The Borders of Happiness. A Journey to the Edge of Europe
100pp (14.779 words)
>> a piece of literary reportage that explores our cultural privileges
Who draws the borders of Europe, and what determines human happiness? Anselm Oelze explores the supposed certainties we take for granted in our own lives.
Lesbos, September 2020: Moria – the biggest refugee camp in Europe – burns to the ground. A few weeks after the fire, writer Anselm Oelze flies to Lesbos to get a better understanding of the situation. He finds an island where a state of emergency is the new normal, and wonders how we got here. He gains access to the hurriedly constructed new camp, Kara Tepe, and speaks to the people who have to live there. He shadows media figures as they work and takes a look behind the scenes of various aid organisations, but also reflects on his own role as an observer and his perception of events. This powerful account of his trip is more than just a work of literary reportage. It is above all a clear-sighted contemplation of the things we tend to take for granted, of our own responsibility, the fictionality of borders and the arbitrary nature of happiness.