At the Monument

January 9, 2019 § Leave a comment

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On New Year’s Eve a 50-year-old German citizen drove his car into different groups of people celebrating in the streets of the cities of Bottrop and Essen, in the industrial area “Ruhrgebiet” in Germany. Eight people got, some of them seriously, injured: a Syrian family of four (whose 46-year-old mother was in critical condition and had to undergo a difficult surgery), an Afghan woman and her 4-year-old son, a 10-year-old Syrian girl and a 34-year-old German citizen of Turkish origin. It came out that this was a hate crime and the man intentionally targeted groups of “foreigners”.

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The Kaiser Wilhelm I. monument at Porta Westfalica is a monument finished in 1896 to honour Kaiser Wilhelm I. who was the first Kaiser of the German Reich after the French-German war in 1871. The monument was built in the regency of his grandson Wilhelm II., a regency marked by the rise of the German nationalism, antisemitism, militarism and colonialism that led to the Herero and Nama genocites in Africa, to the WWI and in extension and result to the rise of Nazism, the WWII with its millions victims and the holocaust aiming the extinction of the European Jews.
At Wilhelm’s feet quite a few families that a hater would classify as “foreigners” (among them myself, my parents and sister) take photos of the massive monument and statue but mostly enjoy the beautiful and peaceful view underneath: the river, the valley, the old train station at the bottom of the mountain, all look like a miniature landscape of a model railway. We all love this view.

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