A crisis of law and order
Our orderly nation is breaking down, said Alessandro Peduto. Thousands of far-right supporters descended on the city of Chemnitz in the eastern region of Saxony last month to protest the murder of a German man who was allegedly stabbed by two migrants, one from Iraq and one from Syria. Neo-Nazis marched, raising their arms in Hitler salutes; mobs chased and attacked people who didn’t look German. It used to be that following such an appalling scene, Germans would blame Saxony—formerly part of communist East Germany—calling its residents backward and racist. Not this time, though. The country as a whole is suffering a “loss of confidence in the state.” The Iraqi suspect in the killing had his asylum request denied in 2016, yet had still not been deported—that lapse shows that “those responsible for migrants are badly overstretched.” The late and inadequate police response to the riots calls into question “the state’s monopoly on violence.” And the far right was much better organized than anyone had anticipated. Sure, this time it was Chemnitz, but other Germans now “recognize that it could happen in their city too.” Germans can no longer trust that their government will protect them, either from violent migrants or from neo-Nazi thugs. Can we still avert irreparable “harm to our democracy”?