Destinations Magazine

The Trouble with Saxony

By Stizzard
The trouble with Saxony

SAXONS have reason to be proud as they celebrate the 25th anniversary of German reunification on October 3rd. They were the first East Germans to take to the streets in 1989, shouting “Wir sind das Volk” (“We are the people”), a cry for freedom from their communist rulers. Within months their peaceful protest had spread across the country and toppled the Berlin Wall. In less than a year East Germany was dissolved and Saxony became one of the unified country’s 16 federal states.

Today Saxons are associated with a different cause. Members of a xenophobic movement calling itself PEGIDA, short for “Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the Occident”, have been marching through the state capital of Dresden every Monday for the past year. Last week they numbered 10,000. Only 0.1% of Saxony’s population is Muslim (the German average is about 5%), and foreigners in general are rare. Yet the demonstrators are once again shouting “Wir sind das Volk”, this time with an ominous ethnic ring.

Some Saxons do more than shout. While other Germans welcomed Arab, African and other refugees pouring into the country this summer with sweets and…

The Economist: Europe

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