Now the debate has become murderous. Ever since Frauke Petry and Beatrix von Storch of the right-wing populist political party Alternative for Germany (AfD) gave the rhetorical order to fire on refugees, the discussion about migration in Germany is out of control. It might just be a coincidence that at almost the same moment this happened, a live grenade was thrown for the first time at a refugee center. But it fits together. Deaths will now be acceptable, perhaps even factored in, for further inciting the German population.
It’s now all the more important to keep a space open between the policies of the German federal government and the right-extremists’ strategic fantasies of violence, to weigh options. Now, control strategies need to be discussed that go beyond the mere urging for a European solution that doesn’t amount only to the eternal repetition of empty words like "upper limit" but leaves the fundamental principle untouched: Nobody in Europe will shoot at people coming to us in the hope of being helped.
Such deliberation isn’t only mandatory for practical reasons but certainly also for political hygiene since nothing drives people away from moderate political parties, away from democracy, more quickly than the assertion that only one possible way exists to handle a situation.
So what would a control strategy look like that doesn’t even consider the order to shoot as a possibility – yet promises success at the same time? Let’s venture a thought experiment. The fact that it must necessarily remain tentative, lacking details, is no argument against the attempt.
It isn’t, in and of itself, amoral to secure borders, even to close them. On the contrary, it’s normal; practically every country in the world does it and most with success.
"There is no region in the world that has such difficulties protecting its borders than Europe," Demetrios Papademetriou, the distinguished past-president of the Washington-based Migration Policy Institute, recently told German weekly newspaper Die Zeit. "I am shocked every time I speak with officials or politicians in Brussels that they are convinced they can do nothing to influence the migratory movements of people."
What’s more, German President Joachim Gauck recently declared a control strategy could even be morally and politically "imperative in order to maintain the state’s capacity to act." And "it can also be imperative in ensuring the support of the majority of society for a humanitarian reception of the refugees."
Fences at the moment are the main objection, such as recently once again formulated by the lawyer Mehmet Daimagüler on the television talk show "Anne Will": Fences inevitably lead "somewhere to it ending up in an order to shoot." That’s a bold prediction, to put it mildly. There isn’t even any shooting on the militarily-guarded fence between Mexico and the United States, and just as little around the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla in Morocco.