October 30, 2019

Do we have more in common that unites us than divides us?

Susan McNamara

Short Story"Strange Meeting", 2017

In our multi-cultural society, this expression is bandied about as a unifying strategy for people from different races, cultures, and religions to live and prosper in peace together. However, with a growing rise of the right, and the erection of fences and walls a continuous feature: do we actually have more in common? Does the fundamental essence of our humanity, that deeply rooted spirit of human goodness, the shared understanding of human joy, suffering and collective empathy, break down walls of prejudice and hatred, despite what our governments, religious leaders and politicians might say, do or erect? Or, is the reality that we are so moulded by our perennial and deeply ingrained cultures, societies and religions, these are what define us, setting us against our fellow man?

I believe that our common humanity – the magical essence of fundamental goodness – our “humanness”, if you like, does bring us together more than divide us.

My short story approached this subject, being inspired by the Wilfred Owen poem “Strange Meeting” about a German and British soldier who meet in hell, and consider their collective human identity.