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Refugees: Europe's Dual Reality | ZEIT ONLINE

Keleti Station in Budapest on Wednesday night. The station's underground level is packed with thousands of refugees, along with their tents, sleeping bags, suitcases and backpacks. It is a gigantic refugee camp with an estimated 3,000 people. The handful of helpers in the Migration Aid Center -- who collect and distribute donations and aid supplies -- are hopelessly overextended. The health and hygiene conditions are catastrophic. Small children and even babies sleep on the floor. This Hungary is supposed to be responsible for the refugees according to the Dublin Regulation? We in Europe talk about safe countries of origin outside the EU? You only have to spend a couple hours in this train station to know that not even EU-member Hungary is a safe country for those seeking help. People from Vienna, located just a two-and-a-half hour drive from here, keep showing up. And each of them has a family with children in their backseat when they return to Austria. It's not legal. But what does that matter? On Sunday, an entire convoy of cars is set to head from Vienna to Budapest. It's clever motto: "Rail Replacement Service."

It's as though there were two realities: On the one hand is scandalous misery and the governments, with their dysfunctional asylum policies and attempts to seal their countries off. On the other is the wave of helpfulness, the uprising of volunteer helpers. The reports and images of people who are doing all they can. Racist agitators and "asylum critics" have been almost completely drowned out. Even completely normal people -- not just those often referred to as "do-gooders" -- are suddenly proud of the fact that their society is presenting itself in the best possible light. Suddenly, it is no longer the good ones who are disheartened and despondent -- for they are giving each other courage in these difficult days. Rather, it is the mean-spirited who have suddenly become quiet. Agitating and standing by as others drown suddenly isn't cool anymore.

The one Europe is failing. And the other is putting its best foot forward.

by Katrin on Fri Sep 4th, 2015 at 08:29:02 AM EST
Even completely normal people -- not just those often referred to as "do-gooders"
What!?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Sep 4th, 2015 at 08:36:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In the German original:

Flüchtlinge: Die zwei Realitäten Europas | ZEIT ONLINE

Auch ganz normale Menschen - nicht nur die, die man gemeinhin "Gutmenschen" nennt -, sind jetzt plötzlich stolz darauf, dass sich ihre Gesellschaft von seiner besten Seite zeigt.

,,Gutmensch" is a term right wingers use in order to ridicule humanitarian efforts as naive and short-sighted.
Gutmensch - Wikipedia

Im Januar 2012 erhielt das Wort bei der Wahl zum Unwort des Jahres 2011 in Deutschland den zweiten Platz. Die Jury kritisierte die aus ihrer Sicht 2011 einflussreich gewordene Funktion des Wortes als ,,Kampfbegriff gegen Andersdenkende".[2] Mit dem Wort werde ,,insbesondere in Internet-Foren das ethische Ideal des ,guten Menschen` in hämischer Weise aufgegriffen, um Andersdenkende pauschal und ohne Ansehung ihrer Argumente zu diffamieren und als naiv abzuqualifizieren".

Kampfbegriff is the next expression that I have some difficulty in translating, though.

by Katrin on Fri Sep 4th, 2015 at 08:54:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why don't we start calling anyone who says "Gutmensch" a "Schlechtmensch" or a "Bösemensch"?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Sep 4th, 2015 at 09:09:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Good idea. I usually say "Demagoge", but probably the target audience doesn't understand that.
by Katrin on Fri Sep 4th, 2015 at 09:22:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In English we can do a one-up on Bush the Lesser's "evildoers" and call them "do-evilers" or "do-no-gooders".

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Sep 4th, 2015 at 09:31:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru:
Why don't we start calling anyone who says "Gutmensch" a "Schlechtmensch" or a "Bösemensch"?

They would play the victimisation card that they're used to playing.

"Of course I'm bad, according to the tenets of the dominant world view that rejects me as heterodox, and considers the orthodox as good."

In France, nasty right-wingers call Gutmenschen "les bien-pensants".

I used to be afew. I'm still not many.

by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Fri Sep 4th, 2015 at 11:00:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In Italy they're called 'buonisti', do-gooders.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Sep 4th, 2015 at 09:15:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
droit-de-l'hommistes (copyright Sarkozy?)
by Xavier in Paris on Thu Sep 10th, 2015 at 09:04:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I always say Schlechtroboter. Better a gutmemsch then a bad robot.
by IM on Tue Sep 8th, 2015 at 06:22:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Kampfbegriff, a battle cry? reminds me that the word "slogan" came into English from Scots Gaelic, where it originally meant... "battle cry".

I used to be afew. I'm still not many.
by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Fri Sep 4th, 2015 at 10:43:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But in German, the connotation is that you also fight the attacked by re-defining him with the word.

(Another example, from Hungarian: Jobbik speaks of "intruders" instead of illegal immigrants or refugees.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Sep 4th, 2015 at 10:58:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Exactly, the word is a weapon in the battle, not only a battle cry.
by Katrin on Fri Sep 4th, 2015 at 01:50:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What can I say? "Gutmensch" has actually been used as a term of disparagement in Austria, mostly by the right wing. Doesn't make much sense in English.
by generic on Fri Sep 4th, 2015 at 08:54:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was mostly reacting to the "even normal people" bit...

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Sep 4th, 2015 at 10:47:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Gutmensch" in German has a similar connotation as "activist" in English.
by generic on Fri Sep 4th, 2015 at 01:50:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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