You know when you see a word so often it loses its real meaning. Terror is becoming one of those words for me. On the cover of most newspapers the word is there in big bold letters, unhealthy informing the people reading it (and the people subconsciously noticing it as they walk past) that terror is here. Terrorists. Terrorism. Terror. Terror. Terror.
I feel like these headlines, stomach these front pages, are trying to scare us more than they’re trying to report what’s happened. Every single newspaper is quick to point the finger at who they assume to be responsible, before having all the facts, making it easy for the general public to blame a whole group of people rather than the individuals with the bombs. Are the media actually doing what they are supposed to do? Are they telling us what’s happened, factually, or are they manipulating the reports for unseen reasons? That’s a question for another post. These attacks can’t be ignored by the press, obviously, however is it helping when their headlines are full of terror? Are they just trying to scare us and divide us?
What’s saddest about these attacks (apart from the lost lives) is that a whole 2 BILLION Muslims are being held accountable. Millions and millions of people, who follow a faith that isn’t extreme and isn’t violent, are being judged for a small group of people’s horrendous actions. My heart breaks for the millions of Muslims living here or in America because they are suffering because of these attacks when they hate them as much as we do. Their daily lives are harder because of them. They get more looks and comments thrown at them in the street. Hate crimes against Muslims have gone up, more innocent people are being attacked. Muslims are standing on busy streets giving out hugs to prove to people that they have no reason to fear or hate them because of their faith. Should they have to do that? Should they have to stand there telling the world not to fear them? Or should we, the rest of the world, be more understanding towards their current struggle? Because while we all feel attacked by terrorism, they are literally being attacked because of it.
Hate is seeping into the pores of the small minded individuals who don’t understand that your skin colour has nothing to do with your beliefs. Your skin colour doesn’t make you a bad person. Your skin colour doesn’t determine your religion and your religion doesn’t determine your ability to hate these vicious acts as much as any other person. Is it so hard to understand? Is it so hard to see that a small group of people being extreme doesn’t mean everyone who looks a bit like them is the same as them?
I don’t want to live in a world where it’s normal to see TERROR on the front of every newspaper. I don’t want hating each other to be more acceptable than loving each other. And with each of these attacks we’re seeing more hate, not just from the people attacking us but from each other. We’re hating people who have done nothing to us.
I’m not deluded enough to shout “why is this happening” every time there is an attack, because I understand why this is happening. I understand that money and power are the root of all war. I understand that many countries across the globe are hurting because they are being attacked. I understand that the East is beyond angry with the West and that there are also East vs East fights. I also understand that governments across the globe are to blame for all of this, the wars, the attacks, the terrorism, but when are people going to see that hate isn’t the answer to this mess? We can’t keep fighting and warring and killing because when the last bomb is dropped and the last innocent life is lost, who wins?
This “war on terror” isn’t going anywhere soon. Unfortunately it’s up to our governments to sort that out, but we can’t let it divide us. We hold more power than we realise and we can fight this hate with love in our own communities. We can teach the younger generations love is stronger than hate. We can stand up for each other, show solidarity in times of disruption and help people who are being affected by these attacks. We need to stand up for each other when we see racism, Islamophobia and other discriminatory behaviour. We need to speak for people with less of a voice. We need to come together and show the world that we believe in humanity, and we need to show it to each other. Show each other kindness, show each other love, show each other that we cannot be manipulated into hating people with different religions or beliefs. We are stronger than that. We are better than that.
Written by Kelly Peake