Photo by Ross Angus (Ross_Angus, Flickr CC)
With Al-Qaeda setting its sights on Berlin, I've compiled a few tips on enjoying the Holiday Season safely in a time of media-fueled fear.
1. Do your Christmas shopping in Neukölln. No chance the Islamic fanatics are gonna strike on their home turf. (don't worry, even the New York Times thinks its safe to shop in this "gritty, creative" district). Or else head for the Hanukkah Market at the Jewish Museum. It's indoors and is better guarded than an Israeli-Palestinian border crossing.
2. Talk to the terrorists. It's only through dialogue that we can get this Clash of Civilisations-thing sorted. If you see three bearded men (not to be confused with the Three Wise Men or a gang of Santas) speaking a weird language, try to strike up a conversation with them. Maybe, in a subtle way, quiz them on their feelings about democracy, burkas and the German Constitution. Or kindly offer to introduce them to Christian holiday traditions like Lebkuchen and going nuts at KaDeWe. If they're reluctant to talk, call the cops! (these tips are courtesy of Ehrhart Körting, Berlin interior minister. Thanks bro!)
3. Celebrate your Christmas online, i.e. without leaving the house. Order your Xmas dinner from a delivery service. Send virtual goods to your friends like those little animated hearts that you see on Facebook. Or get into "social shopping" with services like Berlin start-up FriendFund – a nifty service you Scrooges can use to team up with your pals to buy your other pals stuff like a bungy jump from the Park Inn Hotel. All terror-free. And you're "buying local", you conscientious hipster.
4. Buy a gun. Okay, sadly, you won't be able to carry your concealed weapon to crowded Christmas markets. But you will be able to exercise your freedom to shoot stuff at the Schützenverein Mitte. And that will make you feel pretty good. And that's exactly what the terrorists want to take away from us!
5. Take solace in the odds. Let's face it: a bomb attack might happen, but it probably won't happen to you or anyone you know. Who knows where they get these stats from but the US National Safety Council estimates that you're 12,571 times more likely to die from cancer than from a terrorist attack. I'd like to add that, based on my own research, Berlin kids are far more likely to overdose on marzipan Bällchen than die in a terrorist attack.
Relieved? Now go shop, eat, drink and be merry!