I wandered downstairs to our local store for some macadamia nut brittle Haagen-Daas last night. While I was waiting to pay, a very drunk skinhead beefcake came up to me and grunted something 2cm from my face. I think it translated to "me no like you" - my German isn't that great yet. As he waddled away I realised that was the first time I'd felt genuinely physically threatened because of my skin colour. Interesting sensation.
Most Germans are awesome people. Berlin is the most amazing place I've ever lived. Pinning the actions of a small group of idiots on an entire country is no different to what this guy did to me. However none of our German friends deny there are still problems here. The great thing about Berlin is that it constantly rages against fascists in a way no other German city does. That's one of the many things that make this place feel so alive. If you want to see how Berliners deal with people like this, check out http://bit.ly/nzd5ud. Geil.
It's a shame my German wasn't good enough to have a proper conversation with the guy. Otherwise I could have congratulated him on representing Jamaican culture so proudly. The original skinhead movement was inspired by Jamaican 'rude boys', listened to reggae and stood for the common people. I could have also thanked him for adopting the sacred Indian symbol for luck and well being - the swastika - as his own. I wonder if these guys realise how ridiculous they look, representing themselves with things from cultures they purport to hate?
Australia has it's own issues too - let's not forget One Nation won 9% of Australia's vote in the 1998 election. Even The Netherlands, one of the shining beacons of European liberality, saw Geert Wilders' Party for Freedom take 15.5% of the vote in 2010. The question is no longer where these people are from, but how we deal with them everywhere. I say laugh.