The picture shows an idiotic man, who is proud to have shot the selfie, at sub-zero temperatures, while riding a bike on ice! Why did I do it? Because I could, and it was not a crime.
On New Year’s Eve, why did the thugs in Cologne mug and assault men; and mug, sexually assault and rape women? Why? Because they could!
The German Police have long used a light touch on minor crime. New Year’s Eve was the night when minor turned to major, and the German police were utterly unprepared.
Don’t blame the police! Appreciate the country they grew up in!
Example 1. The local library to where I live, when in Berlin, is named after a 22-year-old woman, who in 1943 was beheaded as a spy and a traitor. I, the hard man of British Blogs, and father of two daughters, still suffer an unruly tear when I stop and think about it. The police want to avoid all associations with that era and that event. Who can blame them?
Example 2. The condominium where I live suffered substance abusers using the bicycle cellar rooms for preparing and administering fixes. Only the Belgian woman upstairs and I wanted to tackle it. I suggested CCTV installation. You could hear a pin drop. Had I forgotten to zip my flies? Worse! I had suggested spying. Okay, spying on addicts, but it was spying nonetheless. Forty years of Stasi snooping in people’s lives made CCTV an absolute No NO!
People are scared to express a critical opinion, for fear of being associated with Neo-Nazis in PERGIDA. Operation successful – democracy dead. Against this backdrop of no public opinion and national guilt, the police had to deal with a dimly-lit station square and a thousand ethnic minority criminals. They adopted the light touch and got vilified. Damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
I admire the courage of the women and men who decided to cross that station square. It was their right and they were right to exercise it. I, the mad ice cyclist, would have taken the next train home.
Germaine Greer once said in The Female Eunuch, ‘Women don’t understand how much men hate them.’ If ever eight words gathered momentum, it was in the days after the 31st. I’m not on her Christmas card list, so I have to imagine a discussion with Germaine about that statement.
Me: I so wish you had written, ‘some women don’t realise how much some men hate them.’
G: All men watch pornography, so all men hate women.
Me: I’ll not argue with your statistics, although I have no idea if that statement is even nearly true. Does watching pornography make a man a misogynist?
G: (High pitched and emotional) YES!
Me: OK. Are all women who watch James Bond movies psychopaths? I’d argue that watching (mostly men) be shot, blown up or burned alive, as entertainment, is at least as bad, if not worse than hard-core pornography. It’s all supposed to be fiction, which one can’t as easily claim for the Winslet/DiCaprio Titanic rendering. Millions of civilised people packed cinemas to be titillated by 1500 men, women, children, dying in icy North Atlantic water. That happened to real people, but then that’s entertainment?
G: (Coup de Grâce).
Someone will have to supply Germaine’s next line. Maybe I think I have won the argument. She will tell me I’m missing a point or two. But here are a few points she could consider;
Many refugee men, even if Christian, will be cringing in corners of Germany, knowing they will now be identified as rapists. The price they will pay, for the dreadful New Year’s Eve crimes, may go unnoticed. Even so, during the second Sunday of 2016, right-wing vigilantes beat and hospitalised a group of innocent Asian men.
Many men feel a sense of guilt, let down by those crimes – except perhaps the perpetrators. They are laughing up their sleeves while other men will deal with a sense of victimisation, much easier to deal with of course than the sexual assault and rape that the female victims sustained. No one mentions the increased fear among all women, post 31st December 2015. Some will become prisoners in their own homes, especially if they have already experienced violence from men. Maybe the things that aren’t discussed are the most dangerous.
One thing is sure. Light-touch policing will change forever, to everyone’s detriment.
Cycling on Ice.
Everyone can do it. Remember to choose ice that is rippled, like the base of a shower tray. Smooth ice is impossible. And remember Newton’s Laws of Motion. You can’t change direction, nor can you stop on ice – so don’t try either! But for a brick wall, I would have ended in a canal a few years ago.
I took the selfie on the Tempelhofer Feld – so no traffic – hence it was legal. I was riding the old airport into which thousands of tiny planes flew in 1948/49, to keep Berlin alive. The airport boasts an array of enormous buildings, (many built by the Nazis), which are thought to be the largest publicly-owned edifices in the world. The Pentagon could be more massive, but US military won’t say how big it is so we will never know. These buildings are currently home to some 4000 asylum seekers in 4 separate hangars, but the plan is to build a village, housing 8500 people around the edge of the old airport. It would include a school, sports field, etc.
After the Cologne events, people are worried what that could mean. The village would be five cycling minutes from my apartment, but that isn’t the problem for my neighbours. Two years ago, the Berlin Senate had a plan to build on the edges of the field. To be fair, it is vast. A perimeter bike ride is nearly 6 km. They didn’t build because a referendum among Berliners came down heavily against development. Under federal law, because of the referendum, it is now illegal to build on the airport land. The Senate can change the law, but we are back to old sensitivities. The last time someone changed the law, (because they could), the new laws allowed 22-year-old Eva-Maria Buch to be beheaded for having contact with French POWs. We may not see the connection. But Germans do.
One-third of the women arriving in Berlin are pregnant. Volunteers are providing health care. Most men who took the sea route are badly burned with sores down to the bone or have serious skin complaints due to over-exposure to salt water. Some have walked thousands of km. The women think it was an OK journey if they didn’t get raped, (is this why so many are pregnant?)
Newton once said it. When in motion, you need another force in another direction to change things. And as the officer on the bridge of the Titanic discovered, it has to be a much bigger force if anything is to happen in time. An iceberg, the second world war, these were the devastating forces required. The soul-searching and hand-wringing in this country are colossal, as Germans try to calculate the consequences of the forces now in play.
(Übrigens. The Eva-Maria Buch story features in my new novel, The Last Stop, set in modern day Berlin).