This week there was rioting on the streets of Frankfurt, as a peaceful protest march against the European central bank descended into chaos as the hooligan element took over. The protest against the ECB was about the opening of their new prestigious HQ building, which has cost a total fortune, at a time when so many people are struggling and we have banking crisis and scandals one after another.
I understand why people protest, although not why they think they need to make their point by setting police cars on fire. The ECB is not quite like other banks, in that it is there to help the poorer people of Europe, although the signals it is sending are not really giving that message.
I do not have a lot of respect for the banking industry anymore. They lost their way a long time ago and although I can count individual bankers among my neighbours and contacts, it does not really help. It only takes a few rotten apples to affect a whole barrel.
So some of my colleagues apparently got pretty scared when the riots were happening and the police were locking down the city. They were allowed to go home if they wanted, to work from home, or stay in the office which would stay open until 9pm. Our employer was making sure we could stay productive in the chaos 😉
I was not in Frankfurt however, as I was in Copenhagen this week, a sea of calm and tranquility, until one remembers the terrorist attack on the café not so long ago, and walks past the synagogue with the flowers outside in memory of the victims of the shooting. In Tunis tourists were shot and killed in another terrorist attack. We are not safe anywhere any more, and we are all connected.
This connection is what people need to remember I feel. We are all connected on this planet, even more so these days of easy and quick travel. What happens in one part of the world does affect us all in some way, the world is one big barrel of apples.
Also in the news this week was all about Netanyahu and his victory in Israel. I have a friend in Israel, a Jew who emigrated there from London several years ago. He posted a comment on Facebook clearly showing his disappointment with the result. The comments to his post were very revealing, especially when one remembers that these people are all his friends and relatives, and they each know one another. Most interesting were the comments between this man’s son, and his son in law. They were totally polar. They also showed the depth of fear among a lot of the Jewish people and how that fear had driven the election result. Another comment that kept coming up to this post, was about that the world hates Israel and therefore the Jewish people anyway, so they need a strong leader.
Does the world hate them? I do not hate them. I have nothing whatsoever against the Jews as individuals or against Israel as a land. I do not agree with the way the Palestinians have to live however, and I truly believe that they have to find peace somehow and start treating the people of both lands with mutual respect.
I guess it is back to my bankers. As individuals they are generally fine and trying to do a good job, but there are bad apples, and they have spoilt the whole system. The same for Israel, a few bad apples have changed the way we view the whole barrel. We no longer see the individuals, just the whole. And when the Jewish people look out at the world, they no longer see all the people who support them or bear them no ill will, they just see a world who hates them, and so they band together and act from that deep emotion called fear.
Fear is the worst reason to do anything. Even running from a lion in fear is not the best way to escape the lion. Only cleverness and using all our positive human attributes and gifts will get the best results.
We all know that, yet still fear seems to rule.
To stop bad apples spoiling the whole barrel, we need to check the barrel carefully all the time, and remove the signs of rot before they can spread to the rest of the barrel. If we leave it too long then we open the barrel and see only rotten apples, and smell the stench of decay, and throw the whole lot away, assumming that the whole barrel is bad.
I have no answers as to how to spot and halt the rot, how to stop people reacting out of fear instead of acting out of love. I do not know how to stop young people running away to join Isis, or to stop Isis fighters and terrorists killing innocent people. I do not know how to stop the men in India from raping the women, whether they are 5 year old begger girls or 74 year old nuns. These are all signs of a lot of bad apples, but know what? There are still millions more good apples in the barrel. We should never lose sight of that.