Under normal circumstances I would never write anything like this here.
Actually, under normal circumstances I would never write this anywhere but in my fiction. It goes against what I’ve been trained to do with my “writer’s blog” with focusing on all things story, structure, or otherwise craft.
However, I simply cannot take it anymore.
With tragedies occurring worldwide (yes, I speak of the incidents in France) and the influx of hate being spouted off through social media, every instinct I have screams to just turn off the computer and bury myself in a book.
It’s a pattern I see all too often; something happens, people get angry, people start pointing fingers at different agencies/factions/whatever, someone voices that we need to calm down, and people start to get angry about people being angry.
Eventually things die down until, lo and behold, tragedy strikes again and the cycle gets repeated.
Now, I’m not saying we need to start ignoring tragedy when it happens. One of the most beautiful things about human beings is our capacity to feel empathy and to come alongside those who are hurting and in need with the effort to help.
Keep doing that.
Always do that.
But there is a moment when our compassion turns ugly. We want to hunt for someone to blame and, inevitably, our fear begins to dictate our actions. We paint complete strangers as terrorists when we know nothing about them. We see a threat on every street corner and nurse the notion that our way of living is the only right way to live, so anyone living outside of that notion becomes an enemy.
We become a people defined by our fears.
And we attack people out of that fear, giving them labels so that it is easier to dismiss the fact that they are human beings as well. “Muslim”, “Christian”, “Terrorist”, “Refugee”,”Liberal”, “Republican”, “Democrat” … We group everything together rather than looking at the individual person as someone to be valued, respected, and even heard.
This needs to change.
Our world is ugly and ugly things happen in it. Don’t add to it.
Let me put it this way …
During the Roman era a group of radicals began meeting in secret. Their religion was mostly comprised of women and the very poor, and they kept their dealings very, very close to the vest. They never hurt anyone and for the most part they submitted to every law that was demanded of them, but an atmosphere of fear still grew in society.
In Greece particularly this group was a curiosity. Rumors began to spread about them and what they must do in their secret meetings. Some said they drank blood as an initiation into their ranks. Others said they baked babies into loaves of bread, tricking unsuspecting people into eating it and thus forcing more people into their little cult.
Fear grew between society and the group of radicals, who were shunned and poorly treated because of their faith. It did not matter that the rumors were not true, what mattered was how deeply that fear penetrated the hearts and minds of people. To be a Christian was to be labeled a weird religious vampire and much, much worse.
And all because people were too afraid to sit down and really try to understand each other.
Scrape away the labels and really look. Come alongside the people in need and push your energy into helping them rather than pinning blame.