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Far-Right German Candidate Promises To Get Ride Of Arabic Numerals

Far-Right German Candidate Promises to Get Ride of Arabic Numerals

In what reads like a parody story of far-right views, a German mayoral candidate has vowed to take action against an insidious foreign invasion: Arabic numerals.

Otfried Best, who is seeking to become mayor of the German town of Völklingen, fell prey to a question from a satirical political party during a debate last week. “Mr. Best … I find it alarming that in Völklingen many house numbers are displayed in Arabic numerals. How would you like to take action against this creeping foreigner infiltration?” asked the Die Partei politician.

“Mr. Best … I find it alarming that in Völklingen many house numbers are displayed in Arabic numerals. How would you like to take action against this creeping foreigner infiltration?” asked the Die Partei politician. Again, Die Partei is a satirical party which makes light of political processes and absurd positions.

But Best didn’t see the humor in the question. In fact, he seemed to agree that using Arabic numerals was an affront to German culture.“You just wait until I am mayor. I will change that. Then there will be normal numbers.”

“You just wait until I am mayor. I will change that. Then there will be normal numbers,” Best responded.

Normal numbers? Is he referring to Roman numerals? Or does Best not know that the numbers we all use are Arabic. In fact, most of the world has used Arabic numerals since the 12th century.

While it’s funny to mock the ignorance and/or absurdity of far-right nationalists like Best, it is troubling that such xenophobia could motivate some to rail against numbers. Whether the question was satire or not, Best took it as a serious inquiry and vowed to rid the town of those insidious foreign numbers.

I have a feeling this worked out better than Die Partei could have hoped. What a wonderful way to expose the nationalist lunacy as devoid of reason.

 

 

 

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