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Our duty as artists: to listen, to seek to understand and to communicate truth : 0% read

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Our duty as artists: to listen, to seek to understand and to communicate truth

?? A new day is dawning in my adopted country, America. And I feel much as I did after the Brexit result in my homeland. This is not a time to be angry, to be resentful, to deepen divisions but a time to understand.

The decisions the world is taking, at present, are driven by fear: people feel the need to turn inward to protect themselves.

We need to understand this fear, because only then can we heal it.

And so, today is a call to action.

Once we have licked our wounds and wiped our tears, we need to hold our heads up high and move forward. I call on my fellow artists in particular, on poets and novelists and playwrights, on musicians and painters, but also on teachers and philosophers and all those who think deeply on the world and try to communicate truth, in whatever form, to take a breath, to stop, to look around and, as I shall try to do in my own life and work, to listen, to really, really listen, to a world that is clearly hurting.

Those who think differently from us are not our enemies.

There are many, many people in this beautiful land, that I am still immensely proud to call my new home, who voted differently from how I would have voted yesterday. They are wise and kind, they love their families, they want a better future. But I believe they were mislead and that their fears and anxieties were played on. I want to understand them better, their needs and their hopes and why they have made this decision.

This morning, when I went into my little girl’s room and held her tight and breathed in the newness of her being, I was still filled with hope, because, as Hugh said in his chapel talk yesterday, hope must always win over hate and fear.

It is hope that defines me as writer, that runs through my novels and that shapes me as a human being. It is a hope that I will strive to pass on to both my little girls, the one before me now, and the one I am carrying and growing every day.

Many parents have rightly said: what can I tell my children about today? Well, this is what I will say to my girls as they grow up: seek to listen, love and understand better.

And if I am going to ask my children to do that, then I make this promise to myself, to them and to the world: in my life as a mother, a wife, a friend, a writer, and a human being, I vow to listen and understand better, especially to those who think differently from me. Because love is, and always will be, the greatest weapon against fear.