On a entamé des pourparlers de paix.

On a entamé des pourparlers de paix.

aw nah ah-tah-may day poor-paarlaid PAY. Click below to hear this. 

They began peace talks.

A girl can dream, can’t she? Just when things appear to be an impossible low, when the very thought of peace seems like a word in a foreign language that has become extinct, that’s the time to begin to begin.

And beginnings, as we all know, can be painful. Interestingly, the word entamer itself suggests this. It comes from a Low Latin root intaminare, which means to soil, and which in turn (at least in one source I consulted) comes from a Greek root meaning to cut, to incise, to immolate. Yes, cutting and sacrificing! Sometimes that’s what it takes.

Entamer can be used in a plethora of contexts. It can speak of what rust does to iron, of the first chocolate bonbon removed from the box, of the first few pages of a novel in draft, of the first slice taken from a loaf of bread or a ham, of an accidental cut that breaks the skin. It can refer to someone’s reputation or to a house in the path of a wildfire.

And des pourparlers? Most of the time, we go into a meeting believing that we are speaking for, pour, a position. But in reality, we often end up speaking against a position. Witness the baldly-expressed intentions of many party members during the most recent American electoral campaign: Stop that candidate, at any cost. Keep that country from infringing on us. Subjugate that ethnic group. Mine is the only right way. I was here first. You can’t have it. I’m bigger than you.

So, this holiday season, what if we start right now, right here, to entamer des pourparlers de paix? Make up with someone, try to understand someone, walk in someone’s shoes, forgive someone, ask someone for forgiveness. One person at a time, one slice of bread at a time, let’s make peace.

Alternate audio file link: on-a-entame-des-pourparlers-de-paix

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