The Basic Law is celebrating its 75th anniversary. A very special event for me. I came to Germany in 1975 as an illegal immigrant. Today I am a proud citizen of the Federal Republic.

When I came here at the age of 22 as an illegal immigrant seeking asylum without speaking a word of German, I found a Germany that was in love with success. I was impressed and excited.

This demand for functionality, which was noticeable in all parts of society, this pluralism that was so controversial at the time, which was the absolute antithesis to the structured uniform thinking of the Eastern Bloc.

The peaceful pacifism as the absolute opposite of the Eastern European, Russian-influenced militarism, coupled with a bohemian tolerance in the mid-1970s, created wonderful opportunities for an artistically inherent freethinker like me to shape my own life and to be able to work creatively.

That’s why I was so happy to become a “Basic Law Patriot” and a proud citizen of my soulmate Udo Lindenberg’s “Colorful Republic of Germany”.

Thank you Germany!

Thank you for 75 years of the Basic Law!

This basic law, our basic legal order, forms the value foundation for our coexistence on the basis of freedom, equality and human rights.

Let’s celebrate this anniversary! But above all, let us preserve the legacy of the mothers and fathers of the Basic Law, who thereby learned the lessons from the collapse of civilization in the Second World War.

Even in 1989, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, happiness rained down on us from heaven. Back then, we would have had every chance to set the course for a mindful, humane, sustainable and tolerant society and thus bring the idea of ​​the Basic Law to further blossom, but we did not adequately seize this historic opportunity.

Today we seem to find ourselves in a labyrinth of crises without a compass. Multiple crises that we see and that are overwhelming us, such as the climate crisis or the war in Europe.

But many areas of society are also affected – such as healthcare, education and educational opportunities, pension security, industrial migration, infrastructure, energy security and much more.

Of course, there are also substantial undesirable developments that are not the focus of major public debates. Despite the recession, the stock markets are rushing from one all-time high to the next.

One wonders whether it was right when Peer Steinbrück (SPD) and Angela Merkel (CDU) announced that speculators who call themselves “investment bankers” are “systemically important” and that although they continue to privatize their profits, they still privatize their losses should be borne by society.

Especially when losses are made with high-risk transactions, such as shorting, i.e. betting on decline and destruction, not only of capital, but also of social added value.

Wouldn’t people who work, for example, as nurses, teachers, doctors, bus drivers and bakers, engineers and scientists, and all those who create actual added value for our society, be systemically relevant in a mindful, solidarity-based society?

The gap between rich and poor also widens when money obviously increases money faster than the people who create added value and are actually systemically relevant with their work.

In our time, the question of actual or perceived social imbalance is increasingly contributing to division, which reflects a general mood of threatening wobbling of certainties in the reality of our lives.

Especially when our Minister of Labor is clearly more concerned about the non-working part of the population than keeping an eye on the competitiveness of our economy.

Given the challenges that we have to overcome in our world for ourselves and, above all, for our children, grandchildren and future generations, exclusion and division are certainly not a solution. Only together can we succeed in finding and readjusting the compass. All we can do is collectively light the torch at the end of the tunnel to light the way.

Together with my soulmates we provide the soundtrack on our new album “A MEMORY OF OUR FUTURE”. With songs like “Blood In The Water”, “Devil’s Encyclopedia”, “The Big Quit” or “We Stay Loud” we not only put our finger on the wounds of our time, but also try to give answers and nourish the reserve of hope so that people can regain confidence.

We need more courage to step out of our comfort zones and stand up for what we believe is right and stand up against what we know is wrong. We need more courage for utopia again! For a shared future in a better world!

We try to give back some of the love of our audience, because our voices as artists are only as strong as the audience allows us to do so through their love for our music. In the tradition of Woodstock, we raise our voices for a better, more mindful, more humane world.

But where did it all go wrong?

I came to Germany in 1975 as an illegal immigrant to a completely pluralistic country where the political conflict took place in the middle of society between the Union and the SPD. At the end of the 1970s, the FDP was seen as the protector of civil liberties.

Producer legend Leslie Mandoki has been on stage for decades, including with the “Mandoki Soulmates”. In 2019 their compilation “Living In The Gap” and “Hungarian Pictures” was released, in which they combined artistic and political visions.

Of course things look different today. Not only has the party landscape changed, a threatening part of media opinion formation is shifting to social media, where everything is disseminated unfiltered, anonymously and without classification. Media consumption is intense, with the shortest windows of attention.

Without fact checking, it is often difficult to tell what is true and what is fake. This creates a deep crisis of trust. When you look at what the demagogues of the world say, it’s actually unbelievable, but the people in their bubbles actually believe it. Argumentative discourse practically no longer takes place. This is the breeding ground for uncertainty, hatred and division.

We have to bring discourse back into the center of society. Not exclusion or even cancel culture, but contradiction in direct discourse: the broad representation of our canon of values, which is one of the most attractive in the world and which our Basic Law sets out, is the right way.

