by Mithu Sanyal
TRANSIT Your Homeland is Our Nightmare
Translated by Didem Uca
Talking about this has become something of a cliché, because surely by now even the last person on earth should know that the question “But where are you really from?” is a no-go. It is the question that separates the wheat from the chaff, or, to put it more bluntly: the people who belong here (which is obviously why they are not being asked this question) from… the others. The key word being: should. Because although countless newspaper pages, minutes of TV and radio airtime, panel discussions, and chats around the kitchen table have been filled with explanations detailing the multifarious abysses cracked open by this question, many people still insist on asking it anyway. Usually before they ask anything else. The reason for this has less to do with a personal problem than a societal one for which I have devised the S-H-H Formula:
Skin, Hair, Hemoglobin
The first two components—skin and hair color—determine whether a person is categorized as an (im)migrant.[i] Note that not every person from “elsewhere” is automatically an (im)migrant. The third component––hemoglobin––which gives red blood cells their color, epitomizes the catch-22 of the whole concept of Heimat [homeland]: citizenship by blood. The German Nationality Act of 1913 specified that one may only become a member of the German state, and thus, of the Volkskörper,[ii] by right of blood, jus sanguinis, i.e. by being born the child of a German father. This stands in contrast to right of soil, jus soli, whereby one’s place of birth determines citizenship—the prevailing model in ‘Anglo-Saxon’ countries like the United States. In 1975, German mothers won a hard-fought battle that allowed them to pass their citizenship onto their children, something that had previously only been possible when a child’s paternity could not be determined.
In 2000, a limited right of soil principle was introduced, determining that children would be eligible for German citizenship if at least one parent had resided in Germany for at least eight years, during which time they had been a permanent resident of Germany for at least the last three years. At age 18, however, children with dual citizenship had to decide which citizenship to retain: Germanness was indivisible. At least until 2007, when the so-called double-passport for children born in Germany was introduced—although this exception only pertained to other (non-German) nationalities within Europe. In 2014, the rest of the children who had been born and were residing in Germany were finally permitted to hold more than one citizenship (provided that they had not been born before January 1, 1990). No one can claim that the issue of national belonging is either simple or straightforward: ‘Inside’ and ‘Outside’ are neither unambiguous nor easily distinguishable categories.
Although we are no longer required to vampirically imbibe our Germanness, this fact is, apparently, not yet common knowledge—perhaps precisely due to all this juridical pussyfooting. Whether or not the inquisitors are aware, the question “Where are you from?” refers to a hereditary form of citizenship through which one’s belonging can never be attained, only retained from generation to generation. It’s no coincidence that the citizenship rights reform in 2000 was immediately followed by a heated debate on who and what is ‘truly’ German. The feuilletons debated German Leitkultur. The New Right invented the term “Passport Germans” to clarify that, while these individuals may have attained full rights as citizens, they still lacked that drop of magical Germanness that would allow them to ascend from their current status as fictitious Germans who exist only on paper to real live Germans. For the moment, attempts to distill this Germanic elixir have climaxed in the renaming of the Federal Ministry to the Ministry of the Interior, Building, and Heimat.
“The mythologization of the Ministry of the Interior into the Ministry of Heimat suggests that this country cannot be a home to someone for whom it has not always been a homeland,”[iii] writes Margarita Tsomou, co-editor of Missy Magazine. That seems to be precisely how the freshly baked Heimat Minister, Horst Seehofer, sees it: Shortly after assuming office, he declared that Islam does not belong to Germany. As a matter of fact, Islam is a part of daily life for millions of people who not only live here and therefore already belong in Germany, but who are also de facto German citizens. “And yet,” Tsomou continues, “the reference to Heimat symbolically denaturalizes millions of German Muslims all over again. Heimat is therefore a more reductionist, shrunken, exclusionary concept [than citizenship].”[iv]
Simply put: If “the nation” functions as an outer border, then “Heimat” creates an inner border.
