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I’ve planned to dedicate January’s posts to wishing, hoping, planning. But reality had different plans…

As I was watching the peaceful demonstrations across Europe on television, I feel a lot of respect for this behaviour, but it is mixed with fear.

Fear that we haven’t seen the end of it. And it’s not fear for my safety: as an Israeli, I’m “used” to living with terror (can one really get used to something like that, or is it simply denial?).

But I’m afraid because terror creates fear and fear, very often, turns into hatred.

And I’m afraid of hatred.

love is enough

love is enough

I’m afraid people will react in the most common way: mistrust and hatred towards the unknown, the different, the other.

I’m afraid of islamophobia, in spite of being Jewish and Israeli. Probably Because I’m Israeli and Jewish, I know what racism can do to people.

But I also know that different people can draw different conclusions from the same situation. The conclusion I decided to draw from growing up in Israel is that peace is the only way which can guarantee the life of everyone. And I say “decided” because being optimistic and positive is, first a foremost, a matter of decision (this is also why I have Decided to become a Gestalt therapist, a method with a positive and optimistic approach).

I really hope that the atmosphere created in those demonstrations of “Je suis Charlie“, that of identifying with the victims and their rights will not be turned into anything else but more respect towards the freedoms celebrated in a democratic society. And I  hope that we decide that the first one is the freedom each of us has to be themselves, to have their own opinions, colour, belief, culture.

A society which embraces all kinds of opinions (as long as they’re peaceful!), all living styles, is a richer society. A society which encourages racism and discrimination is a poor society, which can’t flourish.

Many compare what happened this week in Paris to September 11. I hope the aftermath will not be similar: when our world and our life were filled with fear, suspicions, mistrust and violence.

Mahatma Gandhi said: “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.”

Let’s keep our eyes open, look at what we have in common, the beauty of all the colours of a heterogenic, mixed society and the richness each of us bring to the whole.

And I think of another Charlie, Charlie Chaplin who, faced with another time of violence and racism, decided to react in a peaceful – and comic way – creating the movie “the great dictator”.

This will be our real victory: not becoming bigots and violent but celebrate life and live in peace.

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