Or, for the sake of this week’s edition, happy holidays! We allowed ourselves a brief breather (and a cup… or two… or three of mulled wine) for this week as the Krautshell Team is celebrating an early Christmas party. BUUUTTT, we’re not leaving you empty-handed. Dev, who’s the newest member of the Krautshell team, moved to Germany a few months ago from India and wanted to give his two cents on an issue at the core of German political debate nowadays: climate activism. Please enjoy the article below to find out how “The Last Generation” looks to a newbie in Germany. We’ll be back soon with some more political intel, but until then… we raise a glass of Glühwein to all of you.
THE HOUSE’S VIEW:
By Devraj Banerjee, Project Manager @Krautshell
Germany’s Rendezvous with Reality
As 2022 draws to a close, it is a good time to reflect on the year that is ending. I’ve been visiting Germany since 2020, initially just for Christmas and New Year’s in 2020 and 2021, before moving to Berlin in September 2022. As an expat, I am amazed and baffled by certain systems and how things work here and in the EU.
I mean, what’s with the climate activists, or rather, climate gluers worldwide, especially in Germany? First, I see them throwing and wasting food on some nice work of art, and then they glue themselves to it. Someone from a less privileged part of the world would think, “So they throw food at expensive paintings and glue themselves to surfaces in order to stop climate change? Not only is it food-waste, moreover they are hurting and stressing people who are just going about their daily lives.
It’s like someone slapping the queen or president of the United States with a Michael Jackson crystal-studded glove and taking a stand against fast fashion. Doesn’t make sense, does it? This is exactly what I’m talking about, even though their main goal is to draw attention to climate change. I am sure there are better, more meaningful ways to accomplish this. How about a biweekly mass vegan food drive to feed the homeless? Or distributing blankets to the needy during harsh winters or going on a tree-planting drive? I guess these acts are not so disruptive and require a little bit more effort than just sitting somewhere.
Another disruptive act took place when climate activists shut down Berlin airport. The flight I was in with my colleagues had to return to where we started as we, and several others, could not land at Berlin Airport. There was panic in the air, all we knew was that we couldn’t land due to some environmental reason.
For a moment, I thought there was a gas leak or, worse, a misguided missile that had hit Berlin airport in the same way that a missile had entered Polish territory. This plane had a mixed bunch of travelers: some businessmen trying to go about their daily business; teachers going for a guest lecture; journalists going on a training session; a mother trying to reach her sick kids; and an overseas traveler who had to reach Berlin airport so they could take the connecting flight back home.
To my, and everyone’s relief, we learned that there was no misguided missile, and we are not headed to World War 3, but apparently some climate activists glued themselves to the airstrip and are riding bicycles in the airport. For a split second, everyone on the plane was thinking WTF—even the environmental journalist was irritated—the stunt had backfired. In the attempt to grab the attention of the public and the government to stop subsidizing air travel, they wasted so much jet fuel, time, energy, money, and probably glue.
Sometimes I wonder who funds these people, or better yet, who motivates them so much that they keep doing things like that. Do they go through some secret bootcamp where they are brainwashed, like the camps where they make hardened terrorists who are then charged with extremist propaganda and set out to burn the world? Or is it because they are jobless and have pent-up energy but don’t know what to do with it? Maybe they are students who have free education, free time, and a misdirected spirit. Or else, they are unemployed and living on government money (Arbeitslosengeld). If that is the case for the protestors, then it’s like the government is funding the people who have problems with its own system. A perfect example of shooting yourself in the foot.
Isn’t it amazing to take Fridays off and party with friends, labeling it as activism for the environment? Maybe go for a long walk with a group during the day with a placard to get some steps and a workout and enjoy the sun with a camouflaged drink and climate-friendly smokables while chanting anti-establishment slogans. The person who came up with this concept is a genius; it just bugs me why I didn’t think of it earlier.
All of it doesn’t sound so practical when you are a tax-paying, contributing member of society. You can’t just say, “Okay, boss, every Friday I take off for the climate.” After you have exhausted your vacation days, your HR will send you a letter stating that the climate needs you more than this company does, and on Friday, when you take off for the climate, there’s no need to return as your position is already filled.
Congratulations! You’ve been promoted to full-time protestor.
In a reality-inspired imagination, picture some extremist or terrorist organization trying to find loopholes in the European security system and coming across the Berlin airport incident. For years and years, they are trying to study and find breakthroughs to create chaos in the EU. They spend so many resources on cyber security, engineering, and training, but it turns out all they need is some orange jacket and a wire cutter.
Hopefully the German security service has taken note of this major security flaw at the airport. I’m curious if the airport security was so relaxed that anyone with a wire cutter could simply enter the airstrip or if it was an inside job.
So I’m wondering how these chaotic stunts will stop the climate change, because as of now they are just making it worse.
Just like Nietzsche said, “Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster… for when you gaze long into the abyss. The abyss gazes also into you.”