Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Fighting fear with guns

No matter how many machine guns you have, you cannot flight an unknown enemy you cannot see. The stadium was absolutely stuffed with armed Polizei on Tuesday night, many of them conspicuously displaying their weapons, but you wondered just what the hell they were going to do with them. They probably wondered the same. They’d have to see the enemy before they could use them but by then of course it would already be too late.
For once I didn’t resent the Polizei’s presence. This wasn’t fun for them. Uncertainty was in the air, not fear, but apprehension. Certainly all the sirens, flashing blue lights and machine guns did not create a feeling of security, even if that was all they could ever hope to achieve – a feeling.
In the end it was all for nothing, the game was called off, the bad guys won. Yeah, no one was killed, but that’s just another facet of the uncertainty. We don’t know if there was a real threat. Nobody seemed to know. De Maiziere, who called the game off, wouldn’t give the reasons, but did his best to worry everyone by saying the reasons would worry everyone. The bad guys must be delighted. This is exactly what they want.
Now there are concerns about the weekend’s Bundesliga matches, every train journey, concert and large gathering. Christmas markets will lose some of their cheer, perhaps business won’t be so brisk. But what to do?
If an army of police armed with machine guns can’t ensure a football game can go ahead without the fear of people being killed or injured – despite searching every single person entering (media too, a sniffer dog examined my bag) – then what hope have people they can be safe elsewhere?
It’s not a war, no matter how much the protagonists like to think it is. Just assholes with guns. Restricting access to them would help, as would reducing their sales and putting an end to the conditions that drive people to extremism. It’s easier said than done. More likely is that privacy and freedom will be curtailed, intolerance will flourish, and insecurity will thrive. This is exactly what they want. We can’t give them what they want.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


It’s been autumn for a few weeks now and it’s actually been quite pleasant. You could even enjoy it if you weren’t aware of the hell waiting around the corner. Those leaves aren’t jumping off the trees for no reason. They know what’s coming, can’t face it either.
But the colors are lovely, the air is crisp and bright (until 4pm now that the fucking clocks have been set back) and the mountains of stricken leaves are great fun to run through – until you stand in dog shit that some dog shit owner left behind. There’s always something…
Damn, this was supposed to be a positive uplifting post about beautiful colors and the wonders of nature but it’s getting bogged down in dog shit, and dogged down in bog shit. I’d better let the pictures do the talking. Taken in Lübars, Jungfernheide, Humboldthain and Schönholzer Heide. Herbstlich.

In other news, it’s 26 years ago tonight since Mauerfall. This video is from around the corner. “Tor auf! Tor auf! Tor auf!”

Monday, November 02, 2015

Marathon task

I’ve been running a bit in secret. Nobody knows but I’ve started going out every second day or so. Not far – I’d run down to Mauerpark, go around the Sportplatz a few times and run back – 6km or so. It doesn’t take long.
It’s not particularly fun. It’s boring and pointless but I have to do something. So I’m going to do the marathon next year. I sent in my application last night half an hour before the deadline.
I’ve decided to do it to raise money for Syria. Whatever pain and misery I go through will be nothing compared to what Syrians are going through. Provided it doesn’t kill me – then I guess it will be similar.
But I’m the privileged position of being able to go about my life without barrel bombs falling from overhead, the fear of death, starvation or mutilation. I have an apartment with walls and a roof, food for me and the kid. We’re safe, and we take it for granted.
This is the least I can do. And I figure if other people can run marathons then I can run it too. Why not? Well, the first complication is getting someone else from AP to cover it. I’ve covered the last three. If no one else does it I’ll have to run with my laptop and pull over at the side of the road before the two-hour mark and start typing. Unless I run ahead and finish before anyone else…
I’m joking of course. I know it’s going to be a nightmare, not least getting up so early in the goddamn morning. But I’ll deal with that on the day. I’ve plenty of time to prepare.
Anything I raise is going to Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders in Syria. So I’d be grateful for any donations you can make. I’m sure they will be too.
Tomorrow I’ll go for a longer run. Now there’s a purpose.

Donations here are handled through Paypal, though you don’t need a Paypal account to donate. My Paypal account is the one I opened for Abandoned Berlin, hence you’ll see that when you click through. 
You can also use the bank account IBAN: DE09500105175554452542, BIC: INGDDEFFXXX.