...The German leader said it had been an illusion to think that Germans and foreign workers could "live happily side by side".
"We kidded ourselves for a while that they wouldn't stay, but that's not the reality," she said at a conference of the youth wing of her Christian Democratic Union party at the weekend, referring to the gastarbeiters, or guest workers, who arrived in Germany to fill a labour shortage during the economic boom of the 1960s.I must admit that as a Jew, when Germans start to talk about a "dominant German culture," it ain't exactly music to my ears. However, as someone who lives in a country that has is suffering from a multiculti hangover, the result of decades of quaffing the fizzy, purple Kool Aid, I can't help but hope that we, too, will figure out that Western civ., with all its attendent freedoms, is a pretty good deal, and that it is insanity of the first order to trash it for the sake of making Third World newcomers feel good about the benighted lands they felt compelled to leave because they were such wretched basket cases.
"Of course the tendency had been to say, 'let's adopt the multicultural concept and live happily side by side, and be happy to be living with each other'. But this concept has failed, and failed utterly," she said, without elaborating on the nature and causes of this failure.
Merkel's verdict marks a shift in her previously liberal line on immigration which had always put her at odds with the more conservative wing of the party.
While she stressed in the same speech that immigrants were welcome in Germany and that Islam was a part of the nation's modern-day culture, her remarks positioned her closer to Horst Seehofer, the Bavarian state premier of the Christian Social Union, who last week called for an end to immigration from Turkey and Arab countries.
They also align her with Thilo Sarrazin, the former Bundesbank member whose book on how the failure of many of Germany's 16 million immigrants to integrate was contributing to Germany's decline led to his dismissal.
Sharing the same podium as Merkel in Potsdam, Seehofer also said "multiculturalism is dead" and that both the rightwing parties were committed to a "dominant German culture". If Germany did not revise its immigration policies, he said, it was in danger of becoming "the world's welfare office"...