Remove Donald Trump as President Without Delay.

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It’s no secret that Donald Trump is touted as the most disliked President of the United States and his policies have isolated many of the country’s (even long time allies), as well as the rest of the American people. After all, the only people that are benefitting from his policies are the under-educated and the rural communities, which explains the reason behind him winning the US Elections in terms of the electoral vote despite losing by a landslide by the popular vote.

Yet given the current trend in his presidency, especially as he enters his third month in office, it’s becoming clear that his policy-making and executive orders are for his own interest instead of his own, and that more and more opposition is accruing at an alarming rate. With scandals and investigations looming and many people afraid of their lives and their futures, it is high time that measures are taken to remove him from office without delay and call for re-elections, finding a real candidate that is able to address the problems affecting the country and the rest of the world. Among other things include health care, infrastructure and the environment/ climate change.

This flyer has been circulating throughout the social network that calls for that, plus shooting down pleas of people to give Trump a chance for that particular reason. Read the post, and if you agree, sign it in the comment section, and spread the word through other social networks, including (and especially) twitter, so that the President knows that he is not welcomed in Washington, DC and he’s better off taking his business elsewhere. Whether it is on his own will or by legal force, Donald J. Trump must go and we deserve a chance for a President who can tackle the real issues:

This is where I stand. The 45th President, his power hungry cronies taking positions of authority in his Cabinet and administration, and the majority of Republicans in Congress are a real and active threat to me, my way of life, and all or most of the people I love.
Some people are saying that we should give Trump a chance, that we should “work together” with him because he won the election and he is “everyone’s president.”
This is my response:
•I will not forget how badly he and so many others treated former President Barack Obama for 8 years…Lies about his legitimacy and hatred for his principles and his attempts to work within the system.
•I will not support the degradation of women.
•I will not “work together” to privatize Medicare, cut Social Security and Medicaid.
•I will not “work together” to build a wall.
•I will not “work together” to persecute Muslims.
•I will not “work together” to shut out refugees from other countries.
•I will not “work together” to lower taxes on the 1% and increase taxes on the middle class and poor.
•I will not “work together” to help Trump use the Presidency to line his pockets and those of his family and cronies.
•I will not “work together” to weaken and demolish environmental protection.
•I will not “work together” to sell American lands, especially National Parks, to companies which then despoil those lands.
•I will not “work together” to enable the killing of whole species of animals just because they are predators, or inconvenient for a few, or because some people want to get their thrills killing them.
•I will not “work together” to remove civil rights from anyone.
•I will not “work together” to alienate countries that have been our allies for as long as I have been alive.
•I will not “work together” to slash funding for education.
•I will not “work together” to take basic assistance from people who are at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder.
•I will not “work together” to get rid of common sense regulations on guns.
•I will not “work together” to eliminate the minimum wage.
•I will not “work together” to support so-called “Right To Work” laws, or undermine, weaken or destroy Unions in any way.
•I will not “work together” to suppress scientific research, be it on climate change, fracking, or any other issue where a majority of scientists agree that Trump and his supporters are wrong on the facts.
•I will not “work together” to criminalize abortion or restrict health care for women.
•I will not “work together” to increase the number of nations that have nuclear weapons.
•I will not “work together” to put even more “big money” into politics.
•I will not “work together” to violate the Geneva Convention.
•I will not “work together” to give the Ku Klux Klan, the Nazi Party and white supremacists a seat at the table, or to normalize their hatred.
•I will not “work together” to deny health care to people who need it.
•I will not “work together” to deny medical coverage to people on the basis of a “pre-existing condition.”
•I will not “work together” to increase voter suppression.
•I will not “work together” to normalize tyranny.
I will not “work together” to eliminate or reduce ethical oversight at any level of government.
•I will not “work together” with anyone who is, or admires, tyrants and dictators.
•I will not support anyone that thinks it’s OK to put a pipeline to transport oil on Sacred Ground for Native Americans. And, it would run under the Missouri River, which provides drinking water for millions of people. An accident waiting to happen.
I will not “work together” to legitimize racism, sexism, and authoritarianism.
This is my line, and I am drawing it.
•I WILL stand for honesty, love, respect for all living beings, and for the beating heart that is the center of Life itself.
•I WILL use my voice and my hands, to reach out to the uninformed, and to anyone who will LISTEN:
That “winning”, “being great again”, “rich” or even “beautiful” is nothing… When others are sacrificed to glorify its existence.

