In my last blog, Back to the Future, I expressed my wish to catch up with the future in the city of my birth, Berlin.
I’m back and what I saw was a glimmer, not of hope but the fear of the future. The people of Europe are afraid. Never did they have it so good. But the fear is spreading slowly. In the middle of it all came the shock result of the Brexit plebiscite in the United Kingdom. Now it turns out not to be so united after all. The people of the UK are tearing themselves apart.
Everywhere in Europe are noisy groups clamouring for the re-establishing of old, national borders. The lessons of the past have been forgotten. Borders are, mostly, artificial lines in the landscape. And we know if someone puts a line in the sand then someone else is going to cross it.
In a blog, two years ago, I wrote about the fear that runs our lives. Now we discover the fear has been becoming a groundswell that has produced political parties in some countries and a presidential candidate in the USA.
We have reached a point where we can’t dissipate the fear anymore. We will have to deal with it. Building borders and the old “laager” mentality won’t help. But what will help, you are asking? Whole populations are divided in offensive defiance or helpful humanity.
I think, that we, in the West, are so fearful has its reasons in our behaviour over centuries of exploitation of the resources of other countries, being human or otherwise.
Now the chickens come home to roost. History is catching up with us and the future is not looking so bright anymore. Instinctively, we know we have done wrong in the past and now history is trying to balance things out.
The more politicians paint us a grim picture of the future the more it will come about because it will enrage the people who are named in the predictions.
On the surface, Berlin seems calm as they are still dealing with the aftermath of the second World War. How come, you ask? They are still finding unexploded bombs which have to be dealt with. Sometimes, thousands of people have to be evacuated as those brave men from the bomb-disposal squad have to do their dangerous work. Berliners take it in their stride. What some of them are not taking in their stride is their perception of a dark future.
I hope that my short life expectancy does not preclude me from further travel to Europe, or indeed Australia, as I still have so much catching=up to do with the past.