The end is here for some…

This week has been an interesting one politically.

I’ll be honest, I have been working some crazy shifts lately, awake at night, asleep through the day so I feel like I’ve been in a perpetual state of limbo, not quite awake, not quite asleep but drifting between the two. Today I woke up, and found my country in a mess, our genius of a Prime Minister thinks that it’s better to got it alone than to stick with Europe. apparently he has put the importance of the city ahead of businesses and industry.

Sarkozy today said in an interview that “there are now two Europes”

It seems that not only has Cameron severed our relations with the EU, but by doing so has weakend our position with Beijing, and the US, as Britain is now not sitting in a decision making seat in Europe, we are of significantly less use to them.

It seems that Europe is split, and that the UK itself is splitting in two, one side who want to stay with our European brothers and one who do not.

I know nothing about politics, but I know about people, and I know that when people work together they get further than if they work alone.

Let’s hope that Cameron’s decisions do more than just help rejuvenate this blog, but if not then there at least is one positive.

In the spirit of rejuvenation, I have decided to post a video, as seems to be the fashion, that I know you gentlemen will enjoy as much as I did.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8C-qIgbP9o&feature=share

From your friEnd in Isolation.

I refuse to be your enemy.

You did great damage to our country, you took 77 innocent lives for your so called cause. You have ruined families, lives and you took our very innocence away. You proved only that terror has no religion and no race, you tried to bring us down and make us afraid.

You failed. You made us stronger, you united us in a way no one thought possible. You made hundreds of thousands of people take to the streets. Not in anger, not in despair and not for a want of revenge. But in love, in hope and in belief. You have strengthened our democracy, our love for each other and our society and nation. We will answer terror with more openess, more democracy and more peace. You have only strengthened what you sought to destroy. The 77 people who died because of you, they did not die in vain, they died because they believed in a better world – a belief we will honor to the very last.

And you don’t get it, we refuse to be your enemy.
We will not enact vengeance, but our law will try you, find you guilty and convict you. You will serve your sentence, and we will forget you. We will never forget what you did or the day, but you, you will be forgotten, left to the darkest parts of history, the world will forget your name and your cause, and because of that, you have already lost.

Love and peace will go on. Stronger than ever. The world will go on, a better place.
We’re winning, yes, there may be riots in London, poverty and hunger in Etiopia and war in Iraq, but we will make it, we will make the world a better place.

The world will go on, a better place.

and tonigHt, triPoli falls.

Yes… but

You see, actually I wanted to write about something completely different today. Something that I have been thinking about lately – especially since the time we all were together in Norway for Hans and Signhild’s wedding. But I shall write about it next time. It simply isn’t the right answer for what Eyal wrote.

The past days of riots in London and also Liverpool started quite a few discussions amongst colleagues and friends about why this is happening in England. People that know me will know, that I might not always paint the brightest picture of the country. That is simply what happens when you live somewhere foreign for a longer period of time than just for holidays: You make your own picture of the place. You gain an insight into how the system works. And that ultimately leads to a decision about whether you like the place or not. So my opinion is that there is a lot of positive things, especially when it comes to people, in England. But the system in general failed long ago and it seems that nobody ever realized the days of the Empire are over.

But now: the generation of people that get left behind. This is our generation ladies and gentlemen. And everyone following up on us! When did that happen? And why?

It was very late a few years ago even, when I did my apprenticeship in Munich. I came home after one of those usual jobs. Very late, very tired but couldn’t sleep right away (as always after work late at night). I switched on the TV and there was a documentary on about unemployed young people. All the kids there quit school. No degree, not even finished school. My parents – as Eyal mentioned – would not have allowed for that to happen. (We think – coming back to that point). So there is this guy who get’s a chance to get work at a local place that does removals and furniture transportation. Obviously this is physically heavy work and you don’t have to be very bright to do it. Therefore the pay is not great – but it is payed work. This guy gets offered to work there and if he doesn’t do too bad, may become a full time position. But for now, he only has to come with them for half a day, 6 hours in total.
When he comes back, he says this work would be absolutely stupid, everyone could do it, it would be too hard and would not pay enough. And that he would not go there again. Asked what he would expect from a job, he says that is has to pay well. He wishes to have a house, garden, car, pool and so on. He would need about 3000 Euros a month to even feel he has a quality life.
So I sat there, after 16 hours of work, that payed me around 500 Euros a month and thought – what the fuck?
(I had to check again, but that really was the salary… 😉 )

