Lecture »Hide, when they fire.
The true story of Samiira, Hayrettin and a German rifle«

Book of Jürgen Grässlin:
»Hide, when they fire.
The true story of Samiira, Hayrettin and a German rifle«
(»Versteck dich, wenn sie schießen. Die wahre Geschichte
von Samiira, Hayrettin und einem deutschen Gewehr.«)
Droemer Publishing, Munch 2003

The following texts are excerpts from the book:

Preface (Vorwort), p. 11 f.

Samiira and Hayrettin have a lot in common, particularly that both like to laugh much. They laugh because they have survived, found their friends again and started a new life. Samiira is a dedicated feminist from Somaliland at the Horn of Africa; Hayrettin is an impassioned teacher from Kurdistan in the southeast of Turkey. Both are peace loving and friendly people whose single guilt is, that they were born and grew up in the wrong place at the wrong time. They don’t know each other but they are connected in many ways.

Quietly and with a tender voice they talk about their experiences, which both would abandon with all their heart. Their fate means years of civil war where the most efficient demolition machines, which have ever been developed from mankind, were used: the so called small arms.

Unlike many people believe, tanks, warships or military jets are not the most effective weapons. Twice as many people worldwide die from bullets of gun barrels as from all other weapon types together. We in Germany come to know nothing of that, because no one gives a voice to the victims. Their outcries trail away unheard. Samiira and Hayrettin are two of them.

Why should the destiny of those adorable people, who grew up thousands of kilometres away in Somaliland and Kurdistan, concern us? No one has ever taken care of them apart from their own family members. Their home countries appear in no atlas and on no wall map, because they don’t exist, at least not as recognised states.

What are we, what is Germany concerned with all that? Really nothing? The foreign policy of our government and the weapons, which were developed in our country and have been copied in many other countries worldwide, have severely influenced the incidents in Somaliland and Turkish Kurdistan. The lives of Samiira and Hayrettin would have proceeded differently, if we had acted differently.

This book wants to give a voice and a face to Samiira and Hayrettin. They stand for millions of other victims, whose destiny is not known by anyone. Their path of life has led them and their relatives into situations, in which they could only hide when the guns were fired. Their life biographies are hard to believe – but they are true, and therefore they concern us more than we may like. But above all they encourage us, because in the end their laughter reigns over the violence of the rifles.

The plaque of the Heckler & Koch weapons
(Die Pest der Heckler & Koch-Waffen)

p. 353 ff.

… No other export of military goods, whether fighter jets, tanks or submarines, which has brought Germany into the top five of weapons’ exporters in the past years, has had as far reaching consequences as the permission of direct exports and licensing in the field of small arms. Rifles and machine pistols are by far the most effective weapons.

According to estimations of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which refer to forty-one conflict areas in the nineties, rifles, pistols and revolvers are accounted for nearly three quarters of all killed and injured civilians. This certainty is enforced by the fact that according to estimations small arms are the exclusively used weapons in ninety percent of the forty-nine wars since 1990.

There are five hundred forty millions of small arms in circulation/circulating worldwide at present, whereof there are one hundred twenty-five millions of assault rifles. Of those are according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) »nearly ten millions German G3 rifles«, including all licensed weapons. If you add the other H&K weapons (MP5, HK 21, HK 23E, HK33, HK53, grenade launchers etc.), you will certainly exceed the ten million limit. It could be easily ten or eleven millions of H&K weapons altogether. If you take only the number/amount of ten millions as a basis, eight percent of all weapons will be Heckler & Koch weapons.

weapon types percentage
(pistols, revolvers)
Artillery, mortars10
Large weapon systems
(tanks, airplanes etc.)
Hand grenades2

Based on this data you can calculate the amount of people, who have lost their lives from H&K exports and licensing. But the very fact is that at least 1.51 millions of people died from direct exports from Oberndorf [factory location of Heckler & Koch] in the years from 1961 to 2000 – many more must be added every day. Like the Black Death in the Middle Ages, the Heckler weapon virus has raged in the past centuries and is still killing today on the battle fields of Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Unlike the previous times nowadays predominantly civilians are the ones, who are sprayed with gunfire and teared to tatters by machine pistols and rifles developed in Oberndorf.
Whereas in the First World War only five percent of the victims were civilians, the percentage is nearly the opposite way around: Nowadays approximately eighty-five percent of the victims are innocent children, women and men…