We did the dishes, now where’s the revolution? (Danger Zone reprise)

(Follow-up to my most recent post about the Danger Zone...)

So… Today the court decided the partial eviction of the Rigaer was indeed illegal, and neither the owner of the house, or the police were in their right to violently clean those rooms out.

Poster about "dangerous goods" in the Rigaer Str.
Poster about “dangerous goods” in the Rigaer Str.

They now have to evict the premises, and give them back to the former users.

With help of the bailiff.

Here’s the link  and here a vid , where the senator tries again and again to duck the question: why did he evict the premises, if there was no document available to justify this eviction, nor for keeping a huge police force at the site for weeks?

I SO want a video of this: A bailiff, possibly with police support, kicking the security of the owner and the police supporting the owner out.

And in the mean time, Henkel, the senator responsible for the danger zone, still refuses to talk with the people from the neighborhood about the whole “your civil rights are suspended here” thing.

Possibly because by now he has A LOT to explain:

  • personal data of people searched in the danger zone ending up straight from the police files on nazi websites
  • the only person caught hot-handed burning cars down, turned out to be a Pegida activist, and a police informer
  • it was the testimony of this police informer on what’s going on inside the Rigaer house which was one of the basics on which the danger zone was installed -> hear-say around the neighborhood (yeahyeah, I know….) says when the guy was exposed as a police informer & kicked out of the scene some time ago, one of his last words was “I’ll get my revenge”…
  • now it turns out the eviction of part of the Rigaer was illegal. And this senator, who keeps referring to “respecting the legal state”, obviously had his own interpretation of “legal, illegal, scheißegal”.

Well… I wonder how he’ll make up for the destruction of the inventory of the pub, the kitchen for refugees, for the destruction of the inner house garden, and the weeks of in-house heavy surveillance of the people living there, including bluntly refusing visitors entering the house after 9 pm…

Of course, the article ended with a reference to the “riots” of last saturday. Something the senator keeps referring to too. Which I seemed to have completely missed out on, though I was present at the “scene of crime” for three hours…

And I do frikkin hope it’s the end of the political career of this “hawk”, and the end of the Danger Zone (hey, we can keep dreaming, can we?).

If you want to follow the party in the Rigaerstr: here’s a live blog from a local newspaper.

Yes, that’s quite a bit of confetti 🙂

Rant – First the dishes, then the revolution… right? (Report from the Danger Zone)

Gosh… our neighborhood made the national and even the international news. It seems last saturday we had the worst riot of the past five years, or started the Revolution-with-capital-R, depending on which media you’re reading. Woho. I witnessed the onset of world wide revolution?

Bad news though, for those cheering the revolution on, we’re still more busy doing our dishes.  I hate to disappoint people, but, I actually didn’t see much of this riot, or this revolution (again, depending on your point of view). And I joined the demo from almost the beginning, till it officially ended.

"Your Danger Zone Our `Kiez` (Borough)" Detail of a poster for the demonstration against the danger zone on Feb 6th 2016
“Your Danger Zone, Our `Kiez` (Borough)”
Detail of a poster for the demonstration against the danger zone on Feb 6th 2016

But well, I’m used to New Year’s Eve in Rotterdam, so maybe I’m just biased. A bit of fireworks, a fence of a building site brought down, and a huge police force of 1,800 cops including heavy material such as a water-cannon, a bulldozer and an armored vehicle, don’t constitute a riot in my humble opinion.

At the end, drunken party-goers mixed with the demo, and yes, bottles were flying. That’s when I left, the demo was over anyway. But a few flying bottles or stones don’t make a riot. Again, I’m used to New Year’s Eve in Rotterdam, where you bike back home avoiding the shattered glass of every bus stop in the neighborhood, holes of molten asphalt because of spontaneous self-combusting piles of garbage, a true layer of broken glass bottles, and yep, usually at least one burned out or turned-over police car. This mostly even doesn’t make the local paper…


But maybe I just missed out on the riot by leaving when the demo ended, or, if I read the police reports, in the “wrong” part of the demo… Bad timing again?

(short note to the vid on the right: they first show the “riots” – which mostly seem to consist of pushing & pulling, people getting arrested and other people wondering why and protesting this, then the actual demo before all this. Leave it to ruptly to edit creatively)

 But djeez, we made the international press? Sunday afternoon I was sitting with a few people in front of one of the house projects, when someone from one of the balconies shouted down: wow, we made the NATIONAL news. We were quite surprised.

