Anyone who thought that 2022 had changed a lot and was one of the most eventful years of the past decade was proved wrong this year. War is still raging in Europe. Just a few hundred kilometers from our doorstep. A war that Vladimir Putin and Russia have been waging for over 660 days against a free, democratic country that defends our values and actually wants nothing more than peaceful and respectful coexistence.
This war has changed many things in this country. Germany is showing solidarity and supporting the defense of its values with weapons, ammunition and humanitarian aid. Initially, the government found it difficult, but now arms deliveries and even increasing its own military budget are part of the daily routine. Energy has become considerably more expensive due to the withdrawal of Russian gas, and politicians have had to struggle to find the necessary alternatives.
We have achieved a lot together to support our friends!
More wars in the world
Nevertheless, we in Germany and Europe have not managed to end the daily suffering in Ukraine. On the contrary: despite aid pacts worth billions, Ukraine has increasingly faded into the background, especially in recent weeks. This is because another war has been raging in the world since October 7, and it is precisely the German people who have stopped it: The terrorist organization Hamas has barbarically invaded Israel, abducted innocent young people at a music festival, raped them and tortured them to death. Small children were beheaded, entire families wiped out in a hail of bullets. Hospitals have been used as weapons caches, people have been used as shields, extensive tunnel systems have been created to carry out plans undetected or to hide hostages. The attack on Israel is the biggest massacre of Jews since the Holocaust.
Israel, like Ukraine, has the right to defend itself. Despite this, anti-Semitism is increasingly making its way into the public eye in Germany and is not even stopping at students – the educated elite of tomorrow. Supporters of Hamas are handing out sweets to the population in Germany and taking to the streets to cheer. Our liberal democracy and freedom of expression have to cope with this – yet after decades of peace, all this now seems to be crumbling again. Christmas markets must be protected with bollards so that our population is not attacked by terrorists – as was the case in 2016.
Change in society
All of this is doing something to our society. It is now increasingly demanding stricter deportation guidelines for asylum seekers or even the abolition of financial support for foreigners. Populists are increasingly gaining the upper hand and political fringes are gaining a lot of support – whether on the right or the left.
Above all, our society seems to be shifting towards absolutist expressions of opinion. Anyone who moves just a little bit away from someone else’s opinion and possibly just a little bit away from the center in one direction is immediately pigeonholed. Argumentative exchange hardly takes place any more. On the contrary, there is talk of a dispute. When the three parties in the federal government, which could not be more different in terms of content, pursue the democratic process of reaching a consensus in order to find a compromise and thus a result that can attract a majority, the talk is immediately of “dispute”. Only one’s own opinion counts.
I would like to see us listen to each other more, accept each other’s opinions and, above all, listen to them in order to find common ground. At the end of the day, we all want one thing: a better society without suffering, poverty and war. Only the ways to get there can, may and must be different – after all, nobody has the perfect plan. Let’s work together to find a path that we can all follow with a clear conscience!
With this in mind: Merry Christmas!