Until the year 2000, people could only enter this “home” as “guests”—that is, as guests who worked. (Im)migration was seen as a phase, a reversible process. Whenever Heimat was discussed with respect to these guest workers [Gastarbeiter], it referred to their ‘original’ Heimat. The German state thus began proactively sponsoring “Heimat Associations,” which were tasked with supporting their return ‘home’ once their work was done.[v] As migration studies scholar Mark Terkessidis puts it:
If you engage with your folklore sufficiently, you can integrate back into your homeland. The Federal Republic conceived of (im)migration as an exception. The matter was housed within the Ministry of the Interior, in charge of homeland security, with the express purpose of always treating (im)migration as a security issue. This means that the immigrant only ever comes to the attention of the Ministry of the Interior after a transgression. These days, (im)migration is nearly omnipresent. Thus, Horst Seehofer’s pursuit must be viewed as an attempt by the Ministry of the Interior to reassert its interpretive authority.[vi]
But what exactly is this homeland that the Ministry of Heimat seeks to uphold?
According to media studies scholar Alena Dausacker, the term Heimat initially referred not to a metaphysical concept but rather a legalistic one: “The right of domicile [Heimatrecht] mandated that the community in which one was born had to provide them with a place to live and sustenance, even if they became destitute.”[vii] After the founding of the German Empire in 1871, this task fell upon the state, with one’s place of residence rather than one’s place of birth now responsible for the allocation of social welfare. The only problem was that the citizens did not feel a sense of belonging to this new nation, because the German Empire was simply too big and too diverse for them to say: “This is what I am, this is what I identify with.” Representations of the Heimat in art, literature, and music were thus tasked with mediating between region and nation. This functioned as an outlet through which to rehearse national consciousness and national identity. During the Industrial Revolution, Heimat was closely associated with nature, in particular with mountains and forests, whose clean air provided the antithesis of the crowded city polluted by the steam engine. “Heimat” was a utopia, a non-place, a place of longing, and an idealized idyll.
The conceptualization of the homeland as a place of longing is nothing new. Nor is the notion that the people with whom one shares their homeland are especially good––and certainly better than all of the other people around the world. However, the specific significance that Heimat acquired at the beginning of the 19th century was new. Reacting against the rationalism of the Enlightenment, the Romantics explored emotions, particularly emotions associated with the essence of the self. Throughout Europe, folklorists were travelling through villages and the countryside in search of a national identity in the songs and stories of the folk [Volk], which they viewed as a vessel for the soul of the nation [Volksseele]. In Germany, the Brothers Grimm collected fairytales that explained to the Germans what it meant to be German by recording (or inventing) and disseminating traditions, myths, and customs. Hegel worked from the assumption that there was a suprapersonal national spirit of the German people [Volksgeist]. Herder spoke of a national spirit [Nationalgeist] that lived and breathed in the German language and its literature. Allegedly, however, this language could only truly be understood by its countrymen. The country spoke, so to speak, to itself, and was heard by the hearts of its citizens.
This coupling of Heimat and destiny laid the groundwork for the utilization of the connection to one’s roots by 20th-century nationalist movements through their creation of an emotionally charged political discourse. And so the concept of Heimat was discredited, at least by the majority of the political left, due to its association with the “Blood and Soil” [Blut und Boden] ideology of the fascists. Yet, as Mark Terkessidis reminds us, the notion of Heimat never really went away: “People are saying these days: The ‘long-lost’ concept of Heimat has been consistently maligned, and now we want to rehabilitate it. But when was it ever even gone?”[viii] Right after the end of World War II, Heimat films, novels, and Schlager were already back in production. In fact, The Black Forest Girl [Schwarzwaldmädel] (1950), The Heath is Green [Grün ist die Heide] (1951), and The Forester of the Silver Wood [Der Förster vom Silberwald] (1954) are some of the most successful German-language films of all time. In this context, Heimat becomes an aesthetic experience. Entire regions bank on Heimat as a brand to boost their tourism industry. Heimat has come to be enjoyed and consumed in myriad ways, including through kitsch and sentimentality.
