“No one can say they didn’t see Hanau coming”

19.02.2021 - Press release

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas issued the following statement to the German Press Agency (dpa):

Fatih, Ferhat, Gökhan, Hamza, Kaloyan, Mercedes, Nesar, Sedat and Vili.

Nine names. Nine people. People whose lives were torn from this world, in Hanau one year ago.

Because racism is an everyday fact of life in our country.

Because it destroys lives.

Because it kills.

No one can say they didn’t see Hanau coming. For years, the statistics published by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution have spoken for themselves. Germany is home to more than 33,000 right-wing extremists, 13,000 of whom are prepared to use violence, and their number keeps on going up.

Why aren’t all the alarm bells ringing in our country?

And how can it be that, even today, the bereaved complain about disrespect and the bureaucratic indifference that they encounter in their dealings with offices and authorities?

Perhaps this is because the victims are called Fatih, Mercedes and Sedat, and not Peter, Marie or Georg.

That we see them as foreigners instead of citizens of our country enjoying equal rights.

That day-to-day racism in authorities and offices, in shops, schools, buses and trains does not affect us, but “the others”.

That we do not grant everyone the dignity that Article 1 of our Basic Law promises each and every one of us.

We know the paths that lead to dignity and humanity. But we also have to tread them.

Let’s get to the bottom of structural racism and banish it from our midst! The study on extremism, antisemitism and racism in the police adopted by the Federal Government is at best only a first step here.

Let’s get serious about the fight against international networks of right-wing terrorists and racists! We will work closely with the new US administration on this issue.

And, above all, let us come to realise that we all lost Fatih, Ferhat, Gökhan, Hamza, Kaloyan, Mercedes, Nesar, Sedat and Vili when they were murdered in the midst of our country.

Then compassion becomes change.

Then action becomes duty.

#SayTheirNames #Hanau #NeverForget @19FebruaryHanau

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