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The Golden Age of Nothing


This is a dystopia based on the recent events happening in and around Europe. Told by nineteen imaginary characters.

The Golden Age of Nothing


Today

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Prologue Today

For the Europeans, the year 2014 passed by calmly. Economic crisis, crisis of Krim, high rates of unemployment, as well as the impacts of the conflicts in Syria - phrases, European citizens just knew from headlines. There was no reason to personally feel affected. 07th January

Attack on Charlie Hebdo in Paris

Not only Parisians were shocked by the assault, it also shook the whole Western world. It was not only attacking a magazine headquarter, it was also an attack on freedom. This horrific incident, change the mood in Europe. In the course of the demonstration on the 12th January 2015, the awakening of a spirit of the European community was increases by the governmental authorities of economically relevant nations. 12th January 25th January

25.000 people join the “PEGIDA” demonstration in Dresden, Germany Collateral to the finance crisis the election in Greece continues

At the same time, national counter streams started stirring up doubts about Europe’s solidarity and economically necessity, as the “PEGIDA” demonstration in Dresden took off. Speculations about Greece, emphasize the national stance of further European nations. Parliamentary elections in Greece clarified the general perception by the option of an AntiEU-Party. A Greek referendum indicates the possibility of European separatist by various countries national movements. The insistence of the EU was decided by a bare majority. The only remaining positive mark for the European Union. 11th February 24th September 27th August

Refugee catastrophe in Lampedusa, Italy Hungary erects the first fence 75 refugees die in a food truck, Austria

Another drastic incident occurred when media reported on the death of 300 refugees travelling towards Lampedusa. This elucidated tragedy reveals national errors of dealing with growing issues concerning refugees of the past months. Special solutions must be developed. As a result of the lack of EU’s activities, despite particular circumstances, some countries started making local political decisions by themselves against the flow of refugees, to militate for the populations demand for safety and supervision. For instance, Hungary decided to construct a fence against the stream of human seeking for a better life. As a consequence, a mass movement aiming towards Central Europe was triggered, which claimed the lives of several people, including a left truck on an Austrian highway, containing 75 lifeless bodies. It’s Europe’s move. Two oppositions arises. The one side insists on closed boundaries, defending national states. The political movement swings to the right.

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08th May 15th June 28th August 03th October 04th October 03th November

70 years of Peace after World War II “Die Toten kommen”, Zentrum für politische Schönheit Demonstration for more humanity in Vienna, Austria “Refugees Welcome” demonstration in Vienna, Austria Rescue plattform “Aylan 1”, Zentrum für politische Schönheit “Die weißen Kreuze”, Zentrum für politische Schönheit

The other side newly receives arrived Europeans with open arms, volunteering and welcoming the multicultural society. Diverse activities of demonstrations and arts call attention to the precarious situation and bring back memories of our historic past. 21th August 25th August 26th August 27th October 14th September 11th November

Prevented attack in the Thalys 9364, France Estonia starts to strengthen its frontier against Russia Balkan conference - refugee crisis as the main theme in Vienna, Austria Austria considers creating a fence Schengen agreement is stopped between Salzburg/Passau Slovenia builds a fence at the border to Croatia

The German federal government affirmation hosting Syrian refugees, provokes an incalculable run through Hungary and Austria. In response to the Germans decision and as a protest against, Bavaria tightens its borders, just as the Austrian and Hungarian measures of protection. Since Europe recognizes its external borders as serious weak spots, a general tendency in the politics of refugees to constructing borders especially, around the Balkan area, awakes. Because of Russian conflicts, also in the Northeast of Europe new borders start to take shape. 11th October 01st November 13th November

Nationals FPÖ reaches all time high at the Viennese elections National Populist party AFD gets 8%, Germany Series of terrorist attacks in Paris, France

Paris set up a temporary border for two days after being attacked. France gets convulsed as once before and exclaimed “Etat d‘Urgence”. 14th November

Francois Hollande: “We are at war!”

Subsequently Belgium declares “Etat d‘Urgence” and conducts police operations and numerous arrests. The attempt on Paris causes a chain of activities, like close collaborations between French, German and Belgian public authorities. The citizens of Paris are insecure of public places. Streets are empty, military concentration of troops intensifies.


Due to a serious threat by the IS, military alliances are founded. Germany, France and Belgium determine corporate strategies against the terror. The country of Turkey commits to a culture of pro Islam and dissociates itself from European mentalities. According to the attack on a Russian airplane, political conjunctions get worse. 6th December

Climate Change Conference COP in Paris, France

In Paris 147 nations meet for the Climate Change Conference COP. Participants are protected by 120.000 security forces. Despite military precautions, a Swiss politician, a Spanish politician and a sheik Bahrain get mortally injured by an assault on their convoys. “Attacks on several convoys at the COP.” Considering that a Islamic leader gets killed at the same incident, theories of conspiracy regarding Islamic commitment emerge. Facts give rise to all possibility of speculation. Central European military intelligences are responsible for the plot. Different opinions initiate within Europe, not least because Germany and France unite to act against. According to German and French operations in the name of Europe, in Syria, widespread dissatisfaction occurs against the two United nations. As a result of the attack in Paris, Switzerland declares against Islam and starts supporting Austria set borders, intending to construct a wall against the Southeast. Just when Bavaria agrees, Hungary uses opportunity to close its boundaries entirely. “Riots for independence in Spain.” Spain gets effected by the recent discontents around the Alps and revolutions in regions of Basque and Catalonia occur. “England votes against the European Union.” The election clarifies the purpose by the percentage of 68 pro resigning from the European Union. Though Scotland heavily criticized the last results, the election 2015 is repeated. Once again, clear agreement in favor of the separation of England. The UK splits. “Spanish military can’t fight on two front lines.” In Spain, current situations sharpen as a result of the fatal assassination on the Spanish governor. Regarding to the military, south of Spain needs to secure borders against refugees. Meanwhile the Mediterranean islands agree to a pact to patrol afloat between

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North Africa and Europe. “Front de Mer” rises against Africa. Based on military action against the external, within the country a potential for independent fighters grows. The regions of Basque and Catalonia start operations for a dissociation of Spain. After successful captures and declaration of independence of Spanish areas, Basques and Catalans construct barriers in case of a possible recapture on that part of Spain. “Other countries follow Hungary and Austria in their attempts to strengthen their borders.” General tendency within Europe considering stronger boundaries is recognizable. Because of the direct consternation of the flow of refugees, the Balkans divide into smaller regions with the intention of an improvement of the border security. Barricades against refugees unintentionally turn into barricades against neighboring countries. The growing sense of national identity in the Southeast, the exit of the UK and the Greek circumstances remain unchanged, evoke a repeated reconciliation of the exit from the European Union. So it comes to a revote, as a result Greece decides to concentrate on their own problems and refuse to redeem debts to the EU. “Greece separates, against all political suggestions, from the EU.” Despite encouragement by others European states and threat of military sanctions, Greece does not react. Because of Syrian conflicts, Greece does not fear any sanctions by Germany and France. Finally Greece breaks contact entirely leaving back a pile of debts. Greece’s conductions lead to widespread protests within the remaining European nations, like Spain, Portugal and Italy, which adjudicate in a drastic economic and political situation themselves. Eventually the listed nations also decide not to be a part of the union anymore. Because of the accordance of their countries population, regarding economical internal circumstances, politicians have no other choice than to agree with them. “The European Union crumbles.” Decayed circumstances of Spain oblige the country to concede in favor of their populations claims. Soon the exit is concluded. In contrary to Spain, Italy has difficulty following their peoples demands, as one of the European Union cofounder. Facts of rising action within European nations lead to a crisis meeting of the outstanding countries of the EU. The founding members of the EU cherish the idea of the union and persuade to carry on the sense of community in terms of the European Union. The EU lasts as a doubtful construction. To be expected in consequence of the disruptions, the Euro collapse, accordingly the European Central Bank ECB is inability to pay. Recently the Euro has to be abolished. Indeed European countries are economic separated and disunited. Another big blow for Europe.


“Parts of Italy, Germany, Austria and Switzerland form a new state.” Italian regions, which are highly influenced by Austria, are told to join the German speaking world. According to Italy’s entry into the German speaking region, Austria and Switzerland states to establish cultural landscapes of alpine countries. Because of the collaboration of Germany and France, Bavaria does not feel related anymore and determine for reasons of geography and culture, to exit Germany and enter the community of German speaking regions. The concept of an Alpine country along the Alps, with the demand on partition of the nearing IS and the freedom of economical action is formed. “The Islamic State enters on Turkish ground.” Meanwhile, the IS captured a wide range of Turkey and gets supported by a great part of Turkeys population, which is Islamic influenced by Erdogan. The structure and the authority of the terrorist army gets strengthen. These successes and the shattering of Europe enable for further activities. Even though assaults in Germany and France could be prevented, they gain more power and more success. French, German and Belgian authorities already formed transnational liaised units. “The French, German and Benelux unite as Section Outremer.” By spreading territories in the Ukraine, Russia demonstrates its military authority. Out of fear the Scandinavian and Baltic states form units around country’s frontiers, to secure borders against the east. The Baltic countries increasingly operate in Estonia, while Scandinavians support Finns around the borders and protect the North. Concerning to Turkeys impact on the Russian aircraft in the end of 2015, relations between the two countries are more than unstable. “Russia is fighting different wars in Europe.” Because Russia is fighting against the IS, Turkey align with the IS to intimidate the enemy. The assurance leads to the option to spread westbound on purpose to fulfill the seven stage plan. Soon the IS reaches Greece and so they step on European ground for the first time. Greece tries to oppose, through their sudden European exit, they stay unassisted against the IS. Prepared the Balkans reunion after splitting and collaboratively boost their already constructed borders. “The Balkan Union fights side by side against the terror from the south.”

