1 minute reading time (273 words)

No more enemies

 

The other day I watched a short film of a meeting, arranged by the BBC, between the campaigner and lawyer Gina Miller, and a man who had been trolling her - adding his "voice" to the many thousands of spiteful, venomous messages she has received as a result of her opposition to Brexit. It must have taken courage on both their parts to agree to such a meeting. But it worked, and it left me with a couple of thoughts.

First, it was (thankfully) impossible for the troll to maintain his hostility to Gina Miller when faced with the real person opposite him. He backed down (I think "repented" is the technical term here) as he saw that the differences between them are skin deep by comparison with their shared humanity. (I'm sure he wouldn't put it like this, but that's what I think was going on.) I was reminded that it's when we actually meet the person we disagree with, and hear their story, that we are no longer able simply to dismiss them as different, as an enemy.

And, for her part, Gina Miller refused to play the "injured party" card, but instead engaged with her troll by trying to find common ground with him - talking about their similar experience of parenting. At the end of the clip, she expresses her longing for the divisions caused by Brexit to be replaced by a new and deeper sense of being together, by which we can overcome our disagreements. I saw two vulnerable people taking small steps towards a future free from fear of "the other", and I found this inspiring.

The Joy of Art
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