In the 1970s, the political left tried to take back ownership of the concept, bolstering the region over the state and the local community over a growth economy. As Dausacker elucidates:
Within this discourse, Heimat was no longer the object of conservative restoration but rather the inner need to shape oneself in response to the environment. At this time, the concept of Heimat finally shed its metropoliphobia, yet it simultaneously found its way back to a renewed association with the small-scale through its organization of big cities into neighborhoods, districts, etc. Furthermore, Heimat has become increasingly construed as social: Heimat is where one’s cultural and social milieu is seated and where one feels safe.[ix]
As a result, Heimat was no longer bound primarily to space and instead became rooted in time: in childhood, with all of its formative experiences of personal development. Heimat came to describe a subjective feeling closely linked to sensory impressions and memories.
So far, so homey. But things became quite inhospitable once these individual feelings were transformed into absolutes. And one cannot deny the sneaking suspicion that a Ministry of Heimat is the place where they will define and administer what Heimat can and should be. The Bavarian Ministry of Heimat opened in 2014 and one in North Rhine-Westphalia followed in 2017. In 2018, the Federal Ministry of the Interior was renamed and furnished with the addition “Building and Homeland [Heimat].” This was the dawning of a new era in which Heimat officially re-entered the political discourse. At the same time, however, many saw in these measures an attempt to stop yielding ground to the political right, who had exalted Heimat as one of its central themes. The Ministry of Heimat in North Rhine-Westphalia proclaimed that “Heimat does not exclude; it unites,” while NRW-Heimat Ambassador Lamya Kaddor explains that we finally have to start understanding Heimat in the plural: Heimaten.[x]
Meanwhile, the far-right AfD Party [Alternative for Germany], which has cultivated itself as the Heimat Party, mobilizes against this very pluralism by propagating a monolithic understanding of Heimat. Björn Höcke, the spokesperson of AfD Thuringia, parroted the predominant 19th-century paradigm practically verbatim (think: fairytales, myths, folksongs): “There are three dimensions of Heimat, namely, the geographic dimension, which is the natural landscape in which I was born; then we have the cultural dimension, which is the traditions, myths, fairytale books; and lastly, the social dimension, which is the communally held set of values, customs, and norms.”[xi] This would imply that the German Volksseele withstood two World Wars, various political systems, and massive technological and social upheavals virtually unchanged. Even more baffling is that Höcke perceives Heimat as under threat now, of all times, when its greatest apparent existential threat comes neither from a World War nor a division into East and West, but rather from wind turbines, (im)migration, and woke culture[xii] in equal measure. Thus, he accuses the representatives of the traditional parties of espousing policies that are “fundamentally designed to destroy the Heimat” and explains that the AfD is successful precisely because “people are watching their Heimat disappear.”[xiii]
Where does this angst concerning the loss of Heimat, conceived as a loss of control, originate? It’s certainly no coincidence that other nationalist movements have also articulated their message using this same trope. The mantra “take back control” was used to mobilize both Brexit and Trump’s “America First.” We want our country back; we want control back. Which begs the question: Back from whom?
In terms of goods, money, data, and information, borders already lost their meaning ages ago. All of these things cross borders unflaggingly, unimpeded. Nowadays, borders effectively only pertain to people, or, to be more precise: to certain people. Every year, the Henley Passport Index (called the Visa Restrictions Index until 2017) ranks all passports according to their travel freedom. Every year, Germany lands near the top of the list, recently trumped only by Japan and Singapore. Yet, no AfD supporter regards their own travel freedom as a threat to their German identity.
