Pain, anger, hope: thoughts for a wounded world

Writing about the tragedy that happened yesterday to the Erasmus students in Barcelona right after the fact may only have succeeded in covering a due silence with noise.

Today, however, that silence was broken by the thundering bombs that exploded at the heart of Europe, a stone’s throw away from the institutions that represent all of us European citizens. In this same city, Brussels, where LUISS also has offices, as a symbol of the importance we give to international relations in education. The two stories combine, weaving together with bloody red threads that call for truth, answers, but most of all, respect.

Too many dreams were shattered by these two days of tragedy. Lives torn apart by imbalances bigger than us, by a wanton carelessness that the human mind struggles to comprehend.

The young women travelling on that bus in Spain – prospective physicians, entrepreneurs, mothers – are the result of a willingness to travel, to understand a world that is no longer far from us, with its habits and traditions that eventually become ours too. A willingness to discover made easier by the very same Europe that was struck so hard this morning.

Offering words of hope to silence does not bring understanding, but can start the process of healing heavy hearts. Not least those of many students across country who are acquiring new knowledge, and who yesterday and today saw the world they are to inherit creaking beneath the burden of such an immense, heart-wrenching and inexplicable pain.

Despite this, the world goes on, and it will do so because of them. Because they do not surrender to fear, bewilderment, fate, and have a burning desire, great courage and unwavering hope to overcome obstacles and to make the world a better place, for them and for their children.

In the words of Augustine of Hippona, hope has two beautiful sons: disdain and courage. Disdain for the reality of things; the courage to change them.


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