Ozil racism row sparks #MeTwo debate
Mesut Ozil (Getty Images)
Frankfurt - Thousands
of people in Germany with migrant backgrounds are sharing stories of
everyday discrimination under the hashtag #MeTwo, inspired by football
star Mesut Ozil's resignation from Germany's national team over racism.
"When I'm the only-non white person in a crowded train and the police
gets in, I'm the only one who is asked to show ID," tweeted Der Spiegel
reporter Hasnain Kazim, as the discussion trended on German Twitter
The campaign was launched earlier this week by Turkish-origin author
and rights activist Ali Can, who dubbed it #MeTwo - a play on the
#MeToo movement that highlights women's experiences of sexual
harassment, and a comment by Ozil about having "two hearts".
Ozil dropped a bombshell on Sunday when he announced in a stinging
letter that he would no longer play for Germany after he faced racist
abuse for posing for a picture alongside Turkish President Recep Tayyip
"I have two hearts, one German and one Turkish," wrote Ozil, who
accused the German Football Federation (DFB) of failing to stand up for
him after critics questioned his patriotism and singled him out for
blame after Germany's World Cup flop.
The controversy has prompted heated debate in German media about racism and integration.
"We need a #MeToo debate for people with a migrant background," Can,
who has lived in Germany since he was a toddler, said in a video posted
online on Tuesday.
"I am more than just one identity. I feel at home in Germany... at
the same I can feel connected to another country," he said.
sides blend together, one doesn't exclude the other."
The #MeTwo hashtag quickly went viral as thousands posted about their run-ins with prejudice and racism in Germany.
"You're well integrated for a Turk" and "Don't you wear a headscarf?"
were cited as "classic examples" of remarks endured by Twitter user
Many also complained about discrimination from landlords in the
search for a flat or house, because of their skin colour or
"When you can't get an answer, but your German girlfriend gets
instant replies to the same offer. After we got married and she changed
her name, she stopped getting answers too," wrote Twitter user Oguz
Malcolm Oscar Uzoma Odeh-Ohanwe, who tweets as MalcolmMusic,
recounted being called "a monkey" at high school years ago when he was a
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas praised the campaign, saying it was
"impressive and painful" to see how many stories were flooding in.
"If you think racism in Germany is no longer a problem, I recommend reading through all the #MeTwo tweets," he tweeted.
"Let us raise our voice with them: against racism, anytime, anywhere."