Berlin, and Back Again


Recently, I visited the city of Berlin, for the second time. On this trip, my perception of the city shifted drastically. As the weather was the warmest I had encountered since I left Australia, and far from the minus six temperatures which I experienced on my first visit. The warm sun shone down on my skin, and I felt the radiation slowly burn my flesh for the first time in months, as I sat beside the East Side Gallery, consuming beer.

Berlin, is picturesque in the warm weather. The energy is bright and playful, and the air is fresh and full of love. It was also nice to escape the trappings of London life, even if it entailed getting up at 2am, to trek out to Stansted International, for a 6:30 flight. A flight far from in the spirit of sustainability, selling for a mere nineteen quid return, and only half full.

It was only a few days after my return to London, when the attack in Manchester occurred. I was on my way to bed when I saw the news pop-up on my phone screen. Like any other event of this nature, I clicked-on through without enveloping myself in any emotion.

Just another tragedy. More dead, more injured. More lives torn to shreds. Just another, no less than fifty dead.

It wasn’t quite the same though.

When I was in Berlin, I was fortunately able to spend some time at the Memorial to the murder Jews of Europe. The Memorial was high on my list of things in Europe, I wished to see. Although, I happened to wander in half inebriated – far from the physical state I presumed I would be in for my visit. Despite my unintentional disrespectful state, I was still able to spend a considerable amount of time there.

There is a room inside the Museum, where I spent the majority of my time. Letters, notes, written correspondence from the dead are displayed within. Letters of fear, letters of torment, letters of anguish. When the attack in Manchester occurred, this is where my mind went. To this room full of letters from the dead. Letters of the murdered.

Should the victims of the Manchester attack – or any other act of unprovoked violence – have had the chance to write letters before their demise, what would they have said? Would there be a similarity between the writings of the murdered children of WWII, and the children of our own current hell?

This nonsensical violence, is tiresome. I grow weary of a life spent reading of this never-ending death pit. It frightens me. Should I bring a child into this dystopia? Should I foster another human life, in the dangers of humanity? Does that at all seem fair?

These questions weigh on me constantly, and I can only conceive one plausible option to end all this:

Fight hate with love, and diminish the usefulness of violence. Fight tyranny, with philosophy. And, harness love as our tool to become one. One species, one race, one people. After all, what choice do we have? We can’t stay on this godforsaken rock of the apes. We must transcend, and quickly.

Amsterdam, and Back Again