Sign your name in the comment section and where you are locate and share with others, so that they get the word. Use all weapons available to make it happen.

Thank you! 🙂

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Genre of the Week: Alternative Für Deutschland by Jennifer Rostock

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Source: Pistenwof/Festival of Summer/Wikimedia  Link: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AJennifer_Rostock-7.jpg

Founded in 2007, the band Jennifer Rostock has its origins that are considered unique. It features Jennifer Weist and Joe Walter, both natives of Usedom, located in the German state of Mecklenburg-Pommerania, who were childhood friends and gifted musicians. They later met fellow members Alex Voigt, Baku Kohl and Chris Deckert in Berlin and Werner Krumme while at a music workshop in Rostock. Their style of music consists of a combination of punk, electro-pop and Berlin-rock and since their founding, they have become popular on the German rock music scene, having released seven albums and toured in the German-speaking countries so far; that despite having songs released in German and English.

However, despite their punk lifestyle, they also have a world view on politics and have been engaged recently as more and more people are leaving the traditional German parties of the Social Democrats (SPD) and Christian Democrats (CDU) and joining the far-right party the AfD (Alternativ für Deutschland), whose policies consists of tax relief for the rich, less money for social and health care and banning Muslims and other groups from living in Germany- including stopping the influx of refugees entering Germany. With local elections to take place in Mecklenburg-Pommerania and Brandenburg this fall and on the eve of the federal elections next year, this band has taken an unusual approach to their music style by combining political propaganda and piano and producing a sing provoking the people to think before voting and/or even joining the AfD. Check out this video that was released recently:

Being short and to the point, each statement about the AfD and their policies are presented in an advertised form but with Weist having the confrontational gesture indicating that unless a person wants a brawl, and has the mentality of a Nazi that they should join the AfD, unless they have some time to think about it first and look for other party alternatives. The song is similar to all the campaigns that are going on in the United States, especially between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Speaking from an American expat’s point of view, such a provokative song would go great for people seriously thinking about voting for Donald Trump, whose policies are exactly the same as that of the party led by Frauke Petry- no immigration, expulsion of minorities out of the US, the return to isolation (which would be a first since the 1920s), and having a wall along the Mexican and Canadian border. This in addition to controlling the media and the freedom of speech among the American people. It makes me wonder how Weist and Co. would craft their song in English and address it to the public similar to that what she is doing for her people in the north of Germany. Music is powerful and controls the mind and hearts of those who listen to it, influencing them on what they think and sometimes do. It can be peaceful, but it can present a type of music that is classical but whose lyrics make it unusual and stunning. The AfD song by Jennifer Rostock may be considered a propaganda song supporting the party, but it has the typical German warning that you see in pharmaceutical commercials:

Zum Risiko und Nebenwirkung, lesen Sie die Packungsbeilage und Fragen Sie Ihren Artz oder Apotheke (Talk to your doctor or pharmacy about the risks and side effects of taking this medication)

For this song, which has won the Genre of the Week Awards, the first international Award by the Files, the slogan behind the song about the Alternative for Germany party goes along the following lines (something that voters in Meck-Pomm, Brandenburg and the rest of Germany should consider before going to the polls:

Zum Risiko und Nebenwirkung, lesen Sie über die politische Partei und ihre Agenda und fragen Sie die Experten. (Talk to the experts and read about the political party you are voting for).

Or in American English: Thinking about voting for the AfD? You better know what you’re getting into.

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Should Jennifer Rostock decide to write and sing about Donald Trump, what should go in there? It should be similar to what she sang about the AfD. Go to her website (here) and offer your suggestions. 🙂

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Raddeln Unterwegs Mit Dem Radler

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Sunday afternoon on a bike trail going through the Black Forest. You and a group of campers carrying backpacks are on the trail with their bikes, each one with an Alsterwasser (EN: lemon sherry)  in his hand, all are quatsching about black bears purging their campgrounds with one of them carrying away a Coleman cooler full of beer with the handle in his mouth, another making his home in a kiddie pool cooling off, and another one chasing the campers on their bikes out of the forest- and through the windows of a liquour store- all underage and their bikes banged up in the end! All of the sudden, as one of the campers was talking about how the bear threw his bike over the fence and onto the property owned by a steel thief (who snatches the bike and tries selling the parts for the price of scrap metal),  you ask him if he is insured. The answer is no, but the response comes as follows: “You better because we have a beer on the trail!”   Looking ahead, anticipating that it was a case of the best Lammsbräu Radler, they see a great big black bear in the middle of the trail! And he is indeed guarding the Lammsbräu, wanting to try it because of its sweetness.

