2016 Berlin Attack
On Monday, December 19, 2016, a truck was deliberately driven into the Berlin Christmas market at Breidscheidplatz near Zoological garden. 12 people including the co-driver died, 48 people were injured. Only one hour after the scenario happened, Berlin police found the suspected driver of the van: Naveed Baloch, a refugee from Pakistan.
The next morning, everybody could read his name in newspapers and on tv. Naveed Baloch was the public enemy number one. Two days later, he was released. Naveed Baloch was just on his way to the underground station.
The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum
A famous book from German author Heinrich Böll is called "The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum". Katharina Blum is a 27 year old housekeeper, who falls in love with Ludwig Götten. Ludwig Götten is a suspected murderer and bank robber, who gets shadowed by the police. After spending a night together with Götten, the police storms Katharinas flat and take her to a police interrogation. They suspect the young woman for helping Götten to escape. In fact, Götten didn't commit the crime, but another, much smaller one. The Zeitung (The Newspaper = a pseudonym for a big German newspaper) though presents Götten as the real perpetrator and murderer. After finding out about Katharina, they show her as his accomplice and tramp. In the course of the events, The Newspaper falsifies statements from her relatives, calling her not "wise and a little bit cold", but "cool and calculating". One of the reporters, Werner Tötges asserts, that he met Katharinas mother in hospital, where he confronted her with her daugthers allegations. A day later, the mother dies. Katharina Blum gets bombed with hateful calls and messages. Finally, Götten gets arrested. When Katharina Blum alleged wants to give the same reporter an interview, she kills him and surrendered to the police.
The story of Katharina Blum spins around a big German newspaper and explains perfectly, what wrong reporting can do to an innocent person. In her desperation after the smear campaign, Katharina Blum is killing reporter Werner Tötges. The Newspaper finally got a real story.
Violence can never be legitimated and what Katharina Blum did was unjustifiable. But the story also tells something else and should evoke the question, how fallible a news can be. Katharina Blum is nothing else than a pseudonym for Jon Doe. Anybody. In the night of the attack, Naveed Baloch was Jon Doe - only a suspect. In the end, an innocent suspect, whose name and nationality everyone knew.
The 2016 Berlin Attack, Naveed Baloch and "The Newspaper"
Tuesday, December 20, 2016, early morning: The morning after the attack on the Berlin Christmas market. The Newspaper announces, that Police arrested the suspected driver of the van: "Naved B.". According to the report, Naved B. is a 23 year old refugee from Pakistan. A witness saw Naved B. leaving the van and followed him through a park. He called the police, who arrested Naved B. A spokesperson from the police told another newspaper, that thanks to the witness, they were able to catch the offender. An anonymous source from the Pakistani foreign ministry alleged confirms two days after the attack, that Germany stays in contact with them. Media spread the news, that Naved B. gave different informations about his origin and name. He could also possibly be a former refugee from Afghanistan.
Tuesday, December 20, 2016, afternoon: Newspapers are reporting that Naved B. denies everything. Later on, it becomes clear that he isn't the wanted driver.
Suddenly, German newspapers stop reporting about the first suspect, because police eyed someone else, Anis Amri.
In the meanwhile, Pakistani newspaper Dawn is reporting on Wednesday, December 21, 2016 a short news, in which one of Balochs' cousin comes to word. Abdul Waheed Baloch told Dawn, that Naveed Baloch and a friend of him were only crossing a road when police stopped them and said that they would be fined for a traffic violation.
A whole of 11 days after the 2016 Berlin attack, December 30, 2016: German newspapers report Naved B.'s version about the incident which matched the one from Dawn. The victim, not Naveed Baloch but Naved B., finally got the chance to speak. According to "The Newspaper", two officials ditched their heels into his feets, for two days, he only got tea and untasty cookies to eat. Naveed was sleeping on a wooden bed without a matress, one night even with handcuffs. "They told me they had a reason to believe I could be a criminal because I was running across the street when they picked me up. I told them I understood that", so Naveed.
He just has to take everything like it is. Unfair.