Only Love Can: Reflections on War and Peace

The world today is conflicted and divided, as it has been since the dawn of civilization. The difference is in the method by which we propagate hate – more empowered by sophisticated technology, including social media – but the darkness of the human heart is the same. But let us not forget that hate cannot extinguish hate; only love can. In the following video produced by journalist, activist and photographer, Yann Arthus Bertrand (bio below), a Palestinian and Israeli come to terms with the destruction of lives that occur almost daily in the place they call home, and the toll this has taken on their own loved ones. For further reflections, I pair this video with a poem by Naomi Shihab Nye (b. 1952), who is of mixed Palestinian-American descent. Her poem is titled “Standing Back.”

Excerpt of “Human”, a 2015 documentary video produced by Yann Arthus Bertrand

.Standing Back by Naomi Shihab Nye

If this is the best you can do, citizens of the world,
I resolve to become summer shadow,
turtle adrift in a pool.
Today a frog waited in a patch of jasmine
for drizzles of wet before dawn.
The proud he rose when water
touched his skin –
his simple joy at another morning –
compare this to bombing,
shooting, wrecking
in more countries than we can count
and ask yourself – human or frog?

Brief Biography of Yann Arthus Bertrand

Yann Arthus-Bertrand (born 13 March 1946) is an environmentalist, activist, journalist and photographer. He has also directed films about the impact of humans on the planet. He is especially well known for his book Earth from Above (1999)[1] and his films Home (2009) and Human (2015). For his commitment to environmental and social causes, he was designated Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Environment Programme on Earth Day, 22 April 2009.

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