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By Diginatur (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

As an annoyed native speaker of English, on the run for your life as the bear chases you and the campers, your response: “That is not a beer, you idiot! That was a BEAR!!! Bear as in Bae- AAA- ERRRR!”

As a baffled camper, he responds with (______________).

While the campers are on the run with a bear on their tails, their only true insurance is the fact that they are on their bikes and can cycle as fast as they can. Otherwise they would have to climb up a tree. But while the bear story reminds the non-native speaker of English (esp. the German-speaking people) that there is a difference between bear and beer, both phonetically speaking as well as semantic-wise, our topic for this article is cycling in Germany and ways to keep your bike safe from even the craziest of thieves.

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As I wrote last year in the Files, the bicycle is the second most common form of transportation in Germany behind public transport. Over 72 million residents in Germany own a bike, whereas 40.2% of bikers use this precious form of transportation on a daily basis. 49.5% of users take the bike at least once a week.  Like the Danes who bike in Copenhagen and other cities, the bike is, to the Germans, also like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Bread is just not good enough with butter. Peanut butter is OK if you want to offer the conductor of the Deutsche Bahn that as a peace-offering for not having a train ticket in your possession (because the ticket machine at the station you left is kaputt). But with jelly, it’s sweet. Biking is almost free, you are independent and can get from point A to point B. You can see the rarest places on the narrow streets of Flensburg, bike along the Baltic-North Sea Canal from coast to coast and see ships and bridges galore. You can take your family camping just by crossing the Fehmarn Bridge from Bad Oldesloe and Oldenburg and camp at one of the island’s several campgrounds, while biking from the bridge to the ferry at Puttgarden in a matter of a half hour. In other words, biking is healthy, easy and fun.

Yet speaking from experience, when something happens to your bike, whether it is theft or vandalism, it takes away the fun from the form of transport, like a person switching your peanut butter and jelly sandwich with one with just butter or peanut butter. It’s simply not good.  A while back, I had a chance to ask some bike experts and other bike enthusiasts about how they can keep their bikes safe, I had a few answers that will surprise you. Here are some facts that will help you keep your bike safe and in use for many years to come.

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Typical of a used bike. This one I had while living in Bayreuth in 2009.

Buy a used bike while in a city- This fact is the norm if living in a big city, like Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt or even the Ruhr Area. Bike thefts are more common as the population increases. Therefore it is unwise to present yourself with a brand new Stevens bike when commuting to work in a big city unless you have extra protection. Used bikes are inexpensive and if you know how to repair it properly, it can last a long time.

Learn to fix your bike yourself- While there are some parts, such as a tire rim, gear system or even the lighting system where you need professional experts to fix, sometimes incremental fixes, such as replacing a tire, oiling the chains, replacing the headlight and odometer can save a trip to the bike shop. If you are a novice, a repair book or even some advice from a friend who fixes bikes can help.

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Tune your bike regularily- If you bike long distances- be it commuting or going on bike tours- it is important to have your bike inspected to ensure that any problems detected can be solved right away. Pending on how often you bike, inspections are best done 3-4 times a year, especially if you bike in the winter time. Trust me, people bike in the snow to work in the winter time. I’ve done this myself.

Insure your bike- Germany is not like Switzerland when it comes to insurance. While that country obliges you to have the Vignette, Germany may end up using the Swiss example in the near future, for even though insurance is not obligatory unless you have Haftpflicht to protect your bike from theft at home, it is wise to have it just in case. This includes the ARAG and DEVK, which has a complete coverage of bike insurance, covering you from theft and accidents. Other insurances have this as part of their main insurance plan. You should check this out when you have a bike and are often on the trail with it.