Because. To be honest. We don’t really get it. What revolution? Well, actually.. what riot?

A bit of history & background

Of course, riots & angry crowds don’t just fall out of the sky.
There’s usually something which leads up to them.

The Danger Zone, officially.....
The Danger Zone, officially….. pretty big huh? Source (and read more, in german): http://daneben.blogsport.de/2015/11/30/analyse-des-gefahrengebiet-rigaer/

For more than one year, we’re up over our heads in the so-called “Danger zone” (officially installed in september 2015, but, see some of my other posts of july 2015, it actually was in effect beforehand) by the Berlin Senat for Inner Affairs. The danger zone means, basically, your civil rights are suspended, and you can be searched, or held without a reason, or premises can be raided, again, without a real suspicion of “criminal activity”. For people living in that area it feels like being in a state of siege with permanent controls, getting banned from the premises and even house and home searches. There is a huge police force constantly present in front of certain house projects, especially the so-called “Dorfplatz” (Village Square).
For more background and a bit of history: check this post of a local blogger from last february.

The weird thing about this danger zone phenomena is, is that it is supposed to make a neighborhood more safe. You know, service to the people and all that. Weirdly enough, the average inhabitant of the area doesn’t feel more safe by all those lovely uniforms. As some put it, they never were bothered by the squatters, heck, the house projects are a good defense against gentrification and rent raises. But they are thoroughly bothered by not just the fear of being selected for a search (which even happens to 9-year old kids), but the constant noise and search lights of the “occupying force”. Which is how many people now see those “protectors of the people”.

The Danger Zone, actually, according to a "Platzverweis" (police order to remove yourself) Source: https://linksunten.indymedia.org/de/node/161947 - comment section
The Danger Zone, actually, according to a “Platzverweis” (police order to remove yourself) , slightly bigger… Source: https://linksunten.indymedia.org/de/node/161947 – comment section

Though the actual zone is a few blocks away, the “overflow” is very notable in our part of the neighborhood. Mechanical mosquitoes (i.e. police helicopters) fly low and slow over our streets till deep in the night, causing even usually pretty relaxed people like me making bazooka noises. Friends visiting from other neighborhoods are astonished about the huge police presence everywhere. But. The human mind is capable of getting used to almost everything. Even vans full of riot cops driving around all the time, or the constant circling of surveillance helicopters. You shrug. You sigh. You just try to live your life. And again Pigface’s song “You get used to living in the warzone” plays on the jukebox in your head…

What it practically means… check out this vid, where even the mayor of this borough and other politicians tell us the Danger Zone and the suspension of civil rights, and of the rights of renters, is a frikking bad idea.

So yes, a lot of people are pretty pissed off by the whole situation. They want their streets, their “kiez” back.

But enough to start a revolution and declare the independence of the neighborhood? Or at least do that rioting thing? If so, it failed. Again, I didn’t see a riot…

The efficient use of force and the “State Mandate on Violence”

Hard working police officer (original picture from sometime in the 90s)
Hard working police officer
(original picture from sometime in the 90s)

What I saw was a police force 1,800 strong, who seemed to have no clue what they were doing. The bulky stuff such as water-cannon, bulldozer, armored vehicles and the whole arsenal of heavy equipment was parked somewhere on one of the bigger streets, & never left that parking spot. Most of those 1,800 cops were just outside the so-called riot-zone, sitting in their vans typing away on their smart phones.

I guess they missed out on the riot too…
The cops near the demo seemed utterly confused, or maybe got contradictory orders. Every now and then it seemed like they were trying to close off the demo on both sides, but then obviously got another order, and in single file flocked away trying to look semi-useful somewhere else. Or they went into the demo in turtle formation, only to come to the conclusion this meant they were surrounded quickly by people who just ignored & walked around them. Confusion a plenty, still no criminal caught hot-handed and another order followed. Maybe look for potential rioteers somewhere else? There was some use of pepperspray, and some uncoordinated charging maneuvers. Leading to a bit of panic in the small streets.
We were never really closed in. It was almost as if on purpose room was created to bring that one part of a fence of a building site down..

