Monday, November 14, 2016

Don’t panic – act!

When I was a kid we had endless history lectures about Nazi Germany and WW2 at school. I certainly most enjoyed the ones held by our oldest teacher who could tell us the things from her own memory. My grandparents form both sides – for very different reasons – did not talk about this time and so I needed that teacher. We all did. 
When I was growing older there then was always this question that I asked myself and that I would get asked by foreigners as well: "As a German, do I feel guilty for what Germany did to the world? Do I feel guilty for my countrymen falling for the dictator and making his sick visions real? Do I feel guilty for the millions who died, because of what started in my country? The millions who died because they were marked "wrong" and not worthy to live? The millions that died in the huge war and the even more people who lost everything (including my family)?"
The answer to that question is No. I do not feel guilty. I did not do anything – I was not even born nor were my parents. I have no reason to feel guilty. BUT and now comes what is a big BUT: I do feel responsible. I feel responsible for having that lesson learned. I feel responsible for making sure that nothing like this happens ever again. And here were are in 2016 and this responsibility which was a mainly theoretical thought for the most of my lifetime became horrifying reality.

I have a master degree in political science, modern history and communication science. That covers nicely all the madness that is going on at the moment and to be honest with you … that knowledge from my university days scares me to death at the moment when I look at the latest events. I am fearing for our lives and the future of my nieces and all the other children. What the heck are we doing? We are on a hell slide, on the way to ruin everything. What is wrong with mankind that like following a stupid algorithm every few decades we make an even more efficient attempt to reach total destruction?
 
This is not about Donald Trump. This is not a "local" problem. The picture gets a lot, lot scarier if you take a step back to get a wider perspective. It would be completely naive to think for example that the two most politically earth shattering events of the last few months -  the election of Trump and the Brexit vote – are not related. They absolutely are. And there is a lot more going on that is easily as scary and dangerous. Mankind is in a weird and very bad place right now and we are at the urge of really screwing it up with consequences too horrible to imagine.

We also need to understand an important thing: this did not happen over night. The only thing that happened over night (kind of) is that our bubble burst. Now we can see and it is not a pretty picture.

BUT …

in this may lie our chance. We are not helpless victims. We can act and we must act. Now.

When I look around I see a lot of good. I see people – while being scared and terrified and shocked – speaking lout out that they have values which are different from what they see represented in these latest elections and votes. I see people wearing safety pins, people assuring their friends and strangers alike that they are NOT okay with this. Let’s not marginalize these actions. They are important.
We need to stick together.  We need to stick together across borders and oceans. We need to speak out loud that we do NOT agree.  We need to re-learn what sadly the Brexiters and Trump supporters realized first:  that together we are not powerless but can induce change. 

We really and urgently need to get our asses out of our (no longer existing) comfort zones and act accordingly.  We have elections coming up in Germany and France and please get yourself out there and vote. If you do not agree with any party, look out for the one you can best live with. I can promise you if you do not vote it will support in the end the party you agree with the least. That is how these things work.  But this will not be enough. We will need to defend our values.  We will need to defend the freedom and the peace that are the foundation of the lives we live.

This is not a call to arms – at least not the type that kills people -  but it is a call to speak out loud, to act after your words, to step in where you see things go wrong, to call out the racists and xenophobes and misogynists and muslim- and gay-haters and whatever ugly is out there.
But also … travel and encourage your friends to come with you and show them the world and other people and other places and the beauty in all this. Read and educate yourself and your children. Go to readings, art exhibitions, to the theater or music concerts. Protect and support the writers, comedians, painters, actors, musicians - they are our special forces in this. 

Also and maybe most importantly: Be open, be kind and love.

I know this is asking quite a lot and I am not just calling for you but even more for myself to do my best in this. It was totally also my comfy bubble that burst here … just to be clear.

I strongly believe that we can turn things around, but we need to stop panicking and get moving.  


"Let's use this dynamite, we're only making noises
we want to affect a change with voice and electrical noises

Together we stand,
we're at the bottom of the cove
it looked like rain but, it felt like snow
Because wherever we stand, we're at the bottom of the hole,
we'll dig our way out, but we'll still say no"


Whorses / Biffy Clyro


2 comments:

  1. Thank you for your beautiful Global Perspective my friend.

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