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Tomorrow

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Suomi [ˈsuɔmi] Eilen näin jälleen yhden karhun, joka oli pudonnut Suomen ja Venäjän väliselle rajalle kaivettuun kuoppaan. Tuohon 25 metriä syvään kuoppaan, joka luotiin pelosta venäläisiä kohtaan. Ympäröivän luonnon haluttiin säilyvän koskemattomana. Kun seison kuistillani ja tuijotan taivaanrantaan, en pysty vielä näkemään sitä. Kuitenkin tullessani lähemmäs kuoppa avautuu edessäni. Sen molempia puolia vartioi armeija. Kuopan lähelle tuleminen ei ole vaarallista, sillä sotaa ei syttynytkään. Sotilaat ovat rauhallisia. Sisämaassa kansa vielä ajattelee, että raja oli menestys. Se varjelee yhä kansaa Venäjältä, jota ei voi pysäyttää. Noille ihmisille raja ei merkinnyt isoa muutosta, sillä se oli vain poliittinen päätös, joka ei vaikuttanut heihin. Sitä vastoin ihmisille, jotka asuvat rajan läheisyydessä, oli vaikutus huomattavampi. Puhuin ystävälleni eilen, ja hän sanoi: “Inhoan rajaa. Olemme asuneet täällä nyt yli 50 vuotta, ja kun meidät käskettiin rakentamaan jotain puolustautuaksemme Venäjää vastaan, uskoimme heitä. Niin me kaikki teimme. Mutta ketä on rajan tuntumassa? Meitä, sotilaita ja joitain villieläimiä lukuun ottamatta - ei ketään. Joten mitä varten se on?” Minulla ei ole vastausta tuohon kysymykseen. En ole koskaan nähnyt kenenkään yrittävän rajan ylitystä. Ainoa hyvä asia rajassa on, että jos et tule liian lähelle sitä, et näe sitä. Jos pysyt poissa joitain päiviä, unohdat sen kokonaan. Mutta totuus iskee vasten kasvoja kuopan reunalla seisoessa ja tuijottaessa sen syvyyksiin.

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“But who do you see along the border? Except us, the soldiers and some wild animals - nobody.�


Scandinavia

Yesterday I saw them carrying out another bear that fell into the borderhole between Finland and Russia. The 25 meter deep hole, that was created out of fear from the Russians. The focus was not to destroy the nature, at least not visibly. When I stand on my porch, looking at the horizon, I am not able to recognise it. If I get closer, the hole appears in front of me. It is guarded on both sides by the military. Getting close to it is not dangerous - the war never happened, and the soldiers are calm. Which does not mean you should try to cross. Inside the country people still think the border is a great success. It still saves us from the unstoppable Russia. For those people the border did not change that much, it was just a political statement they are not influenced by. But for the people that were living close to the border before, the impact was more significant. I was talking to a friend yesterday, he said: “I hate the border. We have been living here for longer than 50 years now, and when they told us we need to build something to defend us against the Russians, I believed them. We all did. But who do you see along the border? Except us, the soldiers and some wild animals - nobody. So what is it for?” I have no answer to that question myself. I never saw anybody crossing the border or trying to - at least no humans. There is only one good thing about the border. If you do not get too close, you do not see it. If you stay away for some days, you forget it is there. But reality hits you when you stand on the edge and look down into the gap. My cousin lives on the other side of the frontier. A few weeks before they started digging the hole, she moved to her russian boyfriend. We used to see each other a lot. It is complicated now. Sometimes we meet at the border and take a walk “together”.

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Luxembourg

I have always been a frontier worker. I live in Bastogne, in the north of Belgium, but my work takes me to Luxembourg. I am crossing the border since I am eighteen, twice a day. Between these two countries there has never been a physical border. The only thing that changed when you crossed from one country to another, was the provider of the mobile phone. It was great. One could really benefit from the surrounding countries. I remember the times when we used to be teenager, and we were going to the Netherlands to enjoy some quality Dutch weed. Further I used to buy tobacco and whisky in Luxembourg for my father, because it was cheaper. Or the times we travelled to Metz as kids, to shop for fashion, because they had an outlet which sold various brands we liked. On some days, I travelled through France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany in just a few hours, without showing my passport even once. Since the crisis in Europe, and the military alliances a lot has changed. I have to get up two hours in advance, getting to my Job in Luxembourg. Soldiers at the borders have become a part of the scenery. My father used to say: “I hope you will have a better life than I have now.” Of course, we still are safe and we have a good life, considering the rest of Europe, but the only thing I can tell my kids today is: “I hope your future will be the same, and not worse.” The “Etat d’Urgence”, which was set in 2015, became an “Etat Normal” over the years. It is not especially about a fence or a wall, it is about the meaning of the word “Frontière”. It is about the fear that is produced by media. Fear as propaganda - the military as propaganda. We stopped travelling. Tourism died. My origins are Corsican. As kids, we were used to spend our summerdays at the cost of Corsica. “Ile de la beauté”. Since Corsica declared their independence, and became part of the confederation in the Mediterranean sea, it became impossible for us to travel there. Nowadays we spend our summers at the coast of Belgium.


Lëtzebuerg [ˈləʦəbuɐ̯ɕ] Ech war schonn ëmmer ee Frontalier, ech liewen zu Bastenesch am Norde vun der Belge, verdénge mäin Geld awer zu Lëtzebuerg. D’Grenz iwwerquieren ech scho säit mengem 18. Liewensjoer zwee mol am Dag. An der Benelux gouf et Joerhonnerte laang keng baulech Grenzen. Dat eenzegt wat sech geännert huet war den Handy-Provider. Et konnt ee vun all de Virdeeler vun den Nopeschlänner profitéieren. Ech ka mech erënnere wou mir nach jonk waren, a mir einfach mol fir en Mëtteg op Maastricht gefuer sinn, fir e gudden hollänneschen Joint ze dämpen. Wei ech jorelaang fir mäin Papp Zigaretten a Whisky ob Lëtzebuerg kafe gaangen si well dëst zu Lëtzebuerg alles méi bëlleg war. Wei mir als Kanner matt eisen Elteren ob Metz an den Outlet gefuer sinn, fir eis Markekleeder méi bëlleg ze kafen. Et ass alt mol gelegentleg virkomm, elaw, dass ech während zwou an enger hallwer Stonn duerch Frankräich, Holland, Belge, Lëtzebuerg an Däitschland gefuer sinn ouni dass ech eemol hunn misste mäin Passport weisen. Säit der Eurokris, an de militäreschen Allianzen huet sech sou munches geännert. Ech muss zwou Stonnen éischter opstoen, fir ob Lëtzebuerg schaffen ze goen an Zaldoten op de Stroossen ze begéine gehéiert elo zu mengem Alldag. Mäin Papp sot mir ëmmer: “Ech hoffen iech geet et besser wei et eis gaangen ass”, dat eenzegt wat ech menge Kanner elo bescheide matt ob de Wee ka ginn: “Ech hoffen Iech geet et genausou gutt wei eis.” Den “Etat d’Urgence” deen deemools 2015 ausgeruff ginn ass, ass iwwert d’Joren zum “Etat Normal” ginn. Et geet net ëm d’Mauer. Et geet em de Sënn an t’Hierkonft vum Wuert “Frontière” a wei mir domatter emgin. Et geet em déi Et geet em d’Angscht déi duecht d’Medie verspreet gëtt. Angscht als Propaganda - de Militär als Propaganda. Mir reesen netméi, den Tourismus ass dout. Meng Originë si korsesch, als kleng Kanner si mir obmannst eemol d’Joer dohinner gefuer. “Ile de la Beauté”. Säit Korsika onofhängeg, an deel vun der Mëttelmierallianz ass, ass et fir eis onméiglech ginn dohinner ze reesen. Mir verbréngen eis Summerméint dofir elo ob der Belscher Côte.

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România [romɨˈni.a] “M-am născut în timpul comunismului.” Bunicul meu nu credea în Dumnezeu, credea în comunism. El a sperat până la adânci bătrâneți ca într-o zi, comunismul o să revină la putere. În mintea oamenilor nu mai existau demult idei comuniste, dar el tot spera. Asta nu se întâmplă de mult, dar cumva îmi pare din altă eră. Din altă țară. Naivitatea și bunătatea noastră au rămas acolo. Ai fi putut să simți cum vine schimbarea, că ceva se va schimba în anii ce vor urma. Ai fi putut să simți cum obiceiurile societății erau din ce în ce mai influențate de cultura occidentală. În același timp, încă nu se simțea o integrare completă în societatea de vest. În curând se sfârșea timpul în care ne imaginam viața în afara granițelor. Puteai să simți sclipirea speranței dorită de oameni. Cât de bine era să simți liberatea! În sfârșit ne era permis să călătorim în țările străine care ni se păreau îndepărtate. Acordul Schengen ar fi fost ultimul pas în a face parte din lumea de vest. Totuși, aderarea a fost amânată cu cativa ani, pentru că fondurile EU au fost administrate de persoane nepotrivite, într-un sistem corupt. Nu am reușit să depunem destul efort pentru a progresa în lupta împotriva corupției și a crimei organizate. “Revoluția decenței” care s-a născut dintr-un sistem prea corupt ce producea victime, a fost primul succes în a elimina starea de fapt a lucrurilor în momentul respectiv. Politicienii au realizat că nu pot lua decizii fără să aibă sprijinul cetățenilor. Populația nu a mai dorit să legitimeze în mod tacit corupția în sistem. Acum... s-a prăbușit visul în care am crezut și pentru care am luptat în zadar atâția ani. După atât de mult timp este dureros să ne dăm seama că nu puteam să fim cu adevarat parte din această lume. Integrarea Europeană era atât de aproape. Ajunsesem la destinație, însă am constatat cu durere în suflet că fundația pe care se clădise visul nostru se destrăma. Toți acești ani plini de speranță au dispărut pur și simplu. Suntem blocați. Cuprinși între trecutul comunist și visul spulberat al Uniunii Europene.

