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A contract for both sides of Germany’s integration equation

The Local · 27 Nov 2009, 12:05

Published: 27 Nov 2009 12:05 GMT+01:00

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"Do you promise? I promise. Will you give? I will give. Do you vouch for it? I vouch for it."

It isn’t just similar language, but the exact same words: the Stipulatio, the basic form of oral contract under Roman law devised to deal with debts and loans, is the precursor to all modern contracts. Its most essential element is do ut des: I give, so you give.

Ever since then, contracts have been a part of our daily existence: people are married, billions are made, damages are paid, crises avoided, nations allied and wars ended.

And now, after the successful use of contracts for thousands of years, a new one has been devised for an old problem: an “Integration Contract” is supposed to bond immigrants to German society. Maria Böhmer, the government's commissioner for integration affairs, presented it this week after being inspired by a similar initiative in France. The only question is why didn't anyone in Germany think of it sooner?

Up till now, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s centre-right coalition has seemed out of touch with Germany's citizenry about how non-Germans living in the country should adapt to life here.

You need two sides to ensure successful integration – they may want something different from each other, but they are united by a common goal. The significance of this realisation should not be underestimated.

Currently there is a widespread notion in Germany that those coming here are meant simply to conform and assimilate without receiving anything in return. This attitude permeates German society – from the man on the street to his representatives in parliament. But a contract involves two sides, not one. It stipulates what is expected of both parties and they have to stick to their agreement.

This can be a constructive approach that still must confront two major problems. The first issue is determining what exactly can be justifiably asked of immigrants. Can they be expected to have a better knowledge of the German language and a deeper commitment to the country than is often expected of the Germans themselves? Going by the principle of a contract, the answer is yes. Those who want to live in this country choose Germany as their homeland. Those who are born here don't.

But at the same time this qualifies the demands we can place on second and third generation immigrants. The integration contract should not be abused as a thinly veiled attempt to judge people with hindsight, punishing individuals for political or personal failures.

Story continues below…

The second problem arises from another essential characteristic of contracts. People are free to negotiate and agree to them. But this freedom is hugely compromised when the two negotiating parties are not equal. The decision to immigrate is a momentous one that decides a person's fate. The state stands against this decision like an all-powerful monolith – it helps determine how chances are distributed. It is therefore the state's responsibility to take each individual's weaknesses into consideration.

We will only be able to assess the true value of these contracts when they are put into practice by local authorities. Merkel’s government has stated that the integration contract is meant to deal with the problems plaguing that group of immigrants blithely pigeonholed as “imported brides” from Anatolia. But if that is all it is suppose to do, it will be a squandered opportunity for those on both sides of Germany’s integration equation.

This commentary was published with the kind permission of Berlin newspaper Der Tagesspiegel, where it originally appeared in German. Translation by The Local.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

13:54 November 27, 2009 by FrankSchreier
I am an immigrant in Germany but nobody can tell just but looking at me: I am white, have blue eyes and with a demeanor and education not different from most Germans. The reason for that is that my greatgrandfather was German. When I was recognized as a German citizen, I came to live here and was allowed to take part of the so-called "Integrationskurs", which is a 6-month language course paid for by the government for all immigrants. The quality of the course was mediocre, but that was not what impressed me the most. When addressing the chapter of family and relationships, it was natural for me to take about my partner (same-sex). The virulence and intolerance of the reaction from the rest of the class, mostly Turks, Eastern-Europeans and Africans, prompt me to react and reply firmly and critically. The reaction from the teacher? "you need to understand where they come from and accept their way of thinking"...

What an interesting way of thinking about integration. The Tuks complaint and say: "Germany must do more for integration". More than what I have seen? Almost free language course? Hard to imagine. The offices of the ARGE are full of Turks and other immigrants. Do they demand more support? What do they want? The author of the article must have a very peculiar way of thinking if he sees Germany as doing too little for immigrants.

It seems as if Turks can only accept an "integration" where the host country grants them all freedoms and support, while they get to refuse speaking German, and accuse Germans of being racist, fat and stinky, creating their isolation centers not because they feel rejected but because they reject Germans.

The contract seems a good idea, but who will monitor the compliance of the terms? And what will the penalties be for not compyling?

