Recently terrible things happened in Paris and Beiruth when soldiers of IS killed or badly injured several hundred human beings and brought fear over our society. Enough was, is and will be written about those events, so I’ll stop here. I want to talk about something, that has already jumped the shark a long time ago: Us trusting each other.
I was born in the former GDR, spearhead of the soviet union. Not to give away the information that we sometimes watch TV from western Germany was one major advise my parents gave to me while i was in kindergarden. They weren’t in opposition to the regime, they just liked the entertainment delivered by western media to them and us children, still they where afraid of repression. Furthermore I remember being told not to trust some particular neighbours, because they might have been spies of Stasi (they didn’t call them that way but from what I learned later they definitivly meant it). When the Berlin Wall came down I was six years old and already knew a lot about suspicion and how to mistrust other people.
After 1990, now being citizen of the western world, my focus of mistrust moved. Now it was all pedophiles that wanted to molest me. I fortunally survived the nineties unmolested, dropped out of school and started my so called adult life.
On September, 11 2001 I was working self-employed from my home listening to the radio (like on most other days). Suddenly there was a report about a plane crashing into one of the towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, USA. I was pretty surprised that such a thing could happen again (I had heard about USA’s own B25 plane that once crashed into Empire State Building) and at that point of time there was still a chance that it was an accident. The situation changed quickly after the second plane went into the other tower. The rest is part of our history. From that on muslim countries and their people were no longer trustworthy, as our western media told us. Cold War propaganda, nice to meet you again!
Back in 2001 I didn’t know a single muslim person neither had had any contact with islamic culture. I had grown up with the socialist version of christian values, knew Jews as victims of the nazi regime (which made me very angry anyway) and my world view was as simple as Neonazis are shitheads and I want all people to be happy.
It was also about this time when I got into touch with the Free Software community, largely by using and breaking GNU/Linux. It was a very multi-cultural experience from the beginning and I really appreciated it. People from all over the world sharing a common goal over the Internet, working together to make the world a better place. While it still took me ten more years to join the FSFE as a Fellow, those early, mostly technical motivated contacts touched and changed me in a deep way. I cannot remember a single setback with any of those fine people. Most of them I never met in person but when we did it always was a huge joy. I am so happy, that even nowadays with Open-Source being corporate mainstream, this didn’t change much. I still add former unknows as friends every time I participate in a Free Software event and that’s such a great thing.
I don’t want to sound too naive. Outside of our Free Software community comfort zone I am an ordinary, perhaps even above-average paranoid person. During the last decade I started to distrust the government more and more. “Free-of-cost” Services in the Internet make me nervous and I try to avoid them whenever possible. I hate being tracked or spied on, no matter by whom, no matter how concrete. Edward Snowden confirmed and largely extended what I already suspected.
Our governments weaken our freedom and privacy after every terrorist attack in the name of security which they cannot provide. I am sure, on a global scale, they don’t want to be evil, but they always make things worse and fail to add any additional protection for us people. Terrorist attacks aim to destroy our way of life and our leaders help them most of the time, probably out of the desire to do anything at all.
I’m kind of proud of how we (apart from the shitheads) handled the European Migrants Crisis up until now and i am really afraid that the recent happenings in Paris will harm those poor people who come to the EU risking their lives to seek shelter from the very same people that try to terrorize us all even more. It already started again. Some people (and politicians) blame the refugees, demand more surveillance and kill freedom and privacy bit by bit. The governments distrust their people, their people distrust the governments and when we have finished, there will be no more foundation for any kind of society (apart from dictatorship of course).
I wish for a world that is like the Free Software community. Trust shall be the standard, misconduct shall lead to disappointment, not confirmation of prejudice! Trust shall not be confused with having no secrets. To be allowed having secrets is the ultimate proof of trust. Trust shall be our way of live and let live. I want to trust.