#oslove

I will tell your story if you die. I will tell your story and keep you alive.

Some die old. Some die young. Some die for their beliefs. Some die for their country. All death is meaningless.
Thus it becomes our job, as survivors, to give meaning to death. To look for a purpose or a consequence to this endless void.

One year ago we decided to love each other again, to remember what we built our society on and that we are together in this world. One year ago.
One week ago, I saw poeple wanting to kick foreigners out of our country on the gneral basis that “their kind” are nothing but thiefs and beggars. One week ago, I saw mothers and fathers yelling at each other, one word stronger than the other. One week ago I saw 15 common people suddenly fill their whole with hate. One week ago.
One day ago, I saw the same people remember one year ago.

I hope that tomorrow, they still do.

We survived. We have to tell their stories. We have to give meaning to the pointless. We have to remember what they believed in, and to keep struggling for that belief that we are all here in this world together. If one man can show so much hate, imagine how much love we can show.

We survived. We have to remember and find meaning.
Some die yoUng. Some die old.

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.

The end is near. Period.

I know most of you guys is not directly affected by an effect, that is currently happening: The Euro is dying. If you read between the lines of what experts say or even what some experts are actually saying, the currency of the European Union cannot be saved. It is almost certain, that there will be massive inflation at some point in the future. How long we have until we reach this point? That is the question, but not, if it is going to happen.

I know, that a lot of people at home will say, that this is a great thing in a way. As they never wanted the Euro in the first place. And it is right. If there had been a referendum on the implementation of the Euro in any of the current Euro-countries, probably none of them would be trading in Euro today. For Germany it has been a fare-well of one of the most stable currencies of all times. And it hurt. Especially as this already meant the first inflation, when the only thing that was converted correctly into the new currency was your salary, whereas the prices of every day groceries and supplies were not adapted as fussy as was your monthly income.

Yes, I understand that this is the common thinking. But the worst thing that can happen is that the Euro is dying. We are all tied together in such a tight and multileveled way, that the consequences will be fatal for everyone. The situation a few weeks ago, when the Swiss Frank was traded 1:1 with the Euro was the point when it became evident, that nobody, even the neutral Swiss can withstand the impact of such a monster that the Euro has become. It is a huge part of the western world, that has one common currency now and if one part of the Union (like Greece) goes down, the rest will follow. Again, maybe not in that very moment, but eventually.

Greece cannot be saved. No matter how much money the other members of the Union will pump into the really rotten system of the country. But by doing exactly that, the system makes a mockery of itself. All the measures that were originally in place to control things like national debt have been ignored by almost every country by now on several occasions and in some cases right from the beginning. By pumping more money into completely wrecked systems where you will never see the money again, the European Union is acting against any stabilizing measures that are (or were) in place. This is why there is no hope for the overall system.

The ones that will once again lose everything will be the majority of the people. Like all the other times, when the currency had to be replaced, the only ones that did not lose anything were those that didn’t have anything in the first place or had enough resources (in money) to escape the system before it failed. For everyone else, the normal citizens, that probably saved up some money over decades and decades, these really hard-earned savings were lost and degraded to seed capital. The winners will be the few big spenders, sitting in a bank right now, trying to make to most of the situation. They will try to escape the problem when it reaches its peak by flying off to a warm place somewhere else in the world with their private jet.

What makes me angry about the situation is, that the government in Germany as well as in any other European country does not play by their own set rules. And now that they know about the dramatic situation they have manoeuvred us all, they are not telling us the truth. They will be playing their game until the very end. And then they will say, we are sorry, but it is all over now and we have to start again. It is a shame you lost everything, but hey, life goes on.

In fact it does go on. But our political leaders are nothing more than marionettes of lobbies and the “market”. The market dictates the policy. Really? Well, it certainly does now. But it should not do so. Only a really small percentage of the citizens are actual stock holders. So how come that we all have to constantly read about the stock market and be shocked of what happens there? The market only dictates what the politicians have to do, because we let them dictate the rules. All that happens now is our own fault. We are easy to rule. We don’t stand up, we don’t force politics to do what is best for most of the people. Because at the moment, politics decide on things that are best for only a few people. We think we live in a free world, with maximum participation in the way our countries are ruled. But we are not. And it is our own fault.