Note: Before anybody accuses me of being a racist, islamophobe or neonazi, just for the record, I marched againts Pro-Köln and its anti-mosque initiative. I wonder how many Turks will march on CSD or for gay rights.
22:49 November 27, 2009 by anna artist
Frank and onemark you are so right. I totally agree with your posts. I'm not a German but I live here now. I'm from another european country and I must say that any offices I have been to, I didn't get any support and I ididn't get a language course either. They have it too easy, everything handed on a silver plate.It's called bowing to them, as everyone is too afraid to say anything. Anna
03:17 November 28, 2009 by janreg58
This is the problem we are having in the US. We give more to the immigrants than we do to our own citizens in need of help. They get free college, housing assistance, financial aid, medical..you name it. Documents are in spanish, and teachers have to learn spanish to teach them. If we were in their country, would they do the same for us? As a tax payer, I am tired of being taxed to death every time the government comes out with another program to assist them. I feel that if you want to be in any country but your own, you should assimilate, become a citizen, and definitley learn their language. We shouldn't have to assimilate to their ways, not in OUR country! Like you, if we say anything about this problem, we are called rascist, or prejudice...even Nazis.
07:20 November 28, 2009 by mwendam
What interests me is the amount of outright dislike of immigrants I sense made in the above comments by other .....immigrants...... I think that this is where the fault lies. One immigrant who now thinks that they are less of an immigrant then the other immigrant, starts pointing figures at the other immigrant (to make themselves feel less of an immigrant) for not being more open to whatever processes of intergration, don't just love it.
07:59 November 28, 2009 by zarets
FrankSchreier, we are paying you ( tax payer) for your integration course.It sounds that you are really try to show here that the one who don't like to integrate are the people who are not white etc... But if you look at the forums the white people like american and british are the one who are attacking so much of German.

You even stated: as if Turks can only accept an "integration" where the host country grants them all freedoms and support, while they get to refuse speaking German, and accuse Germans of being racist, fat and stinky, creating their isolation centers not because they feel rejected but because they reject Germans..

Can you look in the Toytown FORUM who are talking that to German???(as Im following the thread there) no TURKS there it's all british who hate so much Germans and use this words many times ( racist, fat and stinky,) i never heard that from a Turk.So stop opening your fouly mouth.You just try to cover up here.
08:05 November 28, 2009 by nickdrink
Right, we brits hate german.Any complain????
08:24 November 28, 2009 by arbeitsmunich
We don't care if Brits hate us.You're country is bankrupt and soon (or maybe already) you are all crawling here to come.
08:29 November 28, 2009 by Helligånds
My advise to Germans kick their ass!
08:48 November 28, 2009 by MyViewToday
As a non-german living here with family, we had our own ups and downs here. Instead of blaming one another for not contributing from their sides, we should seek for firm rules which will endure basic requirements like 'german language learning' (which I feel is the most important requirement).

Simple rules like:

1. Any body who wants to settle or work here, must pass the language with in a specific time frame (say 1 or 2 years). Failing to do so should result in non extension of the stay permit. It sounds 'forcing', but it's required.

2. Both parents should pass Integration programm (and German language), with in say 2 years, in order to get the child care benifits(Kindergeld).

some individuals may not require German language skills to live and work here! But the country needs their residents (germans and non-germans) to speak German language.

Let's not blame Germans too much. Instead let's use that energy in learning their language. And the time will certainly come when Germans will (have to) change their mind set.
09:47 November 28, 2009 by pepsionice
Only an observation....but the minute a Turk gives up his citizenship....other than a ethnic connection...he is a German, period. If he wants to eat Turkish food still, fine. If he wants to speak Turk to a neighbor still, fine. If he wants to drink Turkish coffee still, fine.

