Free Schwabylon ?

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From the outside, we tend to view the Germans as a monolithic culture, but stories like this one demonstrate how wrong that viewpoint can be.

There is an internecine war brewing in Berlin’s trendy Prenzlauer Berg District between native Berliners and Swabian “immigrants” from southwestern Germany. The first blow in the Spätzle War was struck last week when the “Free Schwabylon” activists attacked a monument to beloved artist Käthe Kollwitz in P’berg’s Kollwitz Platz with a large pot of spätzle noodles, which is a Swabian staple. The Free Schwabylonians followed up the pasta raid with a manifesto demanding the creation of an autonomous Free Schwabylon within the very heart of hipster Prenzlauer Berg.

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Even though this seems to be a whimsical exploit by yuppies with too much time on their hands, it actually highlights the ongoing antipathy between gentrifying newcomers and locals being priced out of their own neighborhoods , as well as the continuous conflict between prosperous southerners and the dependent German northern regions.

Although the Free Schwabylon activist rallying cry, “Kollwitz Platz is our Tahrir Square”, is tongue-in-cheek, their contentious relationships with long-term residents are all too real and growing.

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