Sunday, 9 July 2017


I wake up again to the sound of helicopters. For almost a week they have been circulating the skies above Hamburg this last weekend three or more at a time. I take my immediate response “this has got to be the last day” as a refusal to accept this as normality, but my dystopian imagination spreads like a bitter taste in my mouth immediately. What do we here in Germany know about states of emergencies? Is this a glimpse of how it feels like when paradigms change? The shock of violence at the brink of my comfort zone? 

the smoke of burning cars on Friday morning in Altona

I shrug off my goose bumps and turn over to reach for my device to check what happened last night. Again outbreaks of violence in Schanzenviertel, but no one died. At least that.
The Schanze is a quirky area with a leftist cultural center that has been under scrutiny before as it’s a squat for over 30 years now and the investor who bought the building wanted to make use of his property. The protests ended in a state of emergency for a couple of days in 2014. While usually those protests are met with support from the local agents of gentrification, the violence there this time may change the attitude and lead to more polarization and discredit those who legitimately resist the sell-out of alternative places.
And while the black block spared the inner city shopping district with all its global corporations as well as the villa-lined affluent areas, they demolished their very own strong-hold.

Time will tell where this is going. 
"black block" seen at Große Bergstraße, Altona

The helicopter noise has ebbed. The president drops by today to sweep up the shards.  

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