While the Belgian capital’s annual New Year’s Eve fireworks have been cancelled because of the terror threat in Brussels, a small German town has taken the unusual step of banning bangers over fears it may trigger traumatised foreigners.
Inhabitants of the town of Arnberg, district Arnberg in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) have been told not to set off fireworks in the vicinity of local migrant accommodation, while migrants taking refuge in the town have been banned from buying them altogether.
The weight of the ban falls most heavily on refugees themselves, reports the Lippische Landes-Zeitung, as the lightweight wooden construction of temporary migrant accommodation halls are particularly vulnerable to fire. Town spokesman Christoph Söbbeler told press the council had put up posters in several languages stating that for “security reasons” they had been banned from buying fireworks.
In addition to the fire risk, which has been proven time and time again over the course of 2015, there was also a psychological element at work. Mr. Söbbeler said of the ban on locals having private displays within earshot of the camps and on migrants having fireworks at all: “Those who come from a war zone, pounding more associated with shots and bombs than with firework rockets. That could be breaking new trauma of the people”.
A university psychiatrist spoke out to support the town’s decision, remarking that traumatised migrants would struggle to differentiate between a firework and a hand-grenade. Professor Markus Burgmer of the University Hospital, Munster said: “Sounds similar to the stressful event, the images can be used in a flashback cause of time again and cause panic and anxiety, nervousness and restlessness”.
How exactly the ban is to be enforced, and what penalty will be incurred by locals who may decide to ignore the ban is not clear. Breitbart London has reached out to Arnberg council for clarification.
Alive to the possibility that migrants may be confused by common new year’s traditions, other towns and cities have also taken action, although none as drastic as Arnberg. In Reichenberg, Bavaria the town council gave migrants a sample firework display earlier this week to teach them not to fear the sound of explosions in Europe.
Gathering migrants and handing out multilingual fact-sheets, a small number of explosives were let off for the migrants education, but only during daylight hours so there could be no accusations of the council giving them a special private show, reports Süddeutsche Zeitung.
Regardless, the leadership of the Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of Europe (PEGIDA) group took exception to the so-called “sample fireworks”. Taking to Facebook, PEGIDA coordinator Siegfried Daebritz called the move ‘#Absurdistan’, and wondered whether in addition to “sample fireworks”, the government might give the migrants a taste of “sample deportations” or “sample return travel” as well.
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