On the value of not putting things into words

It’s uncomfortable for a writer to admit, but sometimes words fail us. They seem to have done so both before and since the 2014 European Parliamentary elections – or perhaps it’s we who have failed our words. Words, like hands, can be used to construct, to caress and to strike. Whatever the truth of it, the debate about our societies and our selves that has accompanied this democratic moment has been lamentable.

So it was a relief to come across these cartoons, commissioned and selected by the European Cultural Foundation and the Cartoon Movement as a contribution to the reflection that makes democracy valid. Eloquent in themselves, they also underline art’s value as a way of knowing and its capacity to express what cannot – or sometimes might just better not – be put into words.