Haven’t we all thought building walls was wrong?
Haven’t we all criticized other countries, denying basic human rights, for being uncivilized, undemocratic and intolerant?
Haven’t we once already said, “The boat is full?”
And wasn’t our reply: “never again”?

It’s hard to grasp how such obvious hypocrisy can be overlooked. Over the course of the last seventy years, the western world has been in outrage numerous times. The exposed violence committed against millions of people during the 2nd world war, the cold war, the Vietnam war, the golf wars and many more events in recent history, caused a wave of anger and revulsion and raised the question: How could so many stand by silently, passively and watch a catastrophe unfold?

When considering these topics, positive focus is often the stories of resistance and the individuals who risked their lives to give sanctuary to people fleeing war. Whether in school, in university, or amongst friends, we’ve always praised the courage and compassion of those braving the brutality of an inhumane and unjust regime.

Haven’t we all wanted to recognize ourselves in those few rebels who did not conform?

Did we not think we would have acted differently from the mainstream, staying true to our ideals of justice and equality?

Are we not facing a strikingly similar situation of oppression today? The borders are closed; those fleeing war and abuse are locked out. Unwanted and seen as a burden, people are once again being shunned into overcrowded camps where death is a reality.

There is a familiarity to how the Police violence against those who cross Borders in desperation, trying to find safety, has surmounted to torture. There’s likeness of today’s heavily militarized and razor-wired borders to the walls and fences of history.

Governmental institutions are seeking to incriminate those who show support and compassion to minorities in need; fear mongering and propaganda through the media is once again being used as a tactic to perpetuate xenophobia and racist structures within Europe.

Isn’t history repeating itself?

Where is the promised indignation? The uproar remains absent. Once again people are content to shut their eyes, shun responsibility and do nothing.

Why in hindsight do people constantly claim: “We should have done more?”
Let’s not repeat the same mistakes over and over. Drawing parallels to history, it’s quite clear who we should support and who we should fight.

Every individual is responsible for the current situation. It’s time to pick a side, as remaining passive, or turning our backs in these times of injustice, is to automatically choose the side of oppression.
Let us live up to those childhood dreams, to take up the mantle of courage and integrity in the face of turmoil, to finally act, fulfilling our promise to stand together and shout: “never again!