Racism in the middle of society

Actually I wanted to meet a friend tonight who has his job at the university in Central Europe and wanted to go to a friends wedding at the weekend and wanted to see some other friends before then. But as the meetup didn’t work, I can write a little bit about racism. Racism is the reason why he cannot enter the UK. He has the wrong passport and therefore does not have the privileges that one has with a Western European, North American, and probably also Australian, New Zealand, or Japanese passport: You can get into almost any other country without a visa. He only got as far as the check-in counter at the airport, where he was told that he was not allowed to go to England and would need a visa to enter the country. It’s just not on the British Border Control website, so he didn’t apply for one. And for many years he could easily travel without a visa.

At least the airline was kind enough to put him on a later flight so that he could make a few phone calls to the British Embassy and his nationality’s embassies in the capital and in London, as well as British border control. And there seems to be this rule with the visas, but not officially, because the British are too cowardly to cancel the mutual agreement on visa free entry, and instead have only an internal rule for their own border protection. After seven hours of phone calls, it was clear that the trip would not work out.

And of course nobody is responsible either, there is nothing official, so that he will still have to pay his own expenses.

And all because he was born in a country on the African continent. And that’s the racism of the white western world. This is not only a British problem, also in France, Denmark, Germany, Spain, Austria, Sweden, other European countries we treat certain groups of people as second class citizens. Every day.

Carbon responsible travel

After the pandemic situation became better again, I started looking into travelling from the UK to Germany. Preferably by train, as flying is just not good in a climate crisis. And I travelled by train before several times a year. With the German DB “Super Sparpreis EU” one could book a ticket from London St Pancras to, lets say Dresden or return. Depending on how busy the trains were, I spent something between 70€ and 120€ per direction, maybe a bit more during Christmas. That was 2018.

When I checked this year to travel a month in advance, no public holidays, Prices ware around £75 for the leg London to Brussels and then another £60 to £80 from Brussels to Dresden. I don’t know if that is expensive, it’s definitely over 50% more expensive than 4 years ago.

And then I made the mistake and checked flights. It was shocking to see that they started at £7 for each way. And that was only 2.5 weeks in advance. Luggage adds another £21, and I would need another 17€ for the local train to my final destination. But that is still cheaper than any of the two parts of the train trip for the whole distance.

I understand that these plane ticket prices are not the real costs, the airline will make the money with the people who by tickets at a later stage (although, even for the flight tomorrow the price is still only £18, so probably they need to subsidise from other flights). And yet, I find it astonishing that the climate damaging travel is still cheaper than the more responsible travel.