I was quite surprised we were allowed to walk through the danger zone.


So I do wonder. If even innocent demonstrations such as the Night-Dance-Demo are completely surrounded by cops. If a peaceful anti-nazi protest is met by the deployment of huge amounts of pepperspray and quite some hectic charging and arresting of people. If a sitting blockade protesting a prestige building project ends with one guy losing his eyesight because of the immense power blast released by a water-canon. How come 1,800 cops having some truly heavy equipment at their disposal couldn’t prevent a full-fledged riot washing over the neighborhood?

Maybe there was not much of a riot (or a revolution, yes, yes, I get it now)?

The only other options are that either the cops are completely incompetent, or (warning: conspiracy theory ahead) they wanted to have a riot, to next enforce more police surveillance in our “kiez”.

But.. they keep talking about riots all the time??

Yes, and I still wonder how I managed to miss seeing them. Or those 100s of cops getting seriously hurt.

What I DID see, were thousands of people filling one of the broadest avenues in Berlin over its full width, for miles. And yes, the demo sparkled in the orange street lights because of all those police helmets mixed in.
What I did see, were the neighbors along the route, who rolled banners down their balconies, put their speakers outside so we had some music, or (this has become tradition in the danger zone itself, everyday from 21.00 to 21:30, it is LOUD in the Rigaer str. ) hammered away on pots & pans.
What I saw was the older guy in an electric wheelchair, who (on the crosswalk!) blocked a police van.
What I saw were the owners of the evening shops and the small restaurants putting their thumbs up to us. (Utterly by the way, these shop-owners in the danger zone refuse to sell food to the ca. 300 cops constantly present in front of the most threatened house project, and even deny them access to their bathrooms).

Repression met with humor: poster for the "Rolling House Race" in May.
Repression met with humor: poster for the “Rolling House Race” in May.

Extreme-left activists? Sure. Especially the girl in a hippy skirt walking bare-footed. Or the people with their kids in a buggy. Or the 60+ couple in dungarees (yes.. dungarees).
Nothing of this in the press of course.

But the press was definitively right about the atmosphere. It was NOT pleasant. At all. It was very grim. People were scared. And they were angry. We’ve HAD it.


That whole danger zone thing

We’ve had it. Really. That whole danger zone thing really, really gets on your nerves.

After months of seeing cops in full riot gear on every street corner.
Of knowing you can be searched and your personal data taken without being a “suspect” when you go shopping or bring your pet to the vet.
When you want to distribute food, but realize you forgot your ID, so you decide to bike a big detour around the danger zone (at least I still have a choice, since I don’t live smackdown in the middle of that zone).

Dangerous Goods (poster in the Danger Zone).
Dangerous Goods (poster in the Danger Zone).

When sitting with a couple of friends in an empty parking spot results in a “warning” since you haven’t paid for that parking spot, you are not a car with license plate anyway, and this “warning” is being emphasized by a few vans of riot cops driving by and a helicopter starting to circle above your head. Yes, I get slightly pissed (though I just sigh, and go from the parking spot to the edge of the side-walk).
When you have to be afraid the pub you go to with your friends for a drink can be raided any minute, for no reason.
If when I collect more food, and realize I have to bike through at least three police lines with an utterly full backpack, I might be searched for “dangerous goods” (where I do have to admit, vegan porridge could be considered an explosive).

It influences the daily lives of every one in this neighborhood. And there’s the bigger picture. The things that do not have an impact on my own life, but which create a atmosphere of fear and anger. And very, very, unpleasant surprise.

Platzverweis. Some of the streets are south of the Frankfurter Allee...
Platzverweis. Some of the streets are south of the Frankfurter Allee… Source: https://linksunten.indymedia.org/de/node/161947 – comment section

