As the lyrics of a famed German drinking song go, “In heaven there is no beer/That’s why we drink it here!” But for the attendees of a neo-Nazi music festival in eastern Germany this past weekend, there was no drinking it here, and in fact no beer at all.
BBC News reports of a local effort to dry out those participating in this year’s Shield and Sword festival (follow the acronym), by seizing and/or buying up all of the beer in the town of Ostritz, where the event took place. Police seized more than 4,400 liters of beer throughout the festival, after a court ruled that “the event has an obviously martial and aggressive character” in justifying and upholding the ban and seizures.
Ostritz, which has reportedly struggled to combat far-right activism in recent years, also saw its population come forward to make sure that if the fascists showed up in their town, they would wouldn’t find a warm welcome. Residents purchased more than 200 crates of beer from the local supermarket to ensure that festivalgoers wouldn’t have a back-up option for toasting their repugnant beliefs.
One local woman observed of the buyout that “For us it’s important to send the message from Ostritz that there are people here who won’t tolerate this, who say ‘we have different values here, we’re setting an example, which is not the image of a far-right concert, which dominates the media coverage’.”
Hats off to the better people of Ostritz for taking a stand, and for not allowing an event that shouldn’t take place in the first place to define their town on the world’s stage. Depriving fascists of anything that brings them a meager bit of joy is always both positive and newsworthy. But depriving them of beer? Break out the Nobel Peace Prizes.