Keep your proof of evidence- For reasons stated in the next tip, when buying your bike, make sure you keep your proof of purchase and all information pertaining to it. In case anything happens to the bike, you may need it. Sometimes the bike store where you purchased it may have that information in their databank in case you don’t have it on hand.

Code your bike- Steel and rubber are becoming the commodity that thieves and desperados are taking advantage of, both shamelessly as well as professionally. That’s why the police encourage  you to code your bike so that the information is registered in the files and in case your bike gets stolen, they can track it down in a hurry.  They are effective, and a person can get his/her bike back without having to worry about buying a new one, as seen in the clip. The only caveat to this is by the time the bike is found, all that is left is the frame as the rest are taken for the purpose of (….). If a person is desperate to steal a rubber handle of a bike horn, he/she is willing to do everything. But being safe than sorry, coding means security against such theft. The police and other authorities have coding sessions on a regular basis, so ask if you are interested.

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Know your bike- Most victims of bike theft don’t know their bike is stolen until it’s too late. One second the bike is in the bike stand, the next second it is stolen. If this happens and you report it to the police right away (which you should), make sure you know your bike and its description to the finest detail. This includes providing a photo of your bike, however, it also includes what your bike has for features, such as the brand, color, features but also other items, such as dirt, scratches, stickers, etc. A few months back, my bike was stolen, forcing me to report it to the police. I was amazed at the number of features I could remember on my bike, as seen in the picture above- can you identify some unusual features my bike has? …..

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Know your neighbors and contact them- Your neighbors are a primary commodity, especially when they see you cycling and know what bike you have. Therefore, in case something happens to your bike, inform them right away. They will keep their eyes out and ensure that your bike is safe and sound. Most of the time, they are willing to cooperate with the police and other authorities should the theft be reported and that be a necessity.  I was fortunate that one of my neighbors in the apartment block, who had been informed of someone stealing the bike, found it a few blocks away while I was reporting the incident. However not all stories have happy endings. Therefore, take good care of your bike and….

Lock your bike if not in use- It takes a second for your bike to disappear. It is stupid to have your bike stolen- stupider when you don’t lock it beforehand. Two seconds with a key saves a whole day at the police station reporting it, period.

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Flensburg Points apply to the bike- Like the car, the bike is a vehicle and therefore, the rules of the road apply to the cyclists, even if they are on the bike-autobahn and other bike trails. Obey and you won’t have to pay for a Flensburg point.

Use your head, wear a helmet!- While some people believe helmets can be harmful than helpful, here’s one story a professor mentioned to his students at the beginning of a lecture, a while back: On his way to his lecture, he was involved in an accident with a car. He suffered a concussion after the impact but survived thanks to the helmet he wore. Can you imagine what would have happened had he NOT worn a helmet? If you are a fool, try it. But if your life as well as your family and friends matter, then maybe you should think and wear it! 80 Euros for a helmet is better than 80,000 Euros for funeral costs.

Biking can be a lot of fun for yourself as well as the family. Already it is the second main form of transportation behind public transportation, regardless of purpose. It is just a matter of following a few points regarding taking care of the bike, and the vehicle can be your friend for life. Bikes deserve to be treated just like a horse. They can get you from point A to point B, but they deserve the treatment as any pet- or car. If the bike fails and you are tired of it, give it to someone else, or do like I did to a used one: tie it to a light post and allow someone to take it for his own. It was a custom I invented when leaving a university for another job offer elsewhere in Germany- not just as a way of leaving a mark for what I did there, but for someone willing to take my used bike for his/her purpose, while purchased my current bike, a black Diamant with the name of Galloping Gertie, which has not failed me since then. Sometimes, a good brand name plus good maintenance goes a long way, especially after the thousands of kilometers she has accumulated in such a short time. You can do the same too. 🙂

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The Flensburg Files at the Intercultural Blogger Cafe Conference

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LEIPZIG- More than 35 people from different aspects of the globe were on hand last night at the first annual Intercultural Blogger Conference, which took place at the Poniatowski Polish Bar and Restaurant, located outside the city center of Leipzig. Hosted by Ana Beatriz Ribeiro, founder of the online column Leipzig Glocal, the conference featured presenters of eight different blogs, together with good company among people either from Leipzig or just passing through to visit. Of the eight, the Flensburg Files was one of the blogs being presented by founder Jason D. Smith that evening. However other blogs based in and around Leipzig were presented as well, one of which included a book that was recently released in time for this weekend’s Leipzig Buchmesse. Here are the highlights of the event from the author’s point of view:

The Leipzig Glocal: Ana Beatriz Ribeiro started off the conference with her story about the creation of the Leipzig Glocal, where according to her speech and a video, an English-speaking guide to the events in and around Leipzig was needed, especially for those new to the area. Since its launch in March last year, the Glocal has attracted over 1200 followers on facebook and even more visitors on its website, which you can click here.

