Would you date an intersectional feminist?
What is the malice against EMMA ?!
Alice Schwarzer works in the Bayenturm on the banks of the Rhine in Cologne. This is where the feminist bimonthly EMMA is based. The magazine, founded by Schwarzer and still independent today, has been published for 42 years. Schwarzer, who is endowed with an indestructible mood, looks tidy. Only in the course of the conversation does it become clear how painful the current defamation of young “net feminists” is.
World on sundayDear Ms. Schwarzer, you have always been a controversial publicist. This has been going on since you published your bestseller “The Little Difference” in 1975.
Alice Schwarzer Yes that's true. The big difference to today, however, is that at that time there was not only outrage but also a lot of approval, almost loving letters to the editor - even from men who valued my image of human brotherhood. Who were happy not to have to play the traditional male role anymore. Then harsh criticism can also be endured.
Today the encouragement is mostly quiet and private, but the criticism is loud and public.
Women writers throw you on Mirror online or or on the Time online-Publication ze.tt pretended you were racist, propagated a “white feminism”, put all “refugees under general suspicion” - and EMMA was somehow run down. What do these women have?
The malice against EMMA in particular stunned me. We have been able to be economically and politically independent for 42 years. And if we do one thing, it is to pursue issues for years, even decades, all by ourselves, against everyone. It's the same with prostitution, it's the same with child abuse, that's what we're doing with commercial surrogacy - and we've been doing it since 1979, for 40 years, with political Islamism. Which, respect, is really not to be confused with Islam, the faith. Political Islamism takes Islam hostage. It is a right-wing ideology, is funded with billions of petrodollars and is internationally networked.
You have been warning of this ideology since you watched in 1979 in Iran how Khomeini's henchmen expelled women from the streets, from offices and universities and introduced Sharia law.
Yes, and from the beginning my main opponents have been the representatives of fundamentalist Islam, which went on the offensive in Germany in the mid-1990s. The internationally organized Islamists were unfortunately extremely successful in their work: In the meantime, any criticism of the headscarf, the burqa, the burkini for little girls in swimming lessons or the health-damaging Ramadan fasting regulations are considered racism. Also in the eyes of many German leftists who think well. Seriously! Sometimes I just can't believe it. We have achieved so much in 50 years with the women's movement, a real coexistence between women and men - and now, in the name of false tolerance, should we watch as women are pushed out of the public sphere here too?
Do you also interpret the events on New Year's Eve 2015 in Cologne as such an attempt to intimidate women?
Yes, that's what it was all about! The around 2000 young men practiced the “circle of hell” known from Egypt on the Cologne train station forecourt and committed sexual violence to at least 690 women. With this method, the women are isolated by groups of young men, surrounded, then groped from all sides and in extreme cases even raped - without being able to see who the perpetrators are. An approach that should scare all women. We at "Emma" reported and analyzed in the days that followed - and were immediately drawn to racism. We only mentioned reality.
Then we have to talk about Chancellor Angela Merkel, who you appreciate very much. Hasn't she made mistakes in refugee policy? Should she have made a clearer statement to Islamic refugees, which rules apply here and what does not work?
The problem didn't start with the refugees, but 25 years earlier. Angela Merkel recently said that Islamism begins where violence comes into play. But that is completely wrong: the violence is the dramatic end of Islamist propaganda. Islamism begins where the scientific doctrine of the creation of the world is suppressed, where so-called "infidels" are despised, where children are separated by sex in daycare, where brothers patronize their sisters and sons over their mothers, where the Islamic headscarf, the hair and body of women are covered as "sinful" and accepted unquestionably. It starts with everyday sexism and anti-Semitism. We have not done anything to counter the Islamist agitation in Germany for 25 years. Nothing. This drives people whose discomfort about the Islamist excesses is not taken seriously into the arms of the right.
But where does the thinking come from that brands an unmistakably leftist like you as a “racist”?
From the beginning, it was the strategy of politicized Islam to fend off any criticism of it as “racism” and, more recently, as “Islamophobic”. That worked fatally well. Large sections of the left, who have the same enemy as the Islamists, were receptive to this: namely imperialism, colonialism and America. The revolutionary subject, the proletariat, was lost to these leftists in the 1980s. So they pounced on the Muslims. But the majority of the 1.7 billion Muslims in the world are the first victims of Islamist fanatics. However, since we have failed to counter the Islamist propaganda with our values - democracy, the rule of law, equality - this fanatical minority of the pied piper is growing. We have left the enlightened and democratic majority of Muslims in the lurch!
What happens to our discourse climate?
The propaganda of Islamic fundamentalism seems to have taken hold under the flag of “tolerance” and “anti-racism”, especially in left and left-liberal media and at universities. There is the tyranny of political correctness. There is no longer any joy in controversial discussions, dissenting opinions are forbidden. We urgently need to put a stop to this stupid development.
You yourself have often been the author of time and mirror. Does it affect you when their online offshoots are so brutally flogged against you?
Naturally. That hurts. The so-called leading media thus contribute to the brutalisation of the climate of opinion. That upsets me. What also strikes me: My critics defend both the Islamist and highly political symbol “headscarf” and the supposedly voluntary and self-determined “sex work”, vulgo: prostitution. A strange combination. In either case, the woman's body is the object. It must either be veiled or exposed.
Do you think the young women you attack have personal motives at play?
On the one hand, the psychological pattern of “matricide” actually seems to exist - which I wasn't even aware of for a long time, as I grew up in an atypical family constellation with my grandparents. Then some also believe that there is the top position “Alice Schwarzer” in German journalism - which they would like to occupy themselves. When I finally got rid of old shrapnel, they think, they could move up. But this place is tied to my person and the product of a specific historical constellation. And for me, by the way, it is bothersome and intellectually restrictive. Without me, these ambitious young media women would simply have to exist themselves - and it would no longer be enough to distance oneself from Schwarzer.
Does envy play a role?
That may be. But above all, the eternal error of some young women, who are offered by powerful men: Forget this annoying old feminist, come on, sit on Daddy's lap. These younger ones do not understand that it will soon be exactly the same for them as the older ones they defame. There are still younger ones.
Discourse sovereignty seems to have been lost to the politically correct anti-racists in some media and at universities. Is that getting better again?
Some, like my friend Boualem Sansal, the Algerian writer, are now totally resigned. But I'm just too cheerful and too optimistic to see black by nature. Above all: I can feel that it is turning. The many who have so far been silent, out of ignorance or convenience, are beginning to recognize the danger. It cannot be that we let our hard-won enlightenment and gender equality be seriously jeopardized by religious fundamentalists!
The interview was conducted by Susanne Gaschke. It appeared on July 7th in Welt am Sonntag.
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