Another story: In the gymnastics class I used to coach, there was a really talented you boy. When he came to our club, it became quite clear after no time, that we were not the right place for him. He was too talented not to make something out of that talent. We wanted to send him to the Olympics team that trains in Augsburg. And they wanted to work with him – but he didn’t want to. He wanted to stay. So he did. He was about 9 years or so (cannot remember) and his parents used to bring him to training as they lived several towns away. They cared for him, where always there, went with us to competitions and events and so further. I watched him grow up and he was a nice guy and remained the best one of the group.
During my time in Liverpool I was home for the summer and on a train from Augsburg back home. A guy that somehow looks familiar comes in the train and passes me. He was a punk, with all the usual accessories, like the spiky collar, run down clothes, coloured hair – the whole enchilada. Somewhere in my head, this little man was saying: You know this guy. But I could not work out where from.
A few days later I meet a friend from my time at the gymnastics club. She is a social worker now and told me the story that this guy I once knew has basically abandoned his family. No contact what so every. Lives on the street and became a punk. So what happened with this guy? He was the one on the train. At some point in our lives, our paths crossed and there was a chance to possibly change his life. To divert it into a different direction. His parents did everything they thought was good for him. They cared and they were strict. And now?

You see, the thing with the blaming is really difficult. I agree with Eyal, completely. The parents are to blame. But, it isn’t that easy. A lot of the kids of the lost generation have really young parents. Especially in England there is a trend to become a Mom at a very young age. To gain some perspective in life again. As everything else is useless. No job, no money, no perspective. Why not have a baby. Thinking does not always go much further as the next few weeks. And the fact that having a child means lifetime commitment is not the first thought that comes to mind.
So now, kids having kids is a problem. Kids with no perspective in life, no money, no job, no education having kids themselves… who do you blame now? When does the chain start? Where in the line is the one person that we could blame? The one that had a proper job, was clever, raised a family and made it through? There must be someone to blame..?

I know this is a very provocative line of argumentation. But it is what I spotted a while ago. And since then, I keep wondering all the time how to solve that riddle.

To be fair, you know how my thinking is. I might be too idealistic and have a very pragmatic view on things. But I do honestly ask the question: How do we want to go on as a society? We cut down jobs in constant strive for more money, the better paid job. We cut down the money for anything that is not related to economy and its constant growth. Did anybody ever think about, that constant growth is something unnatural? And that within our physical restrains infinite growth will never happen – no matter what we are looking at. But we built our society on the basis of constant economic growth… That is odd.
So, what do we do with all the kids that have no perspective in their lives? Do we go to them and tell them: Learn something, you will find a job and be happy? Well, there won’t be any job. We all know how hard it can be to find A job. But everyone strives for THE job, the one that makes you happy, pays well and has short working hours…

I honestly am furious about rioters like the one we have seen in England lately. There is no excuse for this.
But there is the unsolved question of whom to blame. I don’t know. But I feel it is time that people – young people in particular start to become more present in the minds of the people that do leave them behind. We have the right to speak freely what we think. We can demonstrate for the good cause. So, why not organise some useful things with a Blackberry and march for a good thing. To really change something…?

It is only us, human beings, that are able to change the way our world goes. At the moment, we are heading for the ice-berg, straight ahead and with full speed.

Maybe we should go and slow down a bit.

