|"Guernica", by Pablo Picasso, representing the greater power.|
In the 20th century most of us knew Francisco Franco was the dictator who seized Spain in 1936 and didn't let go until he died in 1975. But in 200 years' time, I bet most people won't have the foggiest idea who he was. He had no idea when fighting the Spanish civil war that he was up against an artist! Franco's horrific bombing of the town of Guernica prompted a local painter to make a large painting of the atrocity, which will never be forgotten. Picasso's Guernica will continue to sing the song of humanity til the end of time. Franco and all his armies? Already nearly forgotten, along with their horrid work.
This year saw poor Paris suffer two stunningly horrible terror attacks. Violence will always grab attention. Its power is immediate, but very short-lived. The retribution itch that violence scratches cannot compare with the healing power that washes over the survivors in its wake. Sure, some few will be stirred to further payback, but the greater proportion of society will heal, learn and mature. We can see this pattern after wars. If it didn't work, wars would just keep expanding. But they don't. They end, people rebuild, and usually with new ideas in place to discourage violence in the future. This, (not the US military!) is why ISIS will fade away. Terror has nothing to offer.
This year we saw 190 nations ratify the Paris accords to finally try to tackle climate change. Despite the GOP (the only political body of note in the world who still denies the facts of climate change), it's clear the world is gathering round the bonfire to try to control ourselves. As I write there are unseasonal weather catastrophes around the world, each of which we can be sure is an exacerbation of the greater problem; and it will get worse. But let's not lose sight of the good news: the change has begun and it is permanent! Never again will the human race wallow in complacency while nature is cooked around us. We have a long road ahead but the corner has been turned. The fact that both these stories happen in Paris may be coincidence, but history works like this. Coincidence is God's way of staying anonymous. Happy New Year to us all!