If you haven’t been to a christmas market in Berlin, let me tell you what it’s like.
There are hundreds of people, crowded into the narrow lanes between the stalls, selling hot glüwein and bratwurst, unable to really hear much above the music clashing from multiple speakers. In the early evening there are buggies and children on shoulders, but as it gets a bit later, they are replaced by louder and merry-faced tourists, buying market gifts to take home. One thing to know, it takes ages to get from one side to another; once you commit, you are penned in.
What happened in Breitscheidplatz was a tragedy that could not have been avoided. I believe that Angela Merkel was right to let in the 1.1 million refugees, and in 10 years time she won’t be vilified as she is now, but heralded as a hero and a lifesaver. However, when so many people are migrating so quickly, it is nigh on impossible to screen them all for dangerous ideology, so mistakes will be made, and people will be let in with an intent to harm.
But responding with “When will this … hypocrisy end? These are Merkel’s dead!” as Marcus Pretzell, a member of the European parliament representing the AfD did, only incites hatred, fear and anger. Right wing parties need to stop taking horrific attacks by individuals and using them to fuel the ignorance that leads to violent crimes against the majority of the minorities. The fatalities of the accident are not Merkel’s dead. They are the unfortunate victims of a group of individuals who are causing panic and fear. Much like the AfD.
Now is the time to stand by the 99% of the refugees, no matter where they are from, and help them to settle into their new lives. Now is the time to go to donate your time and skills, and if not, your money, to the people who have been forced to leave their countries and their homes, many losing family members on the way.