2021: a step towards greater human brotherhood? 

Does the year 2021 mark a step towards greater human brotherhood? This question is echoed today on the front page of the newspaper La Croix, entitled: "Our hymn to love" and the "multiple dimensions of this feeling so powerful that it allows each person to step outside of themselves". Cautiously, the time has come to lift health restrictions, and relational life is gradually reinvesting common spaces. The street, the terraces ... are once again becoming paths and squares of conviviality.

As a new horizon for living together emerges, how can we take advantage of the lessons of fraternal commitment experienced in times of crisis? In the places where we live, but also on the scale of our country or the world, examples of greater human fraternity can inspire us. I am thinking of the notions of "common" and "common good".

The flowering of the term "commons" in economics, politics and many other fields is no stranger to this inspiration in the context of crises. The commons are resources that are made available to all in the context of sustainable management within a community - natural resources (a forest, a river, a garden etc.), material resources (e.g. tools etc.) or immaterial resources (e.g. software). In connection with a reflection on the Anthropocene, the economist and Jesuit priest Gaël Giraud defended a doctoral thesis in theology on the politics of the commons at the Centre Sèvres in Paris at the end of 2020. 

With regard to common goods, we can be pleased to see the proposal that vaccines be made available, on an equal basis, to all the world's inhabitants, "in the public domain with financial compensation for the laboratories", according to the appeal launched a few weeks ago by more than 155 personalities from all over the world - Nobel Peace Prize winners or doctors, former heads of state or government.

However, human brotherhood is being undermined everywhere, on an international scale, as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has shown once again during these weeks. And yet ... while the conflict rages, hospitals like Haifa are places of tolerance and peaceful coexistence: Israelis and Palestinians, "we live like a family" says a nurse. Under the aegis of "We stand together", initiatives are emerging; on 20 May, a human chain of Arabs and Jews for peace was organised around the walls of Jerusalem.

International resolutions are also constantly reawakening hope for living together in peace and as brothers. At the initiative of Khaled Ben Tounès, sheikh of the Sufi brotherhood al-Alawiyya, every 16 May is the International Day of Living Together in Peace by a decision voted unanimously by the UN General Assembly on 8 December 2017. And in line with the publication in 2019 of the Document on Human Brotherhood for World Peace and Common Coexistence, co-signed by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Tayyeb, the UN General Assembly has proclaimed 4 February as the International Day of Human Brotherhood. As Secretary-General António Guterres said: 

"In these trying times, we need this spirit more than ever.

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