Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Old Vicarage

“Here am I, sweating, sick and hot,
And there the shadowed water fresh
Lean up to embrace the naked flesh”

We took our thoughts with us and packed us into a cramped Luton-bound flight. Another summer of apparently seamless travel, before long the world had changed again and we were under that well-known apple tree in the Grantchester orchard, reading the poem above by Rupert Brooke.

This time, the feeling was even stronger, this must urgently become the common right of all humanity. While some temporary restrictions on personal mobility may be called for, it is imperative that we do not forget the vision of a world without borders. It is obviously unacceptable that “nationality”, a completely arbitrary category that people are simply given at birth, should dictate so much.

Yet, any such vision remains futile unless paired with an equally strong vision of a world of global prosperity, a world in which cultural curiosity has come to replace economic necessity and political oppression as the main motives behind migration. I believe that such a world can be achieved within our lifetime. Apparently, the policy wonks behind the newly proposed “Stockholm Programme“ do not. Instead they imagine a world of unmet needs, militarized security and social instability in which borders have to be fearfully protected and a “digital tsunami” of surveillance has to be launched to “protect citizens’ rights”.

We must resist these waves of Newspeak and together work to protect the fundamental values that we again find to be in peril.



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