Carolin Emcke in a Pledge for More "Quiet"


Carolin Emcke at #rp17

“Love out Loud!” - the slogan seems to fit Carolin Emcke perfectly. In 2016, her book "Gegen den Hass" (Against Hate) was awarded the German Book Trade´s Peace Prize and whilst she shares the re:publica call for love, it is however not without its limitations.

For Carolin Emcke, the word is too simple. You cannot demand love, you cannot order love, according to the author. Love is too intimate and fragile to be controlled. The problem with the word love is that it is mainly used in a heteronormative sense. But where does that leave homosexuality? Even in Germany today, all too often there is still an awkward silence when homosexuality is brought up; children shouldn´t know about it too early. As recently as 2014, 82,000 Baden-Württembergers signed a petition against a curriculum that would feature queer family models. The AfD promotes the traditional family model. Emcke therefore encourages queer people to show themselves, in order to counterbalance  the skewed image of queer lifestyles that society has.

 "Those who are degraded and denounced should not have to defend themselves. We need others to do this" said Emcke during her re:publica talk on Monday. With this she refers to her controversial speech during the Peace Prize Award ceremony in 2016. "Terror and violence are the responsibility of public prosecutors and the authorities. But for all  the daily attributes and directions taken by a supposedly homogenic collective - for those, we must all take responsibility for the everyday violations and degradations. If that doesn´t work, then it is not a society. For starters, a pluralistic society does not need a loud type of love but rather equal rights and respect for everyone. "Sometimes polite indifference is enough, we need to be able to tolerate many differences and distances between ourselves."

Right-wing populist movements such as the AfD don´t want that, they portray a simplified version of a "German" society. According to Emcke in 2016, "This type of marginalising fanaticism does not only damage the ones that it seeks to victimise but in particularly those that want to live in a open, democratic society." The journalist warns against copying the loud messaging of the right. " We now need the quiet, careful voices. We cannot take over loud, political and obvious counter propaganda out of sheer desperation. " If resistance against inhumane messages is merely reduced to contempt against Nazis then the criticism will contradict itself." says Emcke.

By Birte Mensing

Photo credit: re:publica/Greogr Fischer (CC BY-SA 2.0)