When a part of the Rigaer house project is evicted, supposedly to make room for refugees (but of course, with a “legal” renting contract, as if a random refugee could afford the “new” rents in this neighborhood), and these premises are secured by dozens of cops, who, because of the danger zone, are allowed to search anyone, including the people who legally live there, or can refuse visitors for the inhabitants after 9pm, since “it’s too late in the evening”.
When the personal data collected during the several thousands identity checks & searches since the installment of the danger zone. straight from the police files, ends up on a right-wing website (see also here).
When the Senator, responsible for Order and Regulations, is about to burst into joy, since finally they caught one of the arsonists red-handed, but it turns out to be a police-informer, and not an extreme “leftie” but an active member of the Pegida (the xenophobic right-wing movement in Germany). And the testimony of this arsonists a few years ago is one of the reasons the danger zone was installed.
When the day of the demonstration, on each and every corner at least 25 cops are standing, who keep a more than watchful eye on you, when you wait outside a bakery with a couple of other food-savers.
When our beloved senator in a press-release says, he won’t use a de-escalation-strategy, but it will be eye-for-eye, tooth-for-tooth, and just not starts exclaiming “this is war, baby”. And people decide not to go the demonstration, because they’re too scared.

You start to become grim.

Grim doesn’t mean violent

Strangely enough, graffiti is also considered a "violent action against goods".
Strangely enough, this graffiti is considered one of those “violent actions against goods”.

Let’s make clear: I hate arson. I don’t like burned-out cars. I don’t see how damaging one person’s private goods could benefit a political goal. I don’t get why you should get “personal” with a person you don’t even know. And though I don’t own a car, I’d be frikkin devastated if someone burned down my bike, on which I depend. I don’t understand how you can take the risk of collateral damage and accidentally burn something else down.
I don’t like hard words, or threats. I don’t identify with “hard-liners” (yes, I’m a bloody hippy after all). I cannot, in anyway, condone beating up a traffic cop, and next taking refuge in a house project. It not only goes against my principles to just bloody beat someone up, but running into a house project afterwards is just plain cowardly, and STUPID (again, just as most of the riot and/or violence stuff, I got this from the press or hear-say, so I might be biased and wrong about what actually happened or the background). But the subsequent invading of the house & confiscating dangerous goods such as fire-extinguishers or heating coal was completely out of proportion. And it wasn’t the first, nor the last time.

Maybe I’m just not pushed that far. And others are.  It somehow reminded me of that old dutch poster “stones are no arguments” which includes a poem, ending with “but maybe stones are our first uncertain words in the only language they seem to understand”. The language of violence.

A very sad conclusion indeed.

I hate violence. Or situations, where a crowd in small streets starts panicking. And yes, I was about to shit my pants in three colors too. Not so much for being arrested or beaten up (though I really rather not, thank you, especially since I usually AM that stupid innocent bystander), but for being trampled by a crowd panicking.

How can this end….

Somewhere I still hope, the Senator responsible for the whole situation will fall flat on his face. Even from official sides, it has been made clear, the whole Danger-Zone thing is a part of his personal campaign to get elected in the “Abgeordnetenhaus” (Parliament). (Edit 13.07.2016: he actually did fall on his face.. see my next post: turns out the partial eviction of the Rigaer was illegal, this should be bad for a politician who keeps shouting about how the “legal state” should be respected.)

But I suspect somehow, the whole uproar about those dozens of wounded officers, and the whole “riot, riot, riot” screaming by the press service of the police (nicely taken over by the press, they can’t afford to pay real journalists anymore) are needed to justify bringing 1,800 cops into the neighborhood. And the heavy equipment, which was uselessly stashed away in their parking spots (but how beautifully it shined in the street lights…).

And what I’m mostly afraid of, is it will get only worse. The call of reason “maybe we should, you know, try TALKING with each other” of the people in the neighborhood and even the local parliament (of which most parties are against the whole danger zone thing) won’t be heard anymore after one pic of another of a burned-down car, or that one orange-flaring piece of pyrotechnics on the streets (I just stepped over it…) every paper published. (Edit from 13.07.2016: by now, even the german Chancellor has something to say about it: TALK. Thereby “backstabbing” her fellow party member, the Berlin Senator, who refuses to talk…)

CactusAnd in the mean time, I have the feeling I’d better shut up about having taken part in the demo. Since I’m now considered to be rioteer. Someone who throws bottles and stones, or burns cars down. And where the reason *I* went to the demo (yes, scared shitless, but I won’t let myself be intimidated…), namely, to protest against this absurd danger zone where all your civil rights are suspended, and against the whole gentrification thing, is completely overshadowed by the picture of one bright orange rocket..

