Views.

Like you, I’m shaken by the happenings in Paris. I’m shaken by the refugee crisis. Shaken by those who say it’s the refugees who are behind these attacks. Shaken by people who praise the attacks.
But I’m not here to give my opinion on all the fires in the world. Simply because I don’t have the words nor – like anyone on this planet – the knowledge to form a true and balanced opinion on this matter. We all have our own truths and there is enough pointing of fingers going on already.
 

Instead, I would like to talk about love. I was raised with stories of miracles (provided by Waldorf education and my parents) from all different religions and backgrounds. Cheesy but true, these stories in the end always were about love. It was and still is love. Love for oneself, for one-another, for a god. Underlying foundation for religion = love.
That’s why to me, all religions are the same. When thoroughly dissected they are based on that one core ingredient. What a shame they’ve all lost that ingredient. What a shame that we all have gone so far from that main subject that the opposite is what’s reflected in our world today. Hate.
What a shame. And believe me, we all should be ashamed of ourselves. No matter what religious views we hold or how strong our Atheist visions.
 

So here we are. Our world on fire. Voices raised, fingers pointed. And we just do…what exactly? We wait. We wait for our world leaders to condemn and for the Pope to shake hands with the Imam. Hoping that after that, everybody will follow their example. But if we’ve learned from the past, we know that doesn’t work. Otherwise we wouldn’t be where we are today.
I believe it has to come from us. From within. Pure love and compassion. Openness towards each other. From grocer Jack and the school teacher to your neighbours and you. From the local church to the Islamic policeman. Let’s drop our megalomania.
We don’t own this planet. We live here, that’s all. We should never think we are superior. Not to each other, not to this world. Because we are not. After all, we are just like animals or trees, a flower; we exist and grow but only because of nature’s magic. Let’s find back our humane core. The gesture has to come from us. Individuals. We have to reach out, shake hands. Show our love. Talk and listen. We are the change.

 

Yes, you may always say I’m a dreamer. That I’m naive. But believe me, I’m not the only one. And I think it’s time to pursue our naive ideas instead of always reason – because has reasoning stopped the world from burning? Has pointing fingers made us come closer? Indeed, it has not. It’s time to stop follow populists blindly or let fear take over. Go on, dream and be naive. Touch hearts. Just like this guy.

Signing. Not singing.

When I was six I met a deaf girl on a campsite in Limburg, The Netherlands. Intrigued by the sign-language she and her family used, I started practising and soon I dreamed of being a deaf-interpreter. Later that became singing-and-laughing-biologist-and-deaf-interpreter due to another interesting meeting, also on a campsite. In the U.K. this time. By the time I was 12 the Conservatoire was calling and I wanted to become a singer.
Still the sign-language intrigues me. Unfortunately I never kept up practising the actual language so all that’s left are the signs for sailboat, geography, I love you and an alphabet full of gaps.

And then this morning I watched this video by Channel 4

Did you see Patrick’s face at the end?! A whole new world opening for him. Finally tools to communicate. Express himself. Share stories and experiences. Say his name. Beautiful! What an inspiring start of this Sunday.

Imagine you live in world that’s incomprehensible for you because you can’t speak nor have other ways to communicate. I can’t even begin to imagine, really… What I can begin to imagine, however, is how this teacher and his new pupils will continue to spread and share what they’ve learned so that one day, even in the most remote areas in this world, everyone will have means to communicate. You and me, we can start and teach ourselves. Youtube is a good place to start, obviously. Let’s keep it simple and start with the ABC and how to count to 10 and soon we’ll be able to follow the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

However, be aware that no sign language is the same. Just like spoken languages. There is ASL (American Sign Language) and BSL (British Sign Language) and so on… These differences mean you can’t communicate with every deaf person in the world once you’re fluent in a sign language. So start with Spanish sign language if you’re Spanish. For the Dutch amongst us the lessons Suzette Pauwels posts to her blog are a nice start.