We Must Create a System to Support Truth for Everyone.
For those who should feel addressed, but don’t.
It’s been almost five years now. Five years since the first wave of displaced people reached Europe hoping to find help and support after fleeing the most severe human crisis of this century. Today, the situation is worse than ever. A policy caused misery that is nothing but infuriating.
Arrival countries are still being left alone in their effort to accommodate thousands of vulnerable people, provided with insufficient resources, space and helping hands. Preventable deaths, unnecessary suffering, shame on us.
What evidence of incapacity that we still have not found a compromise on how to deal with more and more refugees fleeing their beloved homes out of sheer desperation. That we have not found a solution on how to face this challenge shoulder-to-shoulder, how to stand together and try, in a common effort, to catch those people who have fallen so deeply.
Whoever raises their voice to uphold the spirit of the European Union or the Western world or the United States of America — to uphold the great achievements of freedom and human rights and Christian values like Love thy neighbor as thyself — be quiet, hypocrites, don’t lose another empty word.
Do we really think that this is how community works? That we can profit from the economic advantages and the support system of a globalized world without fulfilling our duties? Do we really think we can continuously take without giving back? Do we really think that materialistic ties are enough to keep a group of countries together that are so different in their cultures, mentalities, histories?
Do we really think that a shared bank account makes a good marriage? No, this is not how community works. Community does not and will never work without care and trust, patience and empathy, benevolence and leniency, vulnerability and courage. Are the worlds of politics and reality so painfully far apart?
It’s no secret anymore that we all are co-responsible for the pain of millions seeking refuge and peace. We know that our way of living, our globalized economic system based on growth and profit, and our political decision-making that is leashed by this economic logic, are the main reasons why people are forced or feel the necessity to leave their homes, their families and all they know to seek a life worth living.
Through our system, our mindset and our lifestyle, we have caused and supported — and continue to cause and support — exploitation, poverty, violence and suffering. Conveniently, this other, this ugly face of globalization, capitalism and wealth is out of our sight, so far that we can’t be held accountable for it. But we have to be aware that when we export weapons, we support oppression, violence and conflict.
When we conduct research for military equipment or host military bases, we are at war. When we continuously over-produce and over-consume electronics, meat, clothes, cars, plastic and energy, we contribute to the exploitation of countless children, women, men and animals as well as the abuse of the environment for our own comfort.
But the time to hide behind the curtain of illusion is over. We will not be able to say, “We did not know.” We know and we willingly continue our harmful behavioral and political patterns. When will we stop trying to fix the symptoms of our actions in far-flung countries, sending money for support and putting plasters on wounds of a size that we can’t even assess?
When will we start to realize that we have to change ourselves to combat the causes of flight? That we have to sacrifice some of our comfort, privilege and habits in order to allow all humans a worthy life? We must have the courage to look at the truth, admit our mistakes, and confess, “We screwed up. We made many mistakes, but we will try and fix it — sincerely, courageously and cooperatively.”
To show our vulnerability, on a personal as well as political level, is difficult, but we have to be brave enough to face this blame in order move into the future differently.
We have forgotten to truly see the humans and their individual stories behind the political veils, so subtly and softly and intelligently placed in front of our eyes. We have forgotten that society was created to allow for human growth, well-being, freedom, meaningful and communal living, and not as an arena for the exertion of power and competition.
Our capacity to solve problems politically depends inevitably on our capacity to induce a sense of compassion, empathy and generosity into our democratic system. It’s in our hands to change ourselves, to share our prosperity with those who have less, to reduce the pain caused by our imagined superiority. It’s in our hands to create a system that supports life, justice, peace, truth and freedom… for everybody.
It’s in our hands to choose imagination, courage and effort over comfort, profit and greed. Living in a globalized world means taking global responsibility. Politically and personally. And it’s about time.
Nina Hoelzl is a documentary filmmaker and Sea Shepherd activist based in Berlin and traveling worldwide to seek stories and lend her voice to those, who struggle to be heard. Inspired by nature, encouraged by spiritual wisdom and interested in truthful human encounter she tries to creatively navigate through a world of contradictions on the outside and within.