Germany's First Black Lawmaker, Karamba Diaby

Germany’s First Black Lawmaker, Karamba Diaby, Leaves Legacy of Courage Amid Rising Threats

Karamba Diaby, Germany’s first Black member of parliament, has announced he will not seek reelection in 2025. His decision comes after a decade of groundbreaking service marred by increasing racist threats and attacks.

Diaby’s departure marks a significant moment in German politics, highlighting both progress and persistent challenges in the nation’s struggle with diversity and inclusion.

Pioneer in German Politics: Diaby’s Historic Journey

Elected in 2013, Diaby became the first African-born Black person to serve in the Bundestag. The Senegal-born lawmaker represented the city of Halle for over a decade. His presence in parliament symbolized Germany’s growing diversity and openness.

Diaby’s journey from Senegal to the German parliament inspired many. He overcame numerous obstacles to become a respected voice in German politics. His career demonstrated the potential for immigrant success in Germany’s highest political offices.

Rising Threats: The Dark Side of Political Service

Throughout his tenure, Diaby faced escalating threats from neo-Nazis and right-wing extremists. His office suffered multiple attacks, including gunfire and arson. These incidents underscored the persistent racism in German society, even at the highest levels of government.

“I recently received death threats, and last year there was an arson attack on my office in Halle,” Diaby revealed. He expressed particular concern for his team, who also faced threats. This escalation of violence against a public servant and his staff crossed a line for Diaby.

The AfD Factor: Increasing Xenophobia in German Politics

Diaby pointed to the rise of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party as a catalyst for increased hatred. He criticized the AfD’s rhetoric, particularly since 2017, for stoking fears about immigrants and refugees.

“In the Bundestag, especially since 2017, we have seen speeches by the AfD that are full of hatred and denigration towards migrants and other minorities,” Diaby stated. He linked this political discourse to an increase in street-level hatred and violence.

A Difficult Decision: Making Room for New Voices

While acknowledging the impact of racism and threats, Diaby emphasized that these were not the primary reasons for his decision. At 62, he expressed a desire to make room for younger politicians to take the stage.

“Racism and hatred are not the main reasons why I am no longer running for the Bundestag. My decision is partly for personal reasons. On the other hand, I want to make room for younger people,” Diaby explained to the Berliner Morgenpost.

Legacy of Courage: Diaby’s Impact on German Politics

Diaby’s decade-long service in the Bundestag leaves a lasting legacy. As a member of the Social Democratic Party, he consistently advocated for diversity, inclusion, and social justice. His presence in parliament challenged stereotypes and opened doors for future generations of diverse politicians.

Despite the challenges he faced, Diaby’s courage in the face of threats inspired many. His call for tough but non-violent political discourse sets an important standard for German politics moving forward.