The ‘Others’ are not dangerous in and of themselves. They only become dangerous when they enter our country, though its self-identity paradoxically hinges upon precisely this promise of maximum pluralism. Because Western democracies legitimize themselves on the basis of freedom of expression, freedom of religion, and the inviolability of human dignity. In theory. When social praxis contradicts the theoretical, cognitive dissonance occurs; everyone feels a bit uneasy, but no one can quite figure out why. An example: Since 2001, Germany has been not merely a de facto but also a de jure country of immigration. This was implemented at the time by a government-appointed Immigration Commission called the Süssmuth Commission. As social scientist Naika Foroutan observes, “If you think that this [change] had to do with the number of (im)migrants, think again. We already had 14 million (im)migrants in the 1970s. In 2001, we had 15 million. Having one million more cannot possibly account for the fact that this country suddenly calls itself a country of immigration.”[xiv] But this step had major implications; Germany’s new self-conception required that rights be changed accordingly. Since then, the constitution has stipulated that (im)migrants and non-(im)migrants are equal––under the law.
In actuality, however, (im)migrants are still twice as likely to experience poverty; at school, having a family history of (im)migration is seen as a deficit, and the education system focuses on the elimination of deficits (i.e. the need to learn German), rather than the maximization of assets (like the realization that, hey, these kids are already bi- or trilingual). Those who are visually identified as having an (im)migrant background have a much harder time finding housing, work, or decent medical care. And all of this must be considered against the backdrop of a society with an ever-widening wealth gap. Foroutan describes the phenomenon as one in which:
The expected reality has long been firmly enshrined, but the empirical reality looks different, so the system is clearly broken. And what can you do to get things back on track? You either mobilize significant resources to bring the empirical reality in line with the expected reality. Or you lower expectations. And that is what we can observe in the political sphere at present, and that is the discourse on the political right.[xv]
One of the most cynical examples of this is the right of asylum. Germany understands itself—both due to and beyond its own history—as a country with a duty to provide refuge to people in crisis. Yet there are earnest discussions right now as to whether it is acceptable to let people drown in the Mediterranean.[xvi] And how can such political and discursive attempts to lower the norm—in terms of participation, equal rights, asylum, and so on—be justified? Exactly. By invoking the vulnerable Heimat, which hangs onto its venerated place above democracy on the identity charts.
Because democracy is society; Heimat is the self.
According to the philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah, the question “Where are you from?” actually means: “What are you?”[xvii] An intimate investigation of identity that nevertheless seldom leaves room for a suitably complex answer. Whereas Heimat is imagined as having a secret shared essence, identity emerges from the perception of an innate core that is not merely individual, but collective. At least recently. Until the mid-twentieth century, the concept of identity was associated exclusively with individual identities. Along came the sixties, and suddenly all social movements began to mobilize in the name of identity: Black Power, women’s lib, the disability rights movement, and so on. Solidarity with the demands of each respective group is what constituted these identities. They demanded that the majority (or, in the case of the women’s movement, that the social group that had more rights than they did) see the world through their eyes and perceive it through their senses.
Because up until that point, the prototypical citizen had been imagined as male and white. Political decisions were made based on his perspective and were empathetic to his needs. In this respect, identity politics were empathy politics, with the goal of reorienting and expanding this center of perception. But people cannot, of course, be reduced to any single identity. To that effect, Appiah observes that even when we act in certain ways because of our identity, we rarely all act the same way. What is true, however, is that we treat people differently on the basis of their presumed identity.[xviii] In short: Identity does not determine the things that we do, but rather the things that other people do to us. Identity is unequivocally real, not because it is a genuine substance—like drops of blood—but rather, because it has a real impact on each of our lives.
This is why identities are always a double-edged sword—because they are just as likely to provoke antipathy and mistrust toward other groups or individuals as they are to promote empathy and solidarity.
Yet, paradoxically, the very thing that connects every one of us is our need for identity or identities. Recent studies have shown that people need the concept of identity to find their place in the world. This is why it is crucial to create fluid identities that both inflect and reflect our shared humanity. As Appiah concludes, identities are lies, but they are lies that bind (our society together).[xix]
Any community larger than a village where everyone knows and speaks with each other regularly is, according to Benedict Anderson, an imagined community, i.e. a community that exists and subsists only on the power of imagination, invention, and fiction. Germany per se does not even exist. There is no black zig-zag line with the word Germany printed in the middle running somewhere through its landscape. Instead, the nation is constituted through treaties and accords; in other words, people have agreed to believe that it exists. And it persists because we do not merely live in this country; we are a community, if only an imagined one.