Rant – When A Flux of Pink Indians might not be such a bad idea

Cleansing the underground, cleansing the neighborhood, cleansing the population: A rant about bad things happening, over-reacting, pointing fingers, underbellies & crocodile brains, and my personal aversion against (self-)proclaimed protectors. And why it might actually come to me dressing up in bright pink, slapping faces with my house-shoes.

People sometimes tell me I’m a pessimist. I rather describe it as “I hate it when I’m right”. Or worse, when my more absurd jokes become true (hey, Life, that was a frikkin’ JOKE!). But lately, I’m beginning to lose that sense of pitch-black humor, and feel the need to hide under a blankie, being “sick & tired of waiting for this world to end”.

I’m sick and tired of hate. Sick and tired of generalizations. Sick & tired of polarization. Sick & tired of “cures”, which are worse than the “disease”. Sick & tired of (self-)proclaimed “protectors”.

Yes… many bad things happen. Thing I can’t, and won’t condone. Things I can’t and won’t laugh away. Things which make me want to hide in a dark corner. But the reactions to those bad things are so out of proportion, I have to shake off that blanket.

“Cleansing” the underground

Recently, an underground – neofolk – party had to close, because the owner of the venue where it took place received threats from “the Left”. I’m very much aware that, in some undergroundier than underground music scenes, there are some “bad apples”. I walk around in those scenes, and am not one of the people who shuts up when I spot “brownish” tendencies. And I’m not the only one. The reaction however, of some people outside that scene, to threaten the venue where a party from that scene takes place with violence, and on the net, start a hate campaign, is completely out of proportion.

Condemning a whole (albeit very small) music scene because of a few bad apples, and a lot of unfounded suspicions, will only lead to polarization. To the people who threatened the owner of the venue: you in fact give the opportunity to those few bad apples to take over that scene, because this kind of intimidation won’t make people give up their music. But it will make any kind of discussion completely impossible. I’m on the fringe of that scene, and consider myself an antifascist. Believe me, I can really do without the “protection” of some self-proclaimed, uninformed, self-righteous, outsiders.

And be realistic: the fascist threat isn’t coming from a few dozen people dancing slowly to neofolk music by candle light…

“Cleansing” the neighborhood

Another local “incident” of the past few weeks: cops invading squats in full riot gear because an uniformed person dealing out parking tickets was beaten up. Probably more than just the parking ticket happened, but still, beating someone up with 5 people is not ok in my book. Now I know dealing out parking tickets in Berlin is a risky job (just like telling people not to smoke in a small pub where the owner smokes himself). And really, not just in this neighborhood. It still is not ok to beat someone up for it. However, the reactions of the cops to this incident was absurd. It became the excuse to invade a local squat in full riot gear, and quite a few other actions following this. Resulting in the confiscation of a few fire extinguishers (hooray!). It was not exactly the first time the cops interpreted their task of “keeping the peace” in a rather, well… violent and disproportional way (for example last summer).

Dear cops: I applaud you. Very brave. It will most definitively help to release the tension in the neighborhood and make us all just love & want to hug you. Especially if you invade another house a few days later because of a small bag of garbage dumped 20 meters away from the helmeted, shielded, and well-insulated invaders. Or raid a small bakery because a few “suspicious people” are buying their breakfast there. Or get up a ladder in full riot gear to silence the music coming from a nearby balcony.  Circling low above the neighborhood for days in a row with helicopters until deep in the night also makes me wish I had a bazooka at hand. And, as always, when such an “incident” happens, I just love being followed by a police van when I walk the streets with two friends of mine. Gosh, I never felt so safe in my life, having our own, private, surveillance unit.

Again, me, as one of the people living in the neighborhood, can do without this kind of “protection” from outsiders. Really, dragging people out of bakeries, invading a house because of some garbage thrown out, trying to intimidate with helicopters or following any group larger than 2 people on the streets, does not make me feel any safer in my neighborhood.

Again, this kind of intimidation won’t work, it will only lead to polarization. And again, be realistic: the chances that this will lead to a “bloody revolution”, the government being overthrown or Friedrichshain declaring its independence are pretty minimal.

