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Seymour Gris: The Greens’ new bugbear, the “tourist”

In Kreuzberg the Greens are showing their worst side with a new campaign against "Touris" that is absolutely antithetical to what Berlin is supposed to be all about – multi-kulti. Why do people always whine when they get what they want?

Image for Seymour Gris: The Greens' new bugbear, the
Photo by Stuart Braun

If you’re reading this, you’re probably one of the “post-tourism tourists” we wrote about last summer: You Easyjetted over to Berlin for a weekend, loved it, you stayed a while, now you live here. Unwittingly, you were part of the “New Berlin” – international, open to foreign cultures and foreign people, part of the ever-changing urban experiment of Berlin.

Not anymore. To the Greens of Kreuzberg, you’re a “Touri” and are ruining the neighbourhood with your drunken escapades in the Wrangelkiez, sitting around on the Admiralsbrücke, pushing up rents – and squeezing out small businesses – by frequenting trendy bars on Schlesische Straße and by producing noise, havoc and trash everywhere you go.

The Kreuzberg Greens have latched onto a feeling common in travel hotspots around the world.

The Greens of all people. In their new campaign, the Greens – exhibiting the typical superiority-complex of those who “got there first” – call for quality, “sustainable” tourism: for example, with restaurants with food from farms in the region. If it was up to them, Imbisse would be replaced by pleasant bio-cafés and fair-trade souvenir shops – with a few quiet, obedient political asylum seekers from places like Iran thrown in for colour. Kreuzberg would be transformed into a quiet, ecologically correct neighbourhood like the detested Prenzlauer Berg. That’s not what we want is it?

Gentrification and noise – of course they are a problem. But lashing out against Touris, i.e. foreigners is dangerous territory. It goes against everything Berlin now stands for internationally: tolerance, diversity, freedom. And it could be bad for business. Despite improvements, Berlin is still hopelessly broke. It needs every Touri-euro it can get.

People, you wanted a Weltstadt. Well now you’ve got one.