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From Hollywood Boulevard to Molenbeek and beyond
A reflection on the horrendous terror attacks in Brussels,  drafted and published on March 23, 2016

On Saturday, March 19, it was Sean Baker’s highly insightful movie “
Tangerine” that caught our attention.  
“Tangerine” stands in the tradition of Alexandre Duma’s  “The Lady of the Camellias”, and is a fast-paced
feature-film on the anarchic and quite unglamorous reality of the lives of transgender and non-transgender sex
workers in West Hollywood. But the movie isn't just about Sin-Dee, Alexandra and the sex trade. It is also about
the decrepit reality of cab driver Razmik’s professional life, that of his clients, and that of “Mamasan” and her
“Donut Time” customers.  In fact, the movie provides a very convincing snapshot into a post-modern
environment that only on the very periphery still has faint echoes of the traditional family values that Ted Cruz
and other Republicans continue to campaign on. This movie, for sure, had us wondering quite a bit how you
can “
Make America great again” given the circumstances it finds itself in.  (For more info on “Tangerine”, see also The
Guardian’s film review, and LA Mags respective article.)

On Monday, that is two days after learning about Sin-Dee Rella and her friends, we watched a political talk
show on German television. The focus of this program was on the conundrum that old school bank depositors
face when trying to accumulate capital through saving accounts at a time when interest rates are at historical
lows. Upon being asked what this prolonged period of zero interest rate would mean for the future of capitalism
itself, one of the panel members, Rainer Voss, a former investment bank executive at Deutsche Bank and
Dresdner, suggested that in his humble personal opinion this might very well suggest that capitalism has
entered its “endgame “. Its endgame!!!!!

Barely twelve hours after this, on the morning of March 22, three Islamic State bombs went off in the European
Union’s capital city Brussels killing at least 30 people and injuring more than a hundred.

Now, it may well be that all these events cited above are singular and have nothing in common. Yes, it may also
be true that the first two, above mentioned episodes rest entirely on personal perceptions which in itself are
duly questionable. But still:  Does it really take additional evidence to demonstrate that we have reached a
state of development in our contemporary society
that requires an inordinate amount of resilience to not lose
hope in the promise of a better tomorrow? Is it not true that things have become so complex, so intertwined and
so difficult to manage that it is hard to see how all this dysfunctionality can still be brought to a benign
resolution without the help of God Almighty? - If you are honest, you will admit that people left and right are
ever more cracking up in the face of the psychological stress that our present day reality creates. The terrorists
of Brussels, Paris and elsewhere are part of this growing group of people who lose their calm and/or their mind.
And clearly they are the most vicious of all of them.

But be this as it may, it is out of question that something needs to be done about that stress we face. It needs
to be reduced!  And the only way we can think of possibly reducing that stress without losing our democratic
freedom and foundation is by fundamentally reforming our primary, secondary and academic education. Our
school and academic education as it is now, is not doing enough to provide people with the tools to build a
dignified and rewarding professional life for themselves. Too many people come out of it feeling lost and
disoriented. And too many end up like Chester and Dinah from “Tangerine” or Yusuf Sarwar and Mohammed
Ahmet from Birmingham,
who ordered “Islam for Dummies”  on Amazon before leaving Britain to join the Islamic
State in Syria.

We have talked about the urgent need for educational reform earlier. So, at this point, there is nothing more to
add other than this final plea: Dear Public Debate, please, please start looking into reform suggestions such as
ours soon?  It is high time that things change in this matter and that a discussion on this gets at least initiated…
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family values in West Hollywood, film review of Tangerine - the movie, valuable insights to be gained
from the movie "Tangerine", psychological pressures of contemporary society, psychological pressures
in the digital age, urgent need for educational reform, how to rescue capitalism from itself