This is a very memorable moment in my Nomadic Journalism career.
During a trip around Germany in June 2016, I was invited to cover what turned out to be a Neo-Nazi march (of at least several kilometers) through the city of Dortmund — not from behind the police lines like the rest of the media, but rather from within the actual march. Actually, I wasn’t so much invited as I just joined — along with my German handler and my camera, which managed to record a great deal of the event:
As you can see, or hear, many of the demonstrators were actually calling for national socialism. That came as a surprise to me and made the event all the more intriguing and newsworthy.
Having been there on the ground, though, I can say the ultranationalists were much more civil than their Antifa hecklers, who stuck the police on me and threatened me with a lawsuit to try get me to stop filming. I was not even there to film Antifa.
Additionally, I interviewed the leader of this nationalist group, and I believe he has some very reasonable gripes. He appears to be a living, breathing thought criminal who has several stories of being imprisoned for exercising his nonexistent freedoms of speech and assembly.
Furthermore, it’s worth noting, as my handler did in this German Huffington Post blog he wrote, that I am both libertarian and Jewish. Yet the ultranationalists/Neo-Nazis did not stick me in a gas chamber, nor even harass me. In fact, we had civil discussions about major political issues.
Often reality differs from what appears on the TV or computer screen. That’s part of why I love BEING ON THE GROUND.