Wednesday, June 8, 2016

German Definition of "Foreigner"

This topic comes up today because the federal cops in Germany announced the statistical numbers for the first quarter of 2016 on crime and foreigner-produced crime.  There were 69,000 foreigner-connected crimes in Germany for the months of January, February and March.

Now, what does foreigner mean?

Well.....that's the thing....they can't break this down any further.

I started to notice early in 2015 with the local news organizations in Wiesbaden that reported on city crime.....occasionally, they'd note that the culprit (whether never caught) was generally announced by the victim to have a 'East European' accent.  That typically means that they come from Moldova, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Albania, or Belarus.  Note, it generally does NOT mean Greece, Turkey, Czech, or least when you bring this topic up with an average German.

How do you get the label of 'East European'?  Typically, it comes down to an accent which the German can't attach to the average twenty-odd German accents (the Franken-accent, the Bavarian-accent, the Swiss-accent, the Saar-accent, the Hessen-accent, etc) or to any of the twenty European-German accents (French-German, Dutch-German, English-German, Swede-German, etc).  To be honest, if you tried to test a dozen Germans on correctly identifying the 'East European' accent, they'd probably fail on 99-percent of the possibilities.

Added to this, which you occasionally will see in the crime reports in the paper....the German victim will allure to the dress of the criminal in some way ("They looked Eastern European").  Or that the culprit had the appearance of a southern eastern European (oily hair, tan, etc).  Cops write this stuff down, but frankly, I suspect they are amused at the twelve different description items of a person that they saw for less than ten seconds.

If you go and read the general press from regional newspapers and state-run news come to three general statements.

1.  There are a number of criminal gangs operating in Germany with the central mission of burglarizing houses.  Most of the gangs relate to the Eastern Europe region.

2.  There are very few Syrians or Iraqis ever noted in any criminal offense.  The worst that you can say is that they get into verbal altercations with each other in the refugee camps and fight over insults among themselves.

3.  In Koln, a fair number of the Moroccans are running the drug kingpin operations around the Dom and train-station.  Ex-cops from Koln have said this repeatedly and noted that there just aren't enough cops around to really bring the issue to a close.

So, when you the German say 'foreigner' need to think about what he's really saying.  He's just making the fair observation that it's not a German, and probably not some French guy or American.  

No comments: