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I've had a refreshingly different weekend in Amsterdam. Riding my bike alongside the Grachten, chatting with rational people, sleeping late for a few days (many, many thanks to Andrej and the others who helped sitting the children), and finally discussing other things than terrorism and its countermeasures.

The return journey was a pretty good example how different abstractly knowing about something and having to experience it oneself is. I went by train, riding the incredibly low-priced IC that goes directly from Amsterdam Central to Berlin, main station. The train was pretty crowded. It stopped in Bad Bentheim near the German-Dutch border, which on the journey to Amsterdam I only noticed insofar as they turn off everything there, including the heating, so it's enjoyably quiet for some time. On the journey back my ears recognized a very familiar commanding tone and I noticed a few green uniforms at the end of the waggon. Since there shouldn't be any border controls any more, I was quite surprised. "Well," I thought, "they're probably still searching for drugs, like in the past."

On the seat next to me there was a black man with a very businesslike outward appearance. Everybody else was white. The guys in green uniforms steadily came towards us, looking to the left and to the right, and where do they stop and ask for ID? Exactly. I knew before that that's the way they do it, but as I was sitting right next to it, I thought this was too extreme. It's just so openly racist, picking the one black person from the whole non-subdivided passenger compartment. Not only this, they also verified his ID on the phone and he had to explain where he was going. "Wilhelmshaven. To work." he said in English. He undoubtedly was irritated. You could clearly see that, just as everyone else who was watching, he knew that the precise reason of him being controlled was the fact that he was black.

I thought they would at least turn over to me once so I could comment on the whole thing. Actually, I didn't feel very confident with my moral courage because, I think, calling the whole procedure what it is -- racist -- already entails legal action. What else could choosing who to control by colour of skin be?

They didn't turn over. I didn't say anything. And I'm pretty angry with me.

On Friday Poland, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Hungary join the Schengen Agreement. What a coincidence. Writing a whole diploma thesis I was puzzled how a treaty that alledgedly and according to the title mainly is about decontrolling internal borders, almost completely consists of "compensational measures". Which are supposed to compensate the absolutely atrocious consequences anarchicly open borders have. Because that of course isn't an option, there's compensation. And because all of that doesn't help, there's still passenger control, in Bad Bentheim for example.

As an antidote against acute depression, at last a little picture today, thanks to Zwiebelfisch. [1] ("Angela Merkel is a duck on christmas." Spelling error, "isst" instead of "ist" results in "Angela Merkel eats duck on christmas.")

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