But the plain truth is that he gave up his citizenship for a reason. He wanted to be a German, and so he is a German. If living as a German is hopeless and just not practical....Turkey would readily accept him back. My guess is that they want the best of both lands....which doesn't exist. So living in an imaginary land is not an option. Either be Turk or be German.....but don't try to be both.
10:03 November 28, 2009 by Johnne
myviewtoday, frankschreier, and all the rest of you...could you please just go and sit down somewhere, & shut your mouths!?? you´re the racists here not germans. let me tell you, foreigners don´t have big problems in learning the language...why don´t we reject laboures & toilet cleaners who "sometimes" don´t speak fluent german? you can´t do the jobs many foregners here do so just keep quiet! my friend, what about the excitement foregners bring to germany? even the turks you´re talking about pay more taxes that any of your generation could ever try to. they own numerous shops,resturants,jobs and create a lot of jobs even for their own people more that the natives do. I´m a black african & I know most blacks "even americans love this country"raise our families here and we´re ready to give back. we own our businesses (sometimes clubs) , jobs & even create jobs/pay a lot of tax, we import our colourful and exciting fun-loving way of life. In my view,germans are very ok..the british and americans are worse "especialy the british" I lived and worked in the UK for 3yrs with my wife (german) and we saw it clearly that the british are the most racist westerners. Let´s just live together in peace and harmony & love this great country. We´re all foreigners..either black or white.
15:52 November 28, 2009 by FrankSchreier
It's obvious that stupidy trascends nationalities and ethnicities. Both Gemans and foreigners have pulled a "Vicky Pollard" and have told me "shut up". Totalitarism trancends barriers as well. It's easier to tell somebody to shut up than to engage in a debate when one has no arguments to give and, specially, when one doesn't have the time or brains to read the other people's postings to the end. But I don't blame you.. everybody has limitations... Just try to read my post again and address the issue of raging homophobia in Eastern European, Arab, Muslim or African immigrant communities. In your countries you are legally entitled to be a bigot, but not here. You can hate us (gays-- issue omitted for some reason by those to told me to shut upo or accused me of being a racist) but legally you have to show rescpect and acceptance. And that doesn't happen. And as Germany and Europe move away from christian-based prejudices and social tyranny to form a secular society that includes the respect for women's freedom and gay rights, those who have chosen to live here are entitled to have their religious prejudices, but in their private espheres, not at work, schools, streets and political issues.

Not only am I an immigrant but I have almost always been one. And I pay my taxes. Always have. So no one can tell me to shut up. Enough that their intolerance restricts our equal access to legal rights. I have marched against islamphobia and have nothing against any race or nationality. I have enough friends of different backgrounds that can vouch for that. I believe in the right to legal global immigration and noone should be "send" back. But to be part of country is to accept the laws and values of the land above one's particular ones. Not to be convinced of them. Simply to accept them as a the frame for the new social order chosen.
20:51 November 28, 2009 by Johnne
@Frankschreier, you still don´t get it that nobody hates you here..you are the hater:-) again in your comment, you expose how racist you are by making refference to "our home countries" you don´t get it. Germany is our adopted country and people like you should get out, and leave this wonderful country alone. Germans are great people, very friendly, honest, helpful and unbiased. People like you disguise as germans & continue to create problems and unpopularity between natives and foreigners with your intolerance and hate.

If you know africa very well, you´ll know that we´re open,tolerant,friendly, are happy fun-loving people..infact we love white people:-) so I believe brothers & sisters here ´ll know you´re just commenting rubbishg because of the hate and racism inside you. Biogots?? who is biogot? you are biogot! don´t you see? you can´t even recognise that! just because you´re white doesn´t make you more intelligent than blacks or turks...you should ask your intelligent mates, enterprenuers and politicians about that. "they know better" proberbly you never left your small town/village before coming to germany not to talk visiting africa:-) look!! you´re envious of us because germans treat all of us equally, and the multiculturism is really paying off here as well. you´re such a digrace with your bigotry.

My friend, go back to your country if you don´t like it here & stop preaching hate. We love the germans for their honesty & unbaised attitude towards foreigners..we´ll do everything to give something back & pay our taxes regulraly...our children are germans and ´ll continue to make this great country proud. look at the football-team & you´ll see what I´m talking about. God bless germany & God blees the germans.
02:20 November 29, 2009 by janreg58
I believe everyone has the right to improve their way of life, but to who's expense? I have seen what immigration can do to just a state. If you don't control immigration they will turn your country into the country they left behind. Not every immigrant gives back to society. Some take and give what they recieve to the place they came from. How is this helping? I don't ask that they forget their customs, or their religion. But I expect them to respect the laws, and the customs of the country they migrat to.
17:57 November 29, 2009 by Ceven
Interesting discussion!

