Dr. Karamba Diaby, SPD - SPD parliamentary candidate in the constituency 72 - Halle (Saale)

 



A growing attending has been given to Dr. Karamba Diaby since experts predicted his entry into  the Bundestag this fall as almost certain. He is widely touted as "the first black man in Parliament", mostly in a mixture of enthusiasm, curiosity and everyday clichés.


Germany has had other people of African decent in leading political positions even before the reunification and Obama times. However after reunification, John Efret's 2012 election as mayor of Mauer, Baden-Württemberg made breaking news. Check out our post on this: http://doctorsea.blogspot.de/2012/05/breaking-news-germany-votes-its-first.html

Dr. Diaby's Karamba's move into parliament would have a greater symbolic effect in the Afro-German society, Germany's somewhat arm's length political relationship to its immigrant communities and to the liberal image of this nation to the world in general. This would be the highest political position occupied by an Afrogerman thus far. 

I am impressed by the way he deals with the excitement and curiosity about his roots. Despite repeated attempts by the press to reduce him and his political career to his ethnic origin and the racism debate, Dr. Karamba leads the conversation and the attention back to his political goals. He sees himself as an "authentic East German politician".

Dr. Diaby grew up in Marsass, a small town in southwestern Senegal. The youngest of four children had lost both parents when he was seven years old. He was raised by his older sister and her husband. At 13 he went to boarding school in Sédhiou. Four years later he moved to Kaolack to Lycée Gaston Berger, a high school. Like many institutions in Senegal in the 1970s, the Lycée bore a French name. 1982 while studying in the capital city Dakar, students urged that many institutions  be renamed after prominent Senegalese who had fought for independence in 1960. "We were the ones who always tried something emancipatory .." Mr. Diaby said of himself and his friends of the University in an interview after the May Day rally. Through his political activism in Dakar in the early 80s he came in contact with a left-wing student organization in Prague, which granted scholarships to young people from all over the world to study in the former Eastern Bloc. He applied for a scholarship and got admission to the University of Halle. In 1985 he moved to Leipzig for a German language course. On 6 July 1986, he arrived Halle, where he studied chemistry. He remained active in student politics as head of the International Student Committee. As an exchange student was denied access to the lounge because he was a foreigner, Mr. Diaby complained, "I told them that what they did was racist," said Mr. Diaby "They replied, 'No such thing as racism exists in socialism, you'll have to call it something else."

 


Like many young graduates at the time, it was difficult to find a job in the East after the fall of the Berlin Wall. He then began a PhD degree in chemistry. His thesis gave him a chance to combine science and advocacy. A real estate investor claimed the gardens on the outskirts of Halle were contaminated, a fictional attempt to raze them. Mr. Diaby conducted his own analysis of the soil in the area and was able to refute the allegations. People here still remember how the young chemist from Senegal rescued one of the few things that had survived the turbulent transitional period. During his PhD, he met janitors and engineers, security personnel and university professors, thus he got an insight into the everyday concerns of the population.

Standing on a big political stage is not new to Dr. Diaby - back in January 2002, he was received by the then Federal President, Johannes Rau, in recognition of his commitment to foster transcultural communication and understanding between immigrants and Germans As Chairman of the Federal Immigration Council he was responsible and saw to the needs of around 4.5 million people. His main political concern and agenda is education. In 2008, he joined the Social Democratic Party, a year later he was on the city council of Halle (Saale) (SPD), four years later, on 06.10.2012, he was nominated as a candidate for the SPD in constituency 72 (Halle, Kabelsketal , Landsberg and Peter Berg) for the 2013 federal elections.


He works as a consultant in the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs of Saxony-Anhalt (in the Integration Commissioner of the State Government).
Experts say chances for Mr. Diaby to represent the people of Saxony-Anhalt in the Bundestag are good. But he is leaving nothing to chance and runs a vibrant campaign largely supported by students from Halle.

The former East Germany is still trying to change his reputation as a breeding ground for right-wing extremism. The extreme right-wing NPD has two seats in formerEast Germnay and none in the former West.

His candidacy throws again a positive light on Halle, Salle located in the east of Germany. It was in Halle Salle where the first African Anton Wilhelm Amo (1703-1759) who ever studied in Germany(See our post on this http://doctorsea.blogspot.de/2010/02/black-history-and-germany.html )