The words are finally flowing freely from my head to my hands, and I feel empowered for the first time in a long time. Now, naturally the words, the sentences, the pages will be directed towards my bachelor project – and it’s not a second too soon that I start directing my attention towards that, but I will try to squeeze in some time for more creative writing whenever I feel like I need a break from my studies, like now. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve had a cup of coffee for the first time since I promised myself I had had coffee for the last time, or because life is always shown in a different perspective when we’re confronted with actions like the ones in Paris – actions that happen in other areas of the world on a near daily basis, but which seem so much more real when they’re close to home.
I had plans yesterday. I was going to a concert in Copenhagen which I had been looking forward to for a really long time, but when I woke up I instantly had a bad feeling. Like: something bad was going to happen. I don’t often have a bad feeling about things, so it really struck me as kind of odd. All day I tried to shake it off, but I couldn’t, and I eventually tired myself out. I no longer felt like going to the concert, and I ended up bailing on my friends, staying at home instead. Now, I’m not usually one to claim otherworldly powers, but my bachelor project is concerned with precognition, so, naturally, I now believe I might be a psychic with a really poor geographical judgment.
It’s extremely sad what happened in Paris. It’s even more sad that actions like those are a daily threat to the people in and around the areas where ISIL operate more prominently. I can’t quite imagine what it must be like to live in a place where you know you might be under attack at any moment. You try to keep on living your life the way you’ve always lived, but once the attacks hit such seemingly random targets as café’s and music venues, how can you not fear the everyday life? Now, I’m a philosopher in the making, so of course I’m not going to solve any problems in this world. I will only give my best judgment of what’s right and what’s wrong. And it’s so easy to say that killing is wrong. But there is not a society in the world that does not have blood on its hands. Everyone has something to avenge if they just look deep enough. What is needed is for people to not seek vengeance for past actions, but that is so much easier said than done. Throughout the entire history of mankind, when a wrong action was to be avenged, violence has been the go-to action par excellence. It’s the ultimate form, and as long as the human race is around, violence will be its dark shadow, following in our footsteps wherever we go. We can only hope to decrease it, but so often the plans on how to decrease violence start with inflicting violence. There are those who say that you have to fight fire with fire. And there are those who say that darkness only gives way to light, and hatred only to love. I have yet to see either of these theses work infallibly, while both of them have worked to serve a specific purpose at different times. Wars have been ended with weapons, and long traditions of internal battle have been put on hold with mutual understanding and forgiveness. To me, the latter of the two is by far preferable, but different situations call for different responses, and I’m no expert on conflict management on this scale – few are.
Few have an adequate understanding of the entirety of this divide between ISIL and the coalition against it. I respect laypersons’ right to an opinion on the matter, but I also think it’s time for us to stop asking so much of the people who actually deal with this situation, and let them do the best they can. This conflict is not one that will be over in time for Christmas. It won’t be over in a year, and it’s likely that we will still be trying to get a grip on it when we stop talking about 2020-plans and start talking 2030-plans. I think it’s true what the right-wing says: that Europe will never look the same again. But what they misunderstand is that Europe has never looked the same two decades in a row. Europe has always been one of the most changing regions in the world, simply because there are so many different cultures living in such a small area. And a lot of these changes have been for the better – at least if you believe in the goodness of rational progress, and often even those changes that came from hatred turned out to produce a newfound understanding of the world and how to live together with people who do things differently.
So no, Europe probably won’t ever look the same, but continuity really isn’t our style anyway. What matters is how we treat each other and the world. We as a species don’t always do a good job of weighing all of our options when we need to react to things. But we should always strive to never start the circle of hatred. Getting out of it is hard enough as it is with all the wrongs that have been done by the ancestors to the people who now roam the Earth. We must understand that we can’t solve every problem. Mankind has had too much of a head start on this generation for us to be able to extinguish all the fires started. But I believe that if we can leave this world with one less fire burning than when we were born, we have done what could rightly be demanded of us.
I believe in wearing a smile every day,
even when the wind is cold,
the rain is falling and the sky is grey,
I believe wearing a smile can turn the darkest night into the brightest day.
I believe in wearing a smile every day,
even when times are rough,
when winter is coming and summer is postponed until May,
I believe wearing a smile gives warmth to you and everyone on your way.
Yes, I believe in wearing a smile every day,
even when people are against you,
when bombs are falling and you want to repay,
I believe wearing a smile can turn hatred away,
inspire forgiveness and end the fray,
turn scattered flowers into a bouquet,
I believe wearing a smile can turn hatred away.