Democracies need social consensus to be stable. And this requires specific core values, with civic trust being the most important, because democracies are communities of trust. This does not mean that we all must trust each other in every possible scenario; rather, this requires a foundational sense of trust that the state in which we live is governed by the rule of law and that it can effectively manage social interactions and deal with transgressions (e.g. crimes or social injustice). As soon as one population group feels that it cannot trust another, society’s very contract of confidence is at stake and thus democracy itself comes under threat. Mobilization against one group, therefore, endangers not just the affected group, but society as a whole. Philosopher Michele Moody-Adams notes that if Muslim fire victims after 9/11 had feared that firefighters would not save them due to anti-Muslim sentiment, this could have not merely put them at risk, but also raised questions about cooperation and solidarity within the broader public.[xx] If firefighters, the heroes of post-9/11 America, refused to conduct themselves in accordance with core American values such as cooperation and solidarity, this would shake American identity to its very core.
Moody-Adams identifies a number of core values that bind a society together, including civic sacrifice (the willingness to make sacrifices for the common good) and civic grace (the willingness to let go of political resentment in order to achieve shared political goals). But her central conclusion is that democracies are only stable when their citizens are not just part of a nation but also part of a community of memory.[xxi]
This leads to the problem, so perfectly encapsulated by Salman Rushdie, that the trouble with the English is that their history happened elsewhere, so they have no understanding of it.[xxii]
This description can also be applied to Germany, although the German Empire held significantly fewer colonies for a significantly shorter period of time than England. It is, indeed, this ‘limited’ quantity and comparatively ‘short’ duration that is used as a reason, or, in truth, as an excuse for the fact that we have intentionally ignored our colonial history. For instance, when we discuss concentration camps, we—for good reason—are referring to the Nazis’ crimes against Jews, Sinti and Romani, homosexuals, political prisoners, and many, many others. What considerably fewer Germans know, is that the first concentration camp was erected on Shark Island in present-day Namibia in 1904. Thousands of people were imprisoned and murdered there during the genocide of the Herero and Nama, their remains later being brought to Berlin for ‘racial research purposes.’
But the reason cannot merely be ignorance alone. Because although Willy Brandt’s genuflection at the memorial to the victims of the Warsaw Ghetto in 1970—again, for good reason—made history, when the Federal Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development, Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, apologized in 2004 for the Namibian Genocide, she was met with vehement criticism, whereupon the Federal Government branded her apology a personal opinion. They were essentially saying, “that had nothing to do with us,” because they feared that they would otherwise have to pay reparations to Namibia.[xxiii] Four grandiose colonial monuments stand in stark contrast to a single anti-colonial monument: The Elephant in Bremen’s Nelson Mandela Park.
This means that the history of new Germans—that is, the history of people like me who live in this country but have the wrong S-H-H combination—is not considered part of German history. Yet Heimat means being part of the memory culture, part of those who are remembered, part of those who remember. This is why, as Moody-Adams explains, debates on public memory projects—memorials, days of remembrance, museums—are also always debates about society, its values, its self-image, about collective pride and shared pain.[xxiv] This is why Bolivia, for example, observes the Day of the Sea every year on March 23 —despite being landlocked—by spending five minutes listening to recordings of waves and seagulls piped over the loudspeakers. As charmingly quirky as this may sound, it is, in actuality, an annual reminder that Bolivia lost its sole access to the ocean to Chile in the Saltpeter War. 135 years after this loss, Bolivia continues to petition at The Hague for Chile to return its Departamento del Litoral––Bolivia’s erstwhile shoreline. Memory politics are politics.