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Romania

“I was born in communist time.” My grandfather didn’t believe in God, he believed in communism. He was waiting until his death for communism to arise again. The communistic thoughts had been disappearing from people’s minds over the years, but he kept on waiting. It didn’t happen a long time ago, but somehow it seemed to be another era...another country. Our naivety and good nature remained there. You could feel the change coming. Something was going to be different in the following years. You could witness how society’s habits where more and more influenced by Western cultures, but at the same time no one felt to be a real part of the western world. Soon the time in which we could only imagine life outside the confines was over. You could clearly see the glimmer of hope people developed. The newly gained freedom felt great. Finally we were allowed to travel through different unknown countries which for a long time, appeared to be so far away from us. The Schengen agreement should have given us the opportunity to finally become a part of the Western world. However, the assimilation had been delayed for another few years, because EU subsidies had fallen into the wrong hands and finally vanished in the corrupt system. We didn’t manage to make enough progress regarding the fight against corruption and organized crime. The first success against the deadly corruption was marked by the “Revolution of Decency” which was enforced by the citizens’ anger towards it. The politicians realised that they couldn’t take decisions without having the support of their citizens. People no longer wanted to be part in activities related to briberies. Now... it has crumbled, the structure we had believed in and fought for in vain for years. After such a long fight it is bitter to realise that we haven’t managed to become a part of it. We are captured. Enclosed, between communism and a crumbling eurozone which closes itself to us.

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“Our parents forbid us to go close to those places. (...) Nowadays the concept of friend and foe is blurred, and people have lost trust in other nationalities.�


Eesti [eːsti] Väikse tüdrukuna käisin salaja oma müügiletiga endise Vene tsaari Ivani vana linnuse juures isetehtud tubaka tampijaid müümas. Nn. “mittekodanikud” smugeldasid siin venelaste ja eesti-venelaste vahel tubaka ja muude toodetega. Ühel heal päeval osteti minult mõned tampijad ära ning seetõttu sain endale lubada šokolaaditahvli linna parimas maiustuste poes. Poe omanikuks oli eakas vene daam. Kuigi ta ei rääkinud eesti keelt, teadis ta täpselt mida ma poodi sisenedes soovisin. Ta kolis Eestisse vahetult enne Nõukogude Liidu kokkukukkumist, et siin avada pood oma hõrgutiste müümiseks. Juba pikemat aega on selle poe aknaluugid suletuks jäänud. Minu kunagist taskuraha teenimise kohta ei eksisteeri enam. See asendati maast kõrgele ulatuva müüriga, mis eraldas meid Venemaast nii vaimselt kui füüsiliselt. Siinne olukord muutus järsult pärast Baltimaade Venemaast lahkulöömist ja iseseisvuse väljakuulutamist. Rahvuslik ühtsustunne kerkis taevaste kõrgusteni. Vene vähemusrahvuse vastu kehtestati ranged sanktsioonid. Eesti keelt mitte oskavad inimesed pidid oma ärid sulgema või neid sunniti selleks. Eesti keele õppimine oli raske, eriti just eakamate inimeste jaoks. Samadel põhjustel pidi ka see eakas daam oma poe lõpuks sulgema. Sellest ajast saadik ei ole ma teda enam linnas näinud. Enamik venelastest tõmbus ühiskonnast tagasi. Selle tulemusena tekkisid vene getod. Meil lastena ei lubatud selliste kohtade lähedusse sattuda. Vanemad kartsid, et meist võivad saada kättemaksu ohvrid. Inimesed hakkasid muretsema riigi julgeoleku pärast. Oli see meie endi süü? Riigi kaitsevõime ennetustegevusena tugevdati Balti sõjaväge. See oli märk Vene vähemuse rõhumisest ja Balti identiteedi tugevdamisest. Ent need sõdurid ei saa teha midagi viha vastu, mida kannavad endas majanduslikult ja ideoloogiliselt hävinud venelased. Hoopis vastupidi. Venelased tundsid end provotseerituna ning see viibki sündmuste eskaleerumiseni. Ikka ja jälle toimuvad meie riigis ja selle linnades venelaste juhitud rahutused. Sõpruse ja vaenlaseks olemise mõiste piirid hägustuvad ning kaob erinevate rahvuste vastastikune usaldus. Eestlaste ja venelaste vaheline usaldamatuse tunne kasvab iga päevaga. Nagu ühtse uduloorina me peade kohal, katab meie maad rahvuste üksteisest täielikult eraldumise hirm, just nii nagu seda on juba varemgi maailmas nähtud.

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Estonia

As a small girl I used to stand underneath the fortress of the former Tsar Ivan. There I secretly tried to sell self-made tobacco tampers. So-called “non-citizens” were smuggling tobacco and other goods amongst the Russians and Estonian-Russians. On a good day, they bought some of my tampers and I was able to buy a chocolate bar from the best sweets’ shop in town. The owner was an old Russian Lady. She did not speak Estonian, even though she knew exactly what I wanted when I entered the shop. She had moved to Estonia shortly before the collapse of the Soviet Union to open a shop selling her delicacies. It has been a long time since the shutters of the shops had been closed down. The place I used to earn my pocket money from does not exist anymore. It was replaced by a huge wall, which disconnected us from Russia not only physically but also mentally. After we had declared independence from the USSR and Russia, there was a drastic change of our situation. The national sentiment in Estonia increased tremendously and strict rules against Russian minorities were sanctioned. People who couldn’t speak Estonian were forced to close their shops. Learning Estonian was hard, especially for older people. That’s why the elderly lady had to close her shop. I have never seen her again. Most Russians withdrew from society and the consequence was the appearance of Russian ghettos. Our parents forbid us to go close to those places. Our parents feared for us to become the targets of their revenge. People became worried about the country’s safety. Can we blame ourselves? Preemptively the Baltic military got reinforced. It was a sign for the oppression of Russian minority and the strengthening of the Baltic identity, but all those soldiers couldn’t help against the rage of economically and ideologically ruined Russians. Quite the contrary, they felt provoked, which ended in escalations and distress. More and more Russian-led riots ravaged our cities and our country. Nowadays the concept of friend and foe is blurred, and people have lost trust in other nationalities. The mistrust between the Russians and the Estonians grows each day. The prospect of a total separation according to nationalities, like the world has seen so often before, threatens our country and colonizes our minds.

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Bulgaria

Often I stand at the waterfront waiting for the cold winter to pass. My only concern. One early morning, I set off searching for the Princes’ Islands, where friendship and community still seem to be alive. The last days at the Black Sea. Departing with three other ships from Tsarevo to the Princes’ Islands. Wind from behind. All works out well, until the wind dies away. Europe to the right, Asia to the left and Istanbul in the back. Silently we are floating along. The wind seems to stand still. The blue sky. The smooth sea. It appears to be a place of peace. Let the ladder into the water. All alone. Between the sky and the ocean - in between the continents. Arrived at the Bosphorus, where the sea appears to connect rather than separate. From a distance, it glimmers. My vision is blurred. It moves towards us. Black dots approaching become bigger and clearer. A military fleet ruins the harmonious blue horizon. Over is the dream of visiting the pine scented mountains one last time.


България [bɤɫg’arijɐ]

Стоя дълги дни на брега и чакам най-накрая да преминат дългата зима и лошото време. Моята единствена тревога! В една ранна сутрин, събрани търсейки ПринцWовите острови, където приятелството идружината изглеждат живи. Последни дни в Черно море. Потегляме от България с три други кораба от Царево, после отплаваме към Принцовите острови. Вятърът идва отзад. Всичко е наред дотолкова докато вятърът не отихне. Отдясно Европа, отляво Азия, а в далечината Истанбул. Тихо п родължаваме да плаваме. Вятърът изглежда спокоен. Синьо небе, гладко море! Изглежда като място на спокойствието. Пускаме стълбата във водата. Съвсем сам. Между небето и морето, между континентите. Мечтата за посещение на миришещите на борове планини приключи. Пристигнали на Босфора, където морето се появява, за да свързва, а не за да разделя. Проблясва в далечината. Замъглено е. Изглежда сякаш се приближава към нас. Черните точки стават по-големи и ясни. Една военна корабна флота прекъсва синьо в синьо.

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37


Principat de Catalunya [pɾinθiˈpat ðe kataˈluɲʝa] Soy pescador de San Sebastián. Me levanto todos los días a las 4 de la mañana y voy a mi barca. No es muy grande o moderna, pero es de la familia. Mi padre la compró cuando tenía mi edad y lleva el nombre de su madre y mi abuela. La pesca de hoy fue buena para esta época del año. Después que José e Isabella vinieron como todos los días a ayudar a preparar la pesca para la venta, podemos cargar el pescado fresco en mi Camión de transporte. La mitad de la pesca se queda aquí en San Sebastián y la llevamos al mercado. Este mercado es conocido por sus productos frescos. La otra mitad de la pesca la llevamos a la Cataluña, a Barcelona. Allí se valora mucho el pescado vasco. Lamentablemente el camino a Barcelona es muy difícil. Debo pasar dos controles de aduanas. Tiempo atrás era mas fácil. Pero hace unos años que se están separando la Cataluña y las provincias vascas. Al inicio estábamos contentos todos de esto, y apoyamos con demostraciones y las elecciones, pero para mí si es un gran problema porque parte de mi trabajo es el transporte de mercadería y esto resulta muy agotador. Muchas horas se me pasan en las largas colas de vehículos esperando el control de aduanas y  muchas veces converso también con otros transportistas. Muchos de ellos quisieran llevar sus productos y mercadería mas al sur para ayudar en la gran falta alimenticia que hay allá. Estas rutas no son muy seguras pero son mejor remuneradas como chofer de transportes de larga distancias por rutas del interior. Luego de dos horas llega mi turno, los policías de aduanas de las fuerzas armadas españolas son bien pagados, porque por cada importación al paìs, se pagan impuestos. Pero no sirve de nada reclamar o discutir puesto que esto lleva solo a que sea más largo el control y si los aduaneros quieren encontrar algo lo encuentran, así no sea verdad. La semana pasada me encontraron productos mal declarados, lo que no era cierto, y tuve que pagar 100 pesos mas. Después de tres horas de espera y controles, termine los controles y continuó mi ruta por España. Llego por fin a la Cataluña a la ciudad fronteriza Puente de Montaña y el rio fronterizo Rio Noguera Ribagorcana y por suerte no hay tanto tráfico. Tengo que esperar antes casi una media hora antes de que abran la mercadería y revisen si los

39


papeles están en regla. Aquí ya me conocen. Nos saludamos y las cosas se pasan rápido. Los comerciantes vascos son queridos aquí y eso se siente. Al llegar a Barcelona todo va muy rápido, me siento muy bien aquí. Lo catalán es muy parecido a lo vasco. El estilo de vida y el orgullo regional son similares y de un modo u otro nos une mucho. El fin de la jornada de trabajo no esta a la vista, porque aun me falta todo el camino de vuelta a san Sebastian. El camino sin peso en el camión de transporte es mas rápido, pero mis ojos se cansan cada vez mas cuando me subo al camión para manejar. Pero quien sabe cuando esto todo esto vaya a cambiar.


