Apologize and buzz off……

Suppose… you live somewhere in the middle of the Netherlands and work in Groningen. Yes, that is quite a drive, so you are looking for an apartment in Groningen so that you do not have to drive back and forth every day.

You post a message on an “I’m looking for a house in Groningen Facebook page” and you get the following responses:

For context: in the Groningen part of the Netherlands, they have some serious earthquakes because of the winning of natural gas. The Dutch government (that’s suited in the western part of the country) says it’s going to compensate them, but they don’t do enough or nothing at all….

The reactions you get on your post where you look for a house are like:

  • What are you doing here, get away to your own part of the country.
  • You voted for the nasty government that did not compensate for the earthquake damage, didn’t you? Shame on you for daring to come here.
  • Well, good luck with it! ha ha ha ha
  • Silence….
  • Buzz off (or worse…)
  • And more like that…..

What would you think of that? Yes, the people in Groningen are probably not happy that their damage has still not been compensated and how the problem surrounding gas extraction is being dealt with, but what can you do about it??? You have been working in Groningen for years, and now you see the atmosphere changing. But again…what can you do about it? Apologizing to them feels strange (and doesn’t solve anything) and a sorry won’t get you there… You don’t work for the government and decide what is (not) done?! The anger towards you personally increases by the day……

And now we go one step further….. Imagine… you no longer feel at home in the middle / west of the Netherlands. It no longer feels safe, and you want to move to Groningen with your whole family… and you get the same reactions again… Bizarre, isn’t it?

And now to the present day…..

You live in Belarus or Russia, have been working somewhere in the EU for years… it was never a problem.
But now you better not park your car with your BY or RUS license plate because then the windows will go “out”. Oh yeah, that work Visa you had? That can suddenly be withdrawn…the same goes for your job… You sometimes get the most annoying curses thrown at your head when people realize that you come from Belarus or Russia…. And you MUST verbally defend yourself all day long for the policies someone is making in Russia…. Against everything and everyone. Over and over again.

Even worse?

You live in Russia, are a male between the ages of 18 and 35 and are being called up to fight in Ukraine. You don’t want that and try to flee Russia, but…. The whole EU closes its borders to you. The Finns close the border for holidaymakers from Russia (huh, why are you a holidaymaker???) the Baltic States don’t want to allow ANYONE from Russia anymore, in NL and D there is talk about a solution, but that talk is of no use because you have to leave NOW, or it will be too late….. and you don’t want to fight in Ukraine. But you are looked at as an aggressor…..

And that is today… and it doesn’t get any better… Tonight we are going to have a gourmet meal with people from (Belarus) Russia. Shall we bombard them all evening with questions about their government’s policies? hmm…. you know what? We treat them like any other person and prepare coffee and tea. They are more than welcome.

And yes, it’s hard to stay human when war hits you personally… we get it, but at least try to stay human… don’t let the enemy win your soul…. You being a human is a thing to be proud and precious off.

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