Berlin – It is true that the Berlin Senate quickly corrected the so-called 2G regulation, which should exclude children under the age of twelve from social life. 2G means that various restaurant and event operators can decide whether they want to only allow vaccinated and convalescent people (2G) into their interiors in the future, without any distance or mask. 3G, as before, would include the tested. There should be no exceptions for children, Dilek Kalayci, the SPD health senator, said on Tuesday, to the horror of many parents. The rule adopted would have meant that children under twelve could be excluded from visits to restaurants, zoos, theaters, climbing halls and cinemas. Even if the decision has been reversed, it remains scandalous.
The neglect of children in the pandemic has been talked about for weeks everywhere, but the Senate on Tuesday preferred to talk in detail about safe sauna infusions and brothel visits than about children. Parents and children can speak of luck that the election campaign is currently underway, and there are perhaps even more voting parents than sauna visitors, so that Franziska Giffey, as SPD candidate for mayor, was the first to step in and demand correction, her competitors were seconded by the Greens and the Left.
After all, nobody wanted to feel responsible for what they had decided less than 24 hours earlier. Others took the opportunity to assume that Giffey’s SPD was involved in an election campaign maneuver. Economic Senator Ramona Pop (Greens) called it on Wednesday at least a “mistake” not to have pushed for an exemption for children.
Children and families are ignored by politics
But the problem is that it is not a matter of a slip, but a recurring pattern that is discovered again and again and that runs through the fight against pandemics: Children and families with smaller children are ignored, overlooked, not taken into account by politics .
This is not a Berlin specific. Only recently was the Federal Government reprimanded for its harshness towards children in the Corona policy by the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights. But in Berlin, compared to other federal states, people are particularly reluctant to learn.
Although the Robert Koch Institute had already determined last October that children are not pandemic drivers, the following winter saw the longest school and daycare closings to date. In spring, the daycare centers and schools in Berlin were closed again or switched to emergency operation when the numbers rose. Shops, offices, hairdressers and tanning salons remained open. For months, children sat at home or were only allowed to go to school by the hour. The Berlin Senate would have preferred to leave it that way until the summer vacation and had to be forced to open it by a court of law.
The most recent decision to exclude children from social life had a doubly unfair effect because schools and daycare centers are still much more affected by requirements and hygiene measures than commercial enterprises. Mask and tests are mandatory, not voluntary as is the case with employees. Sports courses, theater groups, music lessons – all of this only takes place to a limited extent.
At the same time, the Senate has not managed to make schools safer in a year and a half: there are neither sufficient air filters nor comprehensive PCR lollipop tests.
There are now some who speak of child hostility in the face of these mistakes and neglect. But an enemy is someone you identify, see, take seriously. Children don’t even make it into the enemies category. Children are considered a parent’s private amusement, like dogs and cars. The Berlin Senate probably pays more attention to dogs and cars. This thinking is reflected in the widespread mantra that parents hear when they complain about grievances: It’s your own fault, you chose it that way!
It is the thinking of a policy that leaves everything to market forces and constantly speaks of “personal responsibility”. And how strongly society has internalized these ideas is shown by the fact that a supposedly “left” city government also succumbs to this pattern. Parents are held responsible for providing health and institutional education – although these are areas where no individual can do anything. This leads to powerlessness, anger, and political disgust.