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A waitress at Munich's Oktoberfest
A waitress at Munich's Oktoberfest
Sabine Buchwald

MUNICH — Munich's Oktoberfest has an ugly side. Alexandra Stigger is all too familiar with it but says it's nevertheless a great celebration. Stigger, 29, is a Munich native who grew up attending it every year, and now she works there — not in one of the beer tents but in a service center where the Red Cross, a lost-and-found and the women's support center where Stigger works are housed.

Known as the "security point," the name is meant to speak to foreign visitors who don't know about existing help centers in Munich. First created for the 2003 Oktoberfest, the security point's financing comes from the Munich government and a growing number of sponsors. As a social worker who specializes in trauma therapy, Stigger joined the team in 2012 and now coordinates security point staff and acts as spokeswoman.

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Geopolitics

Our 'Emotional' Divide: How The Ukraine War Reveals A World Broken In Two

Russia's invasion has created a stark global divide: them and us. On one side are the countries refusing to condemn Moscow, with the West on the other. It's a dangerous split that could have repercussions far into the future.

Protesters against the war in Ukraine demonstrate in front of the Russian embassy in London

Dominique Moïsi

-Analysis-

PARIS — "The West and the Rest of Us." That's the title of a 1975 essay written by Nigerian essayist and critic Chinweizu Ibekwe. I've been thinking about his words as the war in Ukraine both reveals and accelerates divisions of the world that I believe are ultimately "emotional" in nature.

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With war returning to Europe and the risk of escalation, there is a gap between the Western view and that of the "others," a distinct "us and them." This gap cannot be explained in strictly geographical, political, and economic terms.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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