I’ve learned to numb myself to most of the horrible news we hear almost everyday now. I try to avoid the details and only have a general idea of the goings-on. I convince myself that these events, no matter how frequent, are really only rare. It’s only because we’ve become hyper-connected that we hear about every bad thing in the world. I tell myself that bad things have been happening in the world since the world began, but that good things and good people are what make up the majority on this planet. I tell myself that the voice of evil is just very loud while the voice of good is apparently meek, otherwise we’d all have a very different perception of our world.
I watch the news, find out about the terror attacks, the wars, and the dirty politicians and pretend that I can still live a good life without having to deal with all that. If I told myself otherwise, I’d just feel so helpless. No. I already feel helpless in a way. I’d feel too helpless.
I can numb myself to the news. I’ve been fortunate enough for most of the bad stuff to be at least an arm’s-length away from me that I can I just get on with things.
I can numb myself to the news. But I am completely incapable of numbing myself to the hatred, intolerance, bigotry and encouragement of or incitement to violence I now often see from people I think of being “just like you and me”. There seems to be so much of it and it’s everywhere. Social media has opened up doors to what’s really going on in the minds of people. It’s like it’s opened the floodgates that previously held in check all the crazy thoughts people hold inside and try not to let out in public.
There’s so much hatred. There’s so much anger.
There is a context to the hatred and anger. They aren’t borne of nothing. But that hatred and anger aren’t solving the world’s problems. They are fuel to the fire. Why can’t people see that?
Today, someone I know wrote the following status regarding the Turkish assassin of the Russian ambassador to Turkey: “Perhaps God will forgive your ignorance for your enthusiasm and loyalty” (to His cause is the implication).
How is it that “a normal person like you and me” can justify terrorism as being an act of ignorance? How is it that “a normal person like you and me” can see “enthusiasm and loyalty” in an act of terrorism; an act he claims he disapproves of?
Is it that these acts seem so senseless to “normal people like you and me” that we need to find justifications for them? The person was a psychopath. He was ignorant of the real meanings of religion. He has been angered by the killings and displacement of millions of Syrians. The West are against us. The West started it. Western governments are and have been funding terrorism in Muslim countries and elsewhere. They are killing “us” so “they” deserve to be killed.
It’s not only the Muslims, though. The hatred is everywhere. Racism is entrenched in the most “developed” of Western countries. People’s fears of “the other” are being successfully used to win political campaigns. Some of the Facebook statuses and comments I read during the past American elections made my hair go grey.
Do people not realize that it is our own hatred and anger that fuels the actions of terrorists that we claim to so despise? Do people not realize that the actions of terrorists are built on the same foundations of hatred and anger that we harbor inside our very souls?
Beware. The step up from hatred and anger to act of terror is a small one.
Beware. The arguments you use to justify your hatred and anger are the same ones terrorists use to justify their hideous acts.
Give yourself and the terrorists the credit that is deserved. Hatred is a choice. Racism is a choice. Bigotry is a choice. Intolerance is a choice. Homophobia is a choice. Islamophobia is a choice. Anti-Semitism is a choice. Terrorism and the ideologies that lead to it are a choice.
Our choices matter.
Our choices are scaring the fucking daylight out of me.