Sometimes it is hard to keep the hopes high. Sometimes I am speechless about how we seem to run around doing nothing but hurting, breaking each other. Purposeful. Without purpose. When we open our eyes towards the things that matter we see all the shit we’re in with incredible clarity. Yet the solutions seem to be so far away, so complicated. We see something’s going wrong – but we are scared to face the consequences. We try so hard to change something – but as soon as we zoom out to the whole picture the helplessness and desperation can hit us very very hard if you don’t watch out. We are trying so hard, we are being vegan or vegetarian, we buy organic or dumpster dive, we take the bus rather than fly. We want to find out what are the necessities and what is luxury. We try to calculate out how is the best way to cause the least damage in a sick system. And we can nothing but fail. It is so tempting, as a human being, to believe in rationality and logic. We play this game with ourselves over and over again until we must interrupt at an artificially chosen point.
Tomorrow we are returning home. Belgrade is a beautiful city and I enjoyed it a lot to browse around the city, taking pictures, watching the people and walk until I can’t feel my feet anymore. I am in this different world, which though because of my Polish origins feels so familiar to me. In a strange way it makes me feel home – the rundown buildings, the socialist buildings that let people live like ants in an anthill. The little, illegal flea-markets where people try to make a living with fake brand-clothing. All those beautiful people. And the ugly ones. I walk around and I feel like an alien – but not in Belgrade, not in Serbia, but rather in this world. Still, I am listening to German broadcasts and reading German news. There is a huge discussion again, back home, about so called “poverty migrants”, particularly from Bulgaria and Rumania right now, as the freedom of movement for works within the EU was finally expended on those countries on the 01.01.2014. The “Christian-socialists” (CSU) make their point clear with populist generalizations like “We need to shut our social-system for all those people who are coming from those countries just in order to milk us” (find more on this topic in English here and here). It makes me so sad, after all those years of the EU (remember the eastward enlargement of the EU with Poland and the Czech Republic – we were so scared about them taking all our jobs and dumping our salaries. Nothing like that happened) still having to hear all those populist, clearly right-wing arguments. Not even mentioning that the politicians claiming those things come from the “socialist” and “Christian” party. I wonder what about this kind of attitude is either. At least, one can say, that those statements caused a huge debate in Germany… And many voices rose (as also is mentioned in the articles posted above) against.
Well… back to Belgrade. The pictures you find here are taken from the Ada-Bridge, which was opened in 2013. It is a massive construction, lit up in pink light every night and already the new town’s landmark. Walking around Belgrade, standing in front of the National Serbian Museum, which has been under construction and closed for over ten years because of the lack of money, seeing the latent poverty, broken buildings, unfinished houses, you wonder how this is possible. Where does this money come from, to build such a fancy, pretty new bridge? An interesting answer offers David Harvey, a British geographer, currently distinguished professor at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He wrote countless books on Capitalism and was one of the first to connect it to the advancing urbanism on our planet – using mostly Marx but also other elaborate theorists. Even though his books are difficult to read if you don’t have any background in that direction, it is worth watching his talks, as he is able to point out things quite clearly and I find his arguments rather convincing. If you want to find more about the crisis of capitalism and the urban struggle, which could also give an potential answer to how it comes that we have this crazy bridge in Belgrade, I recommend you watching this video: Crisis of Capitalism & Urban Struggle.
What does it all come down to? Those hopeless moments pass just as any other moment. As we all know the only thing we can really rely on is the fact that time simply passes and that time – at least afar from funny ideas like quantum physics – knows only one direction. So those desperate moments pass and nothing changes but the way you look at the world. And all the sudden there is hope, you see those amazing people, changing their little bit here and there, all the sudden there are all those small and big projects, small and big changes – are we living in the end times?