Catalonia

I am a fisherman from San Sebastian. Every day I get up early around 4 o’clock in the morning. Then I go to my boat, which isn’t a big or modern one but has belonged to my family for many years. My father bought it when he was my age and it carries the name of his mother, my grandmother. Today’s catch has been good for this time of the year. Like every day, Jose and Isabelle come around to help me prepare the catch for the sales. After that we bring the fresh fish to my truck. Half of the product remains here in San Sebastian, to be sold at the local fish market, which is known for its good and fresh products. I drive the other half to Catalonia, to Barcelona to be precise. There, the Basque fish is greatly appreciated. The way is hard, every time I have to pass two border controls. It used to be easier in the past. Catalonia and the basque provinces split off some years ago. In the beginning everybody was glad about the separation. We forced it by demonstrations and a national referendum. As a salesman who has to cross the borders to sell his products, the current situation is catastrophic. Several hours of traffic jam each day at the frontier. When I talk to other truckers, most of them tell me that they are heading south to deliver to areas where food is short. The roads they take are not safe, but they are well-paid. After two hours stuck in traffic, I have to pay customs. However, there is no need to be angry. If you complain, border control will just take even more time and will ask for even more money. They always find their reasons. Last week, I supposedly had undeclared products on board. I had to pay a fine of 100 pesos. Today it took me three hours to cross the border and continue my way through Spain. I arrive in Catalonia. The first town behind the border is Puente de Montañana directly at the river Riu Noguera Ribagorcana. Luckily, the traffic jam at the frontier isn’t that bad today. Everybody has to open their vehicle and needs to have their papers checked. The officers at the border know me. We’re greeting each other. Finally I get to Barcelona. You can feel that you’re welcome in Catalonia as a trader from the Basque provinces. There are many similarities between the people of Catalonia and the Basques. Manners, life-style and the respective national pride. My work is not done yet. I have to go all the way back to San Sebastian, without any products. My eyes are tired. 41


“It is not especially about a fence or a wall, it is about the meaning of the word frontière“


Corsica [ˈkɔːɹsɪkə] A costa, un tempu di fronte a la cità, si hè svanita. Oghje ùn si sente più omu di campà in riva di mare. I muri, in più d’impedi i visitanti di entre indè u paese, impediscenu a ghjente chi vive a l’internu di esce ne. U spiaghjaghju chi una volta suffiava tra e città custiere è anchu puru u sonu di l’onde putente, ùn n’esiste più che fora di i muri. A vista e u sentimente di libertà chi omu aveva da so finestre di casa, ùn si po più gode che alzandusi in cima di e furtificazione o delle alpe. I soli avendu i mezzi di campà dentru i muri ponnu gode u sentimentu di tutale libertà, guardandu l’orizonte dipoi u su lettu. Per quelli chi campanu dentru i muri, e cose annu cambianu moltu dopu à e so erezzione. Subitu, ognunu era felice per a nova sicurezza che omu godeva. Ma cu u tempu, hè ghjuntu u malessere. I muri spulavanu ombre longue chi abbughjanu ogni cosa daretu, ma anche e mente di a ghjente chi ci campava. Dopu chi u fiume di rifugiati si addebulì di più in più, perché era più difficule per elli di francà u mare, e voce contra e muraglie crescevanu di in più in più. Ora si sente cume si e muraglie eranu qui pè chjode a ghjente. I suldati chi pattuglianu qui, guardanu u mare ma anche a pupulazione. Ghjè cume si a brama d’indipendenza ùn si potesse mica toglie in Corsica. Indè e stade si po sente a ghjente bruntulà che i muri so dispiacevule per ognunu è chi ùn ci n’è più bisognu. Di più in più ghjente ne escenu per andà in batticcie marine quandu hè tulleratu, è fannu vere che ùn n’annu più paura di lascià a sicurezza di citadella. Va tantu luntanu chi certi ne dubbideghjanu apertamente a pertinenza. A maggior parte di a ghjente li piacerebbe a capivultà versu i versu i tempi anziani quandu si feciva ch’omu si vulia. Andà induve si vole, fà cumu si pare, fa quandu si vole. Avà a maiò parte di e cose so decise da altri, ùn si po più andà à fassi une nutata di matinata in u mare, o sta calatu sopra a rena cu a so amante à guardà u tramonte sopra u mare. Tuttu pare luntanu, era incredibile quandu i vechji dicianu à i giovani chi ùn avianu mai lasciatu l’isula. Per a mio generazione, quandu e fruntiere eranu tutte aperte in Europa, era talmente facile à viaghjà, era impensevule. Torna avà esattamente a pusizione chi i nostri missiavi ci annu dettu, pare esse l’usanza di i nostri tempi. O mancu fina à quandu l’Europa si mutassi cume era in quelli tempi.

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“In the beginning, everybody was happy about the new sense of safety.”


Corsica

The beach, once in front of the city, has disappeared. Nowadays one does not get the feeling of living directly at the sea anymore. The walls are not only blocking those trying to get inside the country, but they are also barriers for the ones living inside. The sea breeze that was once blowing through the costal towns, or the sound of crashing waves, only exist outside those walls nowadays. The feeling of freedom that the view from your home once gave you, can now only be felt if you climb the defence wall surrounding the island or from the inland mountains. Only wealthy people can afford to live inside the walls. They can still get the feeling of living in total freedom by watching the horizon from their bed. For those living within the walls, a lot changed after they were built. In the beginning, everybody was happy about the new sense of safety. But with time, there came discomfort. The wall casts long shadows, which darken everything behind it, severely affecting people’s moods. As the stream of refugees decreased, since it got too hard for them to cross the sea, the voices of discontent against the barricade started getting louder and louder. Nowadays it feels more like the wall is there to imprison everybody. The patrolling soldiers do not only keep an eye on the sea, but also on the population. But it seems like the will for independence can not be suppressed in Corsica. On the streets you can hear people murmuring how bad the influence of the wall has been on them, and how much they want to get rid of it. When allowed the more and more people are going to the beaches again, demonstrating that they are not afraid to leave the fortress’ safe grounds. Some people even dare to challenge the wall’s existence in public. Most of the people here would like a return to the olden days, where you could make your own decisions: where you’d want to go, what you’d want to do and when you’d want to do it. Currently others determine most of these choices. It is not possible to go for a morning swim in the sea, or to sit on the beach with your lover to watch the sunset. Everything seems so distant. It was unbelievable when older generations told the younger ones that they have never left the island. For my generation, where European borders in Europe have been open and travelling has been made so much easier, this was impalpable. Today, the exact situation our grandparents told us has become daily routine. At least until Europe returns to what it was. 51


Србија [sř̩bija] Dok sam ispred, u svom dvorištu sekao živicu, iza moje kuće podizana je ograda. I ja sam sam izbegao od rata i imam jasan stav prema ogradi. Mogao sam da razumem očajanje ljudi sa Bliskog Istoka koji su tada u ogromnim bujicama bežali ka severu. Potrebno je da postoji mnogo razloga i potpuno beznadje, kako bi ljudi svojevoljno odlučili da napuste svoju domovinu. Pod pritiskom Evropske unije, njene spoljne granice su zatvorene. U to vreme ograda mi se činila besmislenom. Imao sam čvrsto ubedjenje da ona samo pogoršava stvari, jer onaj ko je želeo u EU, njega ništa ne bi sprečilo da to i učini. Ja sam iz Hrvatske, koja je godinama kasnije primljena u EU, izbegao pre rata. Nakon toga sam žive u Srbiji direktno iza bodljikave žice, čije sam svetlucnje mogao videti nedaleko iza svoje kuće. Zaključan izvan Evropske unije! Čeznem za kontaktom sa ljudima na madjarskoj strani. Mi smo izolovani jedni od drugih. Nekada smo se posećivali za vreme letnjih seoskih vašara i tada bismo samo prešli preko polja. Nakon podizanja ograde to više nije bilo tako jednostavno. Morali smo da vozimo po nekoliko kilometara do sledećg grančnog prelaza, kako bismo stigli do Madjarske, a pre toga bilo je to samo par stotina metara pešice preko polja. Ovo nije dovelo do poboljšanja srpsko-madjarskih odnosa...

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Serbia

I was cutting the lawn in my front garden and at the same time the fence was getting built. I fled from the war myself and I had my own position regarding the fence from the start. I could easily understand how desperate the people were. They fled from the Middle East towards the north in large numbers. It requires good reason and a lot of despair for people to voluntarily leave their homes. Back then, the European Union pressured into sealing its external borders. From the beginning I thought that the fence was senseless. I was strongly convinced that it was only intensifying the problem. Ultimately, the fence wouldn’t stop anyone who was desperately trying to enter the EU. Before the war I fled from Croatia, which years later became part of the European Union. Later, I lived in Serbia, directly behind the barbed wire erected by the EU. Every day I saw it shimmering close by my house. Locked outside of the EU! I am longing for some contact with the people on the Hungarian side. We feel isolated behind the fence. We used to visit each others’ summer festivals in the villages, we just needed to walk across the fields. That, of course, is over since the fence was put up. Before the barrier, there was only a few hundred meters walk across the field dividing us. Now, we have to cover a difficult distance of several kilometers in order to reach the closest border crossing point. This obviously didn’t help improve the Serbian-Hungarian relation.


