Roland Dürre
Friday June 24th, 2016

The Birthday Address I Never Delivered.

Vielleicht hilft ja die Lektüre dieses Buches?

Well, perhaps reading this book will help?

My birthday was a few days ago. Now I am 66 years old. I very much appreciated all those many good wishes I received and would like to thank you here and now. It felt nice to know that so many people remembered me.
Unlike so often in my life, we did not invite anybody to celebrate a huge party with us. Regardless of 66 years being a nice number for a celebration, I somehow did not feel like celebrating.

Maybe there will be a party next year. Basically, there is the rule: “no party, no address”. But still, as is my habit whenever I celebrate a birthday, I prepared a short speech. Because I enjoyed doing so.

🙂 Here is my “virtual birthday address” for all my virtual guests:

It took 66 years for me to really learn how to be absolutely happy with my lot. I learned to really enjoy my life. Now I have felt truly happy for more than one year. Even happier than I used to, although I certainly had a wonderful life and everything was basically very nice, indeed.

To be sure, I still get annoyed when something irrelevant, where it is totally useless to get upset, happens. Besides, I sometimes still feel aggression growing inside me where it is absolutely inadequate. And I also often despair because of something that should not really be a reason for despair.

But other than that, I am happy. There are two exceptions.

The first is the fact that I really hate to realise that my life will inevitably move towards its end. And I still fear death and at times really am extremely anxious about it. But then, death and dying is part of all life. You cannot change this and that is why I simply try to accept it and not make a huge affair out of it. Even if this is hard, I manage to cope more and more often.

The second is actually worse. I understand less and less what happens around me. Both on a small and huge scale.

A short time ago, a friend I had been able to recruit for my “project peace” wrote to me. We had been talking “tolerance” and “neutrality”. Those are certainly basic requirements for peace. However, he asked if maybe the fight for resources was not the biggest threat for peace. He also gave a few examples.

  • Water shortage in the Near East.
  • They accuse the USA of having fought the Iraq War because of crude oil (regardless of the fact that, according to the BR, no US enterprise is oil drilling in Iraq. All the drilling is done by the French, Canadians and Chinese).
  • The Neue Zürcher Zeitung visited displaced Jesides in their camps and asked them some questions. The answers were that, no matter what happens, they cannot return home, because both the terrorists and their Sunnite neighbours had knocked them out. Due to high birth rates, the Sunnites needed the extra space.
  • Gentrification shows that the fight for resources (a place to live) also concerns the social freedom in cities like Munich.

You could add to the list without ever stopping. Both on a small and a large scale.

For me, it is always painful to see that good food is simply thrown away while somewhere else in the world people go hungry. Or when I see the dead hedgehogs and toads on the peaceful streets where I live. Or when people die on the motorway because someone absolutely needed to drive 200 km/h. Or when I see what in general happens to our planet.

I just read that a functionary of the IHK umbrella organization said environmental protection was the opposite of quality of life. He asked if we really wanted to go back to the times when we went over the Brenner with 34 PS.

Or how about the Polish minister who found words in favour of a policy that does not want the Polish people to become a nation of vegetarians and cyclists.

These are all things that make me sad. We live in a society where waste is made a behavioural maxim. And where wars and violence are the consequences of the fight for resources. Can this really be true? And I am truly devastated. I would really like to do something to change this state of affairs. Because then my heart, too, would feel (even) better. But I have no idea about the What and How.

This is more or less what I would have said if there had been a party.

(Translated by EG)