The terrorist in Hanau is not a lone wolf attacker, he is a brutal expression of a wider problem in German society.

When I woke up on Thursday morning and saw the news, I had a sinking feeling. A gunman, or as we know now a right-wing terrorist, killed several people in the small German town of Hanau near Frankfurt. All the victims were from a migrant background, and the massacres took place at two shisha bars.

Firstly, I called my cousin, who runs her own cafe in the middle of that town. Like many other people, she is clearly recognisable as a Muslim. 

"Everything is fine, but something terrible happened here," she told me. 

At the same time, I knew that "we" are not safe anymore and that it was pure luck that her business was not attacked.

A few moments later, I called her brother. He was on his way to the hospital. Idrees, a colleague and friend of his, had been shot and severely injured. While he was lying in a coma, his brother died. Like us, they were originally from Afghanistan and had hoped for a better life in Germany.

The town was shattered. 

I have several family members in Hanau, a place I know well from my childhood. I remembered the vibrant migrant community, consisting of Turks, Kurds, Afghans, Arabs and many others. During the month of Ramadan, fast was broken in a big square in the middle of the town. Those of German heritage also joined in the feast, a quintessential multicultural society.

In the end, one person was able to destroy all of that. In total, the right-wing terrorist, whose name is not worth mentioning in my opinion, killed nine people with a migrant background. His last victim was his mother before he killed himself.

In terms of the media coverage after such atrocities, I think that there is nothing that surprises or shocks me.

BILD, Germany's leading tabloid which is known for its propaganda against Muslims and migrants, started to spread fake news the very same night, claiming that the massacre was conducted by people from the "milieu".  What this means is 'oh obviously, it's just migrants murdering each other,' because that's apparently what we do.

The next day, other media outlets covered on a xenophobic attack, but they used the German term "fremdenfeindlich" ("hostile to foreigners") which is not just very old-fashioned but also deeply problematic since it does not reflect current realities.

The victims of the massacre were not strangers but people who were born and raised in Hanau. They were a part of German society, and probably, many of their parents or grandparents came to this country to work and prosper.

Last but not least, but also as expected, many refused to describe the atrocity for what it is, a racist, terrorist attack against non-whites. 

Additionally, humanising the culprit, as just a "psychotic lone wolf", of course, also arrived on cue. I do not want to focus too much on this murderer, but it is clear that he was an educated man who believed that some people are superior to others. 

He had an agenda that was clearly racist, fascist and inhuman. He may be sociopathic too, but is this not the case with Adolf Hitler? Would anyone untie his ideology from his personality? I doubt it.

The main crime scene was two shisha bars. Some media outlets reported it as the "shisha murders", which just revealed their ignorance and racism. 

So what does that mean in the German context? For years, shisha bars, which are mainly run by migrants, are being portrayed as the epicentre of Germany's crime scene. They are consistently depicted as a place where migrants meet each other in secret chambers to talk about illegal deals. 

Many of these bars are regularly observed by police. Shisha bars are one of the leading bogeymen in German media, but in fact, they have just become one of the last safe spaces for many migrants, refugees and non-white Germans.

But after what happened in Hanau, even that seems to be gone.

When it comes to the reactions of the German government and many other politicians, the hypocrisy could be found in every corner. 

While many of these very people point at the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), they tend to ignore that much of Germany's structural racism, Islamophobia and xenophobia have been part of daily life here long before the rise of that party. 

Muslims, migrants and refugees are not just a target of the far-right, but also of conservatives, social democrats and even a bunch of left-wing liberals who now portray themselves as the defenders of democracy and the friends of minorities. 

Large parts of German mainstream media, which is regularly spreading racism and participating in othering, are influenced and dominated by these very people, not by far-right figures or neo-Nazis.

All of that and many other factors made the massacre in Hanau possible. For that reason, it is wrong to describe it as an isolated crime, conducted by a psychopath.

German society has a crucial problem with right-wing terrorism, and it is continually being downplayed or ignored. Last weekend, before the massacre happened, it has been revealed that a right-wing extremist terror cell planned to attack several mosques all over the country. 

Similar groups have been unmasked in the past, and often, they are somehow tied to German state institutions such as the police, the army or the Verfassungsschutz, the federal intelligence service. 

In the most recent case, a police bureaucrat is also one of the suspects. According to reports, he was responsible for handing out gun licences to terrorists.

Considering the status quo in Germany, it's just a matter of time until the next right-wing terrorist attack takes place. At the moment, I know that many of my friends and relatives share this fear. The fleeting pseudo-solidarity and hashtag activism on social media will not change our reality.

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Source: TRT World