Moody-Adams explains further that these projects of remembrance are not merely about a society’s past, but also always about the future it seeks. “The politics of memory is a politics of solidarity” with those whom we remember. The politics of memory ask: “Who are we? What do we stand for? […] And what might we have to be sorry for?”[xxv]
For these reasons, it is critical that all population groups be able to participate in debates on remembrance projects. And this is why there should have been a debate about the establishment of a Ministry of Heimat––about its duties and functions, about what Heimat means, and for whom––a debate that included everyone.
Because, as the American poet Maya Angelou writes, “The ache for home lives in all of us. The safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.”[xxvi] In this sense, I—and many, many people in this country—have no Heimat. Because we are always subjected to questions. Questions about where we come from, and when we will go back. Why we are here, and if we are integrated enough. And so on.
When I was pregnant, I considered whether I should give my child a German-sounding name, which would make it easier for them to graduate from high school and get a job. Or if, instead, I should choose a name that evoked a sense of family history, familial roots. In the end, I decided on Jasray. I chose this name because we had already surrendered so much, we could not also surrender our names. Because then there would be no perceptible trace left of us. And because this was a made-up name—or rather, one we found on the internet. Because roots are nothing more than that: fictions, inventions, (origin) stories that we tell ourselves and others. And while we’re at it: If any word is absolutely ill-suited to point to any sort of “roots,” it is deutsch. Whereas the words “French” and “English” still relate etymologically to the groups they claim to represent (the Franks and the Anglo-Saxons, respectively), “deutsch” is derived from the root word “teuta,” which sounds like “Leute” [people] and means precisely that. And indeed, the people who speak Deutsch. German(y) was neither a country nor a people; it was, first and foremost, a language. And actually, that might be just the definition on which the greatest number of people would agree.
Racism is not merely a form of othering. Indeed, it is primarily about rights and resources. But Heimat is this mercurial, elusive realm of narratives that frame our ability to coexist in society. This is why Nadia Foroutan advocates that we no longer conduct debates about Leitkultur—these are inevitably always backwards-looking, because they revolve around the question: How did we become what we are? Instead, we should initiate a debate about a Leitbild [guiding image]—that is, a debate about what we want to be. Foroutan reminds us of the prolonged debate in Canada during the 1970s in which “Unity in Diversity” was conceived as Canada’s guiding image. Something similar happened in the United States in the 1960s, when the image of the “Nation of Immigrants” was created. Or in Brazil, which follows a guiding image of hybridity. All of these guiding images have direct impacts on politics. Nota bene: “Norm-setting should be seen as a driver of politics, not a reference to the current state of affairs.”[xxvii]
A comparable debate in Germany could, as Lamya Kaddor suggests, finally allow Heimat to be formulated in the plural, thus accounting for the lived realities of an increasing number of Germans by acknowledging how (im)migration enriches the Heimat. Because—as all research indicates—Germany’s culture, economy, and healthcare sector only profit from (im)migration, particularly nursing, which could no longer function without it. It is therefore not only ethical, but also logical—even if for purely self-serving motives—for all those involved to navigate the topic of (im)migration more constructively.
The AfD, among others, persist on asking: “But what about German identity?”
Yeah, what about it? (Im)migration does change Germany. That is undeniable. But is that a bad thing? Aladin El-Mafaalani likes telling the story of how, in his childhood, every patch of German grass was marked by “Keep Off!” signs that (im)migrants, with their grills and picnic blankets in tow, blissfully ignored. So the ‘keepers of the peace’ had to decide if defending a law dating back to the German Kaiserreich was really worth all the trouble. And such processes of negotiation have been undeniably productive. Now the grass is free for all to enjoy, whereas spitting on it remains illegal and punishable by fine. (Im)migration sharpens the focus on one’s own values and asks which of them still make sense.
