Every year in May Germany's capital surprises the rest of the world: No, it's not about Chancellor Merkel and her Euro-saving-problem - and it's none of these sophisticated May-weddings either (of some Baron who is giving his fancy name to the daughter of the rich Beerbrewer down the road). No, it IS Germany allright, but it's fun, it's bubbling life, it's all kind of selfmade music and dreamlike outfits everywhere - but much more than all of this it's the celebration of COLOR.
What startet 15 years ago as a very small get-together of some native Berliners and a few more immigrants has now become a gigantic 3-days-carnival with everything that a carnival can possibly show and with close to 1 million spectators in the streets.
Sure, Berlin has its benefits all of the time, it's by far Germany's largest city (with 3.4 million people) and by population the second largest town in Europe. At all times the german capital has hosted foreigners coming from everywhere on the globe and for different reasons. Some just visited, others are staying a lifetime. Today at some public places you can easily get the impression to be in Istanbul or Rome. Also many Black people live here and they come from all over Africa, from France, Britain, Southamerica, the Caribean. And yes: there are also still some African-Americans around, but that number went down drasticly when the US-Forces and the other Alliies left the reunited city of Berlin in 1993.
Well, Germans are known for not being the most openminded people, but like in New York or Paris the every-day-routine works well for most of Berlins inhabitants. But there are off course a lot of problems: many people have lost their jobs in the last decade and so the tension about vivid topics like healthcare, pension and welfare is constantly rising.
And - I am saying it like it is ! - since the wall came down (and German people of very different upbringing, cultural, social and political background had to share everything all of a sudden) things for Black people here are going constantly down. Frustated youngsters with no jobs have "hunted" Blacks and other obvious strangers many times. The Brothers and sisters were beaten up (sometimes in front of an ignorant audience of hundreds, in the bus or in the tube), they were thrown out of trains, hit by big stones (what started a very bad carcrash) and lately also knifed down. Many have been killed, but also some were saved because of brave people, who were interfering (and sometimes ahd to "pay" with bad injuries themselves). Up to than this kind of news Germans only knew from some US-cities-report or from Law and Order" on TV. In the first years of our united Germany I was collecing paperclips of these disturbing incidents, but with the years my collection grew and grew, but in the papers the space for those news became smaller and smaller. Not because nothing of the kind was happening, but because no one really seemed to be interested, no one - even of our friends - was able to recognize the upcoming danger. They thought we were just fearful and "overprotective". That changed when "normal"-looking and german little schoolkids were "suddenly" attacted by neo-nazi-groups when the teachers took them to harmless little tours to the countryside. Today there are no more official school-trips to the areas around Berlin. They rather take the kids 200 miles in busses to encounter safely nature and landscape (like in the days before the reunion). And the hate-scene had been und still is growing, the attacs and the threads are becoming more and louder - and overprotective old me is happy to see everybody safe at home.
Well, dear Brothers and Sisters, I only brought up that ugly topic to bring to your attention our Berlin-Feeling so that you can understand what a very special weekend this is every year in may in our City. Like in Rio or in Notting Hill you can see people of all colors and counties of the world gathering on the streets where the procession will be. They are in good mood, dressed up and painted in all colors and shapes, it is the utmost of creativity, power and joy. Everybody likes or even loves each other for a few hours and all of these people are having a smashing time together. On saturday there is the childrens-procession with wonderful costumes and a lot of fun for everybody. On witsun-sunday than the big procession starts about high noon and for endless hours you can watch groups from all parts of this earth in beautiful selfmade costumes and each group with their special music. So it may happen that you have just seen a korean womensgroup passing, waving down from a pretty madeup truck, and you can already hear the mooving samba-sounds from a brasilian mixed group, with beautiful men and women in wonderful kind-of-nothings, when alredy this russian band with big horns and drums and ancientlooking uniforms hits the corner first and then your ears and your eyes.
For those of you that can read german (or have a translator) I will include articles from the local papers that are telling the same story their own way. And when you open their links you can also find extra fotogalleries of yesterdays procession. Also there is a link to a flickr-gallery in which I have put some of the most pretty and most colorful outfits. I did this because I am sure you will be amazed learning what a colorful and beautiful city Berlin is on each witsun-weekend in may. For the rest of the year it is not too bad either here, see for yourself - I have linked also to the official Berlin-website with many informations and more things to discover. (there is a English-version included!)
And to complete my personal Berlin-story for today, I send you links from the Berlin police-report (from carnival-procession-sunday): There was another bad attac on a Brother.
Take care everybody.
Love and peace
PS. Please be nice and mind my English!
Karnevalisten: Sambatänzer, Ballkünstler und nordische Götter - Berlin - Tagesspiegel
Karneval der Kulturen: Kostümfest im Märchenland - Stadtleben - Berlin - Tagesspiegel
Bildergalerie: Karneval der Kulturen 2010 - Fotostrecken - Mediacenter - Tagesspiegel
Karneval der Kulturen - Nachrichten Vermischtes - WELT ONLINE
Would you believe it?! This is colorful Berlin – eine Galerie auf Flickr
Die Hauptstadt - Berlin.de
Berlin – Wikipedia
Jenseits von Afrika
Fremdenfeindlicher Übergriff - Berlin.de
Rassistischer Überfall im Berliner Prenzlauer Berg
Alberto Adriano – 10 Jahre nach dem Mord
Fotos: alle Karneval der Kulturen Berlin/ Flickr/artie*/Creative Commons License /Thank you!