Meeting Point of the World
Sparkling high risers made
of glass, steel and reflections of concrete: Is this New York? Downtown
LA? No, it is Frankfurt on the Main, meeting point of bankers, lawyers, brokers
and traders. With the exceptions of the few tourists strewn here and there,
conversations circulate around equity markets, banking and capital investment.
Since Brexit, foreign banks have relocated Frankfurt. Compared to London,
the city reminds one of a provincial outpost. The license to operate in
Germany (and elsewhere in the European Union), is attractive to non-European
banks: Instead of negotiating 27 bilateral agreements to do business in Europe,
they would only have to negotiate one.
Engulfing the main train station is the
Bahnhofsviertel. It is by far the most diverse district in the
country. About 58% of the population are migrants from other cultural
backgrounds and upbringings. 156 nationalities live here side by side.
Yesterday I wandered through the streets, lost somehow, but also open eyed towards
the life around me. One discovers the Persian grocery store, the African
hair dresser, or an Indian cleaning lady at the Turkish bakery, chatting to the
owner about her family in German.
In the city center, a Syrian family sings a
song from their old homeland with joyful and resounding energy. Their
journey was a remarkable one. Like many others, they made it to Germany
by bus, train, ferry, but mostly by foot. When they arrived in Munich, they were
greeted warmly and ushered to Frankfurt, the meeting point of the world.
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There are problems here -
as there are everywhere in the world - but Germany's approach is not to isolate
people, but to toss them right into the colorful life. Yes, we can say plenty
about the German rules and laws, the petty bourgeoisie and the narrow-mindedness,
but I also feel a certain pride... Germany like no other country in the world
has accepted more than a million of refugees
and is working hard to integrate its new citizens into society. (Source: Amnesty International)
Germany certainly has its
dark sides, but if you look closely you can see humanity - once lost during
the Second World War - sprouting from the cracks of the past.
All names, characters, and incidents portrayed in this blog are fictitious. No identification with actual persons, places, buildings, and products is intended or should be inferred. © All rights reserved.