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Deutsch: Zurück in Deutschland. Mein Geschenk zum Jahresende von der deutschen Polizei Von Sunny Omwenyeke

Back to Germany. My End of Year Present from the German Police
By Sunny Omwenyeke

Sunny Omwenyeke

As the year 2011 was ending, the German police presented me an end-of-year gift; a reminder that racist police control is alive, well and healthy in Germany.

It was 30 December 2011; while on a visit back to Germany, back to controls as always. Just before Karlsruhe, two policemen entered the train I was in with my partner and my 6-year-old daughter. As their uniform looked more like those of a train security than the police, I did not immediately recognise them until my child, who was sitting with her mum on a separate seat and had a better view of them told her mum: “Polizei”.

No sooner was that said than the police turned to me and asked me for my “Ausweis”. I said, what? The police answered, passport. I asked why? And they answered that they want to control me. A German woman sitting opposite me intervened, trying to see that the situation did not escalate. She said, “Maybe they are looking for somebody who look like you”, rubbing her palm against her arm to indicate that she meant my colour. I told them that I know that they want to control me but why only me and not other people in the train? They said, I don’t need to tell them how to do their job and they don’t need to show me what they did before. I told them that coming into the train to ask me alone for my passport was racism and discrimination and as a result, I was not ready to show it. And so the stand off continued…

Behind the seat where my child was sitting with her mum, a slightly older man had started to support the action of the police and my partner had started to argue with him. I asked the man to keep his mouth shut and that we were not in 1938 or 1943 but 2011. So it continued…

And then another slightly older man joined in support of the police and said that I started all this trouble and that I should show my Ausweis. He brought out his own Ausweis and said the police can control and he does not know why it is a problem for me to show it. I turned to him and said of course he will not know it because he does not have the experience of refugees, Black people and others who are not “white” that are being controlled and brutalised daily in Germany by the police. But I also asked him that if he liked to be controlled and brutalised by the police, he could willingly submit himself to the police. As this continued, he called me a “brownie” and then I unloaded expletives on him. As you can well imagine, my voice was so to speak, commensurate with my anger and annoyance. At this point, they were threatening that they will take me along with them if this situation continues.

By this time, my daughter was crying, panicking and afraid that something was going to happen to me, a situation that led me to show the police my Ausweis. And I told them that if not for the sake of my daughter, they would never have seen it. They called their office, controlled it and gave it back. Then one of the officers told my partner that they have a right to do it and that if we don’t like it, we should fight against it politically. To which he got the reply, “Of course we fight it politically. Do you think we are not fighting against this politically and just started to do this here?”

Germany, will it ever change? Only time will tell but it is running out fast!!!