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What does "das Abendland und seine Rettung" really mean in this context?

I'm listening to "Alice and Sarah" by The Broilers (fuill songtext on Genius). It is largely a song telling a woman (Alice) to get her wife (Sarah) to stop saying Nazi crap. There's one part that's in quotation marks and while I understand the individual words, I think I'm missing cultural/political context to know what it's actually saying.

The bold sentence is what I'm most interested in

Du haust abends auf den Tisch
Eure Jungs erschrecken sich
Man hört Dich so selten fluchen
„Das verfickte Abendland und seine verfickte Rettung
Haben zuhause nichts zu suchen“

I'm pretty sure the words translate to

You hit the table in the evening
Your boys are scared
You are rarely heard cursing
"The fucking West/Occident and its fucking rescue/salvation
Have no business at home"

Also: can "zuhause" mean within the country / domestically?

I'm also not sure whether "zu hause" can mean within the country (as opposed to internaionally) or whether it only literally means home as in WG / house.

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    Rule Brittania is out of bounds, to my mother, my dog, and clowns
    – hobbs
    Jan 16 at 4:19
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    Relevant, in German: german.stackexchange.com/questions/18747/…
    – Carsten S
    Jan 16 at 12:55
  • While "Abendland" itself is not necessarily a bad word, it strongly implies a cultural differentiation between Europe and Near/Middle East (Morgenland) due to past notions of that word. This is not per se wrong to assume, but you need to take good care of how to use it in a sentence, as it can easily be offensive and politically incorrect. Saving the "Abendland" subsequently implies to save European/Western values from foreigners and invaders from the "Morgenland", and leads to really controversial interpretations. Many right-wing groups are using this wording, which is likely referenced here.
    – kopaka
    Jan 18 at 9:03
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    @kopaka, please do not answer in comments.
    – Carsten S
    Jan 18 at 20:16

3 Answers 3

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While I agree on the core of Philipp's answer, I'd like to elaborate about the song context a little bit more:

First about the context:

  • As the page says, it is about Alice (Weidel) and Sarah (Bossard)
  • Alice is party leader of the AFD, a rightwing/far right/rightist extreme party in Germany
  • Sarah is her wife and of Sri Lankian/Indian descent
  • That makes a lesbian couple with adopted children which lives as foreigners in Switzerland.
  • Which is more or less the quite the opposite of what the party of Alice stands for.

As Philipp points out, "die Rettung des Abendlandes" is a very generic use in the rhetoric them against us. Which is most likely used by right wing/far right people in their populism/speeches/advertisment.

What is "die Rettung des Abendlandes" for? - Well, do avoid it's demise/downfall of the West/western world.

So combining the context with the usage, it says in short "no politics at home". Because the party's political rhetorics of Alice contradict the reality Alice is living in.

And in general the song transports the political view, that far right achieves to "burn down" any democracy and liberal living. Which is e.g. linked to the book of Max Frisch: "Biedermann und die Brandstifter" using the words nimm ihr die Streichhölzer weg. As you usually take a match to start a fire.

As Henning Kockerbeck points out in the comments, people selling/using nazi rhetoric get angry/mad about the fact that they are called Nazis. Because that would make them being outside the constituion. And they want to be perceived as being "inside the constitution" - and thus save it as the "retten das Abendland". Yet their version of rescue is "burning the whole thing down".

A side reference is also in the last chorus part to Goethe and his poem "Zauberlehrling" using

All die Geister, die sie rief

Because once Alice is successful with her political agenda there is no home anymore for her family. At least no law that allows its existence.

Your second part "zuhause means the nation" is thus obsolete here = not used here.

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    Excellent answer putting the song lyrics into context Jan 16 at 1:13
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This is just an extended comment to Shegit Brahm's fitting answer.

