The Militarisation of Christmas Markets
On 22nd December 2014, a man allegedly shouting 'Allahu akbar' ploughed a van at speed into the crowds at Nantes Christmas market, injuring ten people, one of whom died in hospital.
Two years later, on 19th December 2016, Muslim asylum seeker Anis Amri hijacked a lorry and drove it into the Christmas market at Breitscheidplatz in central Berlin, killing eleven people and injuring 56.
In the current year, Christmas markets have already sprung up in many towns and cities, and the ever-present fear of terrorism has led many to install reinforced concrete barriers along with the Christmas trees and twinkling lights, to stop any would-be jihadi ploughing his vehicle of peace into festive crowds.
Unfortunately, a serious drawback of anti-terror barriers (or 'diversity barriers', as we call them) is that their high visibility puts the frighteners on shoppers, causing many to stay at home instead of buying turkey and glühwein to boost the local economy.
Fortunately, there's a cunning solution, first tried in Germany and now spreading to Christmas markets across Europe: simply paint the unsightly blocks in primary colours to look like giant Lego bricks ('Merkel Lego'), or cover them in Christmas wrapping to look like jolly, brobdingnagian Christmas gifts.
Fear dissipated, cash flow restored!
Or at least partly so. Because there's still the problem of armed police and soldiers everywhere, reminding us of terrorism when our minds should rightly be on consumerism.
Perhaps they too could be disguised as something Christmassy and unmilitary? And what could be more Christmassy and unmilitary than Santa Claus himself?
Welcome Kalashnikov Santa, the solution to Yuletide security in an age of ubiquitous terror!
There is of course a very serious point here, which is that deflecting attention from Islamist terror by hiding its consequences or silencing people who speak bluntly about it only makes things worse, because it encourages us to ignore rather than confront a problem that has become deep-rooted in the West.