Magyarország [ˈmɒɟɒrorsaːɡ] A menekülthelyzettel az államhatárok átjárhatósága először Magyarország, majd egész Európa számára problematikus kérdéssé változott. Hamar összetört a nemzetközi egyetértés idealisztikus képe. Mindvégig optimista voltam és sokáig biztam abban, hogy nem épül kerítés. Ilyen határok csak valahol tőlünk távol, nálunk pedig csak az Európai Uniót megelőzően épülhettek. Ezt mondogattam mindig magamnak. Annak ellenére, hogy a hírekből napról napra arról értesültem, hogy az átjárható határok könnyen illúzióvá válhatnak. Valósággá kellett válljon, hogy elhiggyem, tényleg megépülhet a kerítés. Először csak messziről láttam, ahogy fémesen csillogtak a drótok. Keresztülvágtam a nedves füvön és megálltam előtte. Vagy mögötte? A hírekkel ellentétben - ahol azt állítják a kerítés már kész - még mindig építik azokat. A szögesdrótnak ez a különösen kegyetlen változata éppen a lábunk előtt fekszik. Néhány méterrel arrébb pedig az igencsak magasnak tűnő oszlopokat már beásták a földbe. Óvatosnak kéne legyünk azelőtt, mielőtt valamit végleg elveszíthetünk. Most a határokat talán egyszerűnek tűnik felépíteni, de sokkal bonyolultabb lesz majd őket lerombolni. Semmit sem tanultunk az osztrák-magyar időkből? Az Osztrák-Magyar Monarchia lakosainak nagy része nem azt hangoztatta, hogy nem román, lengyel vagy osztrák származású, hanem több nemzetiséggel rendelkező egyén? Olyan nehéz lenne egy olyan országot elképzelni, ahol a Monarchiában kialakult modell demokratikus keretek között működhetne?

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Hungary

As a consequence of the problematic situation with the refugees, the permeability of the Hungarian border became a major problem for the European countries. Soon, the picture of the much believed international harmony cracked. I used to be an optimist - one of those people who could have sworn that the fence wouldn’t come. Borders are being built in other places, not in the European Union. Or so I thought. Even when I was listening to the news getting scarier day by day, I did not believe that it was about to happen. We wanted to assure ourselves of the fence which had been built at the borders. From far away, I could see the metallic shining fence glittering. I was walking through the wet grass when suddenly I found myself standing in front of the fence. Or rather behind it? Contrary to the news the fence was still under construction. The razor wire which was a nasty variant of the conventional barbed wire was directly in front of our wet feet. A few meters further away, the posts which seemed to be very high had already been installed. We should have been careful with what we were standing so close to lose. We were aware that once the borders would be closed it would become complicated to break them down again. It seemed like we hadn’t learnt anything from the Austro-Hungarian Empire? The people of the Austro-Hungarian Empire usually did not claim to be of Romanian, Polish or Austrian nationality, instead they saw themselves as individuals of transnational origin. Is it so difficult to imagine the EU as a place similar to the model of the Austro-Hungarian Empire with democratic politics?


“I was walking through the wet grass when suddenly I found myself standing in front of the fence. Or rather behind it?�


Deutschland [ˈdɔʏtʃlant]) Es erscheint mir, als wäre ich in einer Zeitmaschine zurück in die Vergangenheit gereist. Erzählungen aus den 70er Jahren meiner Mutter, passen inhaltlich ebenso in unsere Gegenwart. Ich bin in einem einfachen Umfeld der typischen Mittelschicht der 90er Jahre aufgewachsen. Mein Vater ist Beamter und meine Mutter Pflegerin. Ich habe zwei Schwestern, trotzdem fühle ich mich als wäre ich allein. Alleingelassen in meinem Gedankenmuster über den Wandel unserer Zeit, unserer Gesellschaft und meiner aktiven Beteiligung um etwas zu bewirken. Meine Mitmenschen werden stark beeinflusst von den Medien. Das Fernsehen und das Internet verstärken und beeinträchtigen ihre kurzsichtige Denkweise. Jede Schlagzeile lässt die Grenze in ihren Köpfen um ein weiteres Stück wachsen. Sie verwurzeln sich ich in der Bevölkerung und verhindert ein Links- und Rechtsschauen. Jene Grenze ist nicht aus Stein oder Beton gebaut. Sie kann nicht mittels schweren Gefährten niedergerissen werden. Die Grenze ist unsichtbar und für mich nicht angreifbar, denn sie sitzt tief in den Köpfen der Menschen fest. Distanzierung zu dem Neuen und nachreden von Unwahrheiten, bilden Grenzen. Ein trüber Nebel von Unklarheit wie in den Zeiten des Eisernen Vorhanges liegt über unseren Köpfen. Wie ein Virus der sich in unserem Unterbewusstsein manifestiert hat und das Gehirn nicht mehr klar denken lässt. Vernunft und Nächstenliebe weichen dem starrsinniges Denkverhalten ohne Verstand. Haben wir denn nicht dazu gelernt? Haben wir die Schrecken der Vergangenheit bereits verdrängt? Kann dies in unserer sogenannten aufgeklärten Welt tatsächlich wieder und wieder und wieder passieren?

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Germany

I feel like I’ve traveled back in time. Stories of my mother, who grew up in the 70’s, do not sound any different. I grew up in ordinary surroundings, typical middle-class 90’s family with civil servant dad, a nurse mother and two sisters. Despite all of that, I have mostly been on my own after finishing my studies. I’m trying to figure out why it has come this way and how I could possibly change something as an individual. News, Television and Internet reinforce the people’s thinking in this country. There is a border building up in people’s heads, a border that cannot be taken down by heavy gear, such as a power shovel or a crane. An invisible border. Borders, rooted in discontent, are forming themselves and are leading to alienation from everything that’s new and unknown, accompanied by a constant slandering of falsehood. It seems as the though times of the Iron Curtain have returned, casting a dark shadow over Europe again, similar to a virus that has been planted into numerous heads so that their brains are not able properly function anymore. Reason and compassion are replaced by conservative ideas without any sense or ideological understanding. To me, it seems as if nobody has learned anything and we are making the same mistakes all over again. How is it possible in a world that is so well enlightened?

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Austria

Now that there’s snow again, the tourists are gone. People keep complaining about the current economic situation. They used to believe that global warming is going to cost their job. Not nature is to blame, but our national pride. It’s human failure rather than a climatic phenomenon. Our collective fear of the unknown. The sharp increase in refugee numbers led to radical governmental measures to protect the Alpenstaat against foreign influence. The message was clear: “Stay away!” It all started out with symbolic acts like a small fence in the south of Austria. Eventually, it ended up as a defensive apparatus throughout the entire Alps. I have always considered winter sport facilities a criminal act against nature. I don’t need to explain, what I think of this new monstrous structure along the mountains. I think we’re heading for our self-destruction. Let’s hope that people wake up and request the government to reverse such border measures before it’s too late. Regional economy depended on tourism - it’s how generations of people made their living in the past. Today, alpine villages seem dead, despite the good snow. Slowly, I’m getting used to the quiet during the formerly busy winter season. People must see that we can’t close our eyes to the present situation. Our defensive attitude does not push anything forward. Not just politicians, but regional citizens just like myself must act now. We can’t consider ourselves satisfied, when we’re surrounded by military forces and deprived of our freedom.


Österreich [ˈøːstɐˌʁaɪç] Jetzt, wo wir so viel Schnee hätten, kommen keine Touristen mehr. Viele beklagen sich über die momentane wirtschaftliche Situation. Aufgrund der Erderwärmung befürchtete die Bevölkerung, ihre Arbeitsstellen zu verlieren. Am Ende trägt nicht die Natur, sondern der Nationalstolz die Verantwortung dafür. Es ist kein klimatisches Phänomen, es ist auf menschliches Verschulden zurückzuführen. Unsere Urangst vor dem Ungewissen. Die steigende Anzahl von Migranten führte zu ausschweifenden Regierungsmaßnahmen zur Absicherung unserer Alpenländer gegen äußere Einflüsse – um uns gegen das „Fremde“ abzusichern. Die Botschaft war eindeutig: „Bleibt uns fern!“ Es begann mit symbolischen Gesten wie der Errichtung eines kleinen Zaunes im Süden Österreichs. Jener sollte letztendlich als Abwehrzaun über die gesamten Alpen ausgebaut werden. Ich betrachtete die Skianlagen schon immer als gewagten Eingriff in das Landschaftsbild. Ich muss nicht ausführen, was ich nun von den mächtigen Strukturen entlang der Alpen halte. Ich glaube, wir befinden uns auf direktem Weg zu unserer Selbstzerstörung. Es bleibt zu hoffen, dass die Leute aufwachen und die Politik auffordern, solche Einschränkungen rückgängig zu machen ehe es zu spät ist. Die regionale Wirtschaft war zu weiten Teilen vom Tourismus abhängig. Generationen verdienten ihren Lebensunterhalt damit. Nun sind die Alpendörfer trotz der dicken Schneedecke wie ausgestorben. Langsam gewöhne ich mich an die neue Ruhe während der bisher immer touristenüberfüllten Wintersaison. Die Bevölkerung muss verstehen, dass wir unsere Augen nicht verschließen dürfen. Unsere Abwehrhaltung gegenüber dem Unbekannten bringt uns in dieser Situation nicht voran. Neben der Politik tragen wir Bürger einen beachtlichen Teil der Schuld selbst. Es kann nicht in unserem Interesse liegen, das ganze Land vom Militär umgeben und von seiner Freiheit beraubt zu sehen.

