Was your worst car wreck your fault?

Comment Guilt of the Left: The Hour of Simplifiers

Conservatives want to blame the German left for the brutal riots. That is cheap. Because it is not left to ignite small cars.

Images that conservatives and right-wing groups like to use: Disguised riots Photo: dpa

The wrecked cars in Hamburg's streets are still smoking, and the time has come for simplifications. Some go to great lengths to blame the German left - whoever it may be - for the brutal riots. The riot clearly has to do with politics, tweeted Jens Spahn, the conservative young hope of the CDU, for example. After all, parts of the SPD have systematically played down left-wing violence.

Public reflection on the police strategy is also popularly defamed at the moment. "Only shabby" is the criticism of the Greens and leftists of the police, thinks Union parliamentary group leader Volker Kauder. The FDP politician and Vice President of the EU Parliament Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, in turn, accuses a Green politician on Twitter of insulting the Hamburg police. He had only described how he was first insulted and then kicked by a police officer.

When it comes to liberal-conservative black-and-white thinking, one must first notice something banal: the violent criminals who terrified parts of the city, torched garbage cans, broke open ATMs and pelted the police with stones are not on the left. Some of them may call themselves that, but they pervert a political positioning that traditionally sees itself on the side of the weak. These guys don't want to protest, they have no political concern. They want riot - and made the city their life-threatening adventure playground.

It is not left to set fire to small family cars. It is not left to loot a drug store that was collecting for refugees. It is also not on the left to frighten a Kita management so that they asked parents to pick up their children - because their safety can no longer be guaranteed. Kauder and Spahn are therefore wrong. Those who pretend that violent left-wing radicals and hooligans who have traveled here represent a serious part of the political spectrum are cooking their own populist soup on the fires of the barricades.

Is it true that a policeman kicks a green man?

And yes, of course it must be possible to continue criticizing. Many police officers did and still do great things in Hamburg - politicians of all colors and the Chancellor rightly state that. But was it wise of the police leadership to sweep the “Welcome to hell” demo off the road in a bottleneck so that dozens of them avoided a dangerous climb on an embankment? Why are the authorities withdrawing summit accreditation from journalists? Is it true that a police officer kicks a green man after he shows his press passport? These are legitimate questions that deserve answers.

The political responsibility for the organization in Hamburg is borne by many - the CDU-led chancellery as well as the SPD mayor Olaf Scholz. It's too early to point the blame. Spahn, Kauder and Lambsdorff have every right in the world to condemn the violence of the rioters. But to dump the blame on political competition, which has always called for peaceful demonstrations, is all too cheap.

During the processing, those involved should show the courage to be complex. Differentiation is more necessary than ever in heated situations. You can condemn violence, praise the police - and question individual police actions with skepticism. All at the same time.