli selon quelque Pli, the Second Piano Sonata, Eclat multiples and Notations (both versions). It is to be expected that after that, the Syrians will suddenly be enlightened by a complete understanding of the deeper drives of our society.

          • Neven P. says:

            If listening to Boulez were one of the requirements to obtain German residence, I am quite certain that most Syrians would immediately return home.

  • sanjeev says:

    I know you’ll only live so much longer at 72 what will be of the future of the generations of germans who are born and have to live with new parallel culture. It’s illogical 100% to integrate million people. Birds of feather flock together if 100 or thousands of people from same origin get together where will be the need to learn german? They can run their own business form little community and start their own parallel society. I don’t foresee cultural integration working out with millions of foreigners flooding into Germany not to mention of the same origin.

    • MacroV says:

      Germany’s population is about 80 million, so a million refugees would add just over 1% to the population, probably less than normal annual population growth. Concerns about integration are not without merit, and Germany did a rather poor job for decades with its “temporary” Turkish workers. But Germany today, in terms of ethnic diversity, is Hitler’s nightmare. And most of those non-Aryans manage to learn German (at least their children do), and probably English. And it might be a while before a Syrian-German joins the Berliner Philharmoniker, but maybe not quite as long before one plays for Die Mannshaft.

      • May says:

        I don’t agree with your perspective on the possible advantages of attempting to integrate hundreds of thousands of Arabs into a completely foreign culture. You are saying that Germany’s taxpayers should shell out for the costs of integrating the migrants, so that someday there will be a Syrian-German poster child for the Berliner Philharmoniker or the National football team? In case you haven’t been reading the polls, or in case your particular media outlet has been not reporting the facts, the majority of Germans don’t want more refugees. They are outraged that the political establishment is shoving this crisis down their throats, and they don’t want to pay for it. the refugee crisis is going to negatively affect every aspect of German society for the years to come, not to mention cost billions of Euros, which our politicians have been saying for years don’t exist for culture or kindergartens or education, however suddenly they feel no compunction about making future generations of Germans pay for their Arab-Intergration experiment.

        Going back to Barenboim’s comments, I wish he would have addressed the issue of how German Jews feel about all of the new arrivals instead of praising the government that puts bread on his table. If Germany really wants to make up for its past, then it should do something for Jews, or at least put the money towards resolving the conflict with Palestine, instead of importing more problems from the Arab world.

        • MacroV says:

          I really don’t care what the average German thinks. Germany was spared imposition of collective guilt over its unspeakable crimes in World War II, but has a debt it can never fully repay to the world, certainly not after only two generations. The least they can do is take is show leadership in taking in refugees after having created so many; many of those refugees will actually work, pay taxes, and perhaps over the long-run be no more of a financial drain on the government than the average native-born German.

          • May says:

            Well, it seems by your first sentence that you and Angela Merkel share a lot in common. And by the way, WWII ended a few years ago. No one dares name it such, however we are well into WWIII. And Germany is not one of the aggressors.

          • Mark Morrison says:

            The Germans have been spared collective guilt over the Holocaust??? Do you really think that is so?
            I’m American-born Jew, many of whose relatives were slaughtered during those horrible years. I also spent a half year in Hamburg as a student many years back and I have returned again and again to Germany since that time. The Germans have paid many billions in reparations since WWII. The Holocaust history is taught in German schools. Unlike the Austrians and most of the other European countries who only in the most grudging way have acknowledged their complicity with the Nazi extermination, Germans have indeed admitted their guilt. They’ve been a far better friend to Israel that virtually every other European country (and much better than Obama).
            Whether the Germans could have done more or should do more in the future, collective guilt is certainly not something they’ve been spared. I am curious to know, though, why you have such great confidence that these new refugees will not be a financial drain on the Germans, even in the long run. There’s no history on their side to show that this will not be the case.

          • Ritamalik says:

            You really don’t care what average Germans think!??!??!? Of course you should care! This is their country!!! And I reject and abhor the immoral notion of intergenerational guilt. The vast vast majority of the Germans today were not even born during WWII or were small children who had no control over what was happening around them! They too certainly suffered immensely during WWII from bombings, starvation etc… And after the war they have been paying millions of dollars in reparations to the Holocaust survivors, to the state of Israel and to many other parties. Why do they have to now sit and watch their country being overrun by a group of people who are culturally incompatible with them and whose behaviour leaves a lot to be desired and the cost of hosting them is going to enslave them and their children who even are not yet born to colossal debt?!! I think Germans of today have nothing to prove to anyone and owe nothing to no one and should be left alone! This guilt tripping and shaming is really evil, and very abusive and must stop! This vindictiveness towards a great nation and a great people must stop! Germans have contributed a great deal to civilisation, the art, the sciences, etc… and just 12 years of Nazi rule does in no way eclipse that! They deserve respect and should be left in peace! By the way two wrongs never make a right! Nazi crimes were evil and wrong, but what is happening now is also wrong and never can rectify what Nazis did. Those murdered people in the Holocaust are not going to come back to life if Germany gets plunged into chaos and anarchy and cultural strife and financial ruin today!

