Photo: Cologne Mayor Fritz Schramma. He called the mob rule of his city that led police to shut down a political rally against Islamization this weekend "a victory for the city of Cologne and a victory by the democratic forces in this city."
Here's a morning-after appraisal in Der Spiegel of how wonderful it really was that rioters in Cologne were able to prevent the anti-Islamization rally from taking place last weekend.
It opens this way:
When radical-right activists from around Europe arrived in Cologne on Saturday for a rally, the city was ready. Thousands of protesters flooded the rally site, disrupted city transportation and even attacked a river boat where a press conference was supposed to be held.
Notice how the city being "ready" equates with thousands of protestors disrupting city transportation, flooding the rally site, attacking a river boat.
Police had prepared for about 1,500 far-right activists, organized by the local "Pro Cologne" movement, to make a public show of discussing what they called the "Islamization" of Europe.
After all, no one who was not a "far-right activist" could possibly imagine Europe is being Islamized.
Pro Cologne had invited prominent members of Europe's radical right--
apparently, "far right" needs to be ramped up to "radical right" to be sufficiently scary
--like Filip Dewinter, who heads Belgium's ultra-nationalist Vlaams Belang (Flemish Interest) party, and members of the UK's whites-only British National Party, to attend and speak.
Just by the way, BNP members were not on the roster.
The immediate reason for the rally was a recent go-ahead by local authorities for a mosque in the city's Ehrenfeld neighborhood. Pro Cologne ("Pro Köln") had been founded to resist the mosque.
But an estimated 40,000 protesters turned up in Cologne's downtown Heumarkt area, many wearing clown suits, to disrupt the rally. They blocked urban trains to keep delegates away and raided a tourist boat shaped like a whale -- called the "Moby Dick" -- where the far-right gathering had been hoping to hold a press conference. A Pro Cologne spokesman said, "Stones, bricks and paint bombs were thrown and the panoramic windows of the Moby Dick were shattered."
I.e., the city was ready.
Police cancelled the rally after 45 minutes. Pro Cologne organizers had to dismantle microphones and other equipment in Heumarkt while the overwhelmed riot cops tried to hold back the crowd of protesters. Some demonstrators -- police estimated the violent faction at about 100 -- flung paint bombs at the organizers or lit fires near barricades in the streets.
Even away from the rally, the anti-Islam conference was massively unpopular within Cologne. The city's motto for the weekend seemed to be "No Kölsch for Nazis," Kölsch being a local style of beer. About 150 bars hung banners and handed out beer mats bearing that slogan, and the bar owners refused to serve any obvious far-right visitors.
But on Monday morning German papers are wondering whether the flare-ups of violence on Saturday didn't contradict the whole point of the city's resistance.
The center-left Süddeutsche Zeitung writes:
"The activists of Pro Cologne have achieved one thing with their 'Anti-Islam Congress' over the weekend: They have made a name for themselves far beyond the borders of the city. Their only audience on Cologne's Neumarkt was a group of European TV crews, in front of whom a few functionaries managed to voice their crude ideas about the supposed threat of 'Islamization' in European society."
"The political heart of the radical right is obviously political fear-mongering and race-baiting of immigrants, Turks above all. The planned Central Mosque in Ehrenfeld was a blessing for them, because doubts about the mosque have spread so far throughout Cologne society. (But) the Turkish-Islamic Union is, in fact, a controversial sponsor for the mosque … A rational discussion is now all but impossible, especially after this weekend."
It goes on from there, and, frankly, life's too short to continue parsing rot, but one final point:
The Cologne mega-mosque, this "center-left" party writes ("center-left: how enlightened and rational sounding!), was "a blessing" for the "ultra" "far" "radical" right. The implication here is that the rise of this Turkish-funded mosque complex was merely a false pretext for "fear-mongering" and "race-baiting." According to this line of thought--or should I say "thought"--this literally massive outpost of Turkish Islam in this ancient German cathedral city (just one more manifestation of Europe's shift toward Islam) signifies nothing, and certainly not a political concern that a political party should be allowed to address. A city, a country, a continent, a civilization is facing its own transformation away from its traditions and culture, but it is "fear-mongering" and "race-baiting" to mention it.
Or is it? Notice the center-lefties point out the "controversial"-ness of the Turkish-Islamic Union behind the mosque. Hmmm. But all "rational discussion" is now impossible, they conclude. Of course it is. The point of the anti-Islamization rally was rational discussion. But Cologne proved it values neither reason nor discussion. "The city was ready." For mob rule.