Issue 5 7/98
The Critical View is FolkWorld's place for discussions about problems etc. from the folk music world. The views expressed here might be presented in an exaggerated or satirical or subjective manner. You are all welcome to contribute your thoughts about the theme presented here; or write your own critical view!
By Ronald J. Bartle; Germany-based Royal Air Force Veteran & Hobby Journalist :
RE: Foreigner's Tax features in FolkWorld
I just read the articles about the German "Ausländer-" tax. - Perhaps it is partly just real unfortunate that the tax gets called by this name.
I mean - there must be pleanty of countries who try to tax visiting
artists who are not already part of the domestic taxation system... or?
Calling a tax "Foreigner tax" in Germany is especially ugly and sends all sorts of signals to people within and outside the country I am shure. But the basic matter at the back of this is not that different in other countries or....?
Naturally it is very annoying to observice that the practical day to
day application of a tax varies from occasion to occasion and even
varies apparently when one tax-office worker is replaced by another.
This is the sort of BS that one has with beurocracies all over the world though.
It's just Oh so easy - to make a "historically influenced" evaluation of things that happen in Germany. This tends to ignore some of the awefull stuff that other nations and corperations (-which one is higher on the hiararchy these days?) get up to. I am convinced that not 0.001% of people in the UK for instance know the real reason why the Opium Wars in China are called that. Or that the (British..) Royal Navy was opening fire with huge caliber naval artillary on ships full of holocaust survivors in the Medeterrainien Sea in an attempt to keep them out of (then) British Palestine, before manhandeling the women children and men off the disabled ships and herding them into british concentration camps full of jewish people on Cyprus - in appalling circumstances etc etc. My point is not to defame my own country of birth - the UK, but to illistrate how quickly people put the negative spin on things with a hitoric slant in relation to Germany - quite understandably I admit in many ways.. but the same people often have never even heard of quite attrocious things that other industrialized nations have got up to and still do get up to.
In a way - my "Religion" is communication. If people talk openly to each other - globally - accross barriers of nationality - race - gender and geography - maybe we can stop *them* using us for perhaps one less proffitable war in the comming years.. as they try to give us reasons to have us taxed more to buy more of their arms to hurt all of us etc.
P.S. If it is of any interest - my grt grt grt grandfather was Sir Henry Bartle Edward Freyer - the brit. govenor general of African Territories under empress Victoria at the time of the 1st and 2nd Zulu Wars, but many of us share responsibility and all of us need to be responsable .. or...? He apparently believed that he was there to help stop govt. sponsored slave trading and was bringing a modecum of intelligence to the rampant colonialist spirit of that age. But how often in the past did Jack or Joe on the street ever get access to the information from the family archieves of such people...? )
We still think that 'Foreigner's Tax is exactly the right name as it indeed erases part of the international cultural exchange in Germany. It is fact that some towns already nowadays do not allow their cultural department to book foreign acts, and that several bands representing distinctive culture of foreign countries can no longer afford to tour Germany.
And to argument that other countries have similar taxes is not the right way - it is by far not always good what other countries do.
Of course Ron is right that the most important thing of understanding is communication - but with the tax Mr. Waigel destroys a bit of this international communication through music (if he is aware of this fact we cant't say).
But we are happy that this theme is discussed here - maybe you have your own ideas on the theme - please contribute your point of view and your experiences.
This is our second feature in the series 'The Critical View'. The Critical view is thought as discussions forum; so please feel free to send your thoughts and comments on this Critical View to FolkWorld.
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