Alexandra Köppling talked about the importance of food in Europe and how and where people can find food products (for vegans, organics, etc.) in and around Leipzig, let alone make some yummy entrées, as she contributes to the Glocal as a food correspondant.

Alexander and Juliane Klinger talked about goats and things to do in Leipzig, especially for families with little income, through their blog Heldenstadtbewohner, one of a pair of German-speaking blogs featured at the conference. The audience took very kindly to the goats, asking if they thought about a blog about that as it is a hobby. 🙂

The first presentation that spawned interest and discussion on creating blogs came with the presentation on the Flensburg Files by Jason D. Smith. The origin and development of the Files can be found here. This is minus the film and a couple other tricks. After the presentation there were questions about audience visits and discussions on articles as well as questions and advice to people wanting to create a blog for their interest, such as Italian food recipes, African themes and art. Nice to know that the interest is blogging is really high. 😀

Stewart Tunnicliff (a.k.a. the Linguo Guy) presented a Prezi-style topic on how to create a blog with wordpress, one of the most popular platforms  for blogging. During this most colorful presentation of the evening, Stu walked the audience through the steps of creating a wordpress site, while reemphasizing the importance of “backing up your shit!” In other words, have back-ups and protection against hackers and potential disasters online. 😉 He has two blogs: The Lingo Guy  and The Leipzig Writers.)

The Stadtschwärmer, featuring Babett Börner, Franziska Müller, Katrin Hofmann und Stephanie Schmidt, presented a combination blog and book of their own, one that is highly recommended when visiting Leipzig. In comparison to the mainstream places and events, their most recently released tour guide features the sides of Leipzig that many don’t see except from their point of view. Some of that has to do with the job of two of the members as city planners, the others because of the other blog founded by the other two members of the quartet, going by the name of Kiss and Tell. Some ideas for another book are being sought and created, so stay tuned. 🙂

The last presenter was Kerstin Petermann, who talked about her blog, Peterfrau, an online blog which almost solely focuses on pop music and interviews with musicians. For people loving music, this one is a treat. 🙂

The conference ended with a combination of book exchanges (an article will come afterwards), donations for the event, good food and drink and some lively conversations among presenters and audience members, as well as those interested in creating a blog. One of the lessons learned from this conference is no matter how interested the people are, if one has an idea and will to present a topic to the open, then there is a way to do that, no matter what platform is used and how it is designed. In the end, the best columnists are the ones who are most informed of the topics surrounding them (even if it means looking up some information), and the most confident and able to market onesself to the audience. The more confidence and ways to get your audience’s attention, the more likes and followers you will have. You just need to find out what you like in comparison to what they like (also to read about). For this conference, it gave many, including the author of the Files, an idea on how to further develop their blogs further. For those who have not started one, it gave them a few ideas on how to start theirs.

This leads to my closing remark on this conference, which will continue to be hosted, and to the bloggers out there:

TO BE SUCCESFUL IN LIFE, AIM HIGH AND LET THE HEAVENS DO THE REST! 🙂

The Flensburg Files has a gallery of photos taken by the author and several people who were at the event, with some highlights of the events. Please check back often as more will be added. If you are interested in participating in or helping out on the next blogger convention, please contact Ana Beatriz Ribeiro at the Leipzig Glocal. The contact info is on their webpage.

 

And BTW, the film in connection with the Files’ presentation….. 🙂

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TIP! 🙂  Located on Kreuzstrasse 15 near Augustusplatz, the Poniatowski Bar and Restaurant offers a wide array of Polish food and drink, inlcuding the famous Stille Josef vodka, which comes in many different flavors. (The author tried one with wild berry which was really fruity). The restaurant was named after a patron, who visited the restaurant very often until his untimely death. The owners renamed the place in his honor. To be acquainted with Polish food, drink and culture, as well as know the patron, click here and check it out while visiting Leipzig.

