Hymne à l’amour

They cried, cried openly and with open eyes watching her sing the hymn to love in memory of the beloved ones fallen in the city of love. It was a show, but it felt absolutely sincere. Nobody asked those people to cry on camera like nobody asked for a tribute. It just felt natural.

It is common saying here in Russia that American smiles are artificial and people don’t really feel what they look, that it is just a silly tradition. While the Russians are said to be looking grim yet being very hospitable and welcoming. I will not argue with either of the opinions. But when I was listening to Celin Dion and watching the whole audience stand and cry I realized that it is possible to feel and look the same, both sincerely, and that this is the best way.

I am sure there have been shows like this on Russian TV with moments of silence and some patriotic song to follow. But never have I felt touched or convinced, especially when I saw stony faces and unemotional singing. I cannot say that the Russians are so indifferent, cold-hearted or reserved. They can feel deeply and prove it with action. Just like the Americans or the French can, I am sure. But we live in the times of televised shows and sometimes we need to be touched deeper than the level of state patriotism or state mourning. Sometimes we need to feel truly sympathetic and truly compassionate to the core so much that it might even push away the indifference and the spite, the disconnectedness, and the hatred even if for just as long as the song lasts.

Love Sculpture, New Orleans Museum of Art and Besthoff Sculpture Garden
Love Sculpture, New Orleans Museum of Art and Besthoff Sculpture Garden

I would say this and immediately entail anger with my words. When I was watching Celine Dion and her audience I felt that the Americans are a great nation in their own way. Ordinary people are great. They do their jobs in the daytime and then they gather in the evening to show the whole world that they are united before the face of terror. Well, probably just like the French gathered after the attacks, clasped their hands and listened to that piano man’s Imagine. They were not afraid to show their feelings, to cry and be there in that song, in that love, and with their love. Despite all the differences, despite all the daytime issues, despite even their politics.

There is still hope for us here too. The Russians went in thousands to lay flowers to that bridge where an opposition politician was killed and they came in thousands to the French Embassy. There are people here who wouldn’t come to the embassy to throw stones just like there are still people left here who would cry when disaster strikes and who would do it with their open heart. It is impossible to live in the country if you think that there are no such people around. It would be impossible to live here if all the tears and compassion were only there, in a video from some far-away television show.

I truly hope that the cream of the crop on both sides of the ocean can save us with their love. We should help them with the love of ours. Make love not war is never out of the agenda, but maybe even more so now. If we let love in and win we may see better us in a better world, we would be more ready to face whatever comes our way, united in our love and in our sympathy. Make love not war between ordinary people every day, let your hearts win this battle with the cold-hearted brains that drive us apart. And then we would rejoice in the cities of love and valleys of pure thoughts. We would all be compatriots on this Earth – the planet so beautiful that it could not have been made for anything but love.

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