Non-Laudator: Rolf Gössner

Not a winner in 2007:

the Federal Minister of the Interior

Wolfgang Schäuble

Many will wonder why such a dream candidate for the BigBrotherAward is not given this prize in 2007. Some may be disappointed with the jury, thinking that he would have deserved the award like no other – as compulsive incendiary in the “Security & Terrorism” wars, overqualified like only his predecessor in office, Otto Schily (Social Democratic Party) before him.

And indeed, Wolfgang Schäuble (of CDU/CSU, Germany’s conservative parties) has developed an unprecedented skill at scaremongering and a politics of intimidation, spreading fear among citizens – thus displaying a classical trait of terrorism – with the aim of pounding population and parliament into submission, making the public almost long for his controversial plans and give them their blessings. An acting “anti-terrorist”, with his almost daily intellectual attacks he keeps blasting fundamental rights and has long become a threat to democracy, human rights and data protection – the perfect candidate for his own anti-terror database, which was honoured with a BigBrotherAward in 2006.

Even so – first, it would not be a good idea to concentrate on Schäuble alone, to demonise him and thus to narrow down the debate on terrorism. After all, “Schäuble” is simply a metaphor for the disastrous tendency to wage a “war against terrorism” at the expense of civil rights and to change the political system at the expense of a democratic and socially responsible state under the rule of law.

Second, we have the well-founded fear that Schäuble might view a BigBrotherAward as a reason to spur his security extremism even more in an attempt to realize his vision of a preventive-authoritarian police state. That is why we think it irresponsible to give an award until Schäuble, in his role as Minister in charge of protecting the Constitution, stumbles over his own unconstitutional politics at last and is forced to retire. Then, and only then, we might contemplate a BigBrother Lifetime Award, like the one Otto Schily received in 2005 after he had lost his post as Minister of the Interior (due to the governing coalition of the Social Democrats and the Green Party losing the election in September that year).

On the other hand, we owe great thanks to the fact that the Minister of the Interior has greatly promoted an awareness of privacy issues among German citizens, who by now turn out onto the streets in their thousands to demonstrate, who organise demonstrations on the Internet and who have announced plans to file mass appeals with the Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht, which rules on the compatibility of laws with the Constitution) to put up a defence against his horror plans. Because of this commendable, albeit involuntary mobilisation of the opposition, he was even offered an honorary membership of the German Society for Data Protection (Deutsche Vereinigung für Datenschutz, DVD).

Dear Minister Schäuble, our heartfelt commiserations for failing to receive an award.

 

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