by Leonardo Boff
Eco-Theologian-Philosopher, Earthcharter Commission
Tragedies show us the dimension of the inhumanity of which we are capable. But those tragedies also bring to light the truly human that inhabits us, far beyond the differences of race, ideology and religious beliefs. The human in us causes us to cry together, to wipe each other tears together, to pray together, to seek justice together, to build peace and renounce revenge together.
The wisdom of the people and the voice of our conscience tell us that a State that opted to become a terrorist state, such as the United States under George W. Bush, will not defeat terrorism. Nor will the hatred for Latin American immigrants strongly expressed by Donald Trump, bring peace. Tireless dialogue, open negotiations, and a fair agreement erase the basis for refusing protection and strengthen peace.
The tragedies that touch us in the depth of our soul invite us to rethink the fundamentals of human coexistence in this new planetary phase and to care for our Common Home, the Earth, as Pope Francis urges in his encyclical letter on integral ecology.
The situation is urgent. This time there will be no Noah's Arc to save some of us and let the rest perish. We must save us all, the community of human and non-human life.
To that end, we must abolish the word enemy. Fear creates the enemy. We exorcise fear when we bring close the distant one, and make of the near one a brother and a sister. We move away from fear and the enemy when we begin to dialogue when we start to know each other when we accept and respect each other; when we love each other; in a word when we care for each other. To care for peaceful coexistence, solidarity, and justice; to care for our environment so that it may be whole, facilitating the acknowledgment of each being's intrinsic value; and to care for our beloved and generous Mother Earth.
If we care for each other as brothers and sisters the causes of fear disappear. No one needs to threaten another. We can walk our streets at night without fear of being assaulted and robbed.
That caring will only be effective if it comes with justice, such that the basic necessities of the most vulnerable are attended to, if the State becomes meaningful, by providing health care, schools, security and spaces for fellowship, culture, and leisure.
Only in that way, we will enjoy the peace that can be reached when there is a minimum of general goodwill and a feeling of solidarity and well being in human relationships. This is the basic desire of the great majorities of human beings.