Image: Wil movie poster

Imagine yourself as a young poet in Antwerp during World War II. Every day, you have to make decisions that not only influence your own life but also those around you. This is the life of Wilfried Wils in “Wil” by Jeroen Olyslaegers*. But why would this story be relevant to you in 2023?

You might be wondering, “What does this have to do with me?” Well, the truth is that we all, at some point in our lives, have our own tightrope act. Maybe not during a war, but in our daily decisions, in the choices we make about who we are and what we represent.

Wil” is not just a historical book and now also a movie. It’s a mirror that prompts us to reflect on our own choices. In a time when the world is changing rapidly and we are often faced with moral dilemmas, this story reminds us that it’s essential to stay true to oneself.

But let’s keep things simple: imagine you’re doing a puzzle. Each piece represents a choice you make. Some pieces fit easily, others are more challenging. “Wil” reminds us that, although life can sometimes be complicated, each piece contributes to the bigger picture.

So, the next time you’re faced with a tough choice, think of Wilfried Wils. Think of the tightrope walker. And remember that, although life can sometimes be challenging, it’s the choices we make that define us.

So, why should you read “Wil” or watch the movie that’s coming out this week? Because it not only offers you a glimpse into the past but also helps you reflect on your present. And in a world full of challenges and changes, that’s a lesson we could all benefit from.

In our current society, we sometimes see echoes of Wilfried’s dilemmas. While we’re not directly in a wartime situation, our democratic societies are threatened by extreme political parties using populist arguments. Just as Wilfried had to choose between different loyalties, many of us are faced with the temptation to accept simple answers offered by these parties, rather than face the more complex truths. “Wil” reminds us that opting for the easy path can sometimes lead to moral compromises. In a time when the foundations of our democracies sometimes seem shaky, it’s essential that we remain vigilant and value integrity and critical thinking.

*”Wil” is a novel written by Jeroen Olyslaegers, released in 2016. The story is set in Antwerp during World War II and follows the moral dilemmas of the main character, Wilfried Wils. A film adaptation of this book is being released in theaters this week.