Kant, Mesut and the rise of bigotry

ARDA ALAN IŞIK
ISTANBUL
Published 23.07.2018 19:19

"Every action which by itself or by its maxim enables the freedom of each individual's will to co-exist with the freedom of everyone else in accordance with a universal law is right." This is the definition of the universal principle of right written by Immanuel Kant in his "Political Writings." Only when the reasons for limiting individual freedom can be justified for all concerned parties, the limitations are justified without appeal to any dogmatic value. Thus, Kant's communicability requirement is crucial for justice, since through that we create objectively just laws.

Now consider Mesut Özil's case in the light of this principle. How can one justify and universalize the way Mesut was treated in Germany after he met with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan? His family is from Turkey, he was raised with both Turkish and German identities and he speaks Turkish. Added to that he is probably the most famous player with Turkish roots and considering the fact that President Erdoğan is a true football fan, it is no surprise that he met with him to talk about football. As Mesut made clear in his statement, this meeting was of no political importance, and was only a friendly meeting about football.

It is clear that there is no way to justify and universalize the unprecedented lynching German media inflicted on Mesut, because there is great hypocrisy. He represented his country successfully for nine years and won a World Cup in 2014. While he and the German national team were successful, no one talked about Mesut's Turkish roots. And now, after the German national team collapsed as a whole in the World Cup, the German media and far-right politicians blamed Özil for the failure. Therefore, there is nothing justifiable or universalizable in this attitude, since it is inconsistent, irrelevant and bigoted.

When bigotry prevails, inconsistency or irrelevancy of the accusations becomes unimportant. I am a football columnist and not an expert on German politics, but I don't need to be to see that Mesut was crucified for some people's political agenda in Germany. Mesut's case is a sad example of how the legitimate principle of justice is slowly getting out of hand, and how hatred trumps communication.

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