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The world is a beautiful place, full of faces, full of joy, full of laughter and full of character. Each of us has a unique talent, one that is shared and given, but one that is accepted and loved. We are gifted in ways that we sometimes do not realize that until someone notices and embraces it. We try to make our talents grow without having to brag about it. We try to win friends without scaring them away. We try to be famous without being marred by scandals…..

Until it is taken away without notice.

Why do some of us have to leave so soon when……

we have a home to come home to

we have a family to be a family with

we have friends to be friends with

we have work to work off

we have a show to show around

and we have love to be loved by?

We may never know the why, the how and the what of our loss,

We may never understand the cause

We can only keep  in our own memory of all the things you have done

We can only remember you for what you have done

And left a mark in our hearts in the process.

For better or worse, for good times and bad,

For successes and failures, for happiness and sorrow

For a friend and for a foe, for a family and for a neighbor,

You made the best of your talent

But left us too soon, leaving us hollow.

We will remember your voice and your music

But will forever be speechless.

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This poem is written in memory of a classmate who left us too soon. He was not only a popular figure in school in Minnesota, where I attended, but he was a gifted musician, who made the best of his talent and made many people happy in the process. Unfortunately, I was informed of his passing at a very young age. While he and I butt heads on occasion, he was a great person to hang around with in school and had wondered how he was doing since I graduated 20 years ago. For his work, this piece is for him. Click here to listen to his music and for those who knew him, like I did, may he be remembered for the best and worst of times, but most of all, for being a friend and a great.

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In School in Germany: How to Live in Co-existence

The other day, as I was heading to lunch, I happened to find a rather interesting flyer on one of the tables in the cafeteria. Apart from the organization’s purpose of recruiting new people, the question was quite simple. Have a look:

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In the time where many people from these groups are looked down upon because of their appearance, profession, socio-economic and cultural background, intelligence, psychological forthcomings, nationality and personality, we really need to ask ourselves how we are treating them: specifically, how our actions and words have hurt the other one, how we interact towards them, how much knowledge we have on the person and his/her background, how we can solve conflicts of interest and find compromises to bring ourselves to the middle,….

and lastly, how we can find a peaceful co-existence? What does the other one want and what do we want? How can we find the middle and get along, at least?

Therefore, I would like to ask you to think about the following questions and ask yourself:

  1. How do you usually interact with someone you have never met before?
  2. What efforts do you undertake to get to know the person?
  3. Would you learn about the person’s background and culture?
  4. Were you ever in a conflict with that person and how did you solve it?
  5. Did you ever break off ties with the person and if so why?  Do you regret it?
  6. Have you worked in organizations and/or with groups of people of similar features as the person you encountered?
  7. If the person or another person of a similar background would be in trouble, would you provide help or look away?

Even better is when you choose one group and an experience you had with a person(s) from that group and share that with your partner in class. This way you can exchangvarious be your thoughts and ideas, as well as come up with solutions to the probelems you experienced. Through this form of communication and exchange, you can sometimes find that your actions towards a person of a different culture may be be responded differently and cause potential misunderstanding. But when talking about it with someone or joining a club one will get a wider perspective and henceforth will eliminate some of the barriers that had existed before. In many cases, when interacting with a person from a different culture or with a different background, by offering your hand in help and peace in exchange with that of the other makes a big difference when it comes to clearing any misunderstandings that had occurred before.

To close, there is one quote to keep in mind and that is this: How can we deal with people of various backgrounds?  We can be as ignorant as Donald Trump, who chooses to follow Adolf Hitler in his quest to cleanse the US of all Muslims, while getting the weak and ignorant to follow him. Or we can go our own way and be like Hans Küng, who believed that the best solution to all cultural conflict is dialog and openness. While politics is all about running a system dependent on money, this system is run by the people. And it is we  the people, who  have a say in how we run our lives and befriend those who want to befriend us.

