The year of the Eiffel Tower (also published in The Underground expat paper)

2015: The year of the Eiffel Tower

The rumbling started in January. The first tremors of

a major earthquake. But the tower stood firm like the

French iron lady Marianne, that ‘goddess of Liberty’.

Freedom of speech is in the DNA of the French. Good

old Eiffel Tower was in 2015 more impressive than

ever before. A beacon of hope and the French backbone

of steel. Then an even bigger earthquake happened;

innocent people on terraces, in bars and in a

concert hall were killed. That is what earthquakes do.

But this time, once again, it was man made. In fact

millions of people all over the world felt attacked. Not

physically but in their mind set. The fear factor was

immediately on the rise.

9/11 and other terrorist attacks have taught us that

human beings are resilient, especially when confronted

with a ‘to be or not be’ situation. The overwhelming

majority of people on our planet are decent and

law abiding citizens, including the more than one

billion muslims. New York City, where another major

‘earthquake’ killed almost 3000 innocent people from

all religions, is more popular nowadays than ever before.

‘Rise above’ was one of the slogans of the Big

Apple after 9/11.

We can learn from others. I remember a conversation

I had years’ ago with the Mayor of Dearborn, the socalled

Muslim capital of the United States. Mayor Guido,

an Italian American, told me: ‘We have the secret

service to keep an eye on potential terrorists. That is

not my job. I am a bridge builder participating in all

kind of community building events, bringing people

together and celebrating diversity. The overwhelming

majority of my citizens are good people. Many are

Muslims and they are my friends. They are the first

line of defense against radicals’.

Wise lesson! My wish for 2016 is that the mainstream

in our society, let’s say, the silent majority, will ‘rise

above’ and takes action. I feel a sense of urgency that

the moderates in our societies must organize some

sort of vital center. We are the backbone of our societies.

The only way for us to defeat terrorism is to

build bridges between people of good will. Let’s call it

our peaceful revolution, some kind of a mental earthquake

and act together, in a decent way but definitely

loud and clear!

Posted in Laatste nieuws.