By Harald Dähne, in Berlin

 

“Berlin experienced yesterday presumed the first attack from Islamist terrorists. Near what happened in Nice in July 4th this year a stolen truck raged into a Christmas Market in the Western City in Berlin. Since now 12 people were killed and over 50 injured. The real polish driver was shot on the front seat. Although the driver and his nationality is unknown the action looks like from an IS instructions manual in the internet.

 

At that time I was with my colleagues in our office near Brandenburg gate on the other side of the Tiergarten in the East. We had a nice Christmas staff party and were in good spirits. Thirty minutes after the attack I drove with my car through the city. From Brandenburg gate through the Tiergarten, over the Siegessäule to the Western City. I wondered: The streets were extraordinary empty. It was a little bit scary. Near the place of the attacks I didn’t crossed t saw a lot of ambulances. But not before I got home I heard the news. I was shocked.

 

The Breitscheid Platz is the center of the West-City and very famous even by international tourists. Near Zoo station it was during the years of the Wall the center of West-Berlin. The WW II-bombed Kaiser-Wilhelm-Kirche is a famous memorial against the war. So the big Christmas market around the church could be a good symbol for an islamist terrorist attack. How terrible!

 

Since the attacks in London and Madrid in 2004 we’re expecting in Berlin such an attack. I worked for the German parliament and was always near vulnerable buildings und places such the Reichstag, the US-embassy or the Brandburg gate. We’re having fences and policemen, security checks and bulletproofed windows. In the last years the precautions safety were intensified. But we knew, if there is a suicide bomber in the Underground trains or in a crowd, you couldn’t do anything. So I closed my eyes, went to the U-Bahn every day and go to work. Wy worry, I can’t do anything und it’s much more dangerous skiing in the mountains. And the German security officials did a good job in the past. Many plans and tryings were foiled.

 

Now the unknown offender is on escape with a gun – and maybe his backers. Tomorrow all 60 Christmas markets in Berlin will open again. Berliners are fatalistic. The people there experienced a lot the last 100 years. They survived bombing and destructions in the war, the blockade after the war, the cold war, the Wall, the reunion, all that changes. Near 4 million people are living there. Accidents and crime are normal in such a big city.

 

Chancellor Merkel and the other politicians from the established democratic parties weren’t surprised about such an attack. But nobody knows really, what happened, if the offender was a refugee or a Muslim. Not the Berliners, but the other Germans could go much more a way of fear, hate and intolerance. The first said very quickly yesterday: Merkel is guilty, the blood of the killed people in on her hands. Her policy is wrong. She let all the fanatics, killers and rapists in our country.

 

If hate is the answer, the murderer reached one important goal. We should go on, normally and look to such an attack as to an accident on the highway. We drive a short time slower, look what happened and after a few minutes, we speed up again…“

 

***

 

On the whole my thoughts today. I went for two days to the Baltic Sea. Very cold, dark and lonely here on the sea. But it’s good, to be for a while far away.