My thoughts on Berlin's reaction to the Christmas market terrorist attack of 2016.
I'm flying home for Chrismas. Literally, I am sat in a plane right now. Being able to blog offline is one the side benefits of my switch in technology behind Baggerspion. So far it has been a pretty ordinary journey:
I was already running late for my flight, so the Deutsche Bahn interruption was really not appreciated. But what was I to do?
Having been unceremoniously deposited at Alt Glienicke, I headed to the roadside an ordered a taxi. Given the time it would take for the tai to arrive and the 10 minute it would take to the drive on to the airport, I simply assumed I would not make my flight. Ryanair: not exactly renowned for its flexibility and compassion for late-running passengers.
Berlin is really a small city when it wants to be. Whilst waiting for a taxi I realised I was standing right next to a friend of mine (who had also been kicked off the train and was just standin in the crowd). Somehow his taxi arrived very quickly compared with the one I ordered. He offered to join in his taxi in order to get to the airport quicker.
Jamie Hannaford is my spirit animal
Eventually, after a short taxi ride, some gratuitous queue-skipping and a hugely uneventful security screening, I walk straight up to the boarding queue and get straight onto the plane.
It really was an ordinary trip to the airport.
Schoenefeld, by the way. You know, the airport that is right next door to that other airport that we cannot use because of the omnishmables that is the project management of BER?
Two days ago there was an attack on Christmas Market here in Berlin. By now, the thinking is that this was a deliberate act of terrorism. At the time the police were very cautious about what they were calling this event.
12 people died.
In the immediate aftermath you'd be forgiven for thinking that life in Berlin would be somewhat subdued. Possibly even a little jittery or nervous. But, if you were to think that, you obviously do not understand Berliners very well.
Remember the bombings in London back in 2005? Remember the "We Are London" t-shirts, bags and accessories that came out? Don't hold your breath for something similar in Berlin.
Well within living memory, Germany was a divided country and Berlin was a very divided city. These days Berlin has grown to become welcoming, resilient and totally unimpressed with your bullshit. It had to.
I could not think of a worse target for a terrorist attack.
So now I am sitting in this flight having had time to reflect on what happened two days ago. The papers this morning were all dominated by the manhunt for the terrorist. As you might image, much of the conversation with my friends over the last days has been dominated by this one topic.
Keep holding your breath for those "We Are Berlin" t-shirts.
Today, two days later, really was a perfectly ordinary day. There was no obvious increase of security at the airport. Berliners continue to go about their lives in the way they want to live them. Together. Quietly going about our business is the ultimate "fick dich!" to anyone who would try to take this lifestyle away from us.
Today I am flying back to Scotland for Christmas. To my family. Now, more than ever, I am conscious that this is no longer home.
The dirty, smelly, disfunctional, disorganised, beautiful, artistic, creative mess that is Berlin... that's home. For all of us. And for you, too. Because that lifesyle that are are very proud of in Berlin is predicated on one thing: that only together can we make everyone feel welcome.