While wandering around the still-fuming volcano of Tajogaite (island of La Palma, in the Canaries) -which two years ago and for three months destroyed and buried under the lava approximately 4000 properties of all type-
I met several people and groups of people representative of all kind and styles of tourists.
Out of the mass one particular couple intrigued me. They were the most calm and distinguished persons in the group, as well as respectful to others. There were Angelika and Bruno from a town in East Germany.
I took the time to discuss and talk to them and I suddenly realised that the traumas of the communist period are still haunting them, 34 years after the fall of the Berlin wall. They talked about their sufferings, the fear of defending their beliefs an ideas and at that time, even in their wildest dreams, they couldn't imagine to spend holidays in the Canaries or elsewhere more attractive than the Soviet Union and coast of North sea in Poland. They praised the achievements of the German unification and the immense contribution of the European Union in their wellbeing.
- Look around what it is going in the world to understand how lucky we are to live in Europe, they said.
That day while I was checking the news in the morning, I read that three migrants found dead, while fifteen others rescued on a boat south of the island o El Hiero, hundreds of miles from the African coast.
Desperate people looking for a brighter future undertake the most perilous voyage, asc less than half of those trying it succeed to reach the Canaries alive.
In other news of the same day from Reuters: "intensive Russian bombing in Ukraine", we almost forgot this war.
And from the London Times, children's lives threaten by starvation in Gaza .
Of course Europe cannot accommodate all the misery of the world, but we should never forget that somehow in the long history of mankind we all were migrants and that European Union was founded on the bases of humanitarian principles, which its opponents foolishly try to destroy.
That is probably the case of the local tours guide who used the most stupid argument of the Brexiteers idiots, Farage and Johnson, to explain to unaware tourists that the EU does not want bananas from the Canary islands because they don't have the right form.
This is a dam lie, because the Canaries refuse to abide by the EU production quotas and demand prices higher than the producers from other EU overseas territories and Latin America countries. And one should not forget that the Canary islands are the most privileged region of the EU, because of the preferential VAT rate (the lowest in EU) and taxation.
Walking in Calle Real in the city of Santa Cruz de la Palma I am attracted by the sound of a harp played by a basking street artist. I ask permission to film and he tells me that he comes from Venezuela on a six-month tourist visa seeking for a permanent job in music.
He says that this harp is called llanera Venezuelana and it's a popular instrument in his country.
Another encounter was on a boat trip at the west coast of La Palma where I could observe the massive destruction which the volcano explosion of 2021 has caused and where the village of puerto Naos is still banned due the CO2 and other toxic gases emanating from the fuming volcano.
On this trip I met a lovely couple, Juliana and Florin, with their kind six year old boy Benjamin, who are immigrants in Germany from Brasil and Romania respectively.
But these friends - I can call them friends, because we shared the new year's eve dinner table - are the fortunate ones as they manage to have high university level jobs. However, they constitute the "brain drain" of their respective countries. Brain drain is a real plague for many countries of the Balkans and Southern Europe.
The stories of people are countless. All of them and each one separately suggest us the respect we due to them. Because the people can create a better world to live in.
Let's start 2024 on an optimistic note keeping the good we have in us.