I am lucky

light
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” Martin Luther King Jr.

I am lucky that I am white.

I am lucky that, as a Brit, I have been perceived as the “right” kind of foreigner in the countries I have lived in (even after Brexit).

I am lucky that nobody has ever tried to blame me for the actions of others who I just happen to share a nationality with (again: Brexit).

I am lucky that I have never suffered abuse – whether physical or verbal – due to my nationality, race, or religion (other than the harmless but not very funny “jokes” about how I should be used to rain).

I am lucky that I was able to live in two EU countries before Britain left the EU, which will presumably make it much harder for Brits to do the same thing in the future.

I am lucky that I had the opportunity to move to Switzerland based partly on the the fact that I was a European Union citizen.

I am lucky that I was able to search for and find a job in Germany without worrying about how to get a work permit.

I am lucky that I could marry my boyfriend next week if I wanted to with very little fuss (other than a bit of bureaucracy).

I am lucky that I will never have to correct anyone who automatically refers to my partner as “he”.

I am lucky that, through their father, my future children will be EU citizens and will be in a position to enjoy the same privileges I did if they want to live, work, or study in another EU country at any point.

I am lucky that the only discrimination I am likely to face is because I am a woman (for example, maternity laws in Switzerland are abysmal. And by the way Britain, the reason they’re currently half decent in the UK is due to an EU law!). I will never be told to “go back to where I came from” despite the fact that I am currently not actually living in the country of my birth. I would never have been assumed to be a foreigner in my country of birth based on where my grandparents came from (despite the fact that my grandfather was Ukrainian). I will never be refused permission to marry the person I love because they happen to have the same gender I do. I will never be beaten up for wearing the “wrong” kind of clothes or for kissing my partner in public. I will never be accused of being a terrorist because of my religion and country of origin.

It would be so easy for me to turn a blind eye to everything that’s going on and assume that the world will go on, somehow, and things will eventually get better.

However, other people are not so lucky, and those are the people we need to be there for in these awful, awful times. We need to reach out to those who may need help. We need to not ignore it if we see discrimination in action. Above all, we need to be kind to each other.

The world may seem like a dark place at the moment, but every single one of us is capable of doing something to spread a little light in our own small part of it.

This post was partially inspired by this post on  Ami im Schwabenland, this post on Rhyme and Ribbons and many, many posts by the ever wonderful Katy.

It’s the end of the world as we know it…

No Friday letters today, I’m too sad.

I went to bed last night with a shred of hope. That’s now been eliminated. As of this morning, I am no longer a European citizen (okay, not officially yet but in the most important of ways, I’m not). The pound is at it’s weakest level in three decades and continues to fall… and that’s before the market even opens!Scotland are already talking about leaving – for real this time. Even if things somehow magically end up working out without Britain going bankrupt first, it’s clear there’s a massive problem within the country.

On a personal note, I have no idea what’s going to happen to me. I’m assuming (hoping!) that Switzerland will honour the residence permit I already have, so that gives me four years before I have to leave the country. But where would I go? I clearly can’t go home, unless I don’t take Jan with me (the whole point in leaving the EU is to keep people like him out, right? And why would he even want to live in a country where everyone hates him so much?). Which country will still let Brits in after this debacle? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see…

As for my job… I assume people who are already living in Germany will be given some kind of deal when it comes to getting work permits for jobs they’re already doing. But I don’t live in Germany! Will they want to give a work permit to someone from a non-EU country, living in another non-EU country but wanting to work in Germany? That I’m not so sure about…

No matter what happens, everything will be different now. If only I could genuinely believe that all those who voted out did so because they believe it will make our country better, and not because they believe everything the tabloid press says and want “Britain to be for the British”. Today, I’m ashamed to be British English (Scotland and N. Ireland did the right thing!). If I still lived in Germany, I would be on the phone right now enquiring about German citizenship…

Goodbye, Great Britain. I only hope it was worth it…

I have no words

I was about to go to bed last night, when I noticed a friends status on Facebook. “Explosions at a marathon? Who even does that?“.  So I switched on the news (we have a TV now so I can do that) and learned about the (presumed) attacks at the Boston Marathon. I have no words to even describe how I feel. As my friend said, who does that? At a marathon… a happy occasion. A time for people to celebrate their achievements and have fun. Three dead, said the news this morning, and at least 140 injured. A fire that broke out later at JFK library may or may not be related to the blasts. Even if it isn’t, the marathon part is bad enough.

Meanwhile, in Iraq, at least 31 people were killed and more than 200 others injured in a series of explosions in Iraq yesterday morning. No mention of those on Facebook, I notice. And on Sunday 29 people died as a result of suicide bombings in Somalia. Elsewhere, there arestories of teenagers stabbing each other to death, people ritoing in the streets after football matches (I refuse to refer to such idiotic people as “fans”) and people being jailed over a “Family fued shooting”. Even here in Karlsruhe, I read tales of muggings and fights – and Germany is actually incredibly safe compared to some places (including Britain!). With so much hate in the world, I sometimes wonder why we even bother to carry on. I suppose all we can do is try to spread a little love and happiness within our own circle.

Normal blogging service willl resume tomorrow. For now, I have no words.