 

 

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Christmas Market Tour 2015: Leipzig

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How long does a person take to walk from a major train station to the nearest Christmas market? Let alone bike there? And if you had a long waiting period for the next train, would the Christmas market be worth the visit?  In the case of the Christmas market in Leipzig, located in western Saxony near the border to Saxony-Anhalt, it would not take long at all: five minutes by foot, not even two minutes by bike, and the visit is worth the layover! 🙂  While having a layover at Leipzig Central Station awaiting a train connection, I figured an hour or two at the Christmas market would kill the time needed before moving onto my final destination. Sure, one can see some booths and stores in the station shopping mall, let alone look at seven generations of trains arriving and departing the station platforms…..

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Station Shopping Mall at Leipzig Hbf.
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Two vintage trains- a locomotive and a passenger train- from two different generations on Platform 24 at Leipzig Hbf.

…..the question is would you make haste and see something new from the market or twittle your thumbs for an hour? I wouldn’t. So I left the historic Central Station building- well decorated, even at night, and decided to take a look.

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Leipzig Hbf. (Central Station) at night.

Two minutes later, thanks to my bike companion Galloping Gertie, I was at the first stop at the market: Nikolaikirchhof, where two rows of huts and lots of space to explore can be found next to the church. While rows of huts have mainly eateries and some items traditional of the German Christmas markets, such as candles, Christmas pyramids, hand-made clothing, etc., the setting takes a person back 25 years. The St. Nicholas Church, built in 1165 but rebuilt in the 17th and 18th Centuries, was the site of the famous Monday demonstrations, which took place from 1988, until the Wall fell on 9 November, 1989. The demonstrations continued beyond that until the two Germanys were reunited on 3 October, 1990.  Markers indicating events that occurred during that time can be found throughout much of Leipzig’s City Center near the church as well as along some of the major streets.

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St.Nicholas Church with the huts in the foreground.
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Nikolaikirchhof

Before going further, the Leipzig Christmas market is perhaps one of the most centrally located markets in Germany. It features five markets located inside the ring that surrounds the city center. A map of the market provides you with a background on how centralized the market is (click here).  One will find the markets at Nikolaiplatz, Augustusplatz, Salzgässchen, Grimmaische Strasse and Petersstrasse- all of them  are interconnected. If one was to walk through all of the markets from north to south, or even east to west, without even stopping at any of the stands, one would need at the very most an hour.

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Huss incense cones/oven stand at Petersstrasse

But when you see booths, like this one- an original incense oven where the incense cone in a pan is warmed up with a tea light, coming from the Ore Mountain region- it would be a sin to not visit them.  While one may find them at smaller Christmas markets in the Ore Mountain regions, the Huss stand on Peterstrasse, which sells incense ovens and candles, is one that is a must-see. Located in Sehmatal-Neudorf, the company, founded by Jürgen Huss, has been producing incense cones and ovens for over 85 years and has many commercials on how to have an enjoyable Christmas, like this one:

 

You can find more episodes here.

But of course, it is along the same street where one can find the St. Marienthal booth, where one can purchase a local microbrew and other local goods, with proceeds going to the church and its activities. The microbrew comes in regular and dark, both having a rather herbal taste. A fruit mulled wine (Glühwein) stand is also located a couple huts away towards the Market Place where one can try various flavored mulled wine, locally made.  And while the row of huts along the street end after 300 meters, one should marvel at the architecture of the city center, as countless restored buildings can be found not only along this street, but in many areas of Leipzig’s city center. This includes the Deutsche Bank building, which was built at about the same time as the bank’s founding in 1872.

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Going north, to the market at Marktplatz, one can assume that with the setting: a Christmas tree with a manger set with rows of huts with unifor colors of acorn brown in front of the town hall, the scenery is typical of the Christmas market in Germany.

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Guess again!

This part of the market in Leipzig is not only the fanciest in terms of design but also the most multi-cultural and perhaps the healthiest and most natural of the markets in the city. Fanciest because of the huts being decorated with garland, connected with green arch settings making it look like a person was walking through a green tunnel looking at finest products.

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But the multi-cultural part comes from the various stands selling goods originating from France, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, Austria, Ukraine, Iceland, Scandanavia and parts of Africa. Much of which has to do with food, such as fudge, licorice or even the Galette- a cross between La Croque Madame and Crepes. Made of buckwheat dough, one can choose his topping, such as eggs, rucola, cheese or other vegetables, before folding the crepes dough into four corners as seen below:

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The French saleswoman, knowing that I was American by my accent and that I was a writer, convinced me to try it.  All I can say is, healthy and highly recommended if one digs French specialties and healthy foods. 🙂 ❤

And while the market is also the hub for various types of hand-bread and stollen, mostly made from Dresden (although based on the popular recipe and not that of Naumburg’s), one section of the market that is a must-see are the healthy natural products…..

