The symbol of a city’s empathy


Image credits: Ingolf via Flickr

Pictured above is the closest subway station to our house – Nollendorfplatz, Berlin.

It is no coincidence that the colours of the station are those of the rainbow flag. This area is known for its liberal values, and since the turn of the 20th century, is home to Berlin’s most prominent gay village and hosts the annual Lesbian and gay city festival.

When I looked at those lights for the first time, I thought about what they meant. This public establishment that adorned these lights each evening, was sending a message out to the rest of the world.

And what would that mean to the LGBT community? I can only hazard a guess. In a world that misunderstands and marginalizes them, at a time when most governments still do not recognize them, these lights are a welcome exception. Here’s a city that empathizes with LBGTs everywhere, and shines these lights out every evening in solidarity – a place that they can call home. It is little wonder that people of all kinds who do not feel understood by the rest of the world move to Berlin.

But the tragedy is that these lights are the exception and not the norm. The tragedy is that this strikes me as being remarkable. If every city in the world, and enough municipalities were as empathetic as they ought to be, there would be no need for blogposts like this.

And I hope and pray that we get there soon.

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