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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Romantic Getaways


Even though I mention Frosty pretty frequently in my writing, I try (successfully, I hope) to keep the schmalzy junk to a controlled minimum. And the things that I do write, I consider to be something like a record of a long distance relationship that works. There's always the chance that it won't work forever, but I'll always be able to look back at this as proof of all the ways long-distance can go right.

As I've said before (or if I haven't then I'm mentioning it now), communication and creativity between visits are a big chunk of the reason why we function well together. But then there are the times when I get some kind of half-baked idea for arranging a get together. Why half-baked? Well, because I often think about the immediate, self-serving benefit rather than looking at the big logisitcal picture.

Over Christmas, Frosty told me he was planning on going to Dresden to participate in the anti-nazi protest/sit-in blockades on February 13th. At the time, I heard what he was saying, but it didn't sink in -- meaning, that I didn't see it as an opportunity to spend time with him in a place slightly closer to Hamburg than Tübingen. Also, it wasn't like he was inviting me to participate or anything. It was just like a statement of fact.

Now, before I go on, I feel like I should explain some historical background stuff about this particular protest. Note: this is just an **extremely** condensed version (mostly for U.S. readers who don't know about it): U.S. and British forces bombed the city of Dresden from Feb. 13-15, 1945 (that was during WWII). Germany's (Neo-)Nazi factions have basically taken a page from the handbook Revisionist History for Dummies, by spreading false information about what actually happened and referring to the event in terms like "Germany's Hiroshima" or the "Allied Bombing Holocaust" (Do you recognize the loaded terminology here? If not, get the fuck off my blog.) -- and generally co-opting those days for their fascist/racist agenda. It's like nazi Christmas or maybe Easter? At any rate, it's a big-ass nazi deal. So basically, on February 13th/14th a Taco-Bell-diarrhea-load of neo-nazis make their way to Dresden to do a "mourning march" in "rememberance" of the Dresden bombing -- except it's like they have collective nazi-dementia and it's all sorts of fucked up.

I witnessed the neo-nazi arrival from my apartment balcony February 13/14th, 2005, while I was living in Dresden. My building was more or less directly across from the central train station. By then, I'd developed a deep-seated phobia of leaving my apartment on the days when I knew there was a Dynamo Dresden soccer game (no offence, Conni). I'd been heckled enough going through the train station & felt unsafe (even with police presence) more than once. So I'd stocked up on groceries and didn't leave my apartment for the weekend. This, along with the Monday NPD demos & my racist neighbors, had an enormous impact upon my 10-month stay in Dresden.

For some reason, I thought it'd be a great idea to meet up here with Frosty, Conni, etc. to protest/prevent the nazi demonstration this year.

A part of me thought that it could be an activity that Frosty and I could "do" together. Like some kind of activist date night. Not even taking into account that I'd never been to any kind of political demonstration before in my life.

The things holding me back: fear of large crowds and arrest. From my mother, I've adopted the mantra, "You never know who has a knife". And my father impressed upon me, "If you ever get arrested, don't call me".

When I suggested to Frosty that I was thinking about going to protest in Dresden, he thought it was a good idea. But then, he started droppin knowledge on my ass. I wanted to make smoochie faces, but there's a lot of stuff to protesting that people need to take seriously . As someone without permanent residency in Germany and zero protesting experience, I felt extremely unprepared. I do not like to go into situations unprepared.

It goes without saying (or at least it should), that I hate nazis. But it's also equally clear that nazis hate me. And, while many/most people could probably get around the city after the protests without incident, I simply don't feel safe enough going around the city on my own under normal circumstances (much less during times when a realistic threat of running into renegade nazi groups is heightened)

That, along with coordinating/financing a trip, made me decide against being in Dresden this past weekend.

I did, however, follow the events on Twitter and on the live ticker. All day long.

It was a brilliant strategy on the side of the anti-nazi protesters. Basically, a massive sit-in blocking all of the nazis' possible marching routes. And this, despite the fuckery handed down by Saxony's regional courts, who decided on short notice to move the nazi march to the Neustadt train station. A completely fucked up decision, as this was the location of the deportation of the city's jewish residents in 1938. Hello?! Thankfully, the blockades were successful.

It was a historical moment, because it was the first time that counter-protesters were able to prevent the largest neo-nazi demonstration in Europe. Chew on that. It's pretty fucking impressive, if you ask me.

Would it have been nice to bask in this accomplishment with Frosty? Ok, I have to say at this point that he didn't make it there either due to other pressing issues. But in the future, maybe...I just need to read up on how to properly protest.

So many injustices in the little time.

Lastly, here are two of my favorite pics from yesterday's activities:

1 comment:

Darby O'Shea said...

Jesus. I know German protests are crazy and all that, but that "Demo for Beginners" or whatever is FRIGHTENING. I mean, dude.