Sunday, January 11, 2015

11th January 2015 La jour de glorie?

11th January 2015, the day we finally realised that there is more that unites us than divides us -  la jour de glorie?  The day we realised that to be truly human is not to focus on the randomness of homeland, race, nationality, language, religion, gender or culture. The day that we came to know that while we are all "enfants de la Patrie", and that this can be a source of pride, much more importantly we are  citizens of the world. As Thomas Paine put it:

"The World is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion." 

The differences that separate us are superficial, the things that unite us as citizens of a world community are strong - if we let them be. But that requires us to stop marginalising, or worse, those who are different, those who are weak, those whose voices are quiet or muted. It requires us to listen more than to preach. To remove the conceit from our minds that our way is "the only true way", our God the "only true God", our country "God's own country". 

When Arab and Jew, Christian and Sikh, non-believers and the devout link arms to demonstrate  what unites them rather than scream at one another about what divides them there is a spring of hope. Hope that from an unimaginable horror the first buds of tolerance and peace might just emerge. Green shoots that if we tend them, and love them and care might just grow into something great and fine and enduring.

It is not "them and us" - it is only "us". It is not "Unser Volk" - in some way superior to the others. It is  "Die Menschen der Welt". But for this to be real it does require a measure of sacrifice. To place unity about division. To pool resources, not erect barriers around them. To demolish man-made walls and fences and to open our minds and our hearts. To say "He's different from me, but he's my brother". It's a moment of truth. Has mankind the capability to realise that to come out fighting with all guns blazing is just what those who have attacked us want?  

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” Martin Luther King Jr.,


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