Angscht a Schrecken nom Referendum

Wéi ech Enn 2014 entschloss hunn, aus dëser Rubrik eng Zort politesche Kommentar ze maachen, wou ech, ëmmer wann et opportun erschéngt, d’Lag vum Land analyséieren an d’Politik duerch de Kaba ze zéien, hunn ech mir geduecht, dat géing witzeg ginn. An ech géing net méi an all Episod eppes vu mengen zwee ale Bekannten Angscht a Schrecken zielen.

Ma, si sinn zeréck. Dir kënnt iech sécher denke wisou, wann dir déi läscht Méint net hannert engem Stee gelieft hutt. 80,87 % vun de wahlberechtegte Lëtzebuerger_innen sinn géint d’Wahlrecht ab 16, 78,02 % géint d’Auslänner_innenwahlrecht an 69,93% wollten och näischt vun enger Mandatsbegrenzung fir Regierungsmembren wëssen.

Wa mir lo bedenken, datt déi Prozentsätz net géifen duer goen, fir d’Majoritéit an der Bevëlkerung ze stellen, da kënne mer eis kuerz besser fillen, mä et ännert näischt um Resultat. An natierlech ass d’Resultat och zu engem Deel Schold vun der schlechter Organisatioun, der peinlecher Campagne, der Opklärung, déi ni statt fonnt huet, dem Onmut géint déi aktuell Regierung.

Mä et däerf een elo net esou maachen, wéi wann d’Lëtzebuerger_innen sech just géint d’Regierung Bettel an net géint hir auslännesch Frënndinnen a Nopperen ausgeschwat hätten. „Ech hu jo näischt géint déi, mä si solle leiwer net matbestëmme kennen“ ass den Tenor, deen aus ville Facebook-Kommentaren erauszeliese war.

An ech soen et elo nach eng Kéier däitlech: Dat war een rassistesche Vote.
Nee, et gi keng 78,02% Rassisten am Land. Also keng, déi esou ausgesinn, wéi een sech dat virstellt, wann een dat Wuert „Rassist“ héiert: sou Genre Ku-Klux-Klan oder Neonazi-Glatzen mat Springerstiefel. Vläit huelen ech bëssi méi wäit aus: De Status-Quo an deenen allerméchten Länner ass am Fong rassistesch. Oder „friemefeindlech“, wann iech dat Wuert léiwer ass. An och net „am Fong“, mä en ass et. Punkt.

Leit opgrond vun hirer Hierkonft oder hirem Pass anescht ze behandelen ass Rassismus. Et deet mir jo onheemlech Leed, iech dat erklären ze mussen, mä et ass esou. An nee, et kann een sech net mat „Ech sinn kee Rassist, ech hunn auslännesch Frënn“ dovunner fräikaafen. Och net mat engem italieneschen oder portugieseschen Nonumm. An scho guer net mat engem Grouspapp, deen am zweete Weltkrich eng Fauscht an der Täsch gemaach huet géint d’Nazien.

Mir ginn a rassistesch a friemefeindlech Strukture gebuer, wuessen an hinnen op an léieren eis, un si ze gewinnen. Datt nennt een Sozialisatioun. Dat ass keen natirlechen, gottgegeben Zoustand, mä een, dee vu Mënschen – op gewollt oder ongewollt – geschaf ginn ass. De Referendum vu gëscht hätt kéinten e gewaltege Schrëtt sinn, fir d’Erzielung vun der Natioun als eppes, wat engem seng Identitéit gëtt, ze dekonstruéieren. An wéi absurd déi Erzielung mëttlerweil ass, wéist dat beleiwtesten Argument vum NEE, dat een déi lëtzebuerger Nationalitéit jo esou einfach géif kréien.

Et war awer och en Vote géint jonk Leit, deen esouguer nach méi staark war wéi dee géint Auslänner_innen. Dat deet enorm wéi, grad well dach vill 16-Jähreger mat Trakteren ënnerwee sinn an do all Dag méi krass Entscheedungen treffe wéi bei enger Wahl.

