I'm deeply saddened by the recent events in Paris. I'm sad that there is such tragedy and terror in the world and I hate seeing unnecessary loss of life.
The hope I take from this situation is that we are all struck by how awful and terrible it is. Thankfully we haven't reached a point where acts of terror and atrocity are routine and we're completely desensitised to it. We are still struck by how unnecessary this kind of violence is. I am so thankful that there is humanity, kindness and the possibility for peace in the world. Right now, we have an opportunity to react in a responsible and appropriate way. This is the act of a specific group of people... Not a Nation or religion as a whole. I am grateful to live in a safe environment where I am generally not at great risk. I do not have to fear for my life daily and I hope to stay in a society where that is the case.
After hearing about the atrocities in Paris followed by the news headlines describing other awful and sad events that have happened in the last week, I was reminded of a song by 'Jack Johnson' called 'Good People' which says;
Where'd all the good people go? I've been changing channels, I don't see them on the TV shows. Where'd all the good people go? We've got heaps and heaps of what we sow.
We are currently surrounded by negativity and reflections of awful events taking place all over the world. Of course it's vitally important to understand what's happening around us and my thoughts are with all of the people who have lost their lives in the past week, but it strikes me that focusing on all of the negative in the world can't be all that helpful all of the time.
I'm privileged to work with some really inspirational young people who face difficulties each and every day and something that strikes me is that it's so hard for them to focus on their struggles when they are constantly bombarded with negative and hopeless stories or evidence that the world is a scary and evil place. Heck, I know myself that when I've been struggling it can be hard to notice any good when surrounded by terrible things happening. Perhaps it's a time to remember what we are thankful and notice the tiny bits of hope and positivity that are around us still. It's not all bad, there is still humanity in amongst the sadness and if we look hard enough and nurture it, perhaps it can grow and challenge some of the terror.
It's also interesting to notice the reactions of people in times like these. Of course there has been the bigoted backlash to events around the world, that I don't even really want to discuss... but there has also been an undercurrent of unkindness between people who are supposedly on the same 'side' as it were. This week, in a lecture about death, we discussed reactions of Nations to notable loss and the process of grieving as a collective. We linked it to ideas of our own repressed personal grief seeming socially inappropriate to manage meaning it is easier to demonstrate these kind of feelings on a grander scale or in response to National events, everyone is sad, shocked or distressed by them so therefore it must be appropriate to respond. I decided to temporarily change my Facebook profile picture to the French Tricolour as a mark of respect and solidarity to a Nation who are very close to my heart (having spent a large proportion of my childhood holidaying in France and having other connections to the country). I was saddened to then read what was essentially abuse towards anyone who had changed their profile picture.
To me, changing my profile picture, didn't mean I didn't care less or more about any other loss of life across the globe. I believe death is unnecessary and horrifying regardless of where it is taking place. But I feel like resorting to rudeness or taking some moral high ground over people who have chosen to deal with their thoughts and feelings about a situation in a different way to that which you have chosen is wrong. Surely this is the kind of thinking that causes hatred and prejudice towards others and is particularly unnecessary at this time. I think no less of people who didn't decide to change their profile, everyone has a freedom of choice.
Perhaps we could all just try to give each other a break and think about others as well as ourselves.
I will be donating the the Red Cross General Fund Appeal to help vulnerable people in the UK and Overseas.
Read Kate's full blog here.