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France

Today, after many years I saw my son for the first time again. Around 2 pm, the sound of the doorbell woke me up. A tall man in a uniform was standing at my front door. It is always scary to see a solider standing at your doorstep. We stared at each other for a while. That’s when it hit me. And I recognized him. After all these years, he had the nerve to show up like that. No phone call, no letter, no nothing… And he was standing there in his uniform, the very thing that had triggered our argument. They had started recruiting a lot of young people after France entered into a military alliance with Germany to fight the Islamic State. At that time, our young son was lost, he only had very few friends, he was becoming increasingly withdrawn, was looking for something he could believe in. He found that something in the army, in the war on terror. But the fighting got to him. The way he talked changed. Brainwashing à la française, hate against the Arab world, national pride, zero tolerance of other religions. That’s when we stopped talking. It is hard to turn your back on your own son, but when that son stands for everything you’re not, there’s just no other way. And here he is today, on our doorstep. We nervously stare at each other, but our words are soft, almost hushed. He enters, we talk, we eat, we drink and eventually we hug. He tells me his life story, the hatred he felt back then. Both at home and in school, he felt misunderstood. And when he joined the army, he finally felt like he belonged, he felt useful fighting for his country, the values of the republic, the war against evil and to restore order in Europe. In the first year, he was based in France, in one of the so called “zones sensible”, the military had to be present around the clock to make the population feel safe. Then, he rapidly was promoted. Soldier, then Corporal, then Master Corporal. A few months later, they sent him off


République française [ʁepyblik fʁɑ̃sɛz]) Aujourd’hui j’ai revu mon fils pour la première fois depuis de nombreuses années. Vers 14h le son de la sonnette m’a réveillé. Un grand homme en uniforme se trouvait devant ma porte. C’est toujours flippant de voir un militaire devant chez soi. Nous nous sommes regardés quelques instants dans les yeux. A ce moment-là j’ai compris, et je l’ai reconnu. Après toute ces années sans nouvelles, il a le culot de réapparaitre comme ça. Ni coup de fil, ni lettre, rien… En plus en uniforme, le déclencheur de notre dispute. Après le pacte militaire que la France a signé avec l’Allemagne pour entrer en guerre avec Daech, ils ont fait appel à beaucoup de jeunes du pays. Notre fils à cette âge-là, était un jeune perdu, il n’avait pas beaucoup d’amis, s’isolait sur lui-même, cherchait quelque chose en quoi il pouvait croire. Ce quelque chose il l’a trouvé dans l’armée, dans le combat contre le terrorisme. Mais ce combat lui a rapidement retourné la tête. Ses propos ont changé, un vrai lavage de cerveau à la française, la haine contre le monde arabe, la fierté de la nation, zéro tolérance envers les autres religions. C’est à ce moment-là que nous avons rompu le contact. C’est dur de tourner le dos à son propre fils, mais quand celui-ci représente tout ce que l’on n’est pas, il n’y plus d’autre solution. Et le voilà aujourd’hui, sur le pas de notre porte. Les regards sont longs et intenses, les paroles douces et retenues. Il entre, nous discutons, pleurons, mangeons, buvons, et en fin de compte on se serre dans les bras. Il me raconte sa vie, la haine qu’il avait en lui à l’époque. A la maison tout comme à l’école il se sentait incompris. Alors l’armée lui a ouvert une porte, enfin il se sentait à sa place, se sentait utile, se battant pour son pays, les valeurs de la république, la guerre contre le mal, rétablir l’ordre en Europe.La première année il était placé en France, dans les zones soidisant sensibles. Avec ses camarades, ils devaient assurer une présence militaire 24h sur 24, afin de rassurer les habitants. Puis, il est rapidement

71


“There is a border building up in people’s heads, a border that cannot be taken down by heavy gear.”


73


to Syria for his first mission. He does not want to talk about it. He climbed the ranks yet again, I do not even remember what rank he got promoted to because I drifted off, picturing the worst: my own son fighting for what Europe has become, a continent where freedom doesn’t exist anymore. It’s because of people like him, that we ended up where we are now… A long silence interrupted my train of thoughts, followed by: “Hey, are you even listening?” He starts talking about his military achievements again. But his tone is different. His voice starts trembling, filled with shame. Gradually, his discourse changes, and all of a sudden, he breaks into tears. He has trouble speaking, catching his breath. He looks me right in the eye and says: “How could I? I feel like the world is crumbling around me. For years, all I did was obey orders, I served my country. Every mission, they told us it was the last one, they said the war was going to end, that we had just destroyed the Islamic State’s last compound. During my last mission we had indeed destroyed a military base and killed a key member of the terrorist network. But believe me, I’ve killed a bunch of key members, and the more key members you kill, the more reappear. But the innocent lives you take… Those never reappear. This war on terror, we’d already lost it before it even started. It was a fight against an invisible force and it’s impossible to beat the invisible with weapons. The more we fou…” The ringing doorbell interrupts our conversation. I get up to open the door. Another man in uniform: “Hello, I’m sorry to disturb you. Your son, is he there?” “Uhmm, yes, just a second.” When I entered the living room. Nobody. He was gone…


monté en grade. Soldat, puis Caporal, ensuite Caporal-Chef. Quelques mois plus tard on l’a envoyé en Syrie pour sa première mission militaire. Il ne veut pas m’en parler. Il a encore grimpé les rangs, je ne sais même plus quel grade il a atteint car je me suis perdu dans mes pensées. J’imaginais le pire : mon propre fils se battant pour ce que l’Europe est devenu d’aujourd’hui, une Europe, où il n’y a plus de liberté. C’est à cause de gens comme lui que nous en sommes là... Un long silence me sortit de mes pensées, suivi d’un: «eh oh tu m’écoutes?» Il continue à me raconter ses exploits militaires. Le ton de sa voix change, elle devient plus tremblante, honteuse même. Petit à petit, son discours change, et soudain il se met à pleurer. Il a du mal à parler, il reprend son souffle, me regarde droit dans les yeux et me dit: «Comment ai-je pu? J’ai l’impression que le monde autour de moi s’écroule. Pendant des années je n’ai que fait exécuter les ordres, j’ai rendu service à mon pays. Après chaque mission, on nous disait que c’était la dernière, que la guerre allait enfin prendre fin, que nous venions de détruire le dernier camp de l’état islamique. Lors de ma dernière mission nous avons en effet détruit une base et un membre clé du réseau terroriste. Mais crois-moi j’en ai tué des membres- clé, plus t’en tues, plus y en a qui réapparaissent. Sauf que la vie des innocents que tu prends, elle ne réapparait jamais. Cette guerre contre le terrorisme ont l’a déjà perdue avant même de la commencer. C’est un combat contre une force invisible, et il est impossible de battre l’invisible avec des armes de guerre. Plus nous comb…» A ce moment la sonnette nous interrompt. Je me lève pour aller ouvrir. Encore un homme en uniforme. «Bonjour, veuillez m’excuser, votre fils, est-il chez vous?» «Eh, oui un moment» En rentrant dans le salon, plus personne, il avait disparu…

75


United Kingdom [jʊˈnaɪtɪd ˈkɪŋdəm] I remember the referendum in 2014 when Scotland clearly voted against the separation from the crown. Its result was seen as a sign of an open, strong and united Europe, which the EU commission stood for. Then, however, a few years later things turned out differently. During Syrian-conflicts in the Middle East it was hard to notice that Great Britain was few steps away from national decay. This had an incredible impact on the EU. Great Britain’s nationalism as well as the propaganda against England joining a crumbling EU, further strengthened the UKIP. A weak minority at first, they were severely criticized and barely taken seriously. Nevertheless, they managed to convince the British electorate. The UK Independence Party repeatedly praised: “Quit Europe” - “It’s time to turn this old-fashioned EU around” - “The EU is nothing more than hot air”. Sixty years ago, the US Secretary of State, Dean Acheson said: “England has lost an empire and hasn’t found its new role yet.” This has been true for a long time. England finally took a decision: leave the EU and renounce the Schengen agreement. The EU would have needed England as an advocate of competitiveness and free trade. Also, they could have been supportive as campaigners against abundant useless paperwork. Even though there were many contradictions, the exit of Scotland from the Union with England was considered to be only a matter of time. The Scottish independence should not only be an end in itself but also a trigger in the development of a better country. Scotland suffered a big setback when taxes were increased by 11 percent and the previous subsidies from London were no longer available. Initially, the majority of the tax revenue still came from oil and gas, which however was depleted quite soon. Scotland would have been better served by enforcing an internal autonomy under a federal state model, rather than fleeing with a scattered regionalism into an illusion of independence.

79


In the globalised world we live in nowadays no one can exist completely independently. We failed to connect our economy to the global economic powers fast enough. The revenues from our businesses, such as the whiskey production, were simply insufficient. It took us too long. Looking back, I believe the states should rather have fought to create a stronger EU!

81


Paris

A city with a beautiful mixture of arts, economy, literature, and first and foremost, cultures. Paris has always been the capital of Europe, and, after the attacks, the sense of unity was resurrected: “Our city symbolizes pluriculturalism. Only united we can fight injustice.” This is how we differ from other countries. But, instead of building upon this pluriculturalism, Europe of today withdraws into itself by forming new boundaries. “YES to the people’s front, NO to a national unity.” Paris enjoys cult status, but also the status of being a security zone for many people in Europe. The city declared to be a free state, willing to reinforce the European spirit, the sense of unity, and tolerance by welcoming every individual, and offering numerous opportunities. After the attacks, indeed, people were in shock for a certain period of time, but swiftly realized that living in fear would mean giving in, and concede victory to terrorism Life in Paris turned back to normal, back to the joie de vivre. Every district has its own atmosphere, culture, and values: The 12th district, known for its famous North African Aligre Market; The opera in the 1st district with its as-light-as-feathers-ballerinas; The second-hand book stores in the 5th district where one can still unearth works by Karl Marx; The 2nd district where high life ladies take their promenades; A Middle East culinary delight waiting for you in the 4th district; The Saint-Ouen flea market in the 18th district offering deals of all kinds. Authenticity has remained in most districts. The 16th is the only district that has noticeably changed. In the past, it was known for its bourgeoisie, and particularly its embassies. It became the reflection of the world. Little by little, these obsolete and abandoned embassies got taken over by the inhabitants, and were transformed into open, cultural, as well as hospitable spaces depicting the vivacity and diversity of humanity.


