Our declaration

Initiative Gethsemanekiez – Embracing Community Spirit. Protecting democratic values

Petition: “We do not live in a dictatorship – stop talking nonsense, it’s time to come together”

The situation

We have much to miss in the pandemic: People we have lost to the virus. Personal contact with friends and family. Greater social cohesion in this crisis. That’s why we, as residents of the Gethsemane neighbourhood in Prenzlauer Berg, strive to send a signal: for community spirit and democratic values. In our neighbourhood. In our Berlin. In our whole country.

The protests held by critics of the pandemic restrictions and Covid denialists in Berlin have intensified, they have become more aggressively aimed at the police, the press, the state in general, and even at personnel in hospitals and vaccination centres. We are deeply concerned that protesters (sometimes acting aggressively and in association with known down-players of the pandemic and right-wing networks) are conjuring up an alleged “Corona dictatorship.” We condemn this trivialisation of dictatorships and the mockery of their victims. We likewise condemn aggressive behaviour, the spreading of conspiracy theories, and attacks on our democracy.

In the face of unregistered demonstrations, held without precautions such as social distancing or masks, and candlelight vigils, allegedly mere “walks,” in front of Gethsemane Church  we are standing up together with the Gethsemane parish to oppose the appropriation of this historic place and the symbols of the peaceful revolution in the GDR in 1989. At that time, courageous people accepted great personal risk to fight for the freedom and democracy in which we live today.

It is time for the majority to take action and stand up for cohesion in our democracy. We ask for your support for this declaration and for our solidarity campaign in front of Gethsemane Church.

Our declaration

As residents of the Gethsemane neighbourhood in Prenzlauer Berg, we:

  • emphasise the right to freedom of speech in our democracy, which also covers criticism of pandemic restrictions,
  • stand for a peaceful coexistence in our diverse and tolerant neighbourhood and in our country,
  • reject all forms of verbal or physical violence, intimidation, and willful damage to property,
  • oppose conspiracy theories and science denialism,
  • criticise the Covid protesters’ failure to meaningfully dissociate themselves from right-wing extremists, so-called “Reichsbürger” and antisemitism,
  • condemn historical analogies that trivialise dictatorships and relativise the suffering of their victims, and
  • vehemently reject the assertion that we live in a new dictatorship, and instead declare our support for the cosmopolitan and free democratic constitutional order in our country.

Our campaign

As residents of the Gethsemane neighborhood, we want to strengthen social cohesion locally, in Berlin, and in the whole country, to take care of and look after each other. Since mid-December 2021 we have initiated weekly solidarity actions, debates and music.

We meet every Monday at 5:30 pm in front of the Gethsemane Church in Prenzlauer Berg. At the same time, Gethsemane hosts prayer services for people who are unjustly imprisoned in dictatorships and authoritarian regimes. We observe the current hygiene rules. Come join us!

Support this petition and our campaign!

Berlin, January 22, 2022

Twitter: @gethsemane_kiez | Instagram: gethsemane_kiez | Email: wir@gethsemanekiez.de