Young BSF: The World in 60 Minutes

Participants of the Young BSF engaged on Saturday evening in a fireside chat with acclaimed international TV presenter and journalist Ali Aslan, who was given 60 minutes to share his take on the current global situation. Aslan expressed serious concern about developments, most notably the attitude to refugees.

“I refuse to believe that a continent of 28 nations and 500 million people, as affluent as they are, cannot absorb a million Syrians, a million refugees.” Aslan spoke of families being torn apart in the US, of a coalition partner in Austria who “thinks having Austrians of Jewish descent register might be a good idea in the 21st century”, of blatant xenophobia and racism in countries like Hungary and the rise of the far right even in his county Germany, which he said had felt immune to this.

“The dangerous thing is that the boundaries are being pushed bit by bit, I see it in Germany. You can hear things said that would have cost you your political and professional existence in a heartbeat in the past,” Aslan said, singling out AfD’s Björn Höcke’s statement about the holocaust memorial in Berlin. He said a major problem “is the silence of people like us, we need to be more vocal” and for instance openly speak of Nazis as opposed to “concerned citizens” when this applies.

Aslan, who feels it could well happen that the EU in its current form will no longer exist ten years from now, agreed with remarks that people should not simply be dismissed as xenophobic or as falling for populism. Their discontent is warranted because “something really is rotten, and what is rotten is that even in Western Europe we don’t live in a democracy”. Since the 2008 it has been clear that “the leaders you elect and I elect are not calling the shots, having succumbed to a degenerated, unregulated financial system”. Aslan said more and more people are being left behind, which is why he believes that “the financial system needs to be put in chains”. People are right to have grievances, “but the likelihood that their problems were created from above as opposed to by some poor sucker from Aleppo, who is the victim of the same game, is very real”.

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