Two weeks ago terroristic attacks in Paris changed a lot in Europe. And they changed a lot of Europeans.
I’m one of those, living in Germany.
I am used to travel my country and the rest of Europe freely.
Yesterday I took a train to Berlin to take part in #ClimateMarch today. A lot of people at home said good bye with the good wish to stay safe. And with admitting, they were a bit afraid about the thought, I would take part in an event where thousands of people would gather.
A fear, I’m not used to, is there. Something very normal has become something I need to think of twice. Going to a demonstration, expressing my opinion is a civil right, that is important in our democracies. None of our governments would cut this right.
But a bunch of terrorists dare to. They threaten us with their bombs, with their violence.
Therefore we now cancel demonstrations, we cancel football matches. And people are afraid to attend those events, that are not cancelled.
For the first time in my life I get an emotional idea, how it might feel to live under thread. Under a corrupt or brutal regime.
For the first time I feel what happens to me, to my thoughts, to my feelings under thread.
I decided, to withstand the fear by telling myself, we are well guarded by security. The march went through a well guarded area of Berlin. The March would have been cancelled, if there had been any risk.
For the first time in my life I had to convince myself, that my risk to live my civil rights isn’t too high.
It is a bad feeling.
During the journey a boy entered my train. He might have been about 15 or 16.
He sat down on a place very close to me and fell asleep immediately. Nobody payed any attention.
Shortly behind Hannover he woke up and asked the lady beneath him and me, more with his eyes and gestures, whether the next station were Hannover. We had great difficulties to make clear to him, that Hannover had been the last station.
The boy came from Lebanon as he said. He couldn’t speak any German, nor English, French or Spanish. He had no papers. He had a mobile phone but it didn’t work in Germany, he had no number he could call in Germany. Nobody in the train spoke any Arabic. It was impossible to help that boy to get in contact with his peeps.
I think the boy was a refugee.
But I have to admit, that I had some strange feelings during this episode. I asked myself, what this boy may have carried in his little black bag. I looked at him, if he could possibly carry something under his clothes. I thought about the risk, that this boy could be a terrorist. That was not deliberately…more subconscious.
And I wondered, how we can get along with such people, not having the slightest knowledge about their language.
Once we arrived at #BerlinStation I took him to federal police to take care of him.
This boy looked so relieved, when he realized, that finally he had landed in a police office. It’s very likely, that he was one of those refugee teenagers on his way alone.
We spontaneously had the idea, to throw a look at the marching people from the roof of her office building. When we got on the roof, I saw some armed policemen on the roofs of the surrounding buildings. That surprised us. We hadn’t noticed police on roofs before. After we had taken some pics, we wanted to leave the building. At the front door we were awaited by four policemen. They stopped us and we had to explain, what we had done on the roof. Our personal dates were registered. They informed us, that they had not only watched, but also filmed us and had become really nervous because of us. We could have attackted the marching people from above, could have thrown something down from the roof.
I was glad, the policemen came looking for us. It showed me how much attention they paid. I’m sure I would be arrested in a police station now, if I hadn’t been able to show my ID card. But I’m also sure, that usually it would be no problem, to be in or on a building righteously. Today things were differently.
The March went on towards Brandenburger Tor, where the final demonstration took place. As it started to rain my friend and I decided to go for a coffee near by. On our way we stopped, looked back to the demonstration and talked a bit.
Several policemen came towards us and asked me, what I carried in my red rucksack. I nearly had to unpack it. We also had to show the content of our handbags. All in the rain on the street. Again I felt, the policemen were nervous.
In the end the event stayed calm and peaceful.
It was a good experience.