Ech weess net méi, wat ech soe sollt. D’Resultat vum Referendum huet an der Däitlechkeet iwwerrascht. An et wéist virun allem, datt et net duer geet, dauernd ze behaapten, e Land wier tolerant an weltoppen. Well dat ass Lëtzebuerg just, wann et ëm auslännesch Firme geet, déi sech hei gären Tax-rulen wëlle loossen.

Zum Schluss da nach eng positiv Note: Laut TNS-Illres mengen 67% vun de Leit, datt Auslänner_innenwahlrecht eng Fro vun der Zäit ass.
An honnert Joer dann.

2 thoughts on “Angscht a Schrecken nom Referendum

  1. By the fact that I write this reply in English, you can rightfully detect that I am a foreigner (well, half-foreigner anyway). And I support the no-voters with all my heart. I find it strange that people continuously claim that a no-vote cannot be seen different than a vote out of racism.

    I see certain parallels with the Black Pete (“Zwarte Piet”, the black ‘helper’ of d’Kleeschen) in my ‘other’ home country the Netherlands. There, those who oppose to Pete keep on claiming that supporting someone who paints his face black and acts as a white bisshop’s helper, is a racist. Why so much value is being put in a children’s celebration, is to me unclear. What is clear to me, is that not a statement by itself, but the reason behind it, is ground for racism. As you said, Luxembourg does not consist out of 78.02% racists. Thereby, you already admit that a no-vote cannot simply be called a racist vote.

    Children in the Netherlands are brought up with Pete now for centuries. Suddenly however, some protesters suddenly claim that the warm-hearted, child loving tradition we all believed in, is in fact racism. Not a child in fact ever saw it that way, and neither did their parents, not even in coloured families, but suddenly we are called racists. Yet over 80% of the Dutch population want to keep Pete, according to research. Here too, though, the Netherlands does not consist of 80% racists. In this referendum, a similar thing plays a role.

    Luxembourgers are brought up with at least three languages: at home one speaks Luxembourgish, but at school, German and French suddenly turn out to be important languages. Traffic signs are not written in Luxembourgish, but in French. Makes sense, many car drivers after all enter the country every day from France and Wallonia. However, it also teaches us that our possibility or even right to speak Luxembourgish, cannot just be taken for granted, and the language’s value is continuously at stake. At least that’s what my Luxembourgish family taught me when I was young. It cannot come as a surprise that this is in fact the reason why many people voted ‘no’: with a voting right for foreigners, political parties are quickly inclined to campaign in Luxembourgish, and new language laws further positioning Luxembourgish may strand early. Whether or not this is a good reason, or even true, I leave in the middle. Fact is that without a racist motive, something cannot be called racist. A language is not a race, nor is it race-binded. Anyone who speaks Luxembourgish and lives in Luxembourg for ten years can gain the Luxembourgish nationality, and thereby voting rights.

    Language is also an important thing to know what to vote for. One cannot simply assume that one knows everything about a country’s politics just by being there. Although I found my Luxembourgish not good enough to write this comment, I do understand Luxembourgish and without it, I would not be able to even write this comment. Let alone vote in certain matters (which, for all good orders, I didn’t since I live abroad at the moment). To be able to cast a well balanced vote, one needs to be able to inform oneself on what to vote. Speaking the language of the country is therefore important.

    Also, one might wonder if foreigners in fact are interested in voting. If you don’t even want to learn the language of the country, how interested are you in that country in the first place? Also, by all the languages Luxembourgers are happy to speak in everyday life, “lingocism” (because again: a language is not a race) is the last thing foreigners in Luxembourg should worry about. In the Netherlands, we have a whole bunch of German tourists each year, but don’t expect the Dutch to speak one word of German. Even the elderlies who were forced to learn German during WWII will rather look at you with great anger when they point you the wrong directions in German. Germans who speak English however, even with a thick German accent, are warmly welcomed.

