Lim: Peace

Wide awake

I HAD a minor scare in Milan. Upon exiting La Scala, I realize I cannot locate my phone. I then recall that I had put my phone down beside me on the chaise while sitting at the foyer of the theater, searching for a tablet to relieve my cold.

Still, I cannot be 100 percent sure that my phone is not actually just inside my crossbody. As you know, with age, black holes somehow form inside our bags—black holes into which many items disappear mysteriously.

How often have you frantically searched for items you believe you have left elsewhere only to find them ensconced inside some side pocket in your bag?

So I quickly ask my sister to call my phone. My phone rings, but I hear no ringing inside my bag. After ascertaining there is no black hole in my bag, I quickly tell the guide my predicament.

At the ground floor, the guide relates the situation to reception. But they have already been alerted by the presence of an unattended phone. Reception tells me to go up to the foyer to retrieve my phone. Before I reach the second level, however, a security guy is already on the way down with my phone.

I was ready to be quizzed about my phone, but the guy simply hands it to me without a word. I later realize they might have already reviewed the security cameras even before I walked back to the theater, wondering about the fate of my phone.

Due to the heightened alert for terrorism in Europe, the polizia as well as the carabinieri are all over Italy, securing all the major tourist spots. It is a bit of a shock for me, at first, as Italy 35 years ago, was vastly different.

I tell the guides who probably weren’t born yet when I first came to Italy about this. They tell me that the increased police presence began about 10 years ago and has been steadily intensifying due to the continued acts of terrorism in Europe.

The police presence is a little sad, I think, though necessary. But perhaps, that’s what makes it sad—because it’s necessary.

According to the guides, the police presence makes tourists feel safe, and the Italian government will do everything in its power to keep acts of terrorism from happening in their country.

While it is a bit disconcerting for me, at first, I gradually realize that the ubiquity of the Italian police can be comforting.

You see, the polizia board and patrol trains too and since the presence of dubious elements on metro trains can also be ubiquitous, the police are a welcome sight.

Terrorism is a sad reality. But we can’t make the world safe by staying home. We make the world safe by exploring it, appreciating it and celebrating its diversity.

Because we are different doesn’t mean we are unequal. Equality means oneness, not sameness. And till the day we understand this, humanity cannot be restored and peace cannot be found.


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