Thursday, 14 July 2016

Why can't we all just get along?

I'll be surprised if you haven't already heard the news, but earlier tonight there was yet another terrorist attack in France: this time at the Bastille Day parade in Nice (at least, it seems as though it was a terrorist attack: I'm writing this post mere hours after the horrendous event, so definite truths are still up in the air).
I don't normally comment too much on the state of the world - I sometimes tweet about it, but this is the first blog post I'm doing on this topic.
I'm heartbroken.
In recent weeks, every single day is bringing devastating news.
We can look to America, with the large scale events in Orlando and Dallas, and the smaller - but no less significant - murder of singer Christina Grimmie.
We can look to the events of last night.
We can look deeper, at the multiple terrorist events in Iraq that have occurred this month, in both Baghdad and al-Rashidiya (which have been mentioned but barely focused upon by mainstream news publications... But that's a different story).
There's one aspect that all of these events have in common: the futility, the utter senselessness, of the deaths.
Mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, brothers and sisters, wives and husbands. All going about their daily lives. Mundane stuff: breathing and blinking and swallowing and worrying about what they're going to eat for dinner or whether they're going to be late for their meeting or if they have enough change in their purse to catch the bus to work.
People, just like you or me. Dead. And for what?
For nothing.
You can claim that it's because of religion, sexuality, colour. Notice how I said claim? That's because I think it's a bunch of nonsense.
If you're capable of murdering - if you have such a fundamental lack of empathy and respect for other humans that you're willing to take their lives in cold blood - you'll find any excuse to do it. You can claim yourself an ambassador for equality between the races and you can spout the messages you're taught in a holy book, but it doesn't change the fact that the majority of people do not murder.
Cast your mind around. Imagine your inner circle of family, friends, co-workers. The people that you encounter on a daily basis - yep, even your morning bus driver. Can you imagine any of them being involved in a terrorist attack? No. That's because they're much more likely to become a victim than a perpetrator.
I have no statistical evidence to back up these claims, because they're common sense. If the majority of people were murdering on a regular basis, we would know about it: it would be an utterly unavoidable fact of life. Thankfully, these terrorist attacks aren't daily occurrences (or, at least, they aren't yet).
It's down to you and me to make sure that they don't increase in their regularity.
For these people to feel pushed to the extremes that they do, there must be something wrong. The blame sits with everyone: with the individual, for allowing themselves to carry out the actions; with the media, for making them martyrs for their cause for the impressionable minds watching; with society as a whole, for allowing anyone to feel so excluded, angry and alone that this course of action seemed like their only choice.
I am angry about what has happened, but I'm going to beg you: please do not respond with anger. Don't post hate-filled, incorrect messages on your social media prosecuting an entire race for the choices of individuals. Don't tar an entire community of people with the same brush, because the actions of the few are not representative of the whole.
Tomorrow, for me, make someone's day.
Smile at everyone you see. Hold the door for the person behind you. If you see a little old lady struggling with her bag, offer to help her. Say "have a nice day!" when you finish serving someone. Pay a little extra for your coffee so that it helps out the next person in the line.
If we're all nice to each other - even just doing little things like this on a daily basis - it will make a difference. There's a reason that the butterfly effect is a concept: because the little things really do have a large scale impact. Make the people around you happier. Even if you aren't helping the victims and their families directly, at least you're doing something to improve someone's day.
I might not be able to change the world, but I'm determined to be the best me I can be. I challenge you to do the same.

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