Paris

On Friday I posted an image that I found on Twitter, now quite famous, comprising a hastily sketched peace sign, which also includes a likeness of the Eiffel Tower.

It is an emotive image, capturing in art what is impossible to say in words. As my friend in Cape Town says, I don’t have answers.

Paris crystallised it for me because we were there just two months ago, but my empathy lies deeper than that. Many countries are under siege from terror, most significantly Syria, triggering a refugee crisis the likes of which we have not seen since the Second World War.

In the last few months I have discovered that I share very little in common with people I consider my friends. I feel in the minority because I want to invite discussion, and challenge the notion of xenophobia.

Considering our planet’s rich history of migration, very few people can lay claim to a particular territory.

Everyone is an immigrant.

I posted that peace sign image without any context, except for the date. It is powerful enough to symbolise what happened last week.

I will leave it there as a reminder, not of Paris itself, but what has led up to it, and what will surely follow.

Let’s stop fighting. Ideology cannot be fought with weapons. We need to put down the guns and speak to each other, to understand each other.

I am a capital-P Pacifist. War is stupid. Killing people is stupid. An eye-for-an-eye is stupid, especially if your retaliation is more deadly than that which you are avenging.

We should be talking to each other, not changing our Facebook avatars, blocking our ears, and singing “La la la” until the Others go away.

Let’s talk.