I'm in the last bits of my Einbürgerung. The language test wasn't hard, it's not nearly as bad as many Germans I've spoken too have made it out to be. It has only to do with understanding and fucntioning (quite basically) in the language. There are no grammatical questions and even the writing portion tells you outright in the instructions what they are looking to see when grading. The Einbürgerungstest itself is a bit one-sided (western influenced, why ask about the first west german chancelor and not the first eastern one too?), but I see the point. They make it as easy as it could possibly be. The American test is far-far more difficult by comparison.

The idea of a contract is a good one but would probably only amount to some sort of ceremonial act rather than a monitored and enforced set of rules. Germany isn't racist per say, but they have their own way of going about things that most any foreigner has to adapt to (when it come sto tax laws, opening a business, working rights, etc.) No one is obligated to assimilate to anyone else's religious views or personal opinions. There is also "Meinungsfreiheit which allows us to either agree or disagree upon the beliefs and lifestyles of others as we choose to so long as it doesn't cause anyone harm or humiliation. You can be an out gay, a conservative Muslim, an athiest and so on and have the same basic rights as anyone else. That is the beauty of the German system. Often times that part gets blurred out by one person talking about another, but the bigger picture remains the same.
00:07 November 30, 2009 by FrankSchreier
To Johne:

1. "If you know africa very well, you´ll know that we´re open,tolerant,friendly, are happy fun-loving people"

Could you point in this map where is your openness, tolerance and friendliness?


2. "even the turks you´re talking about pay more taxes that any of your generation could ever try to...

>>>how could you possibly know that?

3. "you´re the racists here"; "germans are very ok..the british and americans are worse "especialy the british""

>>> I never made this about race, but you can't seem to be able to get of the issue, which makes me wonder, along with your comments, who the racist is. "the british and americans are WORSE"? Are there no black people there? Or are they also racist?

4. "people like you should get out"... "My friend, go back to your country if you don´t like it here"

>>>your comment speaks by itself about yourself ("we´re open,tolerant,friendly, are happy fun-loving people").. really? What are my options if I don't want to get out? Sudan-style sharia law solution? Uganda's crimininalization of gays? Rwanda genocide....? How do you know I did not escape from there?

Just because I said I was white...

a. you turn my comments into racial ones?

b. I cannot be African?

Look at yourself, buddy, and think before you write.
11:54 November 30, 2009 by Lindz
I recently immigrated to Germany and I believe that the integration process is necessary. Although I was a bit taken aback by the intensity and the number of hours required for the integration course, I still feel that as an immigrant to any country it is integral that one integrate and assimilate on some level. If you are unwilling to do so then perhaps immigration is not the right choice for you. Without integrating and assimilating to some degree how can one possibly become a contributing, functional and successful member of the society in which they have immigrated?
12:08 November 30, 2009 by FrankSchreier
I wanted to go back to my original point: when immigrants chose Germany as their new home, are they willing to accept the secular values of equality as the guiding principle for their social interaction? z.B. respectful interaction with gays? respect to women in the workplace and social life regardless of how they chose to dress and date?... even if they are family members? Integration means not only Germany truly accepting immigrants as part of society (and that has nothing to do with their taste in music or food) and giving to means to make sure that everybody feels welcome and at home with their own traditions and ethos. Integration is a two-way street, and that means that immigrants have to integrate themselves with the core of modern German social values, which are based on embracing diversity. That doesn't mean that one has to give up their religion or worldview, or music and food, or clothing and language. It means that while respecting their origins (past) they need to embrace the values of the land that has welcome them (present). Can you deal with women in position of power? Can you deal with women in the business world? Can you deal with the fact that your daughter or sister is not a virgin, wears provocative skirts and dates people outside your circle? Can you walk by a gay couple holdign hands and not look at them with disgust? Can you refer to gay people as normal and not as a anti-natural, sinfully lifestyle perverts? If yes, then, welcome!
13:58 November 30, 2009 by Lindz
Well said Frank.
00:15 December 1, 2009 by JHarris
As an Englishman who has been insulted by Germans for having the temerity to speak to them in their own language, which I speak to a level good enough to be a professional translator, I can't help but see the language issue with relation to (particularly Turkish) immigrants as a smokescreen. If it's alright for Americans to swan about in Prenzlauer Berg for years speaking English, or German so bad they could write for die Bild, why aren't German-Turkish families allowed to just speak Turkish in Neukölln?

