Today I was expecting to write the usual wrap up report on this year’s Agritechnica; but as I sit in the press office at the Hanover Fair Grounds, I can’t help but think of the stark contrast that currently exits in two neighbouring countries because of last night’s events in Paris.
Here in Germany, at least as far as I saw, life was going on almost as normal this morning, with the notable exception of seeing more policemen than usual at certain locations. But there does seem to be an underlying sense of sadness, which I suspect is the case all around the world.
A few hundred kilometres away in Paris France, of course, things are much worse. The sadistic actions of a handful of idiots last evening have the country in a state of emergency. Their actions sought to destabilize and destroy. Here at Agritechnica, people from countries around the world have come together to conduct commerce, learn from each other and explore ways to make the world a better place—at least in agriculture. That contrast seems to have struck everyone associated with this show.
At the hotel this morning, a group of Frenchmen and I shared breakfast at the same table. We didn’t engage in much conversation because of the language barrier. But we acknowledged one-another, shared the coffee pot, smiled and said goodbye when we left.
On the train to the fair grounds this morning, two German farmers sitting with me engaged me in conversation and did their best to speak slowly and help me follow along in the German-language discussion. When we arrived, they wished me a pleasant day and we went our separate ways.
For the last two weeks in my circle of travels in Europe it’s been like that. People representing farmers and farm media in countries from South America to Japan have done their best to get along, communicate and share knowledge and experiences they could take home with them for the benefit of many. It’s a shame the most extreme example of the opposite line of thinking has caused chaos in France.
Unlike what’s happened here at this event in this country, no good came come of that horrible French experience, no society will benefit from that carnage. No one will be be richer in any way.
Organizers at Agritechnica announced this morning that out of respect for their French neighbours, the traditional honking of tractor, truck and machinery horns that happens in all the exhibit halls just before the doors close for the last time, which is meant to be a celebration, will not take place this year. It’s a small thing, maybe, but important.
It just doesn’t seem right to anyone to celebrate right now, even though the organizers pulled off yet another impressive show.