Happy German Unity Day!
Joe and I found out after we booked train tickets to Dresden for today that our trip also coincides with one of the biggest German holidays- Reunification Day. There is a giant celebration with the German president and chancellor, as well as thousands of people also descending on Dresden today to celebrate the coming down of the wall and the reunification of Germany in 1990.
Unfortunately, in today’s political climate, it also means that radicals also are coming out with violent demonstrations of xenophobia and racism. Two IEDS bombs went off earlier this week in Dresden (one in front of a Mosque-no one was hurt), and three cop cars were set ablaze over the weekend, both acts determined to be in protest to Unity Day and the amount of refugees from Syria Germany has taken in. Police have increased security for today, while many people have been discussing the increased conservative radicalism that has been happening in Germany, with Dresden being a hot spot for it. Upon further research, it turns out that Dresden also has one of the largest Neo-Nazi and right wing radical communities in Germany, with gatherings sometimes attracting crowds as large as 20,000 people.
While I am both surprised that there is such violent, prejudice behavior happening here (I guess the US isn’t the only place where xenophobic rhetoric is gaining serious political ground), I am also fearful for our future. We have spent the majority of our week in Berlin going to museums and seeing historical sites from WW2 and the Cold War, both wars in which violent oppression of minorities played a large role. This has led me to inevitably compare the political climate that allowed Nazism to emerge to our current political climate and Trump’s dangerous, hateful rhetoric. When a political party’s foundations is based on illogical/xenophobic statements, fear, propaganda, and exalting a superior few over specific groups of people- disastrous results typically ensue.
Now I don’t think Trump is intelligent enough (nor capable of any sort of empathy), to realize how much his off hand statements and ideas are threatening people’s lives in the real world. Having a world leader with access to the largest military condone xenophobic actions is only going to bring out more radicalism- amongst all extremists regardless of religion. And it’s not just a problem in the US. It is a hot topic here in the EU as well, with many countries concerned about the amount of hate crimes going on in their countries. While Trump might be too distracted by his wealth to recognize what exactly he is doing, people around the world will notice and take advantage of the situation.
Now, I know this is a travel blog, but I also think it is essential to document all of our experiences- even the political. The worst thing that is probably going to happen today is we are going to be searched a little more thoroughly, and they’ll probably harass Joe for his hair (this happens way too much) and ask us numerous ambiguous questions about our travel plans. We might get a few extra stares/glares for being an interracial couple from the Neo-Nazis (my Aryan-esqe traits partnered with an African American? Hitler would be appalled!) However, the events of this weekend in Dresden and the political climate in the world could lead to way worse things if we don’t PAY ATTENTION. If you are on the fence about your support for Hillary, think about it less as a vote for her, and more of a vote against the hateful rhetoric and racist world that would be a Trump Presidency. If for some reason that isn’t enough and you need a more personal connection, consider your friendship with me and Joe, and our future kids and if you want to be responsible for them living in a world of more extreme prejudice than the many obstacles they are already going to have to face. If you are thinking I’m being dramatic right now- check your privilege and educate yourself.
Got to go catch the train to celebrate the holiday. Bye!