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Society 21 March 2016 10 1966

Mea Culpa! Under the Mask of Cologne

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In the current refugee crisis, Germany has been welcoming asylum seekers, assuming the role of humanitarian superpower. However, as the problem deepens, increasing numbers of Germans are becoming more anxious about their new neighbours. Germany’s widely reported sexual assaults of New Year’s Eve allegedly carried out by refugees against women simply added to the already tense polarisation of society on the very idea of accepting migrants in large numbers.

Most of the attacks were in Cologne, a city famous for its annual carnival. This year, Cologne Carnival did take place according to schedule, in spite of the almost palpable tension in the air. The recent crimes that shook the city so recently though, couldn’t help but cast a shadow over the usually cheerful festivities, with the issue never far from people’s minds, even during the celebration.

The attacks shocked the local population and added to the worries of the refugees whose only desire is to get their lives back on track and become productive members of society in their new homeland. Many express gratitude to Germany and its people for lending their families a helping hand in times of need. Others insist, they have much to offer and will contribute to the country’s prosperity.

An RT Doc team visits Cologne’s famous Carnival to explore the aftermath of the New Year’s Eve attacks, and the impact they had on local residents and refugees. Is it possible that celebrating this centuries-long festival will provide much-needed relief for the city’s residents, both old and new? This year’s carnival could be a time to put on masks, or perhaps, to take them off!

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