The evacuations from Afghanistan this week have reminded me of a situation in World Ward II when nearly four hundred thousand British and French soldiers were trapped in Dunkirk, a small town in France, where their only escape was by sea and the Germans had power from the air.
The movie, “Dunkirk,” chronicles the dire situation that was solved by willpower and hundreds of small vessels, including private commercial, fishing, and pleasure boats, that set out with the British Navy on the seemingly impossible task of creating a miracle. Not all were saved, but many British as well as French soldiers were rescued by the joint heroism of the Navy and civilians. The term “Dunkirk spirit” refers to the solidarity and will of the British people in times of adversity.
It is chilling to look any kind of evil in the face, The immediate decision is to run away, or, as so many of the rescuers did in the September 11 attack on the Twin Towers, to run toward. Running toward is finding one’s love is greater than one’s fear.
Dunkirk moments come to each of us in some form when we are faced with the choice of risking to take a stand and to help or doing nothing. Peace in one’s own life or in the world is often not a quiet, bucolic experience at heart. It is the feeling of knowing what we stand for and finding the will and a way to keep moving forward.
(You may want to check out the movie, “Dunkirk.” Also, “Digital Dunkirk, Afghanistan”).