“Cleansing” the male population

Last but not least. A very belated reaction to the “incidents” on New Year’s Eve in Cologne and other cities. Just to bring it back into memory (though I don’t think people have forgotten, yet…), on New Year’s Eve near the Central Station of Cologne, a lot, and I mean a LOT of women were sexually harassed or even raped, and subsequently robbed, on a scale rarely seen, by a mob of drunken men. This is bad. This is very very very bad. However, the reactions in the press, the social media and especially, the violence coming from “gangs” of hooligans and other self-declared “protectors of the german woman” were completely out of proportion. Within hours, the rumors about “nord-african” or “arabic” looking attackers, or “refugees” were all over the net, and the hate-campaign started. Again, leading to generalization & polarization.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. I’m pretty sure there are quite a few male chauvinist sexist pigs among refugees or people from the Middle-East. I just don’t think there’s more of them among those groups as in any other group… (hey, I’m a pessimist, remember?). And I’m all in favor of rooting this out. But…

Pointing the finger

What scares me are the reactions. First, I see people from whom I thought they had some kind of brain all of a sudden supporting the Pegida-movement.”oh, they were right about the hordes from the middle-east threatening our o-so woman-friendly culture”.

Already much has been said about this elsewhere, so I guess I don’t need to repeat the statistics in detail. Just a quick summary: most refugees are christians;  gang-criminality, including robbery and group-rape (aka “gang-banging”),  is associated with poverty & bad perspectives and yep, being an immigrant is associated with poverty & bad perspectives; rape is caused by rapists, not by the clothing the victim wears nor the “ethnicity” or “religion” of the rapist: there’s no statistical evidence of a higher occurrence of rapists within “refugees” or ” people from the Middle-East”.

Not to forget the instrument of  robbery under cover of sexual harassment or grinding up (“antanzen”) is not exactly a new strategy. It is, unfortunately, a pretty well known, and used, instrument by petty criminals for example in touristic areas or by gangs in Berlin (who supposedly already have divided the different club-districts among each other). We had quite a few nasty incidents last summer here in Berlin. The latest trend I’ve heard about distracting someone to be able to rob him/her (usually her) is to set his/her hair on fire… This resulted in a completely stupid and helpless reaction of “law and order” (leave your phone at home, or don’t use it openly, don’t wear expensive jewelry). Which boiled down to another nice case of victim blaming. Just as stupid as the reaction of the mayor of Cologne: keep those men at arm length.. yeah, right… So the phenomena is not new, and to blame it on certain groups or the victims is pointing the finger in the wrong direction.

But well.. I guess the people who now all of a sudden go over to the Pegida camp are probably just as fact-resistant or susceptible of conspiracy theories as that Pegida guy I tried reasoning with (until he started denying the Holocaust, then the discussion stopped from my side).

The underbelly & the crocodile brain: fear is all you need

Second, I see fear. I see people sharing this “Taharrush gamea” (organized sexual harassment)  phenomena when referring to Cologne, and being afraid this might become “normal”.

Well, except for the fact there’s a lot of discussion about this phenomena, especially about the (pre-)-organized aspect of it, rape culture isn’t exactly new. Any woman in any culture, also in our oso beloved western culture, does not at least take a deep breath and mentally prepare herself before walking through a mob of drunken young men. One of the yearly events in our neighborhood I hate the most, the so-called “Biermeile” on the Frankfurter Allee, I mostly exactly hate because of this. I think the average hair color there was some darker shade of blonde, and I observed a higher occurrence of mustaches. Also, I do not enjoy walking past a club just around the corner on a saturday, which “clientele” used to consist mostly of young white males from the surrounding countryside. It changed ownership a few times after that, now programming mostly russian artists. The cat-calling and harassment diminished, but sure as hell is still there. Typically enough, it was the least when that club programmed popular turkish artists… Again, I don’t like generalization. Not when it comes to blonde hair, or mustaches, or being from the countryside, or russian or turkish.

Again (yes, I’m a pessimist), I’m quite sure all groups have quite a few male chauvinist sexist pigs among their ranks. Believe me, there’s no pre-organization needed for sexual harassment on a huge scale. Just add alcohol, add “group dynamics” or male-bonding-rituals: many of these men would not try to grab you, or even do some cat-calling if they were on their own. My impression is that often, they are more trying to prove themselves in front of their mates, than actually trying to get their hands on you. Though it’s still frikkin scary and disgusting. Add the above named factors, and the crocodile brain takes over and any woman suddenly becomes a potential prey, who “should know her place”. And me, as a woman alone, I rather avoid places on a weekend night where I know I might bump into a group of drunken men, exactly because of this.

