Tuesday, 6 June 2017

More hugs, less hate

It seems impossible to think that only a few days ago I was sitting in front of my laptop trying to pen out my thoughts on what seems to be a surge in terrorist activity lately, and yet here I am once again thankful that my loved ones have escaped harm.

I’ve been fairly quiet over the last two months when it comes to the events taking place in the world. Why do I use ‘2 months’ as my indicator? Well, that was when the world was temporarily outraged by a chemical attack that took place in Syria. Sure, I spoke out briefly when it came to the incident in Manchester a few weeks ago, but other than that, I’ve been keeping close-lipped. It’s not that I don’t care, or that I haven’t been thinking about it, but, in fact, the very opposite. 

You might recall a previous experience about Syria from my time in Manchester, when a course I was taking concluded with a Syria focused presentation and partial viewing of one of the most brutal, honest, and heartbreaking documentations of this horrific situation. I would once again encourage you to watch the video below if you want to understand why the many refugees can’t simply “go back to their own country”. However, please be aware it is quite graphic and at times very difficult to watch. Viewer discretion is advised, and viewing my children should not be permitted.

Sadly, the incidents that have taken place in the wake of the Manchester bombing seem to have been silenced by the fact that they, once again, did not take place in a Western part of the world. Of course, the recent incident in London is an exception to this silence, but one that further proves just how little “we” care about places for which we know little or have already cast aside because “that sort of activity happens all the time there, and nothing we can do will change that.1” But where was this outrage when Kabul was under attack last week? Where was the call to action when various groups of those observing Ramadan where targeted?

I don’t mean to sound cynical, but, it’s hard to suggest that this selective care is merely a coincidence. The issues that led to the little international attention that has been received on these non-Western incidents have stemmed from civil unrest that took place long before any news coverage began to display the horrible tragedies that have taken place. And, if we’re really honest with ourselves, our Western status carries a lot of the blame. It’s also greatly related, I believe, to these recent tragedies in the UK, and previously throughout Europe (France, Belgium, Germany). We can’t be dropping bombs and interfering in countries where we have no business being and not expect retaliation or uproar from the countries impacted by our “we know what’s right” decision-making.

So, how do we change the current trajectory? How do we make this better? I don’t have the answers, and I’d be willing to bet that no one with the actual power to do something about it does either. My greatest wish is that we could just all have one massive global hug and come to an understanding that though we may have some differences in culture, language, or beliefs, we are all fundamentally the same – we’re all from the same human race, after all. I said this in the Manchester post, and I’ll say it again here – Imagine a world where people acted with compassion towards others not in their hometown, country or even continent, the way they would if a tragedy happened to hit there. Imagine if every time these events happened we showed kindness instead of fear, negativity, hate-speech, etc. This is what I long to see in this world, and it’s not going to come easy, if ever. But, I’m willing to fight for it, even if it’s just me. Because, I want to live in a world where people are at least trying to make it a better, happier, safer place. So please, I beg of you, less hate, more hugs!

-the Orange Canadian

1And yes, I have had that conversation with fellow Western folks… too many times to count over the last number of years.

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