Everyone a place
Tales

Tolerance

Through the front door of their simple, temporary home close to the harbor quarter they hear the tumult swell. After living in an inn for a week, they could rent this space from a merchant who invested part of his profits in real estate. He also employed them both, John in the warehouse, and Edith in a store. In a way they had been lucky: the merchant immediately noticed them as they felt lost, while strolling in the market, and asked them about their plans. It was obvious they were strangers in Landsgate, both to their clothing and their behavior. The merchant, according to his own words, also was an outsider here. With such a common background, right away there was this special click, so John thought they better take advantage of the situation, and later look for something else or better if needed. According to Edith, the merchant was just very good at influencing people. Cleverly he used their need not to feel too strange, to get two cheap workers and at the same time rent out an expensive house. After all, they still have no idea what normal amounts are in a city like Landsgate. But on the other hand, their urgent issues were resolved for now and they can orient themselves further.

John steps outside to see where the noise is coming from. From the direction of the city, torches illuminate a group of people with signs and banners In the rising dusk. They yell and sing, and it doesn’t look joyful, but rather threatening. Their neighbor, a nice and somewhat older man, joins them, shaking his head with a shudder. “It’s been quiet for a while,” he says, “but apparently it all starts over again! ” Edith looks at him quizzically. “How so? What is going on then? ” John also likes to know, as so much is happening in this city. The neighbor shrugs his shoulders, as if he can’t help it either. “They say it’s emerging xenophobia. Aimed at people who seek their fortune here. But that is not logical: this city consists of foreigners only, that is how it was founded.¬†” John recalls Wills explanation how traders, merchants, sailors and workmen have settled here, and why. “I thought this city was so tolerant? ” The neighbor laughs and answers: ” Yes, and that is also the problem right away. That’s why everyone comes here, believing they’ll succeed somehow. But that’s not so obvious at all. Only when you have something to offer, or add something of value to the people of the city, you will be welcomed with open arms. That can be your work, a talent that is lacking here, or you can simply spend a lot of money. But if you only want to benefit from tolerance … well, than it does not seem to exist! ” Edith is surprised. “How can you benefit from tolerance here? ” she asks curiously. The neighbor explains that, in order not to let the city pauperize, there are support utilities for people who cannot provide for their existence. So it is a bit out of self-interest that all citizens pay a tax to make this possible. Originally, these programs were intended for urban residents whose families have lived here for generations. In every family there’ll be someone who is not so successful, and a little help from the municipality then relieves the burden on the family. But now these programs attract people who are in trouble from near and far. That surpasses the capacity of the city, and the original goal is no longer complied with. “Many people are of goodwill, just like you, and put in their best efforts. Unfortunately, there are also more and more profiteers and scammers who pretend to be helpless citizens, and remain so for years. That isn’t normal, of course, but when someone knocks at the door, how can you tell? ” John realizes that he and Edith didn’t immediately ask for help. That would not come to their mind. On the contrary, you should be suspicious if someone does. But on the other hand, how do you check a story that someone has not been successful for months? First arrange a temporary shelter and a loan to check whether someone is really working on a new life in the city? And if not … send them away? And what when they come back later? Do you have to keep track of who has been there before? As he thinks about it, the problem grows with the increasing number of people that have to be ‘processed’ every month.

The crowd has now come close, moving on their way to the port. The three of them stand in their front door. “Get rid of the strangers! ” and “Landsgate is ours! ” is being shouted. Banners about freedom and culture flutter in the soft wind. “Give us our jobs back! ” is called, and John looks at his neighbor in surprise. He sighs for a moment. “Some foreigners easier find work than the inhabitants. That is partly because they expect less money, but also because of education and willingness. Many young people here have been spoiled by the success of their parents and ancestors. It seems as if everything comes naturally, and that is also how they behave. Their parents used to endure a lot and had to work hard. Many foreigners also leave a hard life behind them, and still have the morals of the earlier generations. They tackle everything, and that is very threatening. ” Edith seems amused. “So what you are saying is that these strangers hold up the mirror to the young generation, as it were, and confront them with things they would rather not know? But to respond then like that? To me that seems exaggerated! ” The neighbor looks serious and worried. “Strangely enough, all the achievements reveal very primitive fears and reactions. Those people “, and he points to the crowd, “ they think they have the oldest rights. That by their former success they are far superior to others who in their eyes have failed and therefore come here. That’s why they think they can judge and punish. But such a reaction is very conservative and primitive. They forget the fresh wind that can blow, the renewal that newcomers bring with them. They have forgotten that the greatest successes have been achieved by people who were not satisfied with something, and actively worked on an improvement or change. The only solution they know is to send away everyone who’s different. Fortunately, the city authorities know that this would be the death blow for this city. People would avoid her, merchants and seafarers would ignore her and within a decade this city would only be a shadow of what she is now.

Success arises from dissatisfaction.

The crowd has passed. They breathe a sigh of relief. No major problems, but just many people who let themselves be dragged through such a mass hysteria. “You know,” says the neighbor in goodbye, “in that group I saw some people that I experience very differently during the day. Then they are friendly and open, and not at all as aggressive as tonight. To me, such a parade is not the problem. The danger is in that one single ambitious politician who uses this mass for his own gain. He, who gets better from empty slogans, by arousing sympathy and making promises that are unrealistic. Unfortunately, there are a few like that, you will notice them in the coming time. ” He wavers briefly and wishes John and Edith a good night’s rest. John thinks back to the village where they used to live. There, foreigners were welcomed. There everyone had a role and a place, and could enjoy the good that village and region had to offer. No one minded sharing everything. However, this city seems grimmer, and he realizes that this is what Will has warned them about. He unwittingly closes everything off extra secure and enters the living room while deep in thought.

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