Unga spanjorer som är involverade i indignados-rörelsen i Madrid skrev till mig: ”Allt kan hända om situationen inte blir bättre. Många människor är arbetslösa, de förlorar sina hem och sina grundläggande mänskliga rättigheter [...]” (not 6) Varje kommentar handlar om temat for årets Brev: «2012: Mot en ny solidaritet ».
För ett år sedan ockuperade vi torget Puerta del Sol. Det var den sista aktionen som jag deltog i för att demonstrera på ett roligt sätt, med humor. När situationen verkade bli mer spänd mellan demonstranterna och polisen, så hade vår grupp till uppgift att locka till skratt, om möjligt både demonstranter och polis, för att undvika att våld bröt ut mellan dem. Och vi fortsätter att tänka ut olika sätt, fredliga och lustiga, att demonstrera som hindrar att våld bryter ut omkring oss. Ställda inför vissa av polisens tilltag har vi ibland svårt bevara vårt inre lugn; men när vi håller på med våra aktioner, skrattar och berättar för vänner vad vi gör, så känner jag mer och mer en djup, växande frid i mitt inre, som kommer ur mitt allra innersta och som sprider sig till andra. Och nu, när jag är tillbaka i mitt vanliga vardagsliv, så känner jag att mitt liv inte bara är mitt utan att jag är förenad med andra.
The impetus towards a new solidarity is nourished by deeply held convictions: the need for sharing is one of them. This is an imperative that can bring together believers of different religions as well as believers and non-believers.
During the preparation of the European meeting in Berlin, I lived in a family in Neukölln, a district of Berlin where many immigrants live. At first I was pretty worried, since I had heard so many negative things about that neighborhood.
Then, during my stay, I discovered that these immigrants, who are often seen as the source of many problems, were those who were most interested in the preparation of the meeting. They were also those who greeted me in the friendliest way. I often spoke with some of them about the meeting; I invited them to take part in it if they wished. They appreciated and respected the idea that this meeting would bring together thousands of young people from across Europe to pray and live together for a few days in trust, reconciliation and peace. Often, they themselves were surprised that a German would invite them to a Christian event—they were not expecting this.
In this same neighborhood, a Muslim association proposed to make their meeting-hall available to house young participants in the event if we could not find enough room. For me it was a real sign of reconciliation, of a new solidarity among people. If we really want to continue this journey towards a new solidarity, we should never stop talking with immigrants with respect. And we should do all we can to help them become more a part of society, so that they can find their place.
To initiate solidarity, we need to go towards others, sometimes with empty hands, listening, trying to understand the man or woman who does not think like us... and already a deadlocked situation can be transformed.
During a trip to Latin America as a Taizé volunteer, I visited a district of a big city where very poor families live. They live in very small and rudimentary houses, in which eight people sometimes share a single small room. They survive by making bricks: every day, they produce bricks, fire them, then sell them to companies. That is their only means of earning a living...or rather of surviving. The children walk without shoes, for lack of money. To me, they were very hospitable. I visited some of these families with a volunteer working in the neighborhood who knows each of them. During the entire afternoon we played with the children, who were cheerful and happy—a sign of hope in a difficult situation.