March 16 is not only the second anniversary of Open Borders: The Case; today is also the day a new website is launched: Offene Grenzen. The name is German for “open borders” and that’s what the website is dedicated to.
Currently, there are about ten contributors to Offene Grenzen. While the layout looks different, the main thrust is similar to Open Borders: The Case. There are pages for background topics with in-depth material and references. And there is a blog with up-to-date commentary on current developments as well as for debating with proponents and opponents of open borders. Of course, they are also on Facebook, Google+, Twitter and YouTube.
Open Borders: The Case has played a major role in bringing all this about. Not only are two of the contributors to Offene Grenzen occasional bloggers here (Sebastian Nickel and myself), but also some of the initial material could build on the excellent resources at Open Borders: The Case. And also, it is has been an inspiration seeing this website grow over time and generating interest from sometimes unexpected quarters.
English certainly is the lingua franca of the Internet, but it is also important to overcome linguistic borders and to translate concepts to different contexts. While many in German-speaking countries may be comfortable with reading English, often writing posts or commenting on them proves an obstacle. And then there are angles that are interesting from a more local perspective, but not for a worldwide audience.
I am honored to be a part of both Offene Grenzen and Open Borders: The Case, and I am certain there will be a lot of exchange in the future. Since Open Borders: The Case is so far ahead, it may go mostly in one direction at first, but hopefully also some day in the other. And maybe this is also an inspiration for launching further websites in other languages.
As Clemens Schneider, one of the founders of Offene Grenzen writes in a post introducing the website: the process of dismantling borders within Europe, and especially the fall of the Iron Curtain has been a huge inspiration. “But there are still too many walls in the world.”
Let’s tear them down!