I really haven’t worried much about Gamma on her European exchange for the last three weeks; I know that the family she is staying with is taking good care of her. She and her exchange partner became close friends back in April, when Anne stayed with us for several weeks.
This week though, Gamma’s e-mail evoked some concern:
The [soccer] game between Germany and Turkey is this Wednesday and there are so many Turkish living in this area and stupid German youth, that none of the GAPP [exchange program] students are allowed to go into the city that night because all of the parents say it will be too dangerous…they are afraid that the losing team will riot and honestly…i am scared of the Turkish. There was a ten-year-old Turkish kid that came up to us American students and told us he was going to blow up the U.S.
A ten-year old?
He certainly didn’t think that up on his own, and that’s the part that makes me uneasy. Somewhere in the same village where my daughter is visiting, there’s a family where some of the older members — parents or siblings — are teaching the young ones some very disturbing things.
Fortunately, Gamma and her two American friends decided to just leave the area.
I haven’t lost any sleep over it, but must admit that this was not something I anticipated. I confess that I didn’t realize that Turks make up a quarter of all registered foreigners in Germany, but really wouldn’t have given that a lot of thought, even if I’d known. After all, if they moved from Turkey to Germany, wouldn’t they likely be a bit more westernized to begin with?
* * *
I’ve been made aware by someone more worldly than myself that tensions run high after a big athletic event… baseball, soccer, major-league football, even hockey. The closest thing I’ve seen to a riot after a game was watching people carry the goalpost down Cumberland Avenue after UT beat Alabama back in 1984 (I think). And that wasn’t really a riot — just excessive celebration confined to a few-blocks area near the stadium. But… this wasn’t about the soccer rivalry between Germany and Turkey — this was a specific threat from a pint-sized Turkish kid towards three teenage American girls.