Recently there have been alarming reports right-wing violence in Germany. Most of the most vicious attacks on foreigners have taken place in eastern Germany, but the west has hardly been immune. Last week we learned of an incident in the eastern German town of Mügeln: a mob of 50 extremists viciously attacked eight Indian men while shouting right-wing slogans. The major media outlets sent out reporters to report on the "brown swamp" (brauner Sumpf) of neo-Nazism and right-wing extremism that is evidently thriving in the eastern provinces. There has been much hand-wringing in the German press about what appears to be an intractable problem.
Meanwhile the neo-fascist weekly Junge Freiheit sees the terrible events in Mügeln as an opportunity to gain a new readership. This week the Junge Freiheit reporters fanned out in Mügeln and environs and discovered that there is absolutely no right-wing violence to be found. The problem, according to Junge Freiheit is the "liberal media" and the "left-wing political cabal" that conspire to vilify the good peaceful Germans who live there.
"Es geht nicht um Tatsachen und auch nicht um die „acht Inder“. Mügeln wird als Fanal gebraucht. Ein politischer Feldzug soll in Schwung gehalten werden, der auf eine umfassende Bewußtseins- und Gesellschaftsveränderung abzielt. Wir erleben das Wetterleuchten eines medialen Bürgerkriegs!"
The crack reporters of Junge Freiheit uncovered what really happened (missed by the rest of the press and local police): the dark-skinned Indian men were harassing a German girl. When some brave and honorable German men came to her defense, one of the Indians "pulled a knife", so the brutal beating of the eight Indian men was actually a "case of self-defense". The "left-wing German press" has deliberately distorted the facts in order to advance the myth of right-wing extremism in a peaceful German town.
What really attracted attention, though, is Junge Freiheit's interview with the clueless (FDP!) mayor of Mügeln, Gotthard Deuse who is completely baffled by the events in his town and is goaded by the newspaper into making unfortunate statements such as "Ich bin stolz ein Deutscher zu sein " (I'm proud to be a German) - innocuous enough, but given the context pretty horrible. Already the mayor's interview with Junge Freiheit is making life difficult for him. According to Der Spiegel , there is a growing chorus of voices demanding his resignation or removal:
Der Mügelner Bürgermeister habe das Problem des Rassismus noch immer nicht begriffen, stellt Sachsens Grünen-Fraktionschefin Hermenau heute fest. Dafür sei das Interview ein weiterer Beweis. Ihre Bundeskollegin Renate Künast fordert Deuses Rücktritt: "Der Bürgermeister von Mügeln muss weg." Auch SPD-Innenpolitiker Sebastian Edathy legt Deuse den Rückzug nahe. Die sächsische Linksfraktion nennt ihn "untragbar".