Perhaps we Anglophones should all start pretending we are Turkish. Then perfect German would apparently be required of us, with which most of us would be happy to oblige. Seriously, although most Germans are welcoming of and tolerant towards foreigners, there is a lot of selective racism about and the intricate Nationalsport of 'Gute Ausländer/Schlechte Ausländer' should no longer be played.
09:33 December 1, 2009 by jennieerin73
Jharris -- I agree. I'm American, I got a residency permit without a huge struggle (not that it was no struggle) and my German sucks. I will do the integrationskurs in March if I can get a seat -- why not take advantage of such a cheap opportunity -- but among the Americans here the feeling does seem to be that this language is somehow optional, and the Auslaenderamts reinforce that message. It's odd.
13:09 December 1, 2009 by Johnne
Frank what it your problem? for christ sake you met foreigners at the language school! how many foreigners have you really sat down with yourself? why are you always talking about immigrants as if they´re all primitive and fanatic muslims? that´s why you´re bigot. you just talk about immigrants as if they all hate you because you´re gay, & don´t respect women. I asked you how many countries and cultures you´ve visited in Africa..you refused to answer. maybe those immigrants you´re talking about have problems with you personaly! is having problems with gays peculiar to immigrants? are marriages allowed in churches? I live in Munich & I can tell you that you´re not really liked here because of the conservative bavarian tradition. Don´t just limit all those things to foreigners alone! that´s exactly what I had issues with. And I recommend you to visit africa once again to prove me right. If you´re african yourself, you need to visit other countries like Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya or Tanzania..you need to visit cities like Lagos,Abuja,Accra,Nairobi etc..you´ll see the africa that loves you and tolerate you, maybe you won´t even like it because you´ll see more of a westernised africa than traditional african way of life. My wife doesn´t like lagos and Abuja because there´s nothing so african about them!
15:27 December 1, 2009 by FrankSchreier

I can see that you remain an ignorant about the issues at hand (and many others that you manage to slip in in an argument that has nothing to do with your statements).

Let's see... You want me to go to..

Tanzania -

sex acts between men are illegal, and carry a penalty of Life imprisonment (Penal Code Act 1945 -revised 1998- § 154)

Kenya -

Sections 162 to 165 of the Kenyan Penal Code criminalize homosexual behaviour and attempted homosexual behaviour between men. The penalty is 5 to 14 years' imprisonment.

Ghana -

gay sex is illegal (Criminal Code 1960- Chapter 6, Sexual Offences Article 105)

Nigeria -

There is a legislation pending to constitutionally ban all forms of same-sex unions (with hefty penalties for offenders). In areas under Sharia I would face capital punishment.

"you´ll see the africa that loves you and tolerate you"... Really? You call that tolerance??? Thank you for the travel offer!!!

On the other hand... You chose to ignore my reference to the map, and you have ignored my questions about homopohobia, so I'll ask you directly before I waste more time with you:

1. What do you think of gay people?

2. Do you think homosexuality is normal and natural?

3. Do you believe that "God" create gays and gave us our sexual orientation as part of us?

4. Do you think homosexuality and its practice among adults should be legal and protected?

5. What do you think of Uganda's bill to criminilaze homosexuality, even with the death penalts?

6. Do you think we are normal, and as normal people we have the right to get married to the people we love regardless of other people's religious ideas?

Stop repeating your mantras "you are a bigot" and "you are a racist" mantra.. it's getting old, used and ridiculous. Stop being a coward and address the original issue: gay rights and immigrants. If you cannot be honest and brave enough to be oepn about your real feelings and thoughts about gays, how can anybody in this forum take you seriously?
16:36 December 1, 2009 by Johnne
Ok, if you want me to have time for you, I´ll dedicate a little bit time to address your mis-information. 1st of all, you don´t have any understanding about what you´re talking about. you solely rely on wikipedia and the media "CNN" which one of the greatest problems we have as people of different races/cultures. you grew up listening to what your media, grand fathers and parents taught you about africans and now wikipedia so you can never ever be right. How can you be right my friend, I don´t know wherever your former country is but my main point is..at least africans make it obvious & public that the laws of the land or the constitution should still be guided with fundamental moral & religious values. The same thing you have in states like California & Texas in the US which I believe is the world´s largest democracy. All what you´re saying does not reflect the views of an average man on the streets of Lagos or Accra. Apart from gay rights, there are hundreds of issues we´re disatisfied with in Africa "corruption" on the side of government and so much more.

