Cate Blanchett’s letter to FashionTrends Hope
I hope we can find a way to live together.
It is very easy to get angry when you know that you are right… and sometimes that delicious satisfaction I savor deep in my righteousness is an end in itself.
I’ve been thinking a lot about anger. About the kind of anger and frustration that is able to take possession of you when – for example – you are in that sort of bubble that is your self, where you can let off steam, complain and feel right, regardless of reality or the required complications from listening to other people, other opinions and other anger. And I wondered if the Internet sometimes doesn’t end up being the same: a kind of bubble-like place in your car, a non-space that has allowed all of us to sink deeper and deeper into our anger. and our private frustrations. Where all our amateur solutions – let’s face it! – the problems of the world seem to make perfect sense. A sense uncensored and cathartically not examined by anyone. A place where whatever you say is fine. A refuge for the attitudes of an ‘authoritarian man’ and for those who have the habit of posing as such.
© © UNHCR / Hector Perez
I hope we can get out of this bubble, see each other face to face again and relearn how to live together. I hope we can remember not only how to talk, how to dialogue with one another, but also how to listen to each other.
Because when I think of those moments when I feel deeply convinced of my righteousness, I must remind myself of the hardships of the world’s refugees – people uprooted from their homes and their surroundings due to catastrophes such as famine, war and persecution. Disasters that have often been caused by the whim, instinct or anger of an ‘authoritarian man’ or a belligerent state. Bad ideas that led thousands of young men to kill and plunder after being reassured that the madness and chaos they had wreaked was aimed at making the world a better place.
And only when those authoritarian men vanished, taking with them the promises, the vainglory and the attitude of those who think they always have the truth and the right solution, those refugees, who had wandered in search of peace and protection, were finally able return home or have been able to take root in a new place, with a new family, a new home and a new community of reference. And for a while they were able to live without anger and without the pre-established answers from those who claim to always know what the best solution is.
The reason why I dwell at length on the refugees of history is because when one is exiled and desperate, at the mercy of forces beyond one’s control, the only thing we have is us and our fellow men. For the sake of my four children, I have to hope that we can find a way to come together and become a unity because there cannot be seven billion ‘number ones’.
Cate Blanchett meets young Rohingya refugees in Kutupalong
© © UNHCR / Hector Perez
Once, during one of my trips as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, I met a young man named Shadi in a refugee camp in Jordan. Shadi had planted a tree in the relentless desert land and watered it every day. He had planted it so that it would grow big and strong so that his daughter could enjoy his presence for years to come, but he watered it so that every day he himself could confirm and experience his humanity and his acting, and his hope in spite of suffering and chaos.
I share Shadi’s hope – and I stress the hope not Pollyanna-esque optimism – because no matter how hopeless a situation may appear, the answer is to react with realism, accept the challenges that undoubtedly exist, accept and then face the entity of the thing. Currently, there are nearly 80 million refugees, or people forced to leave their homes due to conflict, violence, persecution and human rights violations. We can help them by acting in unity, listening to each other and finding collective solutions. By popping that “car bubble” and getting rid of the anger and responses of those who think they always know what is best.
For more information on the work of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and how to support it, visit UNHCR website