June 18, 2007

German Feel-Good-Experience Busted

No this is not, as the pictures may suggest, about Guantanamo and the misdeeds of the enemy of everything that is good and noble in Germany, the Americans. This is about two men who were suspected of beating a dark-skinned man into a coma on Easter night last year in Potsdam. Two befitting perpetrator-figures were quickly found and to the glee of the media helicoptered heavily blindfolded and handcuffed from Berlin to the premises of the Federal Investigator in Karlsruhe who found the case important enough to grab it contra legem from the regional investigator. The German public and media stopped – just - short of calling for wood and matches for the two arrested men and everything was done to show Ermyas Mulugeta, the victim, in the most shining of lights. Ermyas M. "the family man", "the engineer", "the German citizen", Ermyas who "played soccer with children".

Of course, even those outside the "fight racism anywhere as long as it's safely within what is perceived as 'right-wing extremism'" faction where all hot and bothered about the incident because it bode ill for the imminent (football) World Cup.

BILD, a particularly nasty shitrag and forever on the side of the current Zeitgeist, whatever it calls for, screeched: "Potsdam Mugging Night: They Only Stopped When They Thought He'd Be Dead".

Well, it wasn't quite so, in fact hardly anything of the above. And we've commented on it before.

Ermyas Mulugeta, the family man, had, on Easter night, not quite been on his way to Easter Vigil and Solemn High Mass with his wife and children when he was hit at four o'clock. He had been on something like a pub-crawl and, pissed as a newt with a blood alcohol level around 2 o/oo, thrown out of a disco, where he had had a drunken brawl with two men already. He then got into a screaming match with a bus driver who had insisted on giving him change in coins for a 20 Euro note and after he left the vehicle, he embarged on a fight with two men by kicking them. At 1,97 m, roughly six foot seven inches, Mulugeta wasn't physically quite the typical victim either. He too, had a history of aggression and intimidating people.

So it shouldn't have come as a surprise when the doctors found out that his life-threatening injuries corresponded with falling and hitting a hard surface and not with being punched or kicked.

Confirmation of the fact that he had, in fact, started the brawl that sent him to hospital, transpired only very slowly. The incident had been partly pieced together from a recording of the voice mail box of the victim's wife whom he had called while the fray started. The epithet "Nigger" was audible, preceded by "Schweinesau" (which is best translated as "swine sow") uttered by the victim-to-be. "Schweinesau", so Mrs. Mulugeta (of whom according to some sources Ermyas is separated) stated, was one of her husband's terms of endearment for her and nobody laughed.

Candlelight vigil for Ermyas Mulugeta.

Last Friday now, the two men accused of having beaten Mulugeta into a coma, the two men worthy of Guantanamo-treatment, those skin-headed paragon-perpetrators were acquitted, the judge following the application of the public prosecutor. The lawyers for the defendants said in their closing arguments that the case had become a political issue, which it had been indeed from the start.

What remains is a faint feeling of Schadenfreude at the idiocy of the Gutmenschen faction who react to each and every misdeed, real or perceived, of the "extremist right", real or perceived, with outraged Pavlovian promptness.

Largely unnoted remained what the newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine reported at an unconspicious corner of their website FAZ.NET, namely that shortly after the crime a (female) public prosecutor who was not involved in the case threatened one of the defense lawyers with a criminal charge should he make known the true facts of a case, which didn't resemble the so far alleged Right-wing extremist excess of violence.

And of course, nobody with a mind yet not entirely removed from reality will expect any outrage over the treatment of two innocent men. The media have, after all, long ago jettisoned any resemblance of clarifying what really happened. It's all about the correct societal reaction, which has been removed from any cause long ago. And never mind the future of two little men without importance. They are not the sort one sees at candlelight vigils and peace rallies anyway.

Disappointment that even a biased justice system wouldn't go out of the way of due process to satisfy the politically public urges hangs like a wet rag now over the German media.

Ermyas Mulugeta before the crime and at the trial, where he couldn't remember anything.

Gutmenschen in full fly: "Why" said the placard at the rally last year and: "Which Black will be next?"

Never mind, really, about the victim either. The interest in coloured victims fades as quickly as the perpetrators are not ethnic Germans and thus do not serve to hatch the odious feel-good sentiment because they can not, by any stretch of the imagination, be subsumed under the "right-wing extremist" label. Like for example the Turks who had recently beaten another African into a coma. Different from the Potsdam case, it never made the headlines.