Germany asks difficult migration questions
The controversy shows just how charged the debate around the subject of migration has become in Germany, writes Frederick Studemann
Is it legitimate for privately owned boats to rescue those in peril on the Mediterranean Sea? Or, as the Die Zeit headline tersely put it: Should one just leave it? That was the question posed in a recent article in the prestigious German weekly about the right response to the challenge posed by growing numbers of refugees and migrants stranded off the coast between Africa and the EU. The appearance earlier in July in a court in Malta of the captain of the Lifeline, a boat operated by a German aid organisation, on charges of violating national waters gave it added relevance. In the article — presented in a for-and-against debating format — one writer made the case for intervention on the basis that where politics fails private aid organisations are right to step in and save lives. Another countered that intervention by nongovernmental groups was playing into the hands of people smugglers and has long been part of their business models. The reaction was swift, and damning. Within hou...