And if we enlarge these discussion spaces in the middle again, knowledge gains will grow for both sides through this contradiction, while at the same time maintaining a respectful form of dealing with different perspectives on things. There will be new impulses for the implementation of the noble ideas of the Basic Law in the reality of our lives, in the way we live with one another.

Perhaps this strategy of discourse is the key to many topics that play a central role in our society today. For example, the migration crisis.

I would also like to use a few autobiographical thoughts from my own migration story.

At the age of 22, I fled to Germany from the communist dictatorship in Hungary, from censorship, spying, torture and orders to shoot through the Iron Curtain. A country that seemed like a paradise to me, and not just because Germany was in love with success and everything worked here. Pluralism was a given.

Someone who had a different opinion than you was not your enemy, but simply someone with a different point of view. Pacifism had positive connotations. I also took part in peace marches and didn’t want to easily reveal my data at the door of my apartment during the census because the protection of privacy and personal rights was paramount.

Although I didn’t speak a word of German at the beginning, I had no need for integration courses. Instead, just three weeks after applying for asylum, I was given the chance to play drums in the Swabian State Theater on my income tax card, subject to social security contributions. 90 days later I had my asylum passport.

I was fully aware that integration was an obligation of mine as a migrant. I was given the opportunity to discover this country for myself and I am eternally grateful for that. I fell in love with the country, with the mentality, the helpfulness and warmth of the people and with the culture of this country. And I was able to create my own new life.

I didn’t need a German course either. Because wherever I found a place, I put my large dictionary in the middle, with the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” on the left and the “FAZ” on the right, which at that time had completely contrary opinions on many, if not all, topics in life and the world. And so I learned German and at the same time experienced different perspectives.

That’s why one of my two core theses is: “No tolerance for intolerance.”

We must never tolerate misogyny, anti-Semitism, racism or homophobia in our society. Basically, this is exactly the principle of equality in our Basic Law. No one may be disadvantaged or favored because of their gender, their ancestry, their race, their language, their homeland and origins, their faith, their religious or political views.

Everyone in our society has to internalize this. This also applies to those who come to us from a different culture. This also leads to the second basic idea: “Integration is an obligation of the migrants.”

However, they must also be given a real chance with appropriate perspectives. Just like it was the case with me back then. This includes, in particular, ensuring that decisions about asylum and residence prospects do not drag on indefinitely so that people can quickly shape their future, find work and become a contributing part of our society.

In addition to the 75th birthday of our Basic Law, we are also remembering 20 years of the EU’s eastward expansion.

Perhaps this is also the moment when we should think about our role in Europe. How we can contribute our fundamental values, which are anchored in the Basic Law, to living together in Europe.

We should not forget, especially when we think about EU enlargement, that in 1989 we, who like to see ourselves as the academic, urban, cosmopolitan elite, did not go to East Berlin, Prague, Warsaw or Budapest to fight the Russian Red Army to send home.

The national self-discovery movements, the people in the East, prepared the ground for this peaceful revolution because they wanted to abolish the Russian-influenced international, this for them terrible empire from North Korea to Cuba that was ruled from Moscow.

Their driving force was the longing for freedom with its roots in the uprisings of 1953 in the GDR, 1956 in Budapest and the Prague Spring of 1968 – all uprisings ended with the bloody, violent suppression by the Red Army.

The special thing about 1989, when the Hungarians tore down the Iron Curtain towards Austria and a little later the Berlin Wall fell: It was a peaceful revolution without a single shot!

Perhaps for us Germans, the orientation towards Brussels and the idea of ​​standing up for a united Europe there is, in a certain way, an escape from the guilt and shame of the collapse of civilization in the Second World War. We are also encouraged in this endeavor by our very good experiences with federalism.

But perhaps we, as the largest nation in the middle of Europe and the largest net contributor, can also learn something. Perhaps without being “didactic” on foreign policy.

Because we are not always exemplary either. A Jewish musician friend of mine from Budapest recently visited me and is very critical of Netanyahu and his policies. And as terrible as he felt about Hamas’ terrorist attack, he also condemned the fact that so many innocent people had to die in the Gaza Strip and that there is a hunger catastrophe there.

But he was also shocked that in Germany police officers had to stand in front of Jewish institutions. Because for him as a Hungarian Jew, as part of the largest Jewish community in Europe, it is inconceivable that police would have to stand in front of a synagogue or a Jewish kindergarten in Budapest to protect him, because Jewish life there is considered inviolable.

I had to explain how a radio councilor from Hesse, whose Islamic community has a caliph, justified the call for a caliphate in one of the Hamburg demonstrations.

Of course, it is important for us as Germans in Europe to promote and discuss our values, but also with an open mind. In Europe too, it is not exclusion that is important, but rather dialogue and with it the space for discourse, dispute and contradiction, because it is precisely these differences, diversity and colors that make Europe so strong.

It would be good for us to further develop the idea of ​​freedom, peace, tolerance and respect for differences in Europe in the spirit of our Basic Law.

As a musician, I believe that we should build bridges, even or especially where former bridge pillars are perhaps barely visible today. And that’s why our current concert posters say: “Music Is The Greatest Unifier.”