22.10.2010 Feature Article

Ghana/Germany Cooperation – Myth or reality: Dr. Kwame Osei

GhanaGermany Cooperation – Myth or reality: Dr. Kwame Osei
22.10.2010 LISTEN

This is a response to a recent article in another publication that featured Mr. Hans Winkler of the German Embassy who alluded to the fact that in his opinion Ghana/Germany relations are good and that Germany would help Ghana all it could.

However with all due respect to Mr. Winkler, I think he is trying to pull the wool over the eyes of Ghanaians by trying to ascertain that there is a kindred spirit between Germany and Ghana.

This response is also being prompted by a news item I heard on the BBC World Service on Saturday 16 October, 2010 during its 7pm bulletin.

In this bulletin it said that the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, in meeting with German Young Conservatives stated that multi-culturism in Germany has failed and that a new approach must be adopted.

Multi-culturism is whereby different ethnic or racial groups in Germany live side by side and are free to practice their religion and cultural traditions like Ramadan or Passover and that they are free to speak their mother tongue and the like as long as they adhere to German laws and customs.

The stark reality is that Europeans, Germans included have never valued and respected diversity and multi-culturism and this is proved by the benign legislation in some European countries that attest to this.

For example in the UK, a former Home Secretary said that immigrants including those born in the UK must not speak their mother tongues in the privacy of their own homes but must speak English.

Just recently the French parliament has banned Muslim women from wearing the headscarf or burka in public as many in French society see the wearing of the burka as a threat to national security.

Also in the Netherlands (Holland) a prominent far-right politician and MP Geert Wilders has made some disparaging remarks about Islam that has inflamed tensions there.

In addition to saying that multi-culturism in Germany has failed, Mrs. Merkel also criticized Islam and more surprisingly that immigrants must learn to speak German and that if they can't speak German they must leave – so much for tolerance!!

What Mrs. Merkel is saying in a roundabout way is that cooperation between the host community and immigrants has failed but she does not say why it has failed but more importantly, if the Germans have failed to cooperate with those that they perceive as immigrants in their own country, then how can they justify cooperating with Ghana?

I find these comments by Mrs. Merkel very distasteful indeed and she must be reminded that there are many White Germans in Ghana, who are free to speak their mother language, go about their business and practice their culture without any restrictions.

How would these White Germans feel, if somebody from the Government of Ghana informed them that they should not speak German and practice their culture and that if they could not speak fluently a local language be it Twi, Ga or Ewe that they should go back to Germany.

The bulletin further went on to say that there is increasing hostility in Germany towards Islam and immigrants generally and that Angela Merkel was politically moving towards this direction – not forgetting that there is a massive far-right neo-Nazi, anti-immigration, anti-Afrikan movement in Germany spearheaded by the NPD.

In Europe an immigrant is defined, although they (Europeans) will not admit to this, by ones skin colour. If an Afrikan is born in Germany, that Afrikan is NOT considered as German because his/her parents were not born in Germany.

Another example is that the Turkish community in Germany has lived there for more than 50 years. Most of the Turkish population came to Germany in the aftermath of World War II to help re-build Germany after Germany had lost a great defeat in that war that had destroyed a lot of their infrastructure.

These Turkish people have had their children and grandchildren born in Germany and are in effect as German as Angela Merkel. However Germany does not recognize the offspring of Turkish immigrants as German because they are not in the eyes of 'ordinary' Germans, German – primarily because of skin colour and secondly because of their religion. The vast majority of Turkish people are of the Islamic faith and Germany is a Christian country primarily of the protestant wing of Christianity.

Europe generally speaking especially in the aftermath of 9/11 is very hostile towards Muslims and those who practice the Islamic faith.

In addition to this Germany has a vile history of maltreating Afrikan people. As I said in a previous article although Germany was not directly involved in the enslavement of Afrikan people it was indirectly involved via its banks and insurance companies.

Again after enslavement during the colonial era, the Germans hosted the infamous Congress of Berlin in 1884/1885 where then German Chancellor Otto Von Bismarck and other Western imperialists like Britain's Cecil Rhodes met at a round table to carve up Afrika into geo-political entities.

As a result of this congress the Germans had a number of colonies in Afrika of which Namibia or South West Afrika as it was called then, being one of them. Because of their immense dislike for Afrikan people the Germans brutally murdered thousands of Herero people in Namibia during this period. To this day no formal apology has been made to the Herero people by the Germans for this mass genocide.

In present day Germany racist attacks on Afrikans including Ghanaians is a common occurrence. Having lived in Germany myself (Hamburg to be precise) I have had firsthand experience of these racist attacks.

Therefore given the historical and current day reality of Germany and given Mrs. Merkel's disparaging remarks how on earth can Mr. Winkler honestly say that he wants Ghana's relations with Germany to be fruitful.

If Germany was sincere about wanting to improve its 'relationship' with Ghana and Ghana getting the best out of that relationship then why has Germany not used its huge leverage in the European Union (EU) and allow the goods and services of Ghanaian producers into the markets of Germany and the EU as a whole.

Ask yourself how many made in Ghana goods do you find in the German markets of Munich, Berlin, Rostock or Hanover or for that matter any other city in the EU? – Not that many if none at all. However there are many made in Germany goods especially motor cars in Ghana.

In addition to this there are German NGO's like GTZ and German Development Agency that are giving mainly White Germans jobs in Ghana under the guise of technical assistance. Again there are many German companies like Siemens that are operating in Ghana – by comparison how many Ghanaian owned companies operate in Germany?

Therefore what the above signifies is that the relationship with Germany is a one-sided relationship with Ghana benefiting slightly debunking the assertion made by Mr. Winkler that Ghana/German cooperation is good.

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