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“My holy of holies is the human body, health, intelligence, talent, inspiration, love, and the most absolute freedom imaginable, freedom from violence and lies, no matter what form the latter two take.”
The thoughts of great Russian playwright and short story writer Anton Chekhov, first documented in a letter sent to an acquaintance in 1888, resonate even more strongly 130 years later.
Yesterday’s atrocities in Brussels of course epitomise violence but also lies. Lies of the most fundamental kind. Lies that terror and death and fear ever solve anything. Lies that they are part of any true religious agenda. Lies that they in any way balance injustice or oppression.
The dictionary is useful on the word atrocity. The definitions do not lie. It means a deed of barbarity, brutality, savagery, wickedness, cruelty, abomination, violation. Substitute any of those words and you have the acts in Brussels, 22 March 2016; Istanbul, 12 January and 19 March 2016; and Paris, 13 November 2015.
Today we are a long way from Chekhov’s state of absolute freedom. But yesterday’s atrocities must not stop us believing in it.