Paris [paʁi] Paris a toujours été la capitale de l’Europe, un beau mélange des arts, de l’économie, de la littérature, et surtout des cultures. Après les attaques, ce sentiment d’Union est ressorti au grand jour: «Notre ville symbolise la polyculture. C’est unis que nous combattrons l’injustice.» C’est ce qui nous différencie des autres pays. L’Europe d’aujourd’hui, au lieu de se construire sur sa pluriculture, se referme sur elle-même en construisant des frontières. «Front du peuple, OUI, unité nationale, NON.» Paris est devenue, un lieu culte, une zone de sécurité pour beaucoup de personnes en Europe. Paris s’est déclaré un état libre, voulant renforcer cet esprit européen, ce sentiment d’union, d’accueil et de tolérance, ouvrant ses portes à tout individu. «Face à l’oppression, l’autodéfense populaire.» Certes après les premiers attentats, pendant un certain temps les gens ont été sous le choc, mais ils ont rapidement compris, que vivre dans la peur, serait se donner perdant, et offrir la victoire au terrorisme. La vie parisienne a alors repris son train- train quotidien, et sa joie de vivre. Chaque arrondissement, a sa propre atmosphère, sa propre culture, ces propres valeurs: Le 12ième connu pour son marché d’Alligre, marché nord-africain; L’opéra du 1ier avec ses si légères ballerines; Chez les bouquinistes du 5ieme on peut encore dénicher des ouvrages de Karl Marx; Les dames de haute vertu on les trouve dans le 2ième; Pour une bouchée divine du Proche-Orient il faut passer le 4ième et ses fallafels; Pour les bonnes affaires de toutes sortes, c’est les puces de Saint-Ouen dans le 18ième. La majorité des arrondissements ont gardé leur authenticité. Le seul quartier à avoir véritablement changé c’est le 16ième. Autrefois connu pour ses bourgeois et surtout ses ambassades, il est devenu le reflet du monde. Petit à petit ces ambassades obsolètes et délaissées ont été reprises par la population qui en a fait des lieux ouverts, culturels et hospitaliers où se pressent les voix et les parfums de l’humanité.

83


“A crack? A crack in the mirror? It’s like reality is getting torn apart.”


Россия [rɐˈsʲijə] Наступила весна. Снег тает и капает с опавших деревьев. Из последних остатков снега мы пытаемся слепить снеговиков, но снег черный и грязный от талой нагретой почвы, что лежит под последним зимним слоем. Они не двигаются с места. Только время от времени, меняясь местами с темными угрюмыми фигурами. Они все одинаковы. Они выглядят так угрожающе. И почему они простаивают перед этой стеной? Они размыто отражаются, и кажется, страна дублируется в зеркале, как будто Россия бесконечна. –Охраны вдоль стены становится меньше. В лике ночи люди исчезают. Они больше не видимы. Весна снова сменила морозную зиму. Все в ожидании первых солнечных лучей, которые растопят снег. Это как тогда, но сегодня я больше не строю снеговиков. Отражение солнца блестит в отражающей поверхности. Трещина? Трещина в зеркале? Это как разрыв в реальности. Естественное любопытство мучает меня. Стремление укротить любопытство, приводит меня к этому месту. Взор. Через реальность. Путаница и бесчисленные вопросы занимают меня. Есть ли большее, помимо того, чему нас учили и о чем толковали все эти годы?

87


89


Russia

Spring is approaching. The snow starts melting and drops from the naked branches of the trees. With the remains of the snow, we try to build snowmen. However, the snow is dirty and dark from the defrosting soil lying underneath the last winter layer. Our snowmen looks like bogeymen standing in front of a high mirroring wall. They are not moving an inch. Only from time to time, when they switch places with another grim looking figure. They all look the same, so threatening. Why do they have to stand there day after day? Their blurry reflection shows up in the mirror, but it seems like the land is duplicated in the mirror - it seem as Russia is endless - The guards along the wall decline. When night falls, people start disappearing. Spring arrives and clears away the cold winter. It is like back in the days, but nowadys I do not build snowman anymore. Everybody is waiting for the first sunbeams to melt the snow. The reflection of the sun in the mirroring surface shimmers. A crack? A crack in the mirror? It’s like reality is getting torn apart. My nosiness takes me closer and closer to the scratch in the wall. Just a small glimpse through our reality. Confusion and so many questions emerge in my head – might there be more than what they have told us all these years?

91


Reino de España [ˈrejno ð(e) esˈpaɲa] Paseando por las calles de Madrid. Los restaurantes se encuentran cerrados, están quemados o abandonados a causa de los disturbios. Sobre la ciudad cuelga un velo de humo. Los dueños de los locales han protegido sus tiendas con vigas de madera. ¿Qué pretenden rescatar? Los cristales están rotos y no hay nada más que pudiera ser de uso. Mucha gente huye del sur de España y de Marruecos hacia acá. Huyen de la guerra. En las calles de Madrid viven muchos refugiados de los territorios ocupadas. Ya son algo menos de un millón de personas, han dicho en la radio. El país está sumergido en el caos. Por todas partes revueltas, disturbios y manifestaciones. La población se rompe a pedazos. No eran únicamente minorías radicales. No, todo un país se revela contra el endeudamiento, la amnesia económica y la guerra. Uno de los grandes estados europeos con más de 55 millones de habitantes en situación de impotencia. Giro por la avenida en una calle lateral. Una calle más y estoy de vuelta en casa. Tengo que darme prisa, pronto serán las 21:00 horas y comenzará el toque de queda. Si estoy todavía en la calle a esa hora, tendré que ir a la comisaría y pasar la noche ahí. No quiero esto otra vez, ya me ha pasado varias veces cuando salí tarde del trabajo. Durante el día voy a trabajar. Tengo suerte porque ya no quedan muchos puestos de trabajo, pero el panadero de la esquina, el cual sigue abriendo a pesar de la situación en la que nos encontramos, me conoce desde pequeña y me deja trabajar 20 horas a la semana. No gano mucho, pero basta para alimentar a mi familia pequeña. Una vez fui administrativa en un banco grande. Pero tuvieron que cerrar como todos los bancos y yo fui una de las primeras que tuvieron que irse. Aun así no me puedo quejar, muchos amigos y amigas están en paro y cada día tienen que rebuscárselas para ver cómo salir adelante. Ya que incluso si uno tiene dinero es difícil saber si hay mercancías disponibles para la compra y dónde encontrarlas. Por la noche a menudo se oyen grupos que caminan por las calles y buscan más enfrentamientos con la policía. Asaltan tiendas y las desbalijan. Este mes a mi panadero ya lo han saqueado varias veces. ¿Pero qué se puede hacer? No nos quedan otras maneras de protegernos más. La policía, como es sabido, ya está sobrecargada. Los muros y las fachadas de las casas y edificios están llenos de grafitis, sean de la ETA o del Estado Islámico poco a poco la ciudad está perdiendo su cara. 93


Spain

I walk the streets of Madrid. Restaurants have been closed down, they were either burnt down or abandoned in the course of the riots. A veil of haze hangs over the city. Store owners blocked their shops with wooden beams. But what’s there to be saved anyway? Windows are mostly broken, there’s nothing more to get. People from Morocco and the south of Spain seek shelter here. They fled war. You see refugees in the streets; their homes have been turned into occupied territory. Almost one million people, they said on the radio. There is political unrest. There are riots and mass demonstrations. There’s chaos. Society is breaking apart. It’s not just radical minorities. No, an entire country refuses to accept debt, economic amnesia and war. A european country of over 55 million people was helpless. I leave the main road and turn into a side street. One more street, then I’m home again. I need to hurry up, it’s almost 9 pm, curfew time. If I were out in the streets after that time, the cops would take me to the police station and I’d spend the night there. I won’t take the risk again, after they caught me several times already when I left work late. Normally, I’m at work during the day. I’m lucky, there are hardly any vacancies. However, the bakery around the corner stayed open despite the current situation. The owner knows me since I was a child. He offered me work for 20 hours a week. I don’t make a lot of money, but it’s enough to feed my family. I used work as an office clerk at a big bank. But they closed down, just like any other bank, and I was one of the first ones who was forced to leave. I can’t complain, many of my friends are unemployed and are forced to make their living from one day to the next. Even if you got the money, it’s not sure whether there are products you can purchase. During the night you hear people strolling through the streets to provoke further trouble with the police. They storm shops and take whatever is there. My bakery was robbed several times this month already. What are we supposed to do? We don’t have better means to protect ourselves. The police is overwhelmed already. Walls and house fronts are daubed with graffiti. Whether ETA or subdivisions of ISIS – the city is losing its face more and more every day.


95


“I need to hurry up, it’s almost 9 pm, curfew time!”