We have to stand up and refuse to accept this. We are the people and we have granted a few people the right to decide on things for us. In our sense and for the greater good of the majority. We grant a gouvernment the right to rule a country for a certain time. And I expect of people that we generously give the right to do so, to do the absolute best they can to server their people. It is us, that employ the gouvernment and therefore we have every right to withdraw the confidence again. And fire the ones that are obviously not acting for the greater good of the majority of the people.

It causes me great sorrow but I hope that we will learn that we are the people. And it is our country.

Ave.

I wish God could see the world the way I do.

I wish he could come down here, spend a day with me, walk around town and look at all the people that populate this place. How incredible wonderful this microcosmos of beeings really is. We would walk to the national theatre, stop by the swedish girls and get a coffee or a tea, then marvel and the flowers around the statue of Wenche Foss before we would spend a moment philospising about the works of Henrik Ibsen, as you are shure to do when you pass the massive statue of him and see his words inscribed in the street all the way down to the parliament. We would visit the newsstand on Karl Johan, and talk to the guy that always is there, always happy to help passers by with whatever they need or want. From there we would make our way down to the opera house, and on the way we would by a copy of =Oslo from the recovering drug addict that is selling it. God would surely tell him something profound and touch his shoulder, and then he would learn his name is Håkon, and that Håkon is a really compassionate person, who’s made a few wrong choices in this life, but is hoping to correct some of them before he caves under for good. Then a street performer, a musician, would get our attention with his beautiful rendition of Simon and Garfunkel’s sound of silence. We would stand and listen to him, and his little daughter would come out of nowhere and join in on the chorus. God would ask me if I know of this man, and I would say that, yes, I do know of him. He left his wife 9 years ago to travel the world, he wanted to be free and see all the things life has to offer. He left his wife and little girl because he wanted to be free, and almost lost all that he cared about in the process. Now he lives alone in Oslo, he earns his income by singing songs on the street, and he sees his daughter a couple times a week. He says he doesn’t know when his wife will forgive him, if she ever will, but at least he gets to be there now.

We would part with a hug from the old man, and we would walk on. Nodding gracefully to vendors, young boys and their girls, elderly ladies on their weekly shopping trip and to travelling monks of other religions who have come to tiger city this day. We would get caught up in a group of german cruise tourists on a guided tour, and we would shake hands with Henke and Ariel, a finnish couple here on a weekend getaway. They are newly married and are expecting their first child in a couple of months. They are as happy as ever, high on life and love itself. Living carefree in a castle built around themselves out of young and unbreakable love. God would put his hand on Ariel’s stomach, and with a faint whisper, he would speak a blessing so profound and beautiful that it can only be heard by newborn ears.

As we reach the waters edge, and the maarble majesty of the opera house, God would remind me yet again why I do what I do, and that a building such as this, surely demonstrates the greatness of mankind in a very subtle and poetic way. As we walk along the waters edge, a fisherman that never cathces fish yells at us, a good wish for wind in our sails and fish in our nets. A young couple walks by, she, clearly intoxicated, has taken of her shoes – he, well dressed in a suite that doesn’t look right for him is holding her stady as the pass down the ways into town again. We – would carry on, sneaking into Akershus fortress the backway everyone knows about, watching the lone royal guardsman on his patrol – the most symbolic of military positions this country have, a guard that is guarding nothing but history. As he puts his rifle on his shoulder and turns around to walk, I would lead God to the top of the old wall, and as the sun sets over Oslo tonight, I would say to God; look at your creation. Take a look at it, not from above where you belong nor from below where lucifer reigns, but look at this world the way we do. From eye to eye. From head to head. From person to person. Look at us the way we look at ourselves, and see, that really, all we ever do, is try the best we can.

Come down lord, and look at us the way we look at us. Come down tonight and share the world with us.

Here i am, just a simPle human being

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