1962, villa Santo Sospir in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, France. Jean Cocteau, 73, sends a long message to the year 2000. Here is an excerpt:
« Nowadays youth is startling contradictions. It has lost the kind of humanity that ours war, and yet it isn’t quite robotic yet. That’s why the young are always being accused of being too sad and worried : it’s only normal. You certainly must still know the great painter called Picasso. Picasso said to me : ‘It takes a long time to grow young.’ And he was right in the sense that someone young doesn’t yet know which way to go, but contemplates whether to go left or right. Being worried is also being old, but slowly one’s find one’s way. One is no longer hitchhiking. I don’t know if this expression still means something to you. For us it signifies to place oneself at the side of the road and make a sign, and then you drive off in a car that’s not your own, and at a speed that’s not yours either. Young people say they’re going too fast but they’re not, for they are travelling in a car that’s not their own. »
The Martinican writer Patrick Chamoiseau launches a solidarity call with the migrants of the world. A “Declaration of Poets” as an invitation to resistance to intolerance, racism, xenophobia and indifference to others. Here is an excerpt of the 5th article:
« The poets declare that coming and going and turning back along the shores of the world is a Poetic Right, that is: a decency that arises from all known Rights aiming to protect the most precious part of our humanity; that coming and going and turning back are a homage to those one is moving towards, to those whose spaces one passes through, and that it is a celebration of human history to honor the entire earth with one’s drive and dreams. »
In 2015, astrophysicist Stephen Hawking sends greetings to humanity. Here is an excerpt:
« The reason I am talking to you today is to add my voice to those who want immediate action on the key challenges that face our global community.
I hope that in 2015 people with power can show creativity, courage, and leadership. Let them rise to the challenge of the Sustainable Development Goals and act – not out of self interest but of common interest.
I am very aware of the preciousness of time. Seize the moment. Act now.
I have spent my life traveling across the universe inside my mind. Through Theoretical Physics I have sought to answer some of the great questions. But there are other challenges, other big questions which must be answered and these will also need a new generation who are interested, engaged, and with an understanding of science.
How will we feed an ever growing population, provide clean water, generate renewable energy, prevent and cure disease, and slow down global climate change?
I hope that science and technology will provide the answers to these questions. But it will take people, human beings with knowledge and understanding to implement these solutions. »
On June 15, 2017, 3 months after Stephen Hawking’s death, a recording made by the Greek electronic music composer Vangelis incorporating the synthesized voice of Stephen Hawking is sent to the nearest black hole 1A 0620-00 by the European Space Agency.
“Here at the grave end of our century, where
Even reality has turned to poetry,
Where we see mighty natures struggle and
Perceive a weighty goal before us, and
Where the great objects of humanity,
Where rule and freedom are contested mutually,
There, too, may Art upon a shadow stage
Attempt a higher flight, indeed she must,
If she’s not to be shamed by Life’s great stage.”
According to Leoluca Orlando, mayor of Palermo, Sicilia, we should not speak of “migration”, but of “mobility”, and mobility is a right. Through the Palermo Charter adopted in 2015 by the city of Palermo, he advocates this “right to mobility” by explaining in this official text that migration is indeed an inalienable right but also a phenomenon that must be resolved over time. Here is an excerpt of this Charter:
« It is time that the European Union abolishes the residence permit for all those who migrate, reaffirming the freedom of movement of people, as well as of capital and goods, in the globalized world. A strong solicitation on a global scale, not just within the Schengen area, must be sent out from Europe to recognize the mobility of all human beings as a right.
Obviously, all this would implies adequacy, method and time. It is equally clear that there’s the need to act right now “as if” mobility already were an inalienable human right.
This means, in practice and in daily life, implementing standards and organizational models radically different from the ones used today thus avoiding to consider the migrant a danger thus resigning to see migration as suffering and excusing it in name of safety, racism, selfishness, torture and colonialism as is done today, in the third millennium, according to an emergency logic. »
« Too often, teens are lazily thought of as apathetic and self-centred.
But a new generation of young activists has proved that many teenagers are, in fact, deeply concerned with social, political and environmental issues – and they’re fully prepared to do something about them.
Chief among them is 16-year-old environmental activist Greta Thunberg, who has urged British politicians to “listen to the scientists” regarding climate change, while speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
Here are five inspirational people who’ve had a massive impact on the world in their teen years : Greta Thunberg, Malala Yousafzai, Emma González, Jack Andraka, Amika George. »
« Threat is piled upon threat, one yields, abandons a portion of the terrain to be conquered. This imagination which knows no bounds is henceforth allowed to be exercised only in strict accordance with the laws of an arbitrary utility; it is incapable of assuming this inferior role for very long and, in the vicinity of the twentieth year, generally prefers to abandon man to his lusterless fate. »
On July 30, 1903, the famous French socialist politician Jean Jaurès addresses the students of the high school of Albi, where he himself was student, then professor a few decades earlier. Here is an excerpt of his speech.
“For each of you, for each of your hours, courage will be about rising to the challenges of all sorts which you will encounter. Courage is not about handing over your free will to random forces or impressions, it is about keeping up the habit of work and action even in idle moments.(…) Courage is about acknowledging new developments in science and art, welcoming and exploring the almost infinite complexity of knowledge while clarifying the bewildering reality with a broad general understanding and organising and shaping it with the beauty of form and pattern.
Courage is about overcoming your faults, suffering for them but not being overwhelmed or side-tracked by them. Courage is about loving life and looking death in the eye, about aiming for the ideal and understanding the real, it’s about taking action and giving oneself to good causes unselfishly, without knowing what reward might follow.
Courage is about seeking truth and speaking truth, not about submitting to a great triumphant lie or echoing ignorant applause or fanatical jeers with our hearts, our mouths or our hands.”
(Excerpt translated by Eddie Playfair.)