As I’ve been preparing myself for my flight to Germany I can’t help but feel nervous and excited for this year abroad to come. These last couple of weeks however have made me think I should be in fear more than anything. Germany has fallen victim to attacks inspired by the extremist group, ISIS (the Islamic State), and the attacks have been so random that I don’t know what I should be expecting.
In the time I’ve invested informing myself about Germany I have learned that Germany is a fairly safe country. After World War II, the German people have attempted to remind themselves of the atrocities that can be caused by fear and hate. They have created monuments, museums, art, memorials, etc. so as to never forget how much harm a few angry people and a mass of bystanders can cause an entire population of people. Germany has passed laws criminalizing the Nazi flag, hate crimes, and have passed gun control laws, along with putting together a curriculum that educates the population of the Holocaust.
The way human society works, though, is that with every movement comes a back lash. In the last year or so Germany has given asylum to many Syrian, Afghan, and other middle eastern countries’ refugees, when other nations have turned them away. Most German citizens, however, aren’t too happy to bear the weight of these people’s poverty and suffering and so they have turned to a new conservative party, the AfD. And that’s the backlash. I’m sure neo-Nazis will take to the streets and make demonstrations of the innocent refugees, to make them pay for what a few have done. It’s not just the ignorance and hate of ISIS that makes me fear for my well-being, it is also the ignorance and hate of some of the German people themselves.
I don’t know what to expect but I do know that hate and fear can only be conquered with love and understanding. I am looking forward to learning about every aspect that makes Germany what it is, what it has become, and what it is becoming. With an open heart and an open mind I hope to conquer my own fears and to grow.