*Above picture taken from “the Grio”
I write this post in light of the recent Paris attacks, and my thoughts are with the whole world. I am by no means an expert and therefore all I write is my own personal views and opinion. I am also not closed minded, and I always welcome others’ opinions, if I believe it will help me learn and see things more clearly, therefore being able to change my mind and evolve.
“As long as we play the “us and them” game, we don’t evolve as people, as nation, as a planet. (…) Because I know for sure that there is no them – there’s only us.” – Oprah Winfrey
Friday the 13th November I was visiting home in Lisbon, Portugal, when I heard of the Paris attacks. In fact, it was impossible not to hear about it: it was all over the news, papers, and social media. Horror stroke the French capital and the media were quick to play their part, in exploiting the people’s pain and using the bloodiest images they could find.
Soon after there were insurgencies across social media and media against Muslims, refugees, against ‘them’…
As I said I am no expert, nor can I claim to know what terrorists want and why. But surely if they’re aim is to cultivate fear and insecurity, the best way is to turn the world on each other?
I find the whole ‘doing this for Muslims, for Islam’ excuse very hard to swallow. I am not religious at all, my beliefs are my own and I like it that way. So it would be easy for me to blame it on religion, just as I could blame the crusades on religion, and the exploitation of the ‘new world’ on religion… but no, I don’t think it’s that simple. I think no religious fanatic is a representative of the religion itself. Why? Because fanatics are extremists, deranged people, with other intentions rather than ‘purify the world with their faith’ (or whatever), who will use words written thousands of years ago and twist it in their favour.
I am not a great history connoisseur either, but I believe that behind every ‘religious quest’ there big power players. Do you really believe Kings or emperors were interested in spreading the pure values of Christianity? Baloney! Surely they were more interested in the new territories they were conquering, in exerting power over lands that weren’t their own, and extract all their richness for their benefit? Evangelizing the native Indians in South America? That’s only so they could dominate them, and an excuse to mass murder those who wouldn’t convert, or in reality, who actually ‘owned the land’. I am sure we would find the real excuses, if we’d dug harder.
These deranged people, these scary and lunatic groups, who claim to be fighting in the name of a cause, have long ago lost any faith. They’re surely fighting for other purposes (power, money, ownership of others?!) and it would most definitely be interesting to find out who is behind these groups, meaning, who actually provides them the gun power… because that’s not something we often hear about, but surely it’s an important question. Surely these ‘militias’ play an important part for power players, in their high seats, as all other militias have served in the history of our world. And when we look back these are always, always, ‘fed’ by someone. The question is who?
Well I am not getting into conspiracy theories, or any other politics, as that is not what this post was meant to be. I am merely trying to wrap my head around the world we have today, trying to understand how, and why we can be so selfish, so mean to each other, and wondering when we have stopped trying to see the good in others first and foremost. And mind you I am always very suspicious.
The moment we start doing the whole ‘Us and Them’ talk is the moment we collapse into what these people may want. The moment we label all Muslims as deranged terrorists, we are making these lunatics happy. The moment we succumb to hatred based on our differences we let them win.
I live happily with no Religion, but I am an understanding person, and believe each one is entitled to their own beliefs. I am also intelligent enough to see that being Muslim does not equal being a Terrorist, if it did we’d all be dead already either way, because it’s actually the second largest religion in the world. So please, don’t make these terrorists happy, don’t put people under the same umbrella, because it’s not the same. Oh and did you know, Muslim countries have been the ones most attacked by terrorists over the years? Yep it’s true. What happened in Paris is normal in Syria, in Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan… they even raid schools and small villages. They kill children in those places. Children. Where are our prayers for these children, where are our flags for the world?
Don’t get me wrong, I am as shocked for Paris and France as the rest of you; I have friends from there, and my heart ached for every single soul. It is after all our city of love, our city of lights, it is our reality, our known safe heaven. And we raised our flags in support, but it did make me think – isn’t it time we raise our flags for everyone, against every attack on humanity, at the hands of lunatics and assassins? I pray (in my own way) for Paris and for the whole world; I pray for a day when we will all find peace.
I wish there was something more we could do, to stop all the terrorists in the world, and I wish I could say I am not afraid, but I’d be lying. I’d be lying if I’d say I didn’t think it could as easily have been London, my city. I’d be lying to say ‘I am not scared’. But I will not succumb to it, ever. I won’t yield, I won’t stop living my life, I won’t stop believing in the goodness of people, I won’t stop believing LOVE can win.
I don’t know what’s right or wrong, who’s to blame or not to blame, but I do know one thing: war is a business wanted by few, the few who have power interests at stake. For everyone else it’s a nasty business. Have two World Wars thought us nothing? ‘Us and Them’ is the kind of speech that got Hitler to power. And he was, after all, only one man; surely the sins committed against Jews aren’t the fault of one man only, but of those who got him there, who followed him (and of the world who failed them). Let’s not let our hearts be poisoned. Let’s not fail the world again.
“I keep my ideals, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.”
I too chose to believe there’s still goodness in people. Did you know, that soon after the attacks there was a solidarity movement, where people of Paris opened their doors to those who had been left on the streets with nowhere to go? #portouvert #portsouvertes (open door/s) it was called, for all those seeking refuge from the attacks. And as Paris shut down it’s lights the rest of the world lit it up for them – cities around the world hosted the French colors on their monuments to show their support. Sports events, music concerts, musicals… everywhere the French hymn was sang as way of support.
This is goodness; this restores my faith in humankind. This shows me we have it in us; if we can stand together for France, we can surely stand for peace and for the world. I am overwhelmed by the power that we have to be there for each other, rather than to turn our backs. The power to say ‘you will not throw us down, we will not succumb to hate, you will not win. Together we stand’.
I leave you with this wonderful video I saw on social media, from where I’ve taken the title of his post, of a father teaching his kid, how running away is never the way, and how love is our best defense. If only everyone could have a dad like this, the world would (probably) be in peace.