I´m not inviting you but I recommend every european to visit africa at least once in his or her life time. If you know you´re not racist...visit it, make friends, mix with africans..you would see that we have more time for family,capitalism,football, sex & parties than hate or having problems with gays. You see, sharia law only operates in some states in the northern part of Nigeria..since you don´t know much or rather- only interested in the negative info about Africa and it´s people, you won´t know how big Nigeria is. It´s a big country of 160million people,36 states, christian south & muslim north. Lagos,my state of origin is located in the more christian south..it´s got 15million residents so you can be sure that at least 10million people don´t care if you´re gay or not "that´s just for Lagos"not to mention the capital & other major cities. now...as for me, although I´m a very strong christian, my closest mate is gay. I see sexual choice as a fundamental human right, & I had a boyfriend when I was in boarding school myself:-) I had 3 room mates on campus.. 2 lesbians & my best friend. tell me my friend, how can I have a problem with you for being gay? apart from the fact that I grew up here, I´ve been married to a German for 7years & my wife´s very good friend is also gay. Frank I´ll write a book if I answer all your questions but once again, you views about us are wrong. You only think you know all but you don´t know anything. I swear that´s the main problem we have with each other. you´re ignorant and mis-informed.
18:46 December 1, 2009 by Hi-IQ
Johnne, PLEASE!!! When you are commenting here, you are not representing the whole of Africa!!!! Represent yourself, or your country.......one never hears anyone say I am an European. I am South African, and while South Africa lies in Africa, I certainly cannot speak on behalf of that continent, one more thing, PLEASE, take your time to read Franks messages, this is embarassing!

Frank, I get your point......
16:20 December 2, 2009 by Germanlover
This comment is in support for FrankScheneider.

As an immigrant and a gay person, I too experienced similar prejudice during the intergration course in Germany. The majority of my classmates were from Turkey, a couple of them from Africa, Russians and Eastern Europeans. I had no problems with them being in the class, but what got on my tits is 'yes' they are so narrow minded and intolerance of the gays.

These people had been living in Germany for a long long time and they were there by force and had no intention of learning let alone wanting to intergrate into the mainstream. They spoke their own language in class and bad-mouthing about the teacher (my teacher could speak several languages) and my poor teacher was always at logger heads with them and she was so scared to say anything negative for fears of being branded a racist.

Let me say this, you cannot really intergrate Islam and Christianity together, the two are like chalk and chesse. But something has got to be done.

16:26 December 2, 2009 by bramblebush
How many people do we need in Germany? The Inn is full. It's time to lock the door and send those non assimalators packing..... I like my bier and pork....
17:19 December 2, 2009 by Johnne
Hi, lowQ do I know you??? don´t you ever address me that way! Who´s talking to you? if I want to address you, I know how to do that. If you read frank´s comments here you would see that he´s based his views on ALL africans,east europeans & muslims. What do you think you´re saying. I speak for all Africans because I know that basicaly & generaly africans are friendly & tolerant people. He generalised so why shouldn´t I generalise in my response? So, you too want to join his campaign of hate here as well? "you´re south african" people should first don´t judge with the few immigrants in their integration courses & get to meet people doing their thing. Enterpreneurs,students, IT Specialist, and well integrated immigrants. You too don´t get it or you just decided to join him because you´re south african? What I said is that he shouldn´t just generalise. He´s refused to see that there are immigrants that would just take him for who he is! You are embarrassing yourself & infact letting your people down here.
22:16 December 2, 2009 by Tinab
Its a bit sad that there is so much generalising going on from a few, quite specific personal experiences. The laws in the African countries which have been quoted here are impressive and accurate but they are colonial laws, a hangover from European legal structures which have not been changed since they were imposed, probably because these countries have far more pressing problems to attend to. These laws do not reflect what all the people in those countries think, let alone what all immigrants think. The gay liberation struggle has led to the current situation where its socially ok to be openly gay in most western countries. In many African countries this is simply low on the list of priorities, as was the case in Western countries in the last century. Please don't forget it was a hard fight and a very recent one. Anyone remember Oscar Wilde dying in exile for loving men? As for immigration, all over the world people pick up and move somewhere else for all kinds of reasons, there is no point to pretend this is new or is going to stop now and that immigrants are just going to have to do as they are told or else. The huge population movements of the last 3 centuries (mostly by Europeans) have filled 3 continents (Australia, N and S America), wiping out native populations in the process. How's that for poor manners and refusal to integrate? Was anyone going to let's be nice classes and learning to speak the local lingo then? Its ironic that English speakers so often feel absolutely no need to learn any other language no matter where they travel or live, bless 'em. The fabulous thing about a liberal society is that we all get an opinion. This one is mine: there is little point defining people who are different from you as "other" and then attributing to them specially nasty characteristics, unheard of in "our" part of the world. It's just inaccurate.
08:57 December 3, 2009 by Johnne
Thank you very much Tinab, that´s why I´ve been expressing my views on this forum especialy because of Frank. I didn´t want to use the word "colonial in that sense" bacause some forumites might say I´m being intolerant & blaming setbacks in Africa on colonial regimes. I know at least 20 sections in our constitution that are still from the days of the British colonialists. There´s of course the side of the very old traditional african ways which you don´t really see anymore in towns and cities in the developing & pro-western african countries.

