In the wake of the senseless destruction of life in Paris, Americans have taken to a movement of solidarity with France, turning their social network profiles red white and blue. Fitting since the word solidarity finds its origins in French.
noun \ ˌsä-lə-ˈda-rə-tē \
: a feeling of unity between people who have the same interests, goals, etc.
: unity (as of a group or class) that produces or is based on community of interests, objectives, and standards
In seeing all my friends move towards solidarity, I had to ask myself, what unifying agent are they rallying behind? Peace? An end to terrorism? Vengeance? I imagine each individual has a little different idea about what that French flag overlay means to them. And once again I had to ask myself what does that flag overlay mean to me?
To me it doesn’t mean unity, it means division. It means one group of people have chosen to stand together against another group of people. It means one culture, religion, ideology stands against another culture, religion, ideology. This is the problem with unifying behind any one flag that represents “us” in a world of multiple other flags which represent “them”. This is the birth of judgment. I am not in the business of judging people based on the socialized cultural paradigm they have been bathed in. The process of ingraining belief is the same for every single human on the planet and no one human has any more choice in their bath water than any other. For that reason I cannot stand behind a movement of division that pits us against them, because when you distance yourself from the “experiment”, them ultimately is us. Humanity.
noun \ hyü-ˈma-nə-tē \
: all human beings collectively; the human race; humankind.
: the quality or condition of being human; human nature
: the quality of being humane; kindness; benevolence
Humanity is something I can unify behind. I did a little searching and found a flag I can stand behind, a flag that unifies all of humanity. The International Flag of Earth (IFE), a silver flower of life on a field of azure, designed by Oskar Pernefeldt of Stolkholm Sweden.
Symbolically, the seven linked rings represent how everything on our planet, directly or indirectly, is linked. The silver flower represents life on Earth. The blue field represents the water which is essential for that life and covers most of the planet.
The purpose of the IFE is to remind the people of Earth that we share this planet, no matter of national boundaries. That we should take care of each other and the planet we live on.
This might still be a flag that divides us against them, as the IFE is to be used while representing planet Earth, but since them is now little green men in spaceships who may or may not even exist, I don’t feel too judgy. With that, I’ve created my own profile picture overlay, an overlay of solidarity with humanity, every human on the planet, treating each other with kindness, benevolence. That’s something I can unify behind.