Sunday, June 22, 2014

Lessons from the road.

Living in the Neukolln district of Berlin has certainly made an impression on me. This part of town is a diverse mix of artistic German youths and people who have immigrated here from the Middle East. Rarely do I see them mingle.  
Ladies in traditional Muslim dress and multiply pierced, full sleeved tattooed women are a sharp contrast.  
The German men choose beer as their drug of choice and lots of it while the Muslim men drink strong coffee in small glasses and smoke hookah all day. 

I have not lived among such a large Muslim population before. As a result it has reduced my preconceived notions. Slowly they are becoming more accepting of me, recognizing me on the street even beginning to reduce the price of my daily baklava and nut purchases.

Last night during the World Cup match between Germany and Ghana we walked around the area peeking at the many TV screens in front of restaurants and bars.  Surprisingly the Germans were rather subdued watching and cheering their team on.  The Middle Eastern men were more raucous with horns and loud fireworks igniting on their side of the street. Both groups cheered for the same team.
We settled in on the Turkish side of the street and they invited us to have a seat with them. Cheska was the only woman in our crowd.  
Good times were had by all but I felt a sort of liberation from some of my old biases. 

“Die gefährlichste Weltanschauung ist die Weltanschauung derer, die die Welt nie angeschaut haben. (The most dangerous worldview is the worldview of those who have not viewed the world)” 
― Alexander von Humboldt

1 comment:

Ben K. Greenfield said...

I am surprised the Germans were subdued with the soccer - maybe because they were confident of the outcome. In the US venues, people have been very animated - until yesterday :(