97


Ukraine

Once again the electricity broke down. I went down into the cellar to turn the emergency generator on. The old diesel engine has helped us to survive the cold winter days for several years. This has became a part of our daily life. I went upstairs again and turned my PC on. In this country freedom of speech has been prohibited by the state. As a blogger I can’t accept how things have developed. In order to revolt against the oppression I started to write my own blog. I wanted to make people aware of what was happening abroad. As my blog started to go viral, it was regularly censored. Since the government saw it as a threat to be able to express one’s opinion freely, they would take the liberty to remove my site time and again, even if that was illegal.The puppets of the government visited me several times and ordered me to urgently change my critical way of thinking and to cut the connection to the people abroad. Due to a zero tolerance of the state towards criticism, the access to all the social networks was shut off. Years ago, I used the diverse platforms to rally my friends for demonstrations. Nowadays the platforms are blocked. “This request can not be serviced in the Ukraine for legal reasons.” Many of my friends escaped from Kiev and Ukraine. They help me to keep the site alive. Now it has to run over foreign servers. My voice is a significant force. I’ll never stop fighting with it. It’s not possible to share my thoughts with the Ukrainian citizens, nevertheless I try my best to reach people abroad. I am glad to be part of an international movement. In this underground association you have access to all kinds of information on political events. There are different categories like upcoming riots, hints about where and how to cross borders and some reports which document the terrifying everyday life. I have to switch off the computer again. Back to reality. I need more fuel for the diesel engine. Everything you can imagine is traded on the black market at the border to Kiev. Everybody tries to maintain a low profile. They sink their eyes to the floor in order to remain unnoticed. Although they know about the illegal trade, the border police does not intervene, because they want to exchange cigarettes and other goods themselves.


Україна [ukrɑˈjinɑ] В який раз зникає струм. Я йду до підвалу ввімкнути аварійний генератор. Старенький дизель не один раз рятував нас в холодні зимні дні. Відімкнення струму трапляються занадто часто в останні дні. Кордон з Росією ще ніколи не був так близько до Києва… Я піднявся назад й ввімкнув свій ПК. Я пишу вільний блог в Інтернеті. Я хочу вільно висловлювати свою думку, навіть якщо це нелегально. Моя сторінка вже багато разів підпадала під цензуру. Також поліція приходила до мене й вимагала змінити мою критичну точку зору. Facebook, Twitter та інші соціальні мережі завжди блокуються, бо держава забороняє критику. Раніше я та мої друзі закликали через інтернет до демонстрацій та мітингів, наразі це не є можливим. Тільки й можна прочитати. «ця сторінка заблокована і містить нелегальну інформацію» Багато моїх друзів втікли з Києва та України. Більше вони не живуть в Європі. Вони допомагають мені підтримувати життєдіяльність сайту. Зараз він функціонує через сервер десь за океаном. Я не хочу складати руки, навіть якщо мій блог не можуть читати жителі України, я віддам усі сили навіть за найменший шанс. Я дуже пишаюся, що цей рух існує і в інших країнах європи, й що вони також постять різну інформацію: фото нападів, відео печального повсякдення, та інформацію про дірки в кордоні. Я вимушений знову вимкнути компьютер. Треба повертатися до реальності. Мені потрібне паливо для дизель-генератора. На чорному ринку, що на кордноі Києва, я можу знайти все, що можна винести в своїх руках. Усі виглядають похмуро. Люди дивляться в підлогу аби не виділятися. Прикордонники знають про торгівлю, але закривають на це очі, адже й самі не проти отримати цигарки та інші товари.

99


Greece

The split from the European Union was a big thing for us Greeks. We were looking forward to a better - the best - future. In the beginning, the way seemed paved: together we should rebuild the country, reorganize the economy, revitalize our culture and be able to enjoy the beauties of our country again. Instead - everything went downhill. Back then, we didn’t realize that we were dependent on Europe. Now, everything seems so clear. Other countries were taking advantage of our political and military defenselessness, especially Turkey. After the Islamic State had taken over their system, it didn’t take too long until they had invaded more and more of our islands. In response to that, the Balkans and Italy strengthened their protection against us. After a while they even stopped their foreign relations with us - they saw us as supporters of ISIS. When people started fleeing Syria and Iraq, we were the first country people fled to in the EU, and now so many Greeks had to leave their own country. At least everybody who had the chance did leave the country. Everything happened so fast. Nobody could have imagined that these things would happen to us. Before we were able to realize that the front was approaching from the Middle East, the borders to the West were closed down. We are in the middle of a giant black hole.


Ελλάδα [eˈlaða] Η απομάκρυνση από την ευρωπαϊκή ένωση ήτανε σημαντικό γεγονός για εμάς τους Έλληνες. Ελπίζαμε για ένα καλύτερο, για το καλύτερο μέλλον. Στην αρχή, σκεφτόμασταν πως θα ξαναχτίζαμε την χώρα, πως θα οργανώναμε την οικονομία μας. Δυστυχώς, δεν καταλήξανε έτσι τα πράγματα. Τότε, δεν σκεφτόμασταν πως χρειαζόμασταν την Ευρώπη, αλλά τώρα τα πράγματα είναι ξεκάθαρα. Οι άλλες χώρες εκμεταλλεύτηκαν την πολιτική και στρατιωτική αδυναμία μας, όπως το έκανε η Τουρκία. Με το που το ισλαμικό κράτος άρχισε να κυριαρχεί, γεμίσανε και τα νησιά μας. Γιαυτό τον λόγω, τα Βαλκάνια και η Ιταλία δυνάμωσαν την προστασία τους, και στο τέλος, σταματήσανε να συνεργάζονται μαζί μας, νομίζοντας πως είμαστε υπέρ του ισλαμικού κράτος. Όταν ο κόσμος άρχισε να φεύγει από την Συρία και το Ιράκ, ήμασταν το πρώτο κράτος στο οποίο πήγανε, και αναγκάστηκαν και πολλοί Έλληνες να φύγουν. Δηλαδή, όσοι μπορούσανε. Όλα γίνανε πολύ βιαστικά, κανείς δεν το φανταζότανε. Πριν καταλάβουμε ότι τα σύνορα από την ανατολή ερχόντουσαν όλο και πιο κοντά, τα σύνορα της δύσης είχανε κλείσει. Βρισκόμαστε σε μια μαύρη τρύπα.

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105


Türkiye [ˈtyɾcije] Biz burada tamamen güvendeydik. Şimdi - daeş şehirimize ayak bastığından beri her köşe başında tehlike geziyor. Mümkün oldukça topluluğumuzun çoğu şehri terk etti. Ama şimdi tüm sınırlar kale oldular, burda kalıp saklanmak mı yoksa sınırlari geçmek mi, hangisinin daha tehlikeli olduğunu bilmiyorum. Yeraltı toplumu olduk, bu bize radardan gizlenme olanağı verdi. Yılların baskısı ile bir iletişim ağı kuruldu, bu günlerde bu bize yardımcı oluyor. Saklanmak gündelik yaşam oldu bizim icin, ama bu bizim güvende olduğumuz anlamına gelmiyor. Daeşin baskısı gittikçe büyüyor. Bu yüzden bir çok müslüman yanımıza gelip dahil oluyor - gölgedeki toplumumuz büyüyor. Her zaman bir azınlıktık ama Islam Devleti Türkiye yönetimini devralmadan önce kabul edilip, hoş görülüyorduk. Normal bir hayat yaşama ihtimali ancak onlarin inançlarına uyum sağlamak ya da bizim gibi kendi inancımıza devam edip hayatımızı riske atmaktı. Bir pasifist olarak şiddeti ve savaşı hiçbir zaman onaylamıyordum. Şu an kendim ile bir mücadele içindeyim çünkü tehlikedeyim ama kendimi silah taşımaya zorlayamıyorum. Kendi hayatım tehlikede olsa bile, başka birisine zarar vermeyi becerebilir miyim ki? Durumumuzu barişever bir şekilde değiştirebilir miyiz ki? Ve biz mazlumların içinden birinin çıkıp da “silahlanın” dediği gün ne zaman gelecek? Özgürlüğe ulaşmanın tek yolu savaşmıdır?

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Turkey

We were absolutely safe here. Now - since the Islamic State, Daesh, set foot in our city, danger lurks around each corner. Most people from our community fled from the country as long as it was possible. However, now all the borders are like fortresses. I don’t know what is more dangerous to hide here or to cross them. We have become an underground society, which gave us the possibility to keep off the radar. During the years of repression an underground movement, which still supports us these days, was formed. Hiding has become part of our everyday lives, but that doesn’t mean that we are really safe. The oppression by the Daesh grows day by day. A lot of muslims are now seeking shelter with our Catholic association to show their discontent with the radicals’ activities. As a consequence our community which is living in the background is growing. We have always been a minority, but we were accepted and tolerated until the Islamic State took over Turkey. The only possibility to live an ordinary life was to adjust to what they believe in or choose the way we did, to stick to our faith and risk our lives. I have always been a pacifist and disapproved of violence and war. Currently, I am in a struggle with myself, because I am in danger but I can’t force myself to carry weapons with me. Would I even be able to hurt someone if my own life was threatened? Will there be a possibility to change our situation in a peaceful way? And when will the time come when the first of us, the oppressed, will shout: “Take Arms!” Is the only way to reach freedom fighting a war?


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This fictional scenario should incite us to reflect on what is at stake.

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A collaborational work by Philippe Jans, Falk Lennart Kremzow, Therese Leick, Charles Rauchs, Wilhelm Scherübl Self-published 2016 / Edition of 50

We want to thank Laman Akhmedova Thomas Amann Pierre Babin Lavinia Chiper Julia Eder Aris Erdogdu Aurélien Fichet de Clairfontaine Sven Frisch Sandor Guba Sabrina Haas Julia Hager Klaus Henkelmann Estelle Isola F. Isola Stephanie Jans Katharina Jovic Katharina Kanzian Dila Kaplan Nastya Kurmacheva Laura Leinonen Ben Max Helena McFadzean Kristiina Nurk Robi Pederson Igor Petrychenko Elsa Rauchs Karina Ruseva Zsuzsanna Takácsy Yannick Wagner Matthäus Weißenbacher

The Golden Age of Nothing


This is a dystopia based on the recent events happening in and around Europe. Told by nineteen imaginary characters.

Profile for wilhelm scheruebl

The Golden Age of Nothing  

This is a dystopia based on the recent events happening in and around Europe.Told by nineteen imaginary characters.

The Golden Age of Nothing  

This is a dystopia based on the recent events happening in and around Europe.Told by nineteen imaginary characters.

Profile for wisc
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