[Marxism] =?utf-8?q?Hundreds_of_sexual_assaults_in_Cologne_-_what?==?utf -8?q?_the_hell_happened_=E2=80=93_any_answers_from_German_lis?==?utf-8?q ?t_members=3F?=

Jeff meisner at xs4all.nl
Sat Jan 9 14:59:31 MST 2016

At 11:14 09-01-16 -0800, A.R. G via Marxism wrote:
>The fact that men
would carry out such a horrible act anywhere is
>deplorable. But you'll
notice how Nawaz is playing into the narrative that
>the rape was something
to do with culture.

At 14:36 09-01-16 -0500, Kathleen McCook via Marxism wrote:
> There is no justification. Comparing it to other
>places does not make it better. This was 100% wrong.

Amith and Kathleen are both right in what they say and if we are arguing
about something, that difference hasn't been spelled out. This is the sort
of incident that we are naturally reluctant to even approach: it feels like
defending either the women victimized in the incident, or refugees who are
victimized as a whole, risks displaying insensitivity to the other. However
that is only because of the narrative(s) surrounding the incident and the
context which includes oppression of women and oppression of refugees and
ethnic/religious minorities. Neither Amith nor Kathleen should be seen as
insensitive for concentrating on one or the other aspect of the tragedy.

However I can't say the same for the author of the article, who (as Amith
correctly points out) gives credence to racist theories that unfairly
associate Muslim or Arab culture with criminality. Much of what is written
in the article I'd completely agree with, but I could never endorse a
narrative that exudes such prejudice against Muslims and in effect against
refugees when they are under threat throughout Europe. That threat exists
as well in Germany where today Pegida (predictably) took advantage of the
issue in their anti-Muslim demonstration.

But I absolutely applaud (and this is somewhat in answer to Dennis'
inquiry) today's counterdemonstration of over 1000 leftists which probably
looked like the one pictured at the top of the article. And I do think the
article is right to question "Why We Can’t Stay Silent on Germany’s Mass
Sex Assaults", though it isn't clear who "we" is supposed to be. I don't
think the counterdemonstrators today would have been "silent" on that issue
even if the focus of their demonstration is opposition to Pegida.

Most leftists (but not the author of the article, who truthfully calls
himself a "liberal" after all) are sophisticated enough to address a
criminal act or violence against women without expressing defensiveness
when the perpetrators are oppressed minorities, or likewise to address
racism when the racists are also oppressed as women or LGBTs for instance.
When we describe the criminality of the perpetrators in this instance, we
are undoubtedly joined by the 99% of refugees who did not participate in
this outrage and would happily see the criminals deported if it would
remove the basis for anti-refugee sentiment (which unfortunately it


At 15:32 09-01-16 -0500, Dennis Brasky via Marxism wrote:
>I forwarded this post because SOMETHING terrible happened in Cologne, yet I
>heard nothing about it here. Was the number of 400 men involved an

The details of the incident have remained murky with numbers of
perpetrators variously reported as being several dozen to a thousand. I
suspect is was well less than 400 but this will probably never be known
because there was no documentation recorded at the time (police were
specifically absent) so information is based mainly on the reports of over
100 women who have stepped forward (surely many more victims haven't) who
would only have been aware of their immediate surroundings.

One important aspect that has been mentioned (but of course I have no
first-hand information in this regard) is that the main motive likely
wasn't sexual assault but robbery. Now I will be very clear that this is
not to be construed as an excuse or minimization of the sexual assault, any
more than a murder is less serious when it's committed in the commission of
a different crime. But what has been suggested is that the intention of the
perpetrators, organized as a group (or groups), was to rob the women of
their purses and mobiles while disorienting them by groping them. I don't
find that implausible because career criminals are among the least likely
sort to be sensitive to feminist issues or reluctant to engage in an
additional crime which they equally expect to get away with. So although
the sexual assaults were as inexcusable as in any other case, this
understanding (if correct) destroys the whole narrative connecting
"Muslim/Arab culture" to violence against women (and thus the thesis of the
article Dennis pointed us to).

Also, most reports did mention that the groups of men appeared to be Arab
or North African. And in the current context the connection was therefore
made with refugees, although the majority of people matching that
description (especially if you include Turks) in Germany are not refugees.
Of the few dozen arrested, about half were found to be refugees. But among
the arrested were also Germans and other white Europeans. It's plausible
that perpetrators matching the initial ethnic description were more likely
to be tracked down and arrested, so the association between the criminals
and refugees isn't as strong as Pegida would like to make out.

- Jeff

More information about the Marxism mailing list