Take Babette as a symbol; a symbol of a city that stands for diversity, creativity and culture. The lease of Bar Babette is soon to expire and the landlord Berggruen Holdings GmbH has chosen not to extend the lease. Legally, this is completely acceptable; leases expire and cities change. But the question that must be addressed is whether these choices are always the best; morally, economically and also socially.

Billionaire investors are shaping the image of the city. But it has to be asked: what right we the citizens of this city have in matters relating to the redevelopment of public spaces. These places make up the cultural and social image of a city and make Berlin what it is. People flock here, not because of the money, but because of the opportunities on offer. It is exactly this culture of possibility and opportunity that is now being exploited.

We urge the Berlin Senate not to support this spiral of privatisation and to offer Babette the opportunity to continue to exist as a democratic symbol of a cultural space. We also kindly ask Nicolas Berggruen Holdings GmbH to extend the lease, in favour of preserving local culture.

Reason

Rents are rising shamelessly and uncontrollably; investors are doing as they wish, driving people out of their homes and converting public spaces into luxury flats, which are then sold for vast sums of money. This culturally colourful and diverse city is quickly being transformed into one filled only with cold, private property. The concept behind Karl-Marx-Allee was to create a bustling centre which encouraged the development of local business; and for decades it has successfully stood as a busy street, accessible to all. Its fate should not be allowed to fall into the hands of yet another investor.

Take Babette as a symbol; a symbol of a cultural centre, a place maximising opportunity in a city full of possibilities. Take Babette as a symbol of a city that is losing more and more of its creative spaces, as a symbol of a city that is falling evermore into the clutch of money and greed, and of a city that is losing the richness of opportunity.

Translated by Hannah Belben

Thank you for your support, Leyla Erfani-Boujar from Berlin
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