Heimat does not simply exist; rather, it must be manufactured through a process of consensus building. A nation denotes a group of people who believe they share a (hi)story, and for whom this (hi)story is important. Whereby it is less important whether this shared (hi)story is objective (i.e. whether it really happened this way), but only that the majority of people subjectively perceive it as such. Indeed, it doesn’t even have to be real. For example, few in England actually believe that King Arthur pulled the sword from the stone, yet they still believe in the significance of this story for their nation. The French historian Ernest Renan goes one step further: “Forgetting and—I would even say—historical inaccuracies are essential components in the creation of a nation.”[xxviii] What it really comes down to is that a shared narrative exists at all. And the most important shared narrative of all is boldly expressing the will to coexist for the sake of societal prosperity.
And so, the decisive question is not “Where are you from?” but rather “Where do we want to go together?”!
[i] I am using the term (im)migrant to translate most occurrences of the German term “Migrant” in keeping with the Transit editors’ decision, as explained in their translators’ introduction.
[ii] Volkskörper, literally “national body,” describes a racialized category of national belonging popularized in the discourse of 19th-century German nationalism which became central to the racist ideologies of National Socialism.
[iii] Margarita Tsomou, panelist. “Von der Nation zur Heimat?,” Heimatphantasien Conference, 8 August, 2018, Kampnagel Theater, Hamburg, Germany. Opening Address. https://www.youtube.com/
[iv] Tsomou. The clarification “[than citizenship]” did not appear in the original essay and was added by the author in 2021.
[v] The phrase “once their work was done” did not appear in the original essay and was added by the author to this translation in 2021.
[vi] Mark Terkessidis, et al, panelists. “Migrationshintergrund––Unterbrechung der Nation?,” Heimatphantasien Conference, 8 August, 2018, Kampnagel Theater, Hamburg, Germany. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uTTIgMpwoc0.
[vii] Alena Dausacker, Medien als Heimat, Ruhr University Bochum, 2015, Master’s exam essay. [No page number cited in the original essay]
[ix] Dausacker. [No page number cited in the original essay]
[x] The original essay did not provide citations for the quotes attributed to the Ministry of North Rhine-Westphalia and Lamya Kaddor.
[xii] The addition of “woke culture” did not appear in the original essay and was added by the author in 2021.
[xiv] Naika Foroutan and Diedrich Diederichsen, panelists. Heimatphantasien Conference, 8 August, 2018, Kampnagel Theater, Hamburg, Germany.
[xv] Foroutan and Diederichsen.
[xvi] Cf. Caterina Lobenstein and Mariam Lau’s debate in “Seenotrettung – Oder soll man es lassen? Private Helfer retten Flüchtlinge und Migranten im Mittelmeer aus Seenot. Ist das legitim? Ein Pro und Contra,” published in Die Zeit, 11 July 2018.
[xvii] The quotation attributed to Kwame Anthony Appiah is not cited in the original essay.
[xviii] Kwame Anthony Appiah, The Lies That Bind: Rethinking Identity, (Profile Books, 2019) p. 10.
[xix] Appiah, xvi.
[xx] Michele Moody-Adams, “Memory, Multiculturalism and Democracy,” Conference of the Interuniversity Research Group on Political Philosophy (GRIPP), 11 Oct. 2012, Montreal, Canada. Keynote Address. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzkySWeSYNA.
[xxii] The original quote, spoken by the fictional character Whisky Sisodia reads: “The trouble with the Engenglish is that their hiss hiss history happened overseas, so they dodo don’t know what it means.” Salman Rushdie, The Satanic Verses, 1988 (Picaro, 2000) p. 353.
[xxiii] Author’s note: Since the initial publication of this essay in German, Germany has begun the process of recognizing the colonial crimes perpetrated against Namibia.
[xxvi] From Maya Angelou, All God’s Children Need Travelling Shoes; ctd. in Afua Hirsch: Brit(ish): On Race, Identity and Belonging, (Penguin, 2018).
[xxvii] Foroutan and Diederichsen.
[xxviii] Ernest Renan, Qu’est-ce qu’une nation? (Calmann Lévy, 1882).