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….and they do not necessarily refer to the corn on the cob, as I saw entering the Markt from Grimmaische Strasse. Nor odes it only refer to the fruit and vegetable stand. It refers to the organic and home-grown products. This is where Fairgourmet comes in. Located on the northwest side of the market, Fairgourmet has its headquarters in the western suburb of Leipzig, but its main focus is selling only products produced locally. This includes a wide selection of spices and beverages. However their specialty is selling the unknown products that one normally does not see at other markets. This includes stollen in a glass jar, jams with bergamot and quitten flavors, and even bread spreads with various vegetables, such as red beet, orange and pepper, shalotte, pumpkin and ginger, or even parsley, apple and mustard. One will not see these spreads on the table during a traditional German cold-plate dinner, but they are worth a try- and a perfect gift idea. ❤ ❤

The lone caveat with this market is its narrowness of the rows going between the huts, thus making it difficult to look at the places at night because of the mass of people. This is speaking from experience visiting the market both in the afternoon as well as the evening of the same day. Therefore, it is recommended to see the market and shop for the product in the daytime to keep the flow going. If compared with the other sections, especially the one at Augustusplatz, the one at Markt is probably the crowdest at night, except at the eastern entrance where the tree and manger set are located. There one can find a nearly life-size set made of metal, with the depiction of the birth of Jesus Christ, all under the Christmas. It is a site to see, even among the children.

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Moving away from the market along Grimmaische Strasse, one will see a row of huts dividing the street into two parts, allowing for passage  in either direction. There one will find mostly goods from the region in Saxony and Thuringia, including the bratwurst, Glühwein, Glühbier (mulled beer) and Baumkuchen, a cylinder layer cake resembling a tree trunk. One stand in particular that sells this is one located in Zschopau, where local Baumkuchen of many types and size can be found there.

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One can also see a similar setting along Salzgässchen, where many stands selling local pastries, roasted nuts and the like can be found, together with a double-decker carousel and a Ferris Wheel- and this in addition to the cafès and restaurants found along this stretch.  Finally, there is the largest of the five markets- Augustusplatz, where a combination of amusement, fairy tales from the Grimm Brothers, and Finnish folklore meet, providing entertainment for visitors of all ages. Featuring the largest Ferris Wheel at the market, Augustusplatz has a great background setting, as the market is in front of the Opera House. One can see the market from the opposite end of the market along Grimmaische Strasse. It may take 10 minutes by foot, but the stay is well worth it. 🙂l24

Inspite of the maze of historic architecture the city center features, the Christmas market in Leipzig combines localities, history, culture and delicious delicacies, into one, placing them all inside the ring and making them really accessible. It is a market that is pleasing to the tourists because of rows of huts against the backdrop of historic buildings, and from my visit, very convenient to get to. Everything that is typical of the city is inside the ring encircling the city center, thus making the market the place to see. A word of advice to the next traveler passing through Leipzig having a long layover: If you have an hour to spare, visit the city and its historic city center. Especially during Christmas one should take the time to visit the city’s Christmas markets. Believe me, an hour layover in Leipzig exploring the city center is better than waiting at the train station. That is, unless you want to see ICE’s arriving and leaving on the Neubaustrecke Leipzig-Erfurt, that is…. 😉

Information on the new line can be found in the Newsflyer here.

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The author would like to thank the crew at the newspaper Leipziger Glocal for providing some further tips regarding places to visit at the Leipzig Christmas market. To subscribe to the Glocal for further news coverage in and around Leipzig in the English language, click here.

Also useful is a website on Leipzig’s food culture, the Leipziger Lebensmittelpunkt. While much of the article has to do with Leipzig’s local specialties and other foods from different countries, this blog provides you with a look at that plus many current event themes affecting Leipzig, all of which in German. More here and you can subscribe as well.

Apart from the architectural scene, one can look at the art scene in Leipzig by clicking here.

And lastly, there are more photos of the Christmas market taken by the author, which you can see on the Files’ facebook page. Click here to have a look. 🙂

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