It´s a pity that some brothers/sisters here don´t know how much many of us apreciate a world of peace,unlimited tolerance, & freedom in all aspects of life. That we rather apreciate when we can understand each other & see that what joins us..is much greater than what divides us as a people. We can´t generalise because the view of a few does not reflect the views of all. Once again, I say that I recommend all westerners to visit Africa atleast once in their lifetime. my people, africa is home for all of all us no matter what your religion is, if you´re gay or straight, white,black or brown. If you sense discrimination in one country, try Lagos, Nigeria:-)nothing dey hapen:-) cheers...
21:19 December 4, 2009 by kweli

Ungrateful you call us, who can be greatful when you pay tax like every other working German citizen in this country and you have no say on how it should be spent? Tell me more about democracy.

One more thind Alorik, every human being is inherently gullible and stupid you incuded.

Foreigners are here to stay (call us a necessary nuisance if you wish) and with a society that is aging and the locals do not feel that they can get childern due to other personal reasons, then you ought to think of we immigrants who are apparently giving birth to 7 children as a bitter pill that will sustain you and people of like minds.

Integration is a lost battle, once you started calling immigrants "Gastarbeiter" that was the end of the race period.

The day Africans , Asians will start making immigration contracts with all those 'expats' clamouring to go there is the day you will realise how ridiculous you all sound.
00:09 December 5, 2009 by Johnne
Alorik or whatever you call yourself...shame on you! I can see how ignorant you are..see who´s talking! we pay some of the sozialhilfe your family gets in this country! who are you? Can you imagine this nonentity! Oh! so...you think just because you´re a german citizen, you´re better than the rest of us here? don´t you even let me sight you here again..don´t come here to preach hate o! just get used to us cos we´re gonna be living here with you for a very long time:-) cheers.
03:44 December 5, 2009 by CalBill
As janreg58 pointed out, in the U.S. most immigrants (mostly illegal immigrants from Mexico) expect the U.S. to adapt to them rather than them adapting to the U.S., learning English, etc.. Like (I assume) the Turkish immigrants in Germany, they tend to form their own communities, resist integration, and collect welfare benefits. I think that the German "contract" is a great idea and should be adapted in the United States.
14:52 December 7, 2009 by Beynch
Such a "contract" will only work if it includes a provision that those who fail, are given their exit papers, and a one-way ticket out, regardless of any "family ties" or other anchors. If you do not include such a provision, I'm afraid nothing will change.
19:45 December 15, 2009 by pumba
I was turkish, if you preconceive that I was born in Anatolia. I came here being 15 years old.I got to be German citizen and a civil engineer, although it was hard for me to learn German, I'm thankful the German government gave me the chance to high-leveled education.

It's rude that yall are assuming all the Turks are unthankful and hateful against Germany.

I have so many friends who have a non-german background, got to be raised in Germany and who feel home nowhere but in Germany now.Why would we live here, if we would not be comfortable?

But on the other side, immigrants(doesn't matter where they from) who came to Germany and now are animadverting shall just leave. That's just disrespectful after all the education and future they provide you.
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