Blessed be the peacemakers…

 

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“Blessed are the peacemakers,

for they will be called children of God.”

I have always loved the Sermon on the Mount, but I doubt I fully understood it until this morning.

Yes, this morning, in the shower, when I had an intuition (a full download, as a friend of mine would say). No surprise, my best intuitions are often in the shower, that’s when my rational mind is at rest and it doesn’t interfere.

Here it is. Since childhood, I have always thought of the peacemakers (and the meek and the poor in spirit) as the first Christians, the persecuted,  and, then, missionaries, men and women of God and all those who make themselves small and dedicate their lives to others.

I think of them in a non-denominational way, as I see all the religions as equal paths to God and I think that also people outside the official religions may fall within these categories, moved by spirituality or a strong ethical commitment.

Now I see how my reading of that text was limited.

Peacemakers are many more.

I am a peacemaker and I know many peacemakers. Everybody who works to build peace is a peacemaker. Changemakers who have a recipe for peace are peacemakers.

Being a lawyer with a background in the EU law I have my recipe for peace, I see law as a bridge between people, between nations and cultures.

For me peace is not the absence of war, peace is having structures which make war very unlikely: conferences, assemblies, joint committees and councils, and all sorts of places for dialogue. Law is also the tool to frame procedures: decisional procedures which are perceived as legitimate and fair. Once we have shared rules, we have a social pact, we have a legal order and a community, we don’t need anymore to take the law into our own hands, pick up our rifle.

What is true for individuals is true for states as well. Nowadays it is an (almost) universal truth that individuals have surrendered their right to take the law into their own hands as they belong to a society, sharing rules for justice and safety. But the international community – in spite of many efforts – is still half-way between society and Far West.

And I know that my role as peacemaker is to promote bridges instead of walls and guns.

But there are many more peacemakers who are at work to build these and other important tools. Many people involved in civil society organizations are at work to reduce inequalities and violations of fundamental rights which at the roots of many conflicts. Many people, who fund these organizations, are making their activity possible. There are political leaders and activists who promote peaceful political solutions. Social innovators – tech innovators as well as business innovators –  promote new models for shared responsibility for global problems. And many educators and coaches are at work to spread awareness and raise consciousness over the traditional patriarchal and hierarchic models grounded on strength and dominance.

The list is incredibly long.

This post is to tell them they are peacemakers and sons of God.

They too could have fallen in the interpretation trap I fell since childhood, and think that peacemakers are others. Please don’t underestimate yourselves, the world needs you.

If you want to connect with fellow peacemakers, you will meet a good number of them in Lecce,  on April 26-27.

We are all French, we are all Europeans.

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After the tragic events in Paris on Friday evening, we Europeans were all under shock. From Italy to Sweden, from Greece to Portugal, we grieved and lightened candles and prayed. We all knew that Paris was a symbolic place (how powerful): the attack was brought against our core values,  the values of a democratic, liberal society, based on the rule of law and the respect of fundamental rights, free, multicultural, sexually-liberated, open.

The freedom of speech, of religion, of circulation are suddenly at risk and we know that we have to fight a new kind of struggle (of war, if you want) – totally different from the previous ones – the war to keep our societies open, because if we react in the old-fashioned style with  closure and protectionism and hate, if we step back from liberty of speech and religion, the enemy has already won.

It’s not an easy task. The immigration emergency, the rise of populism and the risk of extreme right political parties taking advantage of what has happened is definitely high. The point is that our states have partially failed in making us feel safe and, at the same time, open. We can observe decaying national identities as here and there states failed the challenge of integration; moreover the worsening of economic conditions favored urban subcultures and rebellions of the excluded ones. Jihadists grown up and living in Europe are a very bad symptom of our societies’ health status.

We must roll up our sleeves and rebuild trust in our values, which are the very fabric of our identity.

We felt all Europeans after the Paris tragedy, we recalled what makes us stand together against terror, let’s start from there. Let’s work on our European identity, which shouldn’t surface only in the bad moments, but help us overcome the failure of states with its motto “united in diversity”, able to comprise all of our populations, all of the honest migrants who came here for a better living and are ready and willing to respect our values.

Of course, any reaction, military, political and diplomatic should be likewise European. To be as symbolic and significant as the aberrant acts which injured Paris, heart of Europe.

How to Make World Peace

It just happened to me to watch Troy Davis’ presentation at TED X Strasbourg

and I think that any global citizens should watch it as well: I couldn’t explain better how making world peace is the ultimate goal of supranational democracy…. and why supranational democracy is exactly what is needed to get there.

Thank you Troy Davis!