The word "Abendland" is basically a synonyom for the Western world or simply "the West". Quotation from Wikipedia:

The concept of the Western part of the earth has its roots in the theological, methodological and emphatical division between the Western Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches. The West was originally Western Christendom, opposing Catholic and Protestant Europe with the cultures and civilizations of Orthodox Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and East Asia, which medieval and early modern Western Europeans saw as the East. [...]
In modern usage, Western world sometimes refers to Europe and to areas whose populations have had a large presence of particular European ethnic groups since the 15th century Age of Discovery. This is most evident in Australia and New Zealand's inclusion in modern definitions of the Western world: despite being part of the Eastern Hemisphere, these regions and those like it are included due to its significant British influence deriving from the colonisation of British explorers and the immigration of Europeans in the 20th century which has since grounded the country to the Western world politically and culturally.

However, it has become a combat term to express the (assumed) superiority of the "Western civilization" and to reject migration to Europe. Paradoxically members of the political right frequently use the term "christlich-jüdisches Abendland" (Christian-Jewish occident), renouncing their intellectual predecessors in Nazi Germany.

The word "Abendland" occured prominently in the title of the book "Der Untergang des Abendlandes" (The Decline of the West) by Oswald Spengler (1918).

It also occured recently in the acronym PEGIDA (= Patriotische Europäer gegen die Islamisierung des Abendlandes, Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamicisation of the Occident) which is a political movement protesting against immigration into Germany.

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  • Nice. Do you think it would be an appropriate adding to distinguish that the Nazis condemned the Jewish, now they (mainly) include them to speak against Muslims - while all three are Abrahamic religions which are more or less a follow-up of each other? Because I think that stresses the point of "us against them" being always depending on "who we are against now" - regardless if some really wants to be part of "us". Jan 16 at 11:50
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    @ShegitBrahm I think it is well-known that the Nazis propagandized the "world Jewish conspiracy" which finally led to the holocaust., thus there is no need to make an update; The use of "christlich-jüdisches Abendland" by epigones speaks for itself.
    – Paul Frost
    Jan 16 at 12:09
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Rettung des Abendlandes originally refers to the Ottoman wars in Europe, particularly to the defeat of the Ottomans at the second siege of Vienna 1683.

I think you can guess how modern speakers could use this idiom for all sorts of us versus them rhetoric.

Without trying to write it in lyrical form:

Seldom one can hear you complain: 
"I'm not allowed to bring up the topic of saving the occident (against the orient) 
at home (our apartment/house)". 

For more context see also Shegit Brahm's answer (current political situation in Germany and about the song itself) and Paul Frost's answer (historical misuse of the term) for even more context.

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  • Okay, I think I understand Rettung des Abendlandes in this context, now. Jan 15 at 17:46
  • I'm kind of confsued about what the fully translated text you included would mean, though. In context, is it roughly equivalent to "[Unlike your wife] you rarely complain that you're not allowed to talk about saving the West from the East"? I'm not sure whether my confusion is linguistic or if the sentence is unclear in German as well. Jan 15 at 17:48
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    I think you got the first line of the translated quote wrong. I'd read the whole verse more like "You take a hard line at the dinner table. Your boys are alarmed, because they hear you swear so rarely. 'The f_cking oczident and its f_cking saving don't have a place at home." Jan 15 at 17:51
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    @NathanHinchey You might say, there's a certain group of people who have no problem with Nazi ideas and Nazi ideology - but beware you call them Nazis. Then they'll complain loudly, because they're just "besorgte Bürger" ("concerned citizens") or any of a number of other euphemisms. Among those euphemisms, there's the idea that the "Abendland" is somehow in danger and needs "Rettung" (from too many foreigners, from "non-German" customs, from loanwords and so on and so fort). Jan 15 at 17:56
  • Thank you Henning for explaining the whole verse! -- The lyrics are hard to read, even for German natives, because of the switching perspective and because it's not clear if a line belongs to the last one or is the start of a new "story piece".
    – Philipp
    Jan 15 at 19:25

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