Duisburg love parade: don’t let a few deaths stop the party

Maybe 19 trampled to death weren’t enough?  What about 110?  Five hundred?

I was so sickened by the spectacle last night unfolding on our screens.

One one side, a stampede resulting in the deaths of 19 people, with injuries to hundreds of others.  Here’s what it looked like in the aftermath inside the tunnel:

On the other side while that video was being shot, sealed off by a wall of techno-sound only a few metres away from the frantic efforts of rescue workers to remove the dead, revive the unconscious and care for the injured, the party went on.

And on.

And on.

It went on for hours until way past nightfall.  The lights, the sound, the dancing.

Smiling faces carrying on as if nothing at all was amiss.

I don’t buy the excuse that they were afraid there would be another panic if they put an early end to the party. 

Hours before the music ended around 11pm, the fences and gates that had channelled everyone through this one tunnel and sealing off all other exits, thereby creating the perfect conditions for a deadly crush of people, had long since been removed.  As soon as the exits were open, they should have stopped the concert.

They’re also throwing up the excuse that cellphone networks were down, so those partying on had no way of receiving calls from friends or loved ones.  

In fact, they had every way of knowing, but the organisers simply chose not to tell them.

I don’t know what disgusts me more, the scenes of carnage, or the complete insensitivity of those who let the party go on for so long.

13 Responses to “Duisburg love parade: don’t let a few deaths stop the party”

  1. 1 Jul
    July 25, 2010 at 12:51 pm


    I think my irrational(?) fear of big crowds started at the 1997 Love Parade.

  2. July 25, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    My first thought was of the Station nightclub fire in Rhode Island a few years ago. And of course, there was the more recent Lame Horse tragedy in Russia. Both have many elements in common with this incident, although with the nightclub fires official negligence was more obvious before rather than after the event.

    The strangest thing to me is the assertion that cell phone coverage wasn’t available. In the first place, what concert venue depends on cell phones to make announcements? I’ll bet there was a live mic somewhere. Beyond that: cell phone coverage down? That only happens here in the aftermath of something like a hurricane or 9/11. Surely the Germans are as tech savvy as we are.

    And I hate to say it, but… obsessed as we are in this part of the world… If this isn’t a metaphor for the business in the Gulf, I don’t know what is. “Smiling faces carrying on as if nothing was amiss.” That’s pretty much it.

    I’m so sorry. It’s just a shame.

    • July 25, 2010 at 5:07 pm

      It was pre-programmed chaos, as the Germans say. It’s now coming out that the police had recommended to the city that instead of having one entry and exit point for the entire concert venue, that there be a multi-point entry set-up. But the city rejected the idea. Why? It would have been too expensive to staff all the entry points with police and with security people. The result was you had 1.4 million people all trying to get on and and off the grounds at one point.

  3. July 26, 2010 at 7:49 am

    Certainly incomprehensible what happened. I was in the process of reading all the news stories about what happened in Ameland, when suddenly these headlines came up, having a 13 year old son myself.

    In 1979 in Cincinnati (my home town) there was a tragedy at a Who concert which shook the entire city. Wanting to find a description of it I found the website crowdsafe.com which describes a task force report on concert safety which is acclaimed as a standard. But don’t expect anyone involved in the Love Parade tragedy to have read it. Science like this is generally ignored in Germany until it is confirmed by German research.

    Some days after the Who concert deaths some kids actually showed up at high school wearing “I’d walk over you to see the Who” – a t-shirt with black footprints on it.

    • July 26, 2010 at 8:05 am

      Oh God, that’s pretty tasteless, eh? Someone on ToytownGermany got a lot of negative response to a comment saying gee, how long before the jokes about there being “light at the end of the tunnel” come out?
      I’m all for gallows humour, but there’s a grace period, you know?

  4. July 26, 2010 at 8:49 am


    I’m really at a loss for words.

  5. July 27, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    I agree. The insensitivity of it is sickening. And a badly run, money-driven Love parade is not very appealing in the first place.

    • July 27, 2010 at 4:46 pm

      Money-driven! You got that right. Every day there are new revelations of how badly this was planned and how officials looked the other way at the danger involved. Police and fire officials warned of a disaster waiting to happen. The city wanted it to go on, thinking it would add prestige to the place as site of a major event, and of course all the money the rave-goers would drop in the region.

    • July 27, 2010 at 11:21 pm

      That’s for sure, good nurse. It’s truly painful to watch this story unfold, the tales of incompetence and greed coming out, and now the mud-slinging in the aftermath, nobody accepting any blame and thowing everything on the other.

  6. July 30, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    I don’t know what disgusts me more, the scenes of carnage, or the complete insensitivity of those who let the party go on for so long.

    Very well said.

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