Friday, January 9, 2015

We are all Charlie in the silent vigil in Antwerp

 The venue for the vigil had been chosen well, in the center of town, in from of a wall with a huge cartoon. It seemed appropriate to honor the cartoonists from Charlie Hebdo in such a location A few hundred people showed up. Holding their pen or pencil, a candle, a  in cartoon... There was solemn quietness and in the sadness also joy at seeing friends one hadn't seen for a long time, knowing they belong to 'one's tribe'. Writers, members of PEN-Flanders were present and our president was interviewed. She spoke out eloquently about free speech being a fundamental element of democracy.

 A guest from Poland was there, poets en route to the poetry café where they had performance after the vigil. It was a solemn gathering, yet one could feel a quiet determination not to succumb to fear. At the end of the gathering we left the candles in two safe places, letting the light shine in the darkness of a cold and wed winter's night. Joan Baez sang it right so long ago:
We are not afraid!
We shall overcome... one day...

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