Last week was a weird week. I woke up at 5 am on the 6th of January, I remember making a cup of coffee and turning on the news. To my horror, I saw the US capitol under attack.
Hundreds of people had stormed into the chambers of the bastion of freedom and democracy. I saw images of frightened Congressmen and Congresswomen run towards safety. I thought about the numerous debates I had heard in those very chambers.
The news network then flashed an image of the front side of the US capitol filled with hundreds of violent thugs. I thought about the speeches past Presidents had made from those very steps. Ronald Reagan, Kennedy, Obama, Bush, Carter, Clinton. My eyes couldn’t believe what was happening.
I saw people beating a police officer using a flag pole, tear gas shells, people ransacking the offices of the speaker and other lawmakers. I saw windows being smashed, loud swearing and the sheer horror on the faces of those in the newsroom. America had once again been attacked. This time, the attack was on the soul of America. The place where democracy thrived had been hit. The US Capitol for long has been the symbol of justice, freedom and democracy. Today, those values were hit.
Let’s be clear that the building won’t suffer much damage. The windows and the doors can be fixed. But the ideals for which the building stood for had been damaged. Ideals that the world desperately needs today.
America’s problems are the world’s problems. I live far away from the US, but I knew that the events which occured on the 6th of January will have vibrating effects across the world. Every single human who believes in justice, equality, democracy and rule of law had been hit that day. The attack was not on the US alone. It was on democracy, across the world.
There’s absolutely nothing that can defend the actions of those who stormed the very place that for so many years has stood up for the values that we cherish so much. There’s nothing that can defend those who chose to use the way of the sword. There’s nothing that can defend those who willingly attacked and ransacked a place that is so sacred.
But, I also saw an America that was resilient and hopeful. Within hours, the Congress had once again gathered and it was business as usual. The attack was condemned by everyone across political differences and within hours, the US capitol had returned to normal. That’s the fascinating thing about ideals like democracy, justice and equality. You can try hard to bury them. You can attack them and even burn them to the ground. But like a Phoenix, they’ll always rise again. Stronger than ever.
The winds that blow through the wide sky in these mounts, the winds that sweep from Canada to Mexico, from the Pacific to the Atlantic — have always blown on free men.”– Franklin D. Roosevelt
Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”– Ronald Reagan
True patriotism springs from a belief in the dignity of the individual, freedom and equality not only for Americans but for all people on Earth.”– Eleanor Roosevelt