Oh great.. there are the protectors again

Third.. I see this “phenomena” of “we have to protect our women from the invading hordes” and these self-declared protectors patrolling public spaces (and beating up anyone dark-skinned in the process). Protectors. Oh really. Knights in shining armor. Sure. Need a white horse? Get real. I’m a woman. Not german, and probably a tiny bit too dark to be considered “worthy of protection” by those self-declared protectors. But heck, even if I was german and a platinum-blonde, I’d rather pass on that protection. I wouldn’t trust it. Rely on a group of male chauvinist pigs to protect me from another group of male chauvinist pigs? And expect them not to turn on me to “express my gratitude” for being protected? I don’t think so….

A flux of pink indians

Nope. If I would see any group phenomena which would actually protect against large scale, organized or not, sexual harassment of women, it would be self-organisation. Of women solely, yes. Non-aggressively of course. What I’m thinking of, is something like the “pink ladies” (or Gulabi Gang) in India. If you don’t know what this is, look it up. Rape culture, again, is everywhere. And in India, a group of women, wearing pink saris, organized themselves to educate, to protect and, in unfortunately some cases, to avenge. And how did they avenge? By beating rapists with house shoes, and thereby publicly shaming them…. I don’t like revenge, I don’t like publicly shaming.. but heck, I laughed me ass off with a vid of a group of pink ladies slapping a group of rapists with house-shoes and giving them a good verbal bashing… Thereby making clear that sexual harassment is not cool, it’s not normal, it’s not something any woman asks for, no matter where & with whom she is or on her own, or what she wears, and it’s something you should be fukking ashamed for even thinking about it.

And believe me. Male chauvinist pigs won’t like women organizing themselves. Not the so-called aggressors, and not the so-called protectors. One the regular demonstrations I participated in, was the so-called “witch-night”, when a huge group of women only, went on the streets to claim them back. No other demonstration I participated in, not even the most controversial ones, met so much verbal, and also physical aggression from the “general public” as that one. Yes, from males. No matter what age or background or even “intellectual” level (heck, one of the most aggressive reaction usually came from the balcony of a fraternity, and from mostly white, university students).


We don’t need reactions which are out of proportion and only lead to more hate, more generalization, more polarization.

But a Flux of Pink Indians… I’d like to see that happen on the Biermeile on Frankfurter Allee next year… Actually, I might even put on a pink sari for that..

Blurp – Hands Down the Drain (reprise)

How come when some alternative project asks for help with their heating or water system, I always end up repairing the sewage system??

Yes, I KNOW I posted this before. I fell for it so many times now.. And I really planned to stay clear from the sewage this time. *dangit*

Just utterly btw, there’s is no such thing as a drunk-punk-proof system to keep a poor lonely radiator in the men’s toilet from falling down after there’s almost no wall left to hang it from. I advised putting some bricks under it & pray the pipes hold.. thank goodness they were copper and not steel.

Rant – The world in a handbasket… or not?

Sometimes reading the news feels like reading a leftish satire magazine. I sometimes SO hope it’s all really becomes true: the government is starting to squat!

More or less serious plans to house refugees are:

  • Berlin’s new to be built airport, which already costs billions too many, and prolly won’t be finished until 2050 or something, might be used to house refugees
  • Empty, luxurious apartments, too expensive for the average Berliner and only used as “investment objects” and speculation. should be confiscated. The owners will receive an “average local rent”. Also other cities consider confiscating luxurious apartments, criteria named are “owned by large investors” & “empty for a longer period”, in other words, speculation objects…
  • Same goes for empty office buildings and bank buildings standing empty, only used for speculation. Not just in Berlin, Hamburg is considering the same thing. Investors fear this will set a trend for other cities. I can hardly wait..
  • Villages completely empty in the old east of Germany will be used (and therefore, an older dutch win-win solution will actually get implemented: there are so many “ghost villages” all over Europe, on fertile soil…)
  • A known “conservative” organization, which presents itself as an interest group for tax payers, emphasized the government should not waste tax payer’s money, and pay no more than the “average local rent” even if the investors try to rent it out for many times more that average local rent.

