Dec 13 2018

On being civilized

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 1:22

I do not consider my own country civilized overall, but there are a lot of civilized people living there that I admire very much because they chose to be civilized in an uncivilized country. They were not educated into being civilized, and they were definitely not coerced into being civilized by a set of rules that when broken lead to serious social and financial consequences.

I have traveled in quite a few places in Europe because of my work, and countries like France, Austria, Germany, UK –  I tend to view as civilized. Although every country is inhabited, and there are people that don’t give a rat’s ass about the rules and regulations, people from eastern Europe tend to see countries in the center and western Europe as being more civilized. Let’s stop beating around the bush – it’s because people in those countries actually pick up their dogs shit. So, as a person from a less civilized country, you feel more confident when living in a more civilized country. At least this is how I used to feel. Seriously this was my brains when I was delegated to Frankfurt: “It’s ok to walk back to the hotel alone at 11 PM, you’re in a civilized country. Nothing bad is going to happen to you!”

And it was like that for two or three years. Until one evening I walked into my favorite local shop at 9 PM and there was a guy in a hoodie with a huge knife robbing the place. I was paralyzed in the door, not because of the fear but because of the shock. The shop personnel, including security, six people in total were all on the left allowing the guy to do his thing. I could not understand it. This was a civilized country, what the actual fuck was happening? I was pissed off and disappointed at the same time. And all I wanted was for him to go. So I chased him away, by throwing a bag of flower compost in his face. And he ran. And after that, some of the people hired there told me that I should not have done it. That it was dangerous, that it wasn’t my shop, not my money, that the shop was probably insured. And I would have wanted to have a long conversation with them and explain to them why, but that was not the time.

I truly think that in order for a society to be civilized, people have to choose to be civilized, but still to be capable of the brutality of an uncivilized person to be able to deal appropriately with people that choose not to be civilized. Because there will always be people that for various reasons will choose not to be civilized. By being unable to respond properly, prevent or punish uncivilized behaviour, the message that uncivilized behaviour is tolerated is propagated, and more people when faced with a choice might decide not to be civilized. And this is how the downfall of a civilized society happens, in gradual, small steps that uncivilized people take, because civilized people do not stand thier ground.

A few days ago, I witnessed a conversation in the coffee shop where I get my lunch from. A few ladies were talking about robberies, how often they happen in Edinburgh and people that they know were robbed. One of them was talking about a friend of hers, that was in the house when a robber broke in. And she stayed silent, let him go about his business, because she had children in the house. So he took a few things and went away, and she was relieved because he did not hurt the children and the things he stole were insured. I was so puzzled, and a little bit revolted. I mean, what if the guy would have decided to hurt the children, what then? Would she have done anything? And again that thought: FML, I thought I was moving into a civilized country!

Here’s the thing. I come from an uncivilized country. In my country making a little bit of money and buying a few precious things, takes serious work and sacrifice. If somebody would try to rob me, I’d probably fight that person and seriously try to hurt them in the process. Because I’ll be damn if he will have for free what I worked years to accomplish! Also, if I let one person rob me, I would never feel safe in my house again. And if I would allow it to happen once, maybe this guys tells his friends that there’s an idiot that allows you to take anything from her house, and some of them decide to try it out. It is easier to be bad than good, and bad behaviour will propagate if good people do nothing.

After hearing that talk I got worried. If robberies are normal behaviour here, this means I guess shouldn’t worry if I’ll ever be robbed, but when. Right? I already started having nightmares about this and being startled by any strange noise in my house. And I hate living in fear. So I ordered myself a baseball bat. And this is my house, I know where the knives are. And I know a little bit of karate. If somebody ever dares to try to rob my house while I’m in it, the press will write about a robber getting his ass seriously kicked. I am not going to allow this kind of uncivilized behaviour to propagate and be tolerated. And neither should you.

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