        • John Borstlap says:

          Thousands and thousands of volunteers currenty take-up the job of helping and supporting Syrian fugitives in Germany, a real avelanche of humanity. If you follow the news programmes on German TV, which do not spare the problematic sides of the fugitive situation, you will be impressed by the immense efforts people make. Only THIS is a signal that in the end, the whole exercise will succeed, in spite of all the bears on the road. As for culture: the majority of Syrians who fled to the West come from the cities and had the money to be plundered by criminals. They will not have too much difficulty to integrate into European society because Syrian cities had been thoroughly westernized. You have only to imagine the terror of war which is raging in Syria to understand that they are all too eager to become European, in which they should be helped and stimulated, also the many seemingly single young men, who seem to frighten pegidaitic patients. Integration problems are to be found with immigrants coming from the country side, from poor and uneducated backgrounds, like the Maroccans in Holland and Belgium, and the Algerians in France, and many of the Turks in Germany which descend from peasant guest workers in the sixties and seventies who had and have a much wider gap to cover. The difference is not between cultures, but between levels of education and Westernization. Amsterdam, where I live, has a 50% immigrant population, or people descending from immigrants, most of them muslems. And 99,5% of them have become typical Amsterdam people, and often demonstrating the less pleasant characteristics of….. typical Dutch people.

          After a while, it is quite possible that Europe will be the same Europe of old, only with more coloured faces.

        • John Borstlap says:

          The place currently most popular for Jews to settle, apart from Israel, is…. Berlin, which has a thriving Jewish community, and many people from Jewish descend who do not feel themselves belonging to ‘a community’ because of being not so interested in racial background.

          As for integration: A muslem friend of mine has so deeply integrated in the Netherlands that he is opposed to accepting muslem fugitives. (??!!) The Dutch quasi-politician Geert Wilders, raving against any immigration tolerance, descends from Indonesian stock – Indonesia being the former Dutch colony where the Dutch exercized their war crimes after WW II to ‘save’ the colony from independence. He paints his hair blond to suggest Aryan descend and a love of Beethoven, both of which are, most likely, fake. Integration is very difficult for people with identity complexes. War refugees have other, more serious concerns about their life.

      • John Borstlap says:

        A very promising young conductor, David Afkham, has a Persian father, looks like someone from ‘1001 nights’ – so, impossible to look more ‘un-German’ – and his deepest musical roots, i.e. where his soul finds the strongest inspiration, is the core German repertoire:

        So, immigrant children may quickly rise to the occasion.

  • Tommo says:

    Europe is being invaded by an Islamic army many of whom are ISIS trained. They are not Syrian asylum seekers. Drone pictures show that the majority are fit young men and not worn down by the ravages of hunger, illness or deprivation that one would expect from people recently under siege.

    • John Borstlap says:

      Another canditate for the Einbürgerungslager. Without jobs, without perspective, without opportunities of education, these young men are sent-out by their desperate families to find a secure place. These kind of unconsidered, negative, destructive generalizations feed the mental disease known as pegidaitis. If these young men were isis-candidates, they would prefer to join the fighting craziness on the spot, which would be much more fun than obligatory lessons in German, which is the greatest deterrent after the threat of being bombed out of your bed.

      • Tommo says:

        Another leftist supporting Muslim power hoping they’ll kill you last. All security services are warning that ISIS killers are among this invasion none of whom are now classified as asylum seekers. Your view that these are poor illiterates coming to the West to look for work is naive and not supported by agencies who suspect that this is an organised and funded operation.

    • Michael says:

      Tommo, what differentiates you from the irrational hate-mongers you so despise? Your claims are baseless and vile. Tommo, your crusade is too late: Europe is a multi-cultural continent, a patchwork of cultures, languages, religions and ethnicities – and has been for millenia. Meanwhile, ISIS fighters are not just “infiltrators” from the Middle East, many are born-and-raised Europeans, who certainly do not need the cover of mass-exodus to arrive on our shores. For a continent that has managed to slaughter tens of millions of its own citizens over the last hundred years, along with tens of millions more in colonies around the world, your “fortress Europa” alarmism certainly does ring hollow. Unless you can offer facts in place of blind prejudice, I, like Mr Barenboim, would sooner put my faith in Ms Merkel to assess the moral and practical challenges of the real world, rather than heed zealots like yourself whose biggoted vitriol is indisinguishable from that of your professed enemy.

      • Tommo says:

        I don’t have a crusade as you call it. Frankly, I hope they fill Germany up to the brim with immigrants. It’s no more than they deserve after wrecking Europe twice over.

        ‘Europe is a multi-cultural continent, a patchwork of cultures, languages, religions and ethnicities -‘ Many of whom are in jail and have never intergrated into the wider society and don’t intent to. They have bought their own laws, religion and loathing of the infidel with them so don’t expect any contribution from them to your inferior culture.

        ‘ISIS fighters are not just “infiltrators” from the Middle East, many are born-and-raised Europeans, -‘ So that gives them right to return after raping, slaughtering and crucifying non-Muslims does it?. You don’t think they might just be a security risk to Europeans?

        You say you put your trust in Ms Merkel, what a dumb shit you must be. Good luck with your 200 new mosques. I hope they put one near you so that you can fully ‘intergrate’ with your new neighbours.

  • Tommo says:

    You coward. You slander me and remove your reply option You must know when your beaten.

    • Edgar Brenninkmeyer says:

      Au contraire, mon cher. Reading the responses to your screeds reveals the one beaten is you, only you. The same goes for the cowardice of which you accuse me, yet which appears to be yours only. That aside, I strongly recommend you give yourself and your confused mind a rest and some relaxation, perhaps with a nice martini.

      By the way: If the reply option was removed, then it happened unintentionally. Sometimes, technology does things without asking its user for prior approval. No reason to get out of whack, darling. Enjoy your martini and have a good night sleep. I am sure it will do you good (provided you don’t use cheap vodka).