The first thing I read upon waking today was a twitter alert about the shooting of Philando Castile. Yesterday my morning news was of Alton Sterling. I sat and cried wondering what we can do, when would we start making this world better instead of breaking it apart?
Just this week we've had the 'silly season' content of hate here in NI, and the Chilcot report reminding us that we allowed our countries to kill hundreds of thousands of Iraqis through war and destruction of communities. We saw Sunday's bombing of children and families, and the trigger happy policemen who are supposed to be trained not murder their citizens out of narrow minded fear. Adding to that horror are the fights for leadership in London, and Donald Trump's latest idiotic manoeuvre.....it leads me to assume we're all watching the world burn. And yet if we give into despair, then what?
A persons skin colour dictates their destiny. If bombs go off here, it's a tragedy. A whole city leveled elsewhere, it's their own fault. African Americans cannot freely live in the 21st century. Every Muslim is vilified for acts of the few. Madness. Violence begets violence. Where does it stop?
How we go about getting those in charge to cut out the bigoted ways is a slow process. I don't know what to do about gun violence in America and elsewhere. I only know that a moment of anger with a trigger involved cannot be taken back. I live in a country where religious extremism is well known, almost the 'norm', and while I don't live in fear that someone can shoot up the supermarket or cinema, it disturbs me greatly that all around are those who would seek to keep us segregated through any means.
I'm weary - it shouldn't have to be explained that racism is wrong, and that stereotyping people is crass and disgusting. Every life taken is an entirely fractured family. Children who see nothing but suspicion and brutality will, aside from having their childhood shattered, most likely grow into adults who perpetuate what they've learned. If you point out differences in a negative light to children, they will believe you. Your prejudice needn't be theirs and happily that's a cycle we can stop right away, if we could only see and recognise our own flaws before condemning others. Undue damage is everywhere and we can't fairly blame those who will retaliate in the face of injustice.
Yes, we must be good neighbours here, we must watch out after each other, but my friends & family across the world along with people I will never meet are still a part of my life. Ripple effects everywhere lead us down paths we can't imagine. We must be brave - we must speak out and we must demand justice where our structural bodies break down. Democracy in action is a flawed system, but if FOR ONCE we all could see the bigger picture. If we realised that we are the ones with the power and if we stick with it, if we hound those who would continually victimise people for simply living, we COULD and WOULD make a difference.
To remain silent is not an option. Actions and words are necessary . Compassion and empathy need to be embraced. Vote. Show kindness to everyone every day as much as possible. Educate. Give what you can. We're all just trying to grow old, we all want a lifetime of adventures and love, and those who want fear & hatred to fester only do so because it works out for them. Ignorance doesn't move anything forward, it won't solve issues. Cultures evolve, everything changes and we must make it our daily motivation that they change for the better.
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