After the recent and sad events in Paris, Convergence of Cultures would once again like to make a call to the world’s population to protect human values beyond all differences. This is a call to preserve and strengthen what has always driven people to find each other, meet and get to know one another throughout time.

Beyond the shock of these events, we have been seeing for a while how obscurantism and fanaticism is re-emerging, while the most backward elements of each culture appear like modern inquisitors inciting the masses.

Today more than ever, “then religions have responsibilities to humanity that they must fulfil. Today they have a duty to create a new psychosocial atmosphere, to address themselves as teachers to their faithful, and to eradicate all vestiges of fanaticism and fundamentalism. They cannot turn away and remain indifferent to the hunger, ignorance, bad faith, and violence in today’s world. They must contribute vigorously to tolerance and foster dialogue with other beliefs and every person who feels a sense of responsibility for the destiny of humankind. They must open themselves—and I hope this won’t be taken as irreverence—to manifestations of God in the many cultures. We are waiting for them and expecting them to make this contribution to the common cause in this exceedingly difficult moment.” (1)

If they don’t align with the forces of reason and tolerance, we can categorically affirm that they are as responsible for the violence as those fanatics who pulled the triggers. Or perhaps they haven’t spent their time feeding the phantom that “we’re being invaded”? Is it that they are looking to unite a Europe that is fragmenting because of its inherent contradictions in front of an invented “common enemy”?

Of course, we hope that this call also reaches governments and institutions. And especially, to some people in the press who are working so efficiently in recent times to create a climate of fear of “difference”, of suspicion in front of a neighbour whose colour, customs and beliefs maybe don’t coincide with their own…

And if they are so worried about the growth of violent fanaticism, it would be better that they control the weapons market which has so richly benefitted European companies instead of trying to increase control over ordinary citizens.

But it will be once again we, the people, the ordinary people, who have the opportunity to straighten out this mess. It’s the good and anonymous people to whom we launch our call to resist the violence, and to not let it drag us down…

Will we fight everyone against everyone? Will cultures fight one another, continents against others, regions against others, ethnic groups against others, neighbours against one another and families against one another? Will we go towards directionless spontaneity, like wounded animals who try to shake off what’s hurting them or will we include all differences with open arms in the direction of a Universal Human Nation?

Finally, this is a call to get to know, to protect and to take care of those closest to us regardless of their colour, customs or beliefs. As is shown to us by the example of coherent action of the young Muslim Lassana Bathily who protected fifteen Jews from the attackers in Paris… risking himself simply for other human beings.

Lastly, it is a call to all those who feel the moral responsibility to work for a world fit for all human beings.

(1)Words by the Argentina spiritual guide Mario Rodriguez Cobo, Silo, in an Encounter of Philosophical-Religious Dialogue, at the Union of Light and Strength, Buenos Aires, Argentina 21/10/1995.