History teaches us that men and nations behave wisely once they have exhausted all other alternatives.

-Abba Eban (Israeli diplomat, politician and author)

Probably, no nation is rich enough to pay for both war and civilisation, we must make our choice; we can’t have both. 

-Abraham Flexener (American Educator) 

We are divided as a species and yet we have never been so united.

We are divided because Valentin Ribet, Caroline Prénat, Nick Alexander, Nohemi Gonzalez, Guillaume B. Decherf, Djamila Houd, Mathieu Hoche, Alberto González Garrido and at least one hundred and twenty innocent people have died in Paris in a cowardly attack, while they were watching football or attending a rock concert. The brutality and unexpected death left the world on high alert; it could have been any of us, as in the coordinated strange act with the victims’ premature departure caused a series of undesirable feelings-‘the retaliation, the culprits, the rage’.

The social media posts started to blame and generalise every Muslim, many used the card ‘hate to say I told you so’ referring to the debt of kindness, that by taking refugees into European countries has now been paid off.

But then the flow of the comments and opinions started to change direction, and people started to remind us of the war in Syria, the impressive number of the nameless murdered everyday with very little coverage as if their death meant less than the death of those already dearly missed in Paris.

More than two million people have been killed in the four-and-a-half-year Syrian civil war, and as the days goes by there are fewer and fewer ‘safe’ places in Syria. Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, chairman of the United Nations Panel investigated human rights abuse in Syria, where minor tasks such as the walk to get some milk or the visit of a relative have become essentially decisions about life and death.

The comparison, although painful, was somehow fair…and after the anger we mostly all agree that no life is more valuable than another.

Could we imagine how is to live in a war zone? Perhaps now and again we can, for example, on September 11th, 2004 during the Madrid train bombings and in London on 7th July 2005 etc. we have experienced that kind of feeling (fear, sadness, terror, dismay, distress, panic, depression). But as the years pass by and with the privilege of being born on solid economic soil (the same solid economy created from the exploitation of the now enemy) our aspirations, the smallest of problems (an argument with a spouse, the promotion we didn’t get it, the house we want to buy, the Pilates class that we want to attend) make us forget and take for granted what peace represents in our life.

Let’s not forget that we can barely bear one day of terror, the confrontation with the unfairness and the death of the innocents. Lets try to measure the pain, not one day only, but nearly five years of everyday imminent death, of hunger, of rape, of genocide, of children witnessing their parents vanishing…what good can come from that? Repress someone for long and hard enough and the result cannot be positive.

There are no excuse for what happen in Paris, but certainly we can find a reasonable explanation. We are now expecting Christmas. Why is it that our children are being spoilt whilst kids in the Middle East are ducking bullets? Can anyone imagine having to explain to your son to be careful not to step in a bomb on the way out? If these children survive what of humanity will still be alive within their bodies? What kind of consideration will this same child have towards us or towards anyone who questions their pain, their God, the inhuman conditions that they experienced.

Try to walk in those shoes.

Thankfully (or hopefully) we are growing more conscious of other people’s agony and we want it to stop.

Paramahansa Yogananda, an Indian guru who introduced millions of westerners to the teachings of meditation and Yoga in 1920 mentioned on his book “Autobiography of a Yogi” that a man massively underestimates his power of persuasion, his message of peace was delivered worldwide in a technologically illiterate world, but surely he wasn’t the only one, we have been supplied with great names that were once only individuals.

It is not in the blaming or in the retaliation where harmony lies, it is on taking responsibility, a small act of kindness, the start of a new consciousness when we all realise that hate will only generate more hate. We have also, against all evidence, to believe in the good. These are not spiritual words only but a very logical principle proven by the devastation caused to the world with the opposite action.

Be aware of all the lessons that hate teaches us: America bombed Hiroshima cowardly, a catastrophic and long-lasting consequence. Do you know any American?

Germany killed millions of Jews; they invaded their homes, they took their personal belongings before killing them and submitted them to inhuman conditions. Do you know any German?

In China it’s estimated that more than three million people are trapped in a form of modern slavery. Do you know any Chinese?

In Paris on 13th of November 2015 ISIS killed at least 129 people, do you know any muslim? 

Be aware! Cruelty is often anonymous or hidden behind groups and it is also a liar. It does feel impossible to stop wars as it is beyond our power, but united we can rise up against Governments, to make our species progress we have to make the discernment that the actions of a country, race or religion does not represent the individuals that form it, and an individual does not represent a country, race or religion, either. My guess is that we all know someone of the countries and religions we are generalising, and we probably interact with them in a peaceful manner. We have to stop the current flow of prejudice and hostility.

What we ought to stand for is the human race and we are faced with two options: to hate and kill each other (that’s the easy option we already invested a lot of time, money and energy pursuing) or to forgive and live, to grow old and transcend the evil.

It is time to exert faith in humanity.

Fear is only faith in reverse!

To Paris and to the entire world, to the named and nameless victims of terror, history, hidden political intentions, to all of you I offer an apology; as a society we are failing.

Image Credit: Extermination of Evil Shōki