    To give you one more contrast from the Netherlands: foreigners voting rights has recently been subject of discussion in the Netherlands, too. Be it, that it bounced upon a new difficulty. The islands of Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius recently became municipalities of its own, but without being part of a province. Normally, the Dutch population votes every four years for a new provincial council, with the provincial councils then voting for the Senate (hence, the Senate is not directly chosen by the people, but only through the provincial councils). Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius however are not part of a province, and hence the idea was for those islands to let the municipality councils vote for the Senate instead. The idea was legally rejected because foreigners can vote for municipalities, but not for provinces. This would have the result that foreigners could indirectly vote for the Senate in those three municipalities, but not in the rest of the country. There were two solutions possible: enable foreigners to vote for provinces, or not let the three municipal councils vote for the Senate (the option to not let foreigners vote for municipalities would be barred by the European Commission).

    The three islands now each have a special commission, elected every four years by the Dutch population of those islands, with solely the task to elect the Senate, and then dissolute.

  2. Thanks for taking the time to write such a long comment! I think the issue of “Zwarte Piet” is blackfacing, which is clearly a racist practice, no matter matter how many children “enjoy” it (I can’t remember enjoying the luxembourgish equivalent, Housecker, but maybe I was just a silly kid for not liking a frighting figure who was basically a sadistic kidnapper, but that’s another discussion). It has one fact in common with the referendum: people are being called out for a discriminatory practice and they don’t like it, because it has always been that way and they don’t feel like something they would do could be racist, because they do not perceive themselves as racists.

    Yes, I was using “racism” in a rather broad sense and as I noted, I find “xenophobie” or “Friemefeindlechkeet” equally unsatisfying, as we are not talking about “aliens” or freshly arrived immigrants, but people who live ten years in Luxembourg. It is possible that your actions are racist/xenophobic without you having a racist “motive”. But I don’t think this is the case here: the Luxembourgers were given a choice about their election system. Not about the nationality, not about the languages. They choose not to give basic democratic rights to some people because they have another nationality (which says nothing about their ability to speak Luxembourgish, their identification with the Grand-Duchy or their love of Bouneschlupp). So, how would you call “not granting rights in reason of nationality”?
    No, there are nearly no countries where foreigners have voting rights. Yes, I think this is a bad thing. Remember women’s voting rights? There was a time were one could say “there are nearly no countries where women can vote” – but it was as sexist now as it would be today.

    The idea that the acquisition of the luxembourgish nationality is “as easy as to get a lollipop” (actual quote) is a myth, as is the belief that non-luxembourgers don’t speak Luxembourgish. In fact, the majority (77% of the population) does, Luxembourgish classes are always full, there are a lot of language-learning related media in the book stores. Changing your nationality is, while easier than in other countries, not a piece of cake. Just look what kind of information they want. Did you know that they offer the required courses only in three schools in the country?

    I reject the whole notion that a “yes” would have meant giving people the right to vote and telling them “you don’t need to know Luxembourgish”. I can’t imagine why someone without knowledge of the political system, without being able to understand what politicians are saying would take the process to register to vote at a municipal election and then again register to vote a national election. Why would one do that? What interest could one possible to have to be forced to get up early on a Sunday every 21 months if one doesn’t know what it is all about? To take over the country, like NEE2015 suggested the French would conspire to do if allowed?
    There is also the fact that there a lot of people with the Luxembourgish nationality who are – for whatever reasons – not able to speak Luxembourgish. Should they give back their passports? Should this also be the case for people who are generally not able to speak (as they communicate in german sign language – DGS)?
    It seems strange that Luxembourgish should be the only language one has to know to be able to vote, as most political programs are written in German (but most speeches are in Luxembourgish, yes).

    Sadly, the NEE-sayers were able to frame the issue not as an issue of democracy, but as an issue of languages (which is perhaps more an issue with the “frontaliers” as with the residents). Yes, there is a lot to be done, especially in schools. But it has nothing to do with voting rights.

    Was the No-Vote a vote for the Luxembourgish language? Or a wink to foreigners that they should forget about their multi-cultural identities and become “Letzeboier”? Maybe we should change the state motto to what seems to be the unofficial motto already: Maach et wei d’Leit, da geet et dir wei de Leit!

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