German Diplomat Describes Civil Rights in the USA as "on a par with those of North Korea"
We at Davids Medienkritik are not easily impressed by bad behavior from German elites. After all, we've seen and reported on a lot in the past. But we were simply blown-away by what we read in a recent Wall Street Journal piece by Bret Stephens:
The article, entitled, "The German Chair: A tale of torture at the hands of an America-hating diplomat", details Mr. Stephens harrowing conversation with a relatively prominent official from the German Consulate General in New York during a recent social call to his Manhattan apartment. The remarks of the German diplomat were so outrageous and over-the-top that it is difficult to understand how he received his position in the first place, even by German standards.
Here is the article's money passage:
"What occasioned this discovery was meeting a relatively senior German diplomat posted to the New York consulate. My wife--also German--knows his wife socially; our children use the same playground. They had invited us to their home for Sunday brunch.
I should say here that I speak almost no German, and it quickly became apparent that the diplomat's wife spoke almost no English. So it was perhaps natural that, soon after we arrived, she and my wife took to one corner of the spacious apartment while the diplomat ushered me into his study. Less natural was the conversation that followed. I made the normal chitchat of first encounters: praise for the unobstructed (and million-dollar) views of the Hudson River; a query about what he did at the consulate.
But the diplomat had no patience for my small talk. Apropos of nothing, he said he had recently made a study of U.S. tax laws and concluded that practices here were inferior to those in Germany. Given recent rates of German economic growth, I found this comment odd. But I offered no rejoinder. I was, after all, a guest in his home.
The diplomat, however, was just getting started. Bad as U.S. economic policy was, it was as nothing next to our human-rights record. Had I read the recent Amnesty International report on Guantanamo? "You mean the one that compared it to the Soviet gulag?" Yes, that one. My host disagreed with it: The gulag was better than Gitmo, since at least the Stalinist system offered its victims a trial of sorts.
Nor was that all. Civil rights in the U.S., he said, were on a par with those of North Korea and rather behind what they had been in Europe in the Middle Ages. When I offered that, as a journalist, I had encountered no restrictions on press freedom, he cut me off. "That's because The Wall Street Journal takes its orders from the government."
By then we had sat down at the formal dining table, with our backs to Ground Zero a half-mile away and our eyes on the boats on the river below us. My wife and I made abortive attempts at ordinary conversation. We were met with non sequiturs: "The only people who appreciate American foreign policy are poodles." After further bizarre pronouncements, including a lecture on the illegality of the Holocaust under Nazi law, my wife said that she felt unwell. We gathered our things and left."
The article was so upsetting that one of our German readers has already written an official letter of protest to the German Consulate General in New York and the German Foreign Ministry in Berlin. You can view the letter's English version here, the German original here.
We want to encourage our readers to follow the good example of our reader. Please email, call and write the responsible German authorities with your thoughts on the matter.
We also suggest you forward a copy of your letter to the Embassy in Washington, DC at this link.
You should also forward a copy to the office of Karsten Voigt, the German government's Coordinator for German-American Cooperation at: KO-USA-Vz@auswaertiges-amt.de
You may also want to forward a copy to the office of Dr. Friedbert Pflueger, the CDU/CSU fraction's expert for foreign policy in the Bundestag at: email@example.com
This is truly unacceptable for both Germans and Americans. This diplomat is an embarrassment to Germany and needs to be fired. Make your voices heard!
Note: We would leave to read your letters and any responses you receive in our comments section, or you can email them to us.
(Emphasis ours throughout, article by Ray D.)