Hello all. I know, it has been an awful long time since I posted anything. But, I have a job that puts food on the table, makes the chimney smoke and affords me the luxury of posting these entries. Since I love what I am doing, my work takes second priority right after wife and family. Anyway, in November I posted the summaries of our Annapurna trip and in December I has my parents visiting, followed by us going home for Christmas. So you see it was a b.u.s.y. time.
Now you are caught up. But I wanted to tell you about my Christmas.
I was born and raised Christian, more importantly, I think my parents tried their hardest to raise a decent human being. While religion is important to a lot of people, I do believe that if there is a god or a supreme being, that she strives for beings that she can leave alone for a while. I do believe that since we were all equipped with a brain and a heart and even a soul on top of a super versatile body, I think we have to make use of all our faculties. This means not always choosing the easiest path, especially, if the easiest path is at the expense of others who are weaker, less powerful, poorer, less educated, simply less advantaged that those making decisions. In 2015 you heard a lot about the Greek financial crisis and how Germany behaves oh-so-imperialistically – comparisons to the Versailles Treaty that was stuffed down Germany’s throat after it lost WW1 were made, Angela Merkel was depicted as Hitler and so was Schäuble. Then you heard about the refugee crisis and the human rights abuses all over the middle East and of course the atrocities and the horror regime of the Islamic State. You also heard the reactionary slogans from politicians with a very limited view of the world – led by a loud mouth from America (a country I love like my motherland), all sorts of fascists from France, to Germany to former Balkan states to Hungary. The Brits are threatening to leave the EU – if you chose to enter politics and take all the fame and privilege of governing a country, then man-up and do it in sunny skies and stormy weather with imagination, creativity and integrity. In summary, there was plenty to go around to cause the blues for us living in peace and prosperity. Needed to get that off my chest.
So, my parents went to church on the 24th of December and I decided not to to. Not out of protest, but I didn’t have anything to say to the man or the woman upstairs and neither did he or she – at least not in church. I know some of you might view this a blasphemous – it is not.
This is what I did instead. Because it was very warm on Christmas Eve, I went and walked around with my camera. I watched the sun setting behind the horizon near a lake where I used to play when I was little.
Watching a sunset is always soothing to me – it’s like a massage or the soul. If you expand your view o a sunset, then you will understand. Look, we are drifting through the universe and, yet, we have so much protection, that we can wander the earth and find pleasure in what nature produces for us in convenient 24h increments – that is truly awesome.
To close the Christmas Eve sunset series a contour of the neighbor village from where I grew up. I rode my BMX bike across these fields, I scraped my knees while doing so and thusly my blood “fertilized” these fields – and it shows, because the farmers have been harvesting year after year with great success…….all thanks to the blood from my scraped knees…….
Moving on. As I was standing by the lake taking the above pictures, a hand tapped me on the shoulder. I turned and looked at a young man who offered me a freshly grilled kebab on his stretched out hand. A little perplexed (Germans don’t approach strangers at or after sunset offering food.to them) I accepted and we got to talk. It turned out they were refugees – yes exactly those refugees so many people have an opinion about – from Iran. They had smart phones and tablets and I simply asked how they can have these when they are refugees. The answer was simple, yet deep. They had jobs in Iran where they had a salary. But because two of them were Christians they were often harassed and beaten by the police for partying, being in the wrong neighborhood. Their muslim friends were harassed just the same way for hanging out with Christians. One day they and their families decided for these boys to leave Iran. They walked, took busses, rode on tractors, walked more, took trains, walked some more until they finally arrived in Germany in late September. Once they were assigned to a refugee home they were asked to take up German classes – and German is hard language to learn. But after just three months we could have enough of a conversation that we could exchange thoughts and share a few laughs over food they had grilled on their tiny barbeque. And that was my really great Christmas Eve experience. Perhaps there is a supreme being who is telling me not to loose faith…may there is not and it’s just up to us to go through all this trouble of using head, heart and soul all the time.
Ask yourself what it would take for you to leave your home, your family, your friends, the majority of your possessions, your home, the place a lot of your dreams are rooted in. To me this is incomprehensible.
I think, the root of all this is intolerance, fed by a lack of education – both formal (knowledge, the connecting of dots) and emotional (empathy). At work, I separate people into competent and incompetent at what they are doing as well as willing and unwilling to do what they supposed to be doing. In my leisure life, I separate into people I want to spend time with and those I don’t. Skin colour, gender, religion and so forth are not of importance to me – why would they? I try not to generalize. And yes, I prefer people who can enrich my life, not financially, but through good experiences and the passing on of knowledge – and this includes them teaching and showing me new things as well as vice-versa. As the church service, my parents attended, came to a close I had to say good-bye to my four brief acquaintances and pick up my parents.
Thank you guys for sharing and inviting me in your midst. I wish for you, that you find the freedom and prosperity you seek and that you become upstanding and contributing citizens in Germany, because if you don’t, you affirm the loudmouths screaming their foul propaganda.
Cheers Yours Markus \m/