Why our world is still the same, but our ability to change it, another
A young take on the current situation
How many times have I read this sentence in the last few days. In him lies the bottomless shock, the fear of what is to come, the uncertainty about our lives that we all feel so safe.
But was the world really different on February 23, 2022?
Above all, what has changed is the Western-European insight into what constitutes reality in the 21st century. I’ve read articles mourning the end of faith in a peaceful world order and future, the last glimmer of hope in a world that can learn from history – and I got angry.
I’m 22 years old, and my youth wasn’t characterized by the carelessness and naivety that we young adults who are far removed from the war are so often accused of. I grew up knowing that my generation was born into a system that not only destroys its own livelihoods, but in doing so must fuel social division, discrimination and exploitation in order to survive; that puts economic short-sightedness ahead of political values and creative power, while accepting wars all over the world. My youthful worldview did not assume that Western democracy had triumphed and that war would only come up in my history studies, but was marked by the lack of understanding and fear of our society turning a blind eye,
I’m 22 years old and it doesn’t feel to me like the world changed into a different one on February 24th, 2022. Rather, the privileged part of our world has finally understood that our mantra of “if-I-just-pretend-it-is-none-of-my-interest-nothing-happens-to me” does unite our personal realities makes us safer for a while, but in the long run it doesn’t save us from confronting the problems of our time. The reality denial of our way of life and political attitudes was invaded by 21st century reality on February 24th, 2022, and it caused more fear than all the scientific warnings of the last decades combined. Only through a war in the middle of Europe do we manage to think about fossil dependencies and new scope for action, and that’s pathetic – how many lives could we have saved, not just in Ukraine, but across the globe, if we had played our real role in this world sooner? In the most shocking form we are currently being shown that a policy of pure reaction has a price that we would never consciously choose with our democratic, humanistic self-understanding, but which is nevertheless an active decision if one is aware of the consequences of his actions.
Reality has overtaken us and if we don’t combine all our efforts now, we will never catch up. The generation of FridaysForFutureunderstood this more than the adults who make our political decisions and write the op-eds for our newspapers. The disasters we never intended to face hit us with the first blows, and we have a historic chance to harness that power. Just as in Ukraine right now people are fighting and dying for the freedom of our democracies, in a stubborn resistance that Putin has evidently disastrously underestimated, so in our safe, privileged lives we can join in this standing up for our real values and make real decisions for the world we all want to live in, meet and implement.
We may have woken up in the same world on February 24, 2022, but we can use our changed, still stunned perspective to help shape it – now finally consciously and deliberately.
While people in Ukraine are losing their homes or their lives for power-political, imperial and egocentric reasons, the new IPCC appears– Report on the climate crisis. He not only repeats the warnings that older generations have known for decades, but also shows that the consequences of the climate crisis will be much more drastic than previously thought. The lives of millions of people are threatened not only by ecological catastrophes, but also by conflicts and wars over scarce resources. But the most important thing about this report, in my view, is the repeated demonstration of very real, possible solutions. If we don’t want to wake up to a shockingly different world over and over again, we as a society can now make the utopia of my parents’ generation a reality: learn from our past in order to shape a peaceful and just future. We can, like Ukrainians, translate the energy of this shock into courage in our own lives and finally use our knowledge and make decisions before it’s too late – even if it means changing our own lives to save others. In terms of Eastern Europe we didn’t make it, but there’s a whole world around us where we can finally stand by our dreams and values. We can sink into impotent bewilderment about our society or whitewash the forecasts and situations – which will only lead to more and more mornings being overwhelmed by news that makes us doubt the future of mankind; or we face our fear and sadness and finally decide for the courage,
When we think of the people in Ukraine in grief and sympathy and think with fear of further developments, also in our own lives; when we find courage and comfort in fellowship with others at peace rallies or in helping those affected on the ground; then let us also use this stunned pause in our world to address the fundamental questions of how we can avoid humanitarian and political catastrophes in the future; after donating and protesting, let’s take that power home and into politics and begin long-term change.
Perhaps the new, more peaceful future will emerge just when belief in it seems to have been lost.