I wrote yesterday, not knowing anything about what had happened in Paris. Since hearing about it and seeing all the outpourings on Facebook and Instagram, I have been struggling with and ruminating about what I would write if I were to write about the latest round of terrorist attacks. So, here I am, writing about it. And I still don’t know where I am going to go with this.
My heart truly does go out to all those who were hurt, injured, affected by the cowardly actions of a few horrible people. But I also feel these feelings when I wake up each morning to the weirdly soothing voices of NPR discussing the latest atrocities around the globe.
These aren’t the actions of only those higher-ups and muckety-mucks who keep us under their thumbs with fear and rhetoric. There is truly evil out there in the world, happening everyday in every country. The thousands of people who die by gun violence in the U.S. … or the kidnapping and worse of young girls in Nigeria … or the unsolved murders of 43 students in Mexico–each is just a small, disgusting taste of the hatred swirling around this world.
I know it is nothing new; humankind has been visiting atrocities upon itself since the beginning of our history. It’s enough to make me feel completely frustrated and useless.
But I also know that all of these actions are being perpetrated but such a minority of this world’s population. They are not us. And we do not have to be them.
We must strive to be wise, to be caring and open to others who may not believe what we believe, to help others see that there is more than one side (and usually many more than two sides) to every story, to be compassionate even in our fear, to learn from past mistakes, to open doors rather than construct barriers when faced with such terrifying situations.
I do not and never will condone the acts of fanatic zealots. But I am fascinated by what drives them to do what they do. It is such a foreign concept to me … I can’t fathom whether it’s an utter lack of hope, a true belief that what they do will achieve something noble for their “cause,” a total disconnect with the human race. But if we could ever learn what it was, would there ever be a way to “fight” it more efficiently? Or is this just naive hope?
So what can I do if not hope?
I can vote for people who I think will make a difference. But unfortunately, I’m cynical enough to know that the political juggernaut of each country has more clout than any single leader or politician; so I don’t hold out much hope there.
I can send out my love and prayers via social media. It does give us all a sense of camaraderie and not quite feeling so alone, but does it really do anything? Does it spread love even in the face of daily hate? If so, then I hope it helps.
Can I continue to study the history behind it all so maybe through understanding we might one day find a solution? Perhaps.
Can I talk with the ones I love to spread the idea that just as humankind has such hostility and hate, it also has the vast capacity to love and cherish? Can I help others start to tear down their walls of fear and loathing? Absolutely. It’s not much, but right now, it’s all I have.