Last night - parallel to the Paris attacks, as I found out this morning - I had a special experience. As I walked home through the dark from Tamera's bar to my sleeping place, I heard fast steps and was suddenly hit by the realization in how many places on Earth, virtually everywhere except for here, you would need to be afraid of being attacked, robbed, violated or even killed in such a situation. I was almost shocked to see how "natural" it already has become for me to feel fully protected and safe in the place I live - Tamera Healing Biotope I. This simple insight catapulted me into a sacred moment of seeing that this state of total protection and safety, this state of nonviolence, is how life on Earth is still meant to be, despite of it all; of seeing that this is a real possibility - transforming this entire matrix of fear and violence into a matrix of trust and safety. I could feel this fragile Earth, suffering under so much violence, wanting humanity to finally wake up from the nightmare of destruction.
As I woke up this morning and saw the news, I realized this experience didn't just happen by coincidence, but that this is the medicine for our time - not to follow fear, but establish ways of life in which the original matrix of trust can thrive once again. It is the imperative of today. Fear has occupied and besieged every heart and every corner of the planet. Fear leads to narrowness and narrowness leads to violence and violence leads to fear... An unending cycle and every time it spins it grows bigger and more destructive.
Seeing all the messages of empathy, solidarity and commiseration after these vile attacks is moving. It is absolutely horrible to imagine beloved ones attacked in such terror. What an insanity! My heart goes out to all people killed in Paris, their relatives, the people around. May you be accompanied by the light of healing.
At the same time, knowing that the exact same terror is happening on a daily basis in other countries, often on behalf of our Western governments, military and corporations, I wonder what would have happened if there had been the same outcry of indignation and solidarity after the attack of the Kunduz hospital by the US, after Obama's atrocious drone crusade, after the French led the war on Libya, killing 30,000 civilians? The refugees now entering Europe en masse come here because this is what they experience. I think if there were to be a positive outcome of the Paris attacks then it would be the realization that the violence targeting people in France is the same that targets people everywhere on Earth. Albert Einstein once said, "Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace ALL living creatures." There is no difference between a killed person in France or in Syria. It's the same pain. In fact, France isn't attacked by terrorists; humanity is attacked by a system of war. If we want to be safe, we have to stop this system. We have to break the cycle of violence.
Reading the comments on social media today I felt the narrowness induced by panic; the way people snub calls for calm and peace by saying, "How would you, naive people, try to talk to the Islamic State? They'll slit your throats before you have even said hello... We just have to exterminate them, once and for all!" I read such and similar calls for "eradicating the enemy" everywhere. But who is this supposed "enemy"? Who created the Islamist terror, which is now getting out of control? A few weeks ago, I met a former US Congressman in Washington DC... He said that ISIL did not only emerge in the chaos which the US, Britain and their allies created by the war of Iraq, but that this terror group was deliberately created by the US and their Arab allies in order to justify unending military involvement in the Middle East. I know it sounds like a wild conspiracy theory, but there is plenty of evidence. The terror, which now returns to the West, is part of an overall strategy of destabilization, driven by capitalist interests for power and money. We have got to face it.
I'm afraid the initial response of empathy after these attacks will again be hijacked by incitements for hatred and violence, by new calls justifying even more "war on terror." I'm afraid that the "welcome" towards refugees will be brought down by fear. But rather than adding more fuel to the fire, which will only result in more deaths and in more wish for revenge, we must finally wake up and step out of the insanity of a system, which produces the terrors it pretends to be fighting.
Everywhere on Earth we are currently challenged not to give up, not to lose hope, but to the contrary. The unprecedented suffering on this planet challenges us to establish an equally unprecedented vision and power for peace, for humaneness, for a future worth living.
May life prevail. Shalom and salaam.
About the author:
Martin Winiecki is an activist and writer. He lives and works in the Tamera Peace Research Center in Portugal, where he coordinates the Institute for Global Peace Work. For over forty years, the Tamera project has been researching on a holistic model for a future without war and a global strategy for system change. Here's more: http://terranova.tamera.org and http://www.tamera.org