Yesterday French President Hollande and his German counterpart Angela Merkel celebrated an important anniversary. 50 years ago Charles de Gaulle made a speech to German youth that marked the start of the two countries' close relationship, sealed by signing the new Friendship Treaty with Adenauer. Yes, despite all the hate that Hitler had shown and the appalling atrocities against their own innocent countrymen, the Frenchman found it in his heart to tell the German youngsters that theirs was still a great country. Even more amazing considering that De Gaulle was the only senior French officer never to accept the terms of the June 1940 armistice nor the Vichy regime following France's defeat by the Nazis. It was that speech that set the scene for an amazing reconciliation between the two countries that would have been inconceivable a decade before - yet still persists today.
Fast forward to 2012: where are the statesmen willing to do what De Gaulle did? Why can't someone have the guts to talk to the youth living in Muslim countries around the world. Tell them that, despite the past, theirs is still a great country and we would like to sign a friendship treaty with them.
The enemy may have changed, but the hatred persists. So, do something.