Hard on the heels of the news of terrorist attacks in Brussels come stories of defiant humanity, generosity and hope. As in Paris in November, people have responded to murderous attacks by opening their doors to stranded strangers. As the authorities issued warnings to stay indoors, hundreds of people flocked to Place de la Bourse where they covered the paving with chalked messages of grief, defiance, solidarity and love. Answering bombs with fragile chalk takes courage but it demonstrates strength not weakness.
Writing for The Guardian today, Bleri Lleshi quotes Iyad El-Baghdadi, once a Salafist and jihadist, who now strongly condemns IS. ‘According to him, love is the best answer to Isis, for “love destroys their faith”. By forging friendships with Muslims, he says, “you defeat Isis”. If we respond with fear and hate, this will strengthen it.’
This chalk drawing on a wall in Paris looks to have been inspired, whether intentionally or not, by Picasso’s Face of Peace. I’m posting this image in sadness, in solidarity and in hope.