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Berlin is not Afraid

Terroristen dieser Welt, schaut auf diese Stadt!

Our 9/11 reflexes are alive and well, but is the tragedy of Berlin really a national crisis?

Running a lorry into a crowded Christmas market was an attack on our lifestyle and insofar it transcends Berlin. But the magnitude of the tragedy warrants individual solidarity, not a national uproar. Our thoughts should be with the families of those we have lost. Yet this is not a moment to rally around the flag - because when disaster does strike, these "9/11 reflexes" will be worn out from the almost daily routine of mourning the dead of terrorist attacks in cities around the world.

If attacks such as these are becoming the new normal, we need to start calibrating our rhetorical coping strategies to the extent of the drama on the ground. Not all attacks are the same, and we shouldn't jump so quickly at these occasions to proclaim a "national moment". Escalated responses such as these should be reserved to larger-scale attacks, or we risk overburdening (and politicizing, and ultimately emptying) remembrance with the construction of a national narrative.

Thank you everybody for reaching out. But let's not get carried away. Yesterday night, the city remained calm, reasonable and fundamentally cheerful. Despite what some media outlets might project to you living in other parts of the country or the world: This is not a city under siege. This is not a metropolis at war.

Resilience is not about emotional exaggeration, it is about a degree of stoicism and rationality. So, keep calm and carry on.

Christian E. Rieck and Jörg Wolf are the editors of Atlantic Review


You can follow M.v. Aufschnaiter on Twitter

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