To all of you out there who have been following the news about the G 20 summit and everything that’s happened around it, a few words from me at TANDEM Hamburg, right in the centre.
Do I have to be afraid to go to Hamburg?
If you see media coverage and social media agitation here at Facebook and elsewhere of things going on this weekend, you may have the impression that the city has become a ‘NO GO Area’, where you as a visitor must fear for your life.
Don’t believe the panic preachers.
The mindless, stupid, violent and totally inacceptable riots of last weekend (driven by an excess of testosterone rather than a political agenda) have not changed the world, neither have they changed us.
This city is not an unsafe or dangerous place.
We have seen the largest demonstrations in Hamburg, organised by various organisations, most of them driven by the conviction that many of the politicians assembled here for the G 20 summit need to be reminded of important issues such as climate change, human rights, immigration, oppression and poverty.
Demos are an expression of our freedom of speech, and this is a human right.
In many countries, many of which were represented at the summit, human rights are not respected, and the mere attempt to go out and speak your mind will be suppressed, protesters will be imprisoned or lose their lives. Not so here. We can go out in the streets.
The vast majority of demonstrations were peaceful, imaginative, impressive manifestations of our civil rights.
Some were not.
What happened here leaves many of us speechless and angry.
But now, as the smoke is clearing, and those blasted idiots clad in black have left the town or changed back into their ‘respectable’ daytime clothes, the mess is also being cleared.
Hamburg has a reputation of being an open, cosmopolitan, welcoming place, and I have no doubt it’s going to stay that way.
Welcome to Hamburg, my home town.