More than 20 years ago, some Germans rallied against refugees who had primarily fled the Yugoslav wars, and asylum reception centers went up in flames. There are certain, shocking parallels between the tensions back then and the anti-refugee protests that are taking place in some parts of the country today.
A supporter of the Pegida movement holds a flag while supporters gather for a march in their first Berlin demonstration, which they have dubbed “Baergida,” on Jan. 5. (Carsten Koall/Getty Images)
But there’s another surprising similarity: An anti-Nazi song that topped the German charts in the 1990s is back on top. “Cry for Love” is being recirculated as a statement of support for the refugees and against right-wing extremists.
“Your violence is just a silent cry for love,” the song goes, a sentiment also reflected in the song’s title. In the song, the German band “Die Ärzte” (The Doctors) addresses potential right-wing extremists, adding a few expletives: “Your army boots are longing for affection. You never learned to articulate yourself. And your parents never had time for you!” the popular band sang, in a text celebrated by some, and condemned by others.
Although some of the band’s songs have been banned and their circulation restricted because of offensive language, Die Ärzte has managed to build a large and loyal fan base over three decades.
The renewed attention to the song originated in an initiative by German music teacher Gerhard Torges, who says he was shocked by how some Germans had stirred hatred against refugees. Using various social media platforms, Torges and his supporters urged Germans to download the song, share it and call on radio stations to play it more often. On Amazon, Google Play and iTunes, the song achieved the top spot in music downloads within days.
Meanwhile, the band has answered critics who complain that it is benefiting financially from the campaign. “We certainly do not want to make money out of this, and will donate all earnings (generated by the song) to Pro Asyl,” the band wrote on its Web site, referring to an organization that is helping refugees. “We wish all Nazis and their sympathizers bad entertainment,” the band added.