Interviews conducted by NDR: Protected content
Having listened to both parts of interviews (yes, I've got masochistic leanings as well), my impression is that Pegida is supported by gullible, frustrated people who don't feel represented by the democratic institutions and believe their demonstrations are acts of brave citizens in the tradition of the "Monday demonstrations", which were crucial in bringing down the GDR regime. The media are "lying", pandering to the political establishment (called "Lügenpresse", shouts trying to disturb the interviews; signs demanding to stop GEZ fees for public TV and radio), conspiracy theories are given credit, anti-Americanism ("referendum about NATO membership"), anti-EU stances. Rants against asylum seekers or "too many" foreigners in general are based on fears of becoming marginalised in their own country and economic neglect (pointing out poverty among Germans and "wrongly" allocated public funds). Hardly any interviewee can explain the organisation's name ("What are patriotic Europeans?", "What does 'the Occident' mean to you?", "Examples of 'islamisation' in Germany?").
There were also placards saying "Putin hilf uns" ('Putin help us') shown in other reports, adding to the wild mix of utterances. Some of the organisators are known to police, see "Pegida-Organisatoren stehen in Polizeidatei", Spiegel online, and Hooligan groups and extremist football fans are among the demonstrators, which, judging by the interviews, are mostly rather plain, with some more articulate, educated people in between. One member of a fraternity said that each one of the demonstrators was there for different reasons.
Representants of both major Christian Churches have spoken out against Pegida, so the Judeo-Christian references of some Pegida supporters – the majority of the people who grew up in (post) GDR not being affiliated to Christianity anyway – are misleading.
I feel the problem always originate as economic, but later it gets hijacked by the right wingers.
I also feel that the incoming asylum seekers should not be settled in the poorer parts of the German or the rural areas. People there are not so widely read, liberals but people bogged down by their economic miseries. When they suddenly see people around them who look, think and talk different, they have Anxiety(angst) for wrong or right reasons. Then comes daily news of ISIS slaughter, boko haram kidnappings and so on on tv and lastly comes the propaganda from the right wingers and every different looking person gets painted with the same brush.
I also think the government has a major role to play in explaining policies to the people.
As Daniel Koeler of EXIT Germany puts it
“communication is the most important. You have to include the local population when, for example, an asylum seeker hostel or any refugee home is opened in a local vicinity. You cannot decide this over the heads of the people; you have to explain human rights and democratic principles on which Germany is built, and why we help people that come from war zones seeking help. And we basically economically benefit from them. There is a lack of communication which is used and instrumentalized by far-right groups that basically say “Listen, your local politicians basically don’t talk to you, they ignore your political will. We are the only ones listening to you,” and they come with falsified statistics about rising crime, drug problems, lack of integration which is untrue. But there is a great lack of communication and politicians need to include the local population, need to explain democratic values and principles better.”. And in addition to the huge success economically Germany enjoys from immigrants, according to recent research work.
Observing and giving my opinion.....