It was leaving the university library tonight, after bleeding myself into a day-long ‘essay sesh’, when I came across something which uplifted me from the horrors of recent events.
The UK is set to separate from the European Union; Trump rejects immigrants from so called ‘Muslim States’; Terror attacks in France; US sanctions on Iran following ballistic missile test launch; rise of the so called ‘alternative right wing’… I could go on and yet here in the middle of the library is a huge sign reading
SCOTLAND’S UNIVERSITIES WELCOME THE WORLD.
Surrounding this message are handwritten messages from students to one another, home students expressing warm welcomes to foreign students and foreign students expressing gratitude. Some messages are written in English, some in a spectrum of other languages. The handwritings of students from all over the world are there on the wall for all to behold. This is a visual representation for a blending of cultures set against a backdrop of the disease of intolerance infecting Western societies in recent times. It is truly beautiful.
There were no words I could contribute to the wall that would summarise how moved I felt. I was beginning to lose hope, feeling somewhat isolated from the majority due to my inclusive philosophies, and this symbol for global citizenship relit a fire in me that was slowly dying.
There were few names on the wall, no indication of who many of these contributors were. Their messages became gender-less and race-less, unified in one message: ‘Scotland’s Universities Welcome the World’. After adding my own message I felt part of this movement that rejects man made divisions between human beings – there is only one race, the human race – and which spreads positive messages amidst a negative world.
This protest is a beautiful one. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you came from or what you look like, you are welcome in Scotland and you are welcome to the movement of unity that will triumph in these truly divisive times.