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Monday, May 27, 2024

Golden haired angel from Düsseldorf

By: Miran Černec

She probably was not even 16. I spotted her in the waiting room of a train station in Düsseldorf, Germany’s seventh largest city. This was not difficult; among all the Turkish, Arab, and African male faces that were there that night staring darkly ahead and waiting each for their train, she definitely stood out. She ran into the waiting room every now and then, found a seat right next to mine, and lit up the whole place with her golden hair whenever she entered. She rarely looked up from her phone, as is the habit of the youth of our time; she was tattooed up to her wrists and neck, dressed streetwise, and when she sat for the third or fourth time, she rolled her joint with a practiced motion.

As much as she tried to act dangerous, she was still just a child; a European child of the 21st century, lost in the middle of the night in a world that should never have been born. Her face radiated the same heavenly grace that Botticelli once immortalised on canvas; her blue eyes testified that the blood of Schiller, Beethoven, and Goethe still flowed in her veins; she was as perfect a daughter of Europe as you can possibly imagine – but in the very centre of her city she and I acted as strangers that night… Soon after she ran into the street again. When she returned half an hour later, she already checked at the entrance to see if I was still there, and when she noticed me, she sat down again. Maybe she felt safer in that crowd of dark men from the third world with my Slavic phenotype. Or maybe she wanted to protect me, who knows. So together we made our way till dawn; she, a member of Generation Z, growing up as a minority in the city of her ancestors; and me, who could be her father and would gladly spare her this fate, but I cannot turn back time and undo all the stupid, selfish, and short-sighted baby boomer decisions of the last 50 years…ž

The morning came and with it my train. I boarded. She disappeared back to her lost streets. The summer night in the heart of Europe in the year of the Lord 2022 has passed. But our fight continues.

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