The world we live in…

Not always and not for everyone, the world we live in is a beautiful place to be. There have been a series of suicides of teenagers in America a few months ago. According to what there was to read in the news, they were bullied heavily in school for the fact that they were gay. We tend to not see these kind of things, as we all live in such a peaceful world. And yes, compared to other countries, we do have rights (especially the one to live) and don’t have to fear suppression by the authorities. On the other hand, I am not entirely sure if the next generation of kids does grow up with the same peaceful mind that the current generations have. When you look around, you can see that the world is changing for a more radical and less open minded view. Foreigners are more and more looked at with suspicion, the right wing parties are growing and becoming more votes at elections. Whole countries saw a drastic swing to the political right at last elections.
With all this in mind, I am not entirely sure if we are living in such a wonderful world as we tend to think. So where are we going with this?
There is a project that I have been following over the past months since I learnt about these suicides in the US. It is called the “It get’s better project”. It all started as a small video campaign for tolerance and freedom for everyone and as a direct reaction on the suicides. Some really well known faces joined the campaign and recently Google also had it’s part in it. I usually would not advertise for their Chrome browser, but the video is worth showing. So here it is:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7skPnJOZYdA

And by the way, here is a collection of countries that do have a law against homosexuality. The punishment reaches from minor fines, to several years or a lifetime in prison as well as the death penalty:
Algeria, Angola, Ethiopia, Benin, Botswana, Burundi, Djibouti, Eritrea, Gambia, Ghana, Cameroon, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Libya, Malawi, Mali, Marocco, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Niger, Sambia, Senegal, Seychelles, Simbabwe, Somalia, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Central African Republic, Afghanistan, Armenia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Birma, Brunei, Georgia (the law is no longer executed but exists), Irak, Iran, Yemen, Katar, Kuwait, Laos, Libanon, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, United Arab Emirates, Cook Islands, Fiji Islands, West Samoa, Bahamas, Barbados, Grenada, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Chile, Guyana.

There are some countries that don’t officially have a law against homosexuality any more, but they use given law that they bend in order to still punish homosexuals (e.g. Turkey). I think we are quite privileged that we as a society have come so far. I fear that in some regions where religion has a very strong position against homosexuality, it might never be possible for the people to be really free. Let’s just see that we don’t go backwards but forward, so it get’s better.
www.itgetsbetter.org

This is my life.

Sleeping ’til the sun is high in the sky. Dreaming about the future. Eating breakfast with the best girl I know while reading the paper. Working on incredible, fantastic, boring, exciting, exhausting and extremely challenging projects. All of them at the same time. Drawing my own house. Making plans for the future. Thinking about my friends. Wishing I could fix all the worlds problems. Listening to great music. Attempting to play the piano. Planning a wedding. The best one ever. Chocolate. Red wine. A Vesper Martini every now and then. Cooking good food for good people. Enjoying the little things in life. Learning every single day. Always. Finding new places. Meeting new people and making new friends. Some not so good friends too. Sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll. Not so much the drugs and we could do with some more rock ‘n roll. Setting up a new company. Longing for my girlfriend. My fiance actually. Climbing mountains. Walking in the woods. Sleeping outdoors in summer with a starry sky. Watching clouds drift by. Eating straweberries with cream. Caviar and Vodka. Barbequing in Switzerland with Georg. Going to the theatre in London with Eyal. Answering Hendrik’s Hog questions. Building lego. Getting up way to early in the morning after staying up way too long the night before. Beeing free and cruel. Loving someone. Loosing some battles. Winning the rest. Making three mistakes in one day. Screwing up the Schnick Schnack patch plan. Fixing the Hog. Drawing trees. Photographing beauty. Sleeping nude. Holding Signhild’s hand. Kissing. Running in the high and wild grass. Forgetting to be afraid of worms and bugs. Forgetting to be afraid of anything. Thinking I should rule the world. Ruling the world. Having the best friends ever. Ever. Seeing my family. Spending time with my brother, planning some great adventure. Realising there’s always a bigger fish. Beeing the bigger fish. Saving the day. Or screwing up all the plans everyone had. Keeping secrets. Sharing them. Knowing things. Showing off. Creating just one little bit of magic. Saving someones life. Saving the world. Wishing you could all be here. Now.

This is my life. It isn’t perfect. It doesn’t have to be.

tHis is my Perfect life.

The changing world.

Our world is changing. Quicker than even we, the young generations, can percieve. We have in our short lifetime gone from a isolated “big” world, to a connected “small” one. Everything is connected to everything. I can type something on twitter, and it is visible to thousands of people instantly. I can post a video on youtube and anyone, anywhere, can watch it whenever they want to. But is this changing us as well?

