#7: No freedom day, Alex vigil, climate strike, FlexTicket
Fridays for Future are back and commuters get a new ticket that looks like an old day ticket.
less than a week to go till the “super-election”. Finally, the Merkel tributes will cease and it will be time for Germans to let go of the longest standing and only-ever female chancellor and take a leap into the unknown. Actually, they’ll probably jump into the arms of the current vice-chancellor, Olaf Scholz (SPD). But will they call him “Papa” the way they called Merkel “Mutti”?
Or perhaps CDU hopeful Armin Laschet will pull it off after all. We all thought his goose was cooked, but some polls now put him within striking distance. Maybe this stirring Seven Nation Army-inspired song performed by his younger supporters instilled him with new vigour.
Anyway, here’s what’s going on in Berlin.
Maurice & Andrew
The Berlin corona stats for Tuesday, September 21
Fully vaccinated: 63% (62.6% Friday)
New cases in one day: 578 (492 Friday)
Total deaths: 3,619 (+4 over Friday)
🟡 7-day Covid-19 incidence (cases per 100,000): 75.7 (83.4 Friday)
🟢 7-day hospitalization incidence (also per 100,000): 1.9 (1.9 Friday)
🟡 Covid-19 ICU patient occupancy: 8.3% (7.6% Friday)
Source: Berlin’s corona information page
Mayor: Too soon for “freedom day”
Andreas Gassen, head of the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (Kassenärztlichen Bundesvereinigung), a powerful association representing German doctors, caused a stir Friday when he proposed lifting all corona restrictions on October 30. In a newspaper interview, Gassen said: "Based on the experiences in the UK, we should have the courage to do what has worked on the island. So what we need now is a clear announcement from politicians: In six weeks, it's Freedom Day here too!"
German leaders were not amused, including our mayor, Michael Müller (SPD), who said the vaccination rate was still too low (67.3% of Germans have had at one jab) and hoped that in the autumn the un-vaccinated would begin to understand the benefits of getting a Covid shot.
Vigil for trans woman at Alexanderplatz
On Sunday around 200 people gathered at Alex to remember Ella, a trans woman originally from Iran who set herself on fire on the square last Tuesday and later died in hospital. People laid flowers and several speakers talked about the discrimination that trans people continue to experience in Berlin and Germany, taz reported. “This shit happened here in Berlin!” one speaker said. “Our deaths are political! How many trans people have to die before our lives are taken seriously?"
Climate hunger strike
In the run-up to the Sunday election and in sync with a global climate strike, Fridays for Future has planned a large climate protest in Berlin for Friday. Meanwhile, a small group of activists aged 18-27 who have been on a hunger strike in the government district since 30 August have threatened to switch to a “dry strike” (meaning they will even stop drinking fluids) if their demand for a public meeting with the three main chancellor candidates isn’t met by Thursday. The CDU, SPD and Green campaigns have said their candidates are prepared to meet with the strikers invididually and in private after the election.
New FlexTicket in 2022
Regional transport association VBB says a new type of ticket will go on sale next year. The FlexTicket is actually a bundle of eight 24-hour AB tickets for €44 (or €5.50 each). The new offer is a response to people’s changing mobility needs, post-corona - i.e. the fact that fewer people are heading into the office every day. Seems a little complicated. Wouldn’t cheaper single tickets be more straightforward?
Ethnological exhibition opens at Humboldt Forum
A new exhibition presenting objects from Berlin’s Ethnological Museum and Museum for Asian Art opens in the Humboldt Forum on Thursday. This will be the heart of the new culture centre in the rebuilt palace on Museum Island. Historians and activists have been highly critical of displaying “colonial booty” in a reconstruction of the residence of the Kaisers responsible for Germany’s violent colonial endeavours. However, it appears that the curators have done some homework and put the issue of how many of the objects were acquired during the colonial era front and centre. But Berlin’s museums are probably only at the beginning of this reappraisal. It’s almost certain that Berlin’s collection of Benin Bronzes (plundered by British soldiers from the Kingdom of Benin) will be returned to modern-day Nigeria - and as provenance research continues, it’s likely to unveil more uncomfortable truths about how artworks ended up in Berlin.
Save the date: Female Filmmakers Festival Berlin
20% Berlin is an official supporter of the third annual Female Filmmakers Festival Berlin (FFFB), from October 6-10 at Moviemento Kino, Factory Kreuzberg and Soho House. The non-profit Female Filmmakers Festival Berlin e.V. amplifies and showcases creative works of women in film, music, and digital media from across the globe. All films will be screened in their original version with English subtitles. For more information visit www.fffberlin.org.