Nieuws - 13 mei 2014

Blog: Peace, love and happiness

As much as I enjoyed myself on the fifth of May celebrations, I also felt a bit uneasy. Once upon a time, in a foreign country, a cab driver asked me where I was from. On my reply that I'm German, he cheered and when we were past the Bierfest-and-Autobahn talk, he dropped the bomb. ‘And you guys have such a great history’, he proclaimed.

I froze. Laughing nervously and searching for an appropriate reaction, I anticipated an awfully awkward conversation. ‘You know, when the wall fell and everything.’ Ah, THAT was the history he was talking about. Yeah that is actually quite cool. But that's not what springs to mind when you hear the words Germany and history in one sentence. We're the bad guys of history and we cringe at the mention of it.

And so seeing the military parades pass the cheering crowd on the fifth of May always gives me a weird feeling. The glory, the parades, remembering the dead - it's all very alien to me. In Germany there is no fondness in how we remember. At all. We are inoculated with a shared sense of guilt, humbleness and pacifism by a very solid education in history and mandatory school trips to concentration camps. And that's a good thing! If only everyone was as pacifistic as we are.

But among the Ooohs and Aaahs as the Spitfires and Flying Fortress roared over our heads, I couldn't help but imagine to run for my life from these things. Just a lifetime ago I could have stood here with a gun in my hand. It's a dark thought and I hope it is unnecessary to say that I greatly prefer how it is today. ‘Vrijheid geef je door’ - Pass on Freedom. How great it is to share a beer and a laugh with so many people form so many nationalities - peacefully. Like fellow blogger Romy pointed out so nicely, we better appreciate the freedom that we enjoy. We gotta keep nourishing and protecting it.

And we gotta remember that war is the worst bullshit that could ever happen to anyone.

So I guess what I want to say is: Peace, Love and Happiness to all of you :)