‘The little German Pakistan’

May 4, 2023
May 4, 2023

By: Maria Andres Senante

The little German Pakistan, that’s what my colleagues call the area the hotel is. The berlin area I live in. I was shocked by that name, as I immediately thought that was a very racist comment. Which I still think it’s.

Although Berlin is Germany’s capital, I thought it was going to be like the rest of the German cities I know, safe. Some areas in Berlin are definitely safe. But I thought my daily life would not be depending on me being frightened to go out alone during the night.

My area is not the safest Berlin area, that’s is completely true. Actually, the police are here every single night and it’s on the news at least once a week, a robbery, a fight, a shooting… We have encountered a lot of alcoholics, drug addicts and prostitutes in the hotel. Drug dealers are to see in every corner. They don’t even hide

Since day one, I was told not to go outside alone when it’s dark, not to talk to anyone and definitely not to do night shifts. People don’t feel safe. I thought they were exaggerating, until I realised that every month we had robberies or breaking car windows inside of the hotel garage, which is, in theory, completely safe.

In Spain, I am used to seeing homeless people in the streets begging for money or food. However, in Maastricht, this is not the case, I kind of forgot that there are people that are not taken care of. Well, I’m back in a city wherein every second corner, there is a homeless person. There are known Berlin tram stations where we are advised not to stop, due to homeless drug addicts, which can be dangerous.

Although this area is not the safest, it has an amazing huge shopping mall, which is pretty well known. Next, to the mall there’s a train station, meaning it’s easy to get here. Many people from all of Berlin come to this area to shop and eat some “Döner”.

It’s amazing to see how different the neighbourhoods are in Berlin. I was shocked by peoples comments about the area I lived in, as for me, during the day it was a pretty normal area. I was prejudging and got scared of living here because of peoples comments. However, they tried to help me out and protect me. But it felt racist to me… They kept insisting with the name “little Pakistan” which is already a judgment for all Pakistanis. As if all of them were dangerous. Being an immigrant neighbourhood doesn’t always mean that it was dangerous. I have talked to my colleagues and said that I didn’t agree with how they were calling this area. Please always remember, try not to generalize and prejudge people.

My life in this neighbourhood is not what I expected, but it’s another experience. However, I got used to it and planned my day accordingly, so I wouldn’t be out very late at night.