Gosh, I’m sure beginning to like this refugee “crisis”. Bring ‘m on 😉 With a bit of luck, nobody will object to a few weirdos doing a bit of squatting too…

Rant – How to disturb a party (reprise)

It’s relatively quiet again in the neighborhood. That is, relatively. And only concerning the amount of cops. But holy shit, you got a pretty good idea how the people in Baltimore, or in the Schilderswijk in the Hague, Netherlands feel.

The opinion of people in the neighborhood about what happened last week varies: some distinguish between the “good” squatters of the Kreutziger, who are indeed, very constructive with all their DIY projects – also for the neighbors, such as the “Rent advice” and the “social support”, and the “bad” squatters of the Rigaer, who supposedly make a mess of everything, throw garbage on the streets or just leave empty bottles everywhere (“and I don’t get it, they all ride a bike, don’t they?). This even from leftish people. Strangely enough, some of the more “mainstream” people, for example a young born and raised Friedrichshainer, are far more positive: all cops are bastards, and long live the squatters – as long as they keep living here, and protest (and yes, are loud and make a mess), the rents wont rise that much. In other words “those squatters, they never did anything to me…” – thereby implying the cops do…

In general, the average neighbor is on the side of the squatters.

They’re part of the “Kiez”. Just like the elder citizens drinking their beers  in front of the late night shop until it closes, the spontaneous art made of disintegrating bikes, the guy refusing to tie his dog outside the supermarket since “that’s patronizing the dog”, the small pubs which are more or less extended living rooms, the senior hooligans in the park asking for cigarettes, the light technician projecting his light-effects on the walls of the house opposite the street, the fact that the only butcher around sells “bones for dogs” only, the begging punks at the metro station, the guerrilla knitting, the buskers, the small patches of squatted soil around many trees in the streets with benches or flower beds made out of left-over wood, the Roma guys making music and singing on their balcony, the carton boxes put on the streets with stuff “for free” everywhere & all the time, the dread-hippy giving his ouija-board an extra layer of varnish in front of his window, the notes “clean your dog’s shit, damned” getting endless responses with other notes taped under it..

What is NOT part of the Kiez are the uniformed semi-cop-traffic-wardens who only dare to walk around in groups of five, complaining about ghettoblasters or dogs-without-a-leash in the park, or the metro security who just outside the station starts pissing people off (a few days ago I walked passed them when a not completely sober and slightly worn-down fellow-neighbor shouted some stuff towards them about uniforms and too small genitals). or “new” neighbors who complain about a klezmeh-band playing in pub which exists here for more than 10 years – after which the klezmeh band picks up their instruments, and continues in the park, resulting in a nice get-to-gather-and-sing-and-dance at 2 in the morning…

Rant – How to disturb a party

This weekend, both Kreutziger & Rigaer Streetfest (crawling distance from each other) took place

The Rigaer Fest started last monday. And what should have been a celebration of DIY-Culture, has been disturbed quite a few times by unnecessary and sometimes violent police action.

Worst was last wednesday, when the “everything-for-free-fleamarket” on what is known as the Dorfplatz ((“village square”, the crossing between Rigaerstr & Liebigstr.) was cleared out by 100s of cops. First thing they did was put up a HUGE light pole. Then, when the people tried to build up the market-stands, they started clearing the place. Again and again. And though the neighborhood-people tried to be peaceful, the cops were there in full riot gear.

Why is still unclear.. Especially since it was not a concert or parties or anything LOUD, it was a frikkin market…. which wasn’t even allowed to be build up. All what was planned was a lot of nomoney-economy and neighborhood initiatives presenting themselves. There should have been free tattoos, free silk screen printing and a lot of people just giving stuff away.

But yep, the street would have been blocked with all those people enjoying it. So the dear dear cars couldn’t drive through… And yep, the beloved Bild-tabloid was already predicting riots for weeks…

The only complaints the neighbors had about noise, was the noise coming from the generator for the police light pole…

Blurp – Hands down the drain

Rhetorical question: how come, if you offer to help some – alternative – project to repair their heating or water system you always end up renewing the sewage infrastructure (too)?

(*sighs & rubs her hands clean…*)

in this case, it was a huge amount of paint residue causing the problem (silk screen workshop with a sink without a siphon … oh, and the pipes were going up & down, without being fixed except with about two cans construction foam mixed with glass wool inside the walls… *shakes head & tries not to ask for a ban on construction foam*)