Recent studies suggest so, and there are a number of examples; a 15 year old today has produced more written material than most people in their 50’s have in their whole life. Our language isn’t dying, it’s evolving. American researchers found that the number of words in regular use and the clarity of language for people leaving high school have gone up dramatically for the past 10 years. There is more: the average teen today will have between 7 and 9 jobs before his 60th birthday. The average adult born before 1975 will have between 3 and 4. Modern people read roughly 3000 pages of textbooks each year; and 12.000 pages of e-mail.

The growing numbers relating to the collective information of the human race is staggering: each year, we upload more video hours to youtube than the complete production of CNN, NBC and the BBC put together. The total number of tweets to date is over 1 billion. If Facebook was a country, it would be the world’s 5th largest. When the idea of computers first took root, it was thought that one supercomputer on each continent would do; today, there are over 2 billion computer devices in the world. It has been suggested, that by the end of 2020, e-mail will no longer be the preferred method of communication; social networks and IM will have taken over completely. In 2015, the handheld device will be the primary accesspoint for over 50% of Internet users worldwide.

We have begun the transition to a new world. When everyone is a reporter, a cameraman and a photographer. When news reach the whole world in an instant and everyone can access anything, what does this do for democracy?

We are changing the very nature of our world. A new order, a new power, with the people, no longer restriced by borders, but united by cause. How will our leaders adapt to this? And; is this the start of the glorious new united world? Will this be the end of countries and eventually, war? In a world where everything is virtual, the warrior is outdated. Will it perhaps be, that the ones who will give us peace at last, will not be our leaders, our diplomats or our politicans, but ourselves?

sHaPe the world

Nightflight

As I don’t have an idea yet what the mysterious stuff is Hans wrote about, I will just share some thoughts – well, yet again, something we have discussed quite often here – this night.

I just came back from a bar called nightflight. Besides other things, we discussed, why I once said “the world is a strange place…”. Well, it really is. In many ways. Look at how many different people live their all different lives every single day on this planet. The planet which might seem huge sometimes, but then again, how do you measure distances? Compared to the (possibly) infinite space which is the universe, our little earth is incredibly small. But we have created so many different worlds on the surface of this blue planet. Luck, destiny or the coincidences we often talked about let us all wake up in our own world every day. We open the eyes and what we see is our reality. With its own rules, rights, boundaries and chances. We all learned and accepted the way our world works. We now know what to do to be able to survive in this world. The same goes for all the other people on this planet, too. The slumdog in India also wakes up every day, opens the eyes and is faced with his/her own reality. This reality is probably completely different to ours and the rules, rights and boundaries vary greatly. But the slumdog as well as we knows how to survive in his world. This is what I mean with “the world is a strange place”. So small and yet so big. So rich and yet so poor. And whoever you will ask, nobody will ever think the world is fair. Can we actually solve all the problems … ever? Are we all designed with the little flaw that no matter where we live our life and no matter how well we are, we will never be satisfied…?

Another thing started by talking about the film “Milk”. (I can only recommend it) We were talking about how free and tolerant our society has become nowadays. Everyone has a lot of freedom here in the western world. Freedom of speech, religion, sexuality and many more are things we here take for granted. First of all, the world is not nearly as open minded as we might be here. In huge parts of the world, people get killed for believing “the wrong thing”. People are not allowed to criticise the government, their boss, their husband… In many countries of the world men get killed or arrested for being gay and even the so very liberal USA are way behind with their tolerance. In California, old-fashioned and religiously conservative groups managed to file a petition which passed last November, which does no longer allow same-sex marriage, something which was legal up to that point. Now there is a huge fight to come back to the way it was before… (if you wanna do something about this: http://jointheimpact.com/ ) All I wanna say is that we might all take a lot for granted which it actually is not. So maybe we all have to start and be a little more aware of the responsibility we all have for all the ones on the world which cannot fight for themselves. ( www.one.org )

Maybe quite a random post, but what do you expect with such a random nightflight…

Let’s go and speak out loud…!