I’m sitting here trying to work on a commission, but all my brain can do is think of the terrible acts perpetrated against innocent people and my city in the early hours of this morning. Around 2am local time, 2 people who had entered a cafe hours earlier for their morning coffee lost their lives. Details are unclear, but the basics are that for 17hrs approximately 17 people were held hostage at gun point by a man who alleged to be a Muslim linked to a terrorist group in the Middle East. A young mum with three small children and an even younger man were shot and killed. The gunman too is dead. Their deaths have made an easy going city, preparing for a busy, family and food filled Christmas halt in it’s tracks.
I’m unsure what this means, if anything, yet. What I do know more clearly is what it doesn’t mean. It doesn’t mean I will change my behaviour, It doesn’t mean I will move from where I live, which is home to one of the biggest Muslim communities in Sydney. I feel no hate toward religion or Muslims. I just feel immense sadness, for the people killed, their families, the other hostages, the Muslim community and us all.
I believe this act had as much to do with spiritual belief as rape does to love. I certainly don’t believe religion is the cause of all war and violence, as some on social media have suggested. It’s naive in the extreme to think if there was no religion we would all be sitting round holding hands and singing chirpy tunes together. The real problem is much less attractive than some “other” being removed, so the rest of us can live happily together.The real problem is US! We humans are the cause of violence, hatred, war, child abuse, racism, nastiness, bitching, gossip, thoughtlessness, bigotry and unkindness, not religion, not God, not some “other”. That’s the real challenge, to look within our own hearts, review our own actions! None of the atrocities in the world happen in isolation. How are terrorist cells able to recruit young men and women to their ranks? Because they gravitate toward the vulnerable and disenfranchised. They would not have this supply of disaffected individuals if we created a society that was supportive and inclusive, where people in great pain found kindness, mental health assistance, a place to belong.
I’m not stupid, I know this doesn’t fix everything and everyone and I’m not trying to make readers feel guilty. I just think that at times like this, we want to “DO” something. It’s too easy and frankly moronic, to point the finger at an individual, a faith or all faiths and say; “if they weren’t here everything would be OK” The problem with finger pointing is we all have have them, so if you adopt this tactic you may just find the finger is pointed at you! On the big question of why humanity is capable of such horror, I’m as clueless as everyone else, but in writing this I’ve worked out what this particular ugly violent act means to me and what I’m going to do. I’m going to be more diligent, I will take even more opportunities to be recklessly kind, wantonly grateful and conspicuously happy! I’ll smile at more people as they pass my house and say something kind about their child, or the fact they’re out and about despite the rain or heat. I’ll keep doing my little bit, I’m not responsible for anyone else’s bit and I invite you to do the same. That’ll really piss the terrorists off and make the world a better place one little act at a time. (I hope)
Till next time,
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