Police patrol vans on both sides of the street, the military in the streets with para-commando's in full gear patrolling the neighborhood ... isn't quite something that makes me feel safe. Granted, I live at the edge of the Jewish quarter, cross it regularly walking the dog, going to the supermarket... I can't show you the pictures: it isn't even allowed to take a picture... It would be a bit intimidating if one would try. I think violence begets violence. Non-violence is the only way to live in a civilized society. Talking to all kinds of people and trying to understand the other is always a good start. Understanding the needs of an other human being makes one feel their anguish. Kindness doesn't kill. I know these words are poor in contrast to the beauty and respect I would want to share. Hate begins with exclusion, by being uncaring, unthinking of the plight of 'others'. We are all others, different and have the right to be so.
We would loose such beauty, such song, such poetry, such alternative ways of looking at the world, if we don't strive for inclusiveness.
The New years reception of the Flemish Fund for Letters was inclusive: Three writers who all three spoke a different local version of Arab talked and laughed and gave us great poetry and prose. One musician gave us foreign sounds and longings. This choice was just the right thing at the right time...
keeping the flame of hope and togetherness burning.