The Guilt of Others

Hamburg There is nojustification for riots? Right. But the G20 themselves are organized violence. The summit brought violence into discussion

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The G20-summit brought the question of violence into discussion
The G20-summit brought the question of violence into discussion

Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images

This is a self made english translation of the Text "Die Schuld der Anderen" by Jakob Augstein, that can be found here.

Germany has a new public enemy number one: leftist terrorists. Activist or rioter, even „violent criminal“ is not enough. It must be „leftist terrorist“. The leftist terrorist was able to reduce hamburg to rubble, that's how the narrative goes on, because in the past politics and public put their
focus way to much on rightist violence. But now, after G20 a change of the course is strongly demanded.

It's astonishing, how fast this new story spreads and how joyful it is welcomed. There must be a lot of people that were heavily annoyed, that it have always been the rightist, that were in pillory for comitting violence. Just like if the so-called civic journalists and politicians somehow felt responsible for new Nazis, or particularly compromised by them.

Who does now want to compare rightist violence to leftist, must be aware of the fact that in Germany, depending of which source you ask, between 80 and 180 people were killed by rightist violence since 1990.Within the same period of time time there is no information about dead victims of leftist violence. That presumeably comes from rightists fighting weaker victims – migrants, homeless people, disabled people – while leftist rioters preferaply take heavily armed policemen on, which can defend themselves pretty well.

Are these kind of thoughts already a belittlement of the leftist violence during the G20-summit in Hamburg? You must be careful with this these days. You're quickly put into some fellow travelerpot – like in the times, when Germany really had to do with terrorists, that avowed themselves to be
leftist. The G20-summit brought the question of violence into discussion. That violence is wrong, that's something that all can quickly agree on. But the interesting debate starts after this. What actually is violence? Who is its victim?

Here the protester that became a stone-thrower will have an other opinion than the policeman, who was told to stand in the first row. And the policeman will have an other than the politician, that are right within electioon battle – or the citizens, whose town was sacrificed. Namely by chancellor
Angela Merkel and Hamburgs first major Olaf Scholz. They are responsible, that there was a summit happening in the middle of a megacity, whose unpeaceful development was predicted by all experts long time before.

The penologic responsibility of every single act of violence is beared by the rioter, fire raiser, stone thrower, assaulter, which is a criminal then, but not a terrorist, yet. But the political responsibility is beared by others. Angela Merkel explicitly wanted to get the summit to Germany and explicitly to Hamburg. With this Merkel got the violence to Hamburg.

The G20 stand for a global power system, in which 8 people own as much as 3.7 billion. This number is the embodiment of pure violence. And also the summit itself, that took a free, proud city hostage, was an act of violence. Hundred thousands of self confident citizens were downgraded to
background actors of a quasi-monarchic show, that foils any value, that we have to uphold especially in times of globalisation.

Peace award-winning Carolin Emcke said on twitter: „Every TV-minute, that was spend on showing the violence of hooligans was a minute, in which there was no time to criticize resolutions of the G20-summit. But it's not imaginable, that peaceful protests would have got even nearly the amount of attention as the violent conflicts. Let's not delude ouselves: some dutybound pictures, some
benevolent words – that would have been it. In the end the violence makes the protest against G20 worth mentioning. Because – and even if the following thought seems to be an affront in the current agitated situation: of course the violence of the protesters has a political dimension. And for this it doesn't even matter, if the violence-drunken rioter is aware of this.

The rioters burned cars. That's a crime. You could add the note, that the owner of these cars, that believe to be innocent and uninvolved, in fact aren't- not innocent and not uninvolved. Because the car, that a familiy bought and paid in Hamburg-Ottensen and that was burnt at the weekend is not a value-free, neutral object, but a political object. It consists of resources, that were mined and traded under the Terms of Trade of a world lead by the G20: copper from Chile, bauxite from Guinea or rare earth metals from china – mined, transported, processed under conditions, that are harmful to people and planet. But the familiy from Ottensen doesn't have a bad conscience. We all have no bad conscience.

We don't see the violence, that we apply. Only the violence we experience.

Dieser Beitrag gibt die Meinung des Autors wieder, nicht notwendigerweise die der Redaktion des Freitag.

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