Many people across Europe and around the world feel a sense of powerlessness, as Vladimir Putin violates a nation and its people. This powerlessness feeds our horror, anger and fear for Ukrainians, for Europe and for world peace. We hope that elected leaders do more to stop the violence and thwart Putin’s plans, but we’re uncertain or divided by what they should or even could do to be effective.
One thing is abundantly clear: We must not let the terror, chaos and uncertainty unleashed by authoritarianism divide us. We must not allow Putin to exploit our weaknesses. Now more than ever, we must unite with fellow citizens and Europeans in our wish for peace. Let us join together in a collective, symbolic act in the spirit of amity. On the first Wednesday of every month, at 20.00 CET, we will all turn off our lights. For one hour, cities and towns across Europe, from far-flung Russian hamlets to Portugal’s rocky Atlantic coast, will grow dark.
In that hour of darkness, we might talk to friends and family about the war or just contemplate it in silence, but it will be a moment of concerted reflection with a larger community of people who value peace.
Our collective action demonstrating our desire for and ability to collaborate for peace across Europe can send a message of hope to our Ukrainian neighbours and to elected leaders in Europe, as well. Europeans want peace on their continent, and Europeans can work in solidarity toward that end. In a more concrete way, turning off the lights, and even our electricity when we can, will demonstrate our determination to avoid being at the mercy of Putin for energy. We Europeans can work proactively to ensure a stronger hand in protecting our continent from turmoil and aggression.