Wednesday, April 02, 2008

New Boss Same as the Old Boss

A man running a veggie stand in what was used to be the repressive east meet the new morally repugnant elite that look like nothing more than a better dressed version of the Stasi roaming around in what was the still depressing but least dumpy part of the ‘former’ East Berlin:

He is part of the silent trek of labour nomads who make their way to Prenzlauer Berg early every morning to supply the Germans with fruit and vegetables, flowers and wine. From the prefab housing estates in the east come the Vietnamese, from former West Berlin the Turks; their arrival goes largely unnoticed. "People here sleep long," says Uygur with a thin smile. Around nine they start appearing at his tram stop, gripping takeaway coffees. The women so beautiful! The men sporting well-groomed designer stubble, not unshaven for lack of time like our shopkeeper. Uygur says they are probably as old as he is, but they seem like children to him. So carefree. So chubby-cheeked. And so uncompromising. They scrutinise his fruit and ask, "Where do these bananas come from? Are they organic?" And when he says "Fresh from the wholesale market" they put them back. Everything is so different in Prenzlauer Berg. Disappointment churns in the pit of Yunus Uygur's stomach, and in his mind a question has grown: Can good people be bad too?
Yes Yunus, they certainly can. Don’t worry. They’re working on their own extinction.
Prenzlauer Berg is plainly not what it thinks it is, not even regarding its much-celebrated fertility. Here only 35 children are born each year per 1,000 women aged between 15 and 45; that is less than in Wilmersdorf
To put this in context, Wilmersdorf has been looked down upon as a place populated by retirees and people who do something for a living, but they really aren’t the ones who really need a little extra fiber.

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