Driving to work today, I was listening to a variety of podcasts, as is my habit. Regular readers of my blog will know that I enjoy TED Talks, as they are often very informative and thought provoking. Today’s selection was all of that, and more. Have a listen to Suzanne Barakat’s story, where her brother, sister-in-law and sister-in-law’s sister were executed in their own home:
Islamophobia Killed My Brother
Three lives senselessly wasted, for no reasons other than ignorance, religious intolerance and bigotry. One life only wasted because she happened to be visiting on that day. And very little published in the media about it. Suzanne was right about a lot of things in her talk, and perhaps the most understated was that if it had been a three white people killed by a muslim, the press would have been screaming “terrorist attack” and I’m pretty sure we’d have heard about it here in the UK. As it was, I don’t think I heard anything about this. Suzanne’s story only got told because a neighbour stepped forward to do The Right Thing, and helped publicise it, to get airtime: I’m pretty sure Suzanne wouldn’t have been giving a TED Talk at all without that neighbour’s help.
It wasn’t an isolated incident either. Suzanne tells of how someone tried to run over their neighbour because they “looked funny”, this time in a white on Christian attack – though the victim and their family didn’t have white skin.
My question to you is this: are you going to passively sit and watch while Suzanne’s story, and all others like it, are repeated over and over? Or are you going to be like her neighbour and stand up to be counted, stand against hate crime: are you going to do The Right Thing?
World, it is nearly the end of 2016. We’ve had countries divided across the globe, some violently so (I’m thinking Brexit and the US Election in particular); we’ve had ongoing refugee crises and the clearance of the Calais “jungle”; we’ve had ongoing hostility in the middle east and Ukraine, an unravelling peace deal in Colombia, nuclear testing in North Korea. The list goes on and on. Yet we’re supposed to be civilised, tolerant, diverse. It seems to me that quite the opposite is true: we’re disintegrating, fragmenting, hating others because they’re not like us. We seem to be heading back into a feudal, almost tribal, time. Please tell me I’m wrong.
I heard the following earlier today. It’s a code which a group of people live by, and have done for centuries.
Me against my brother
Me and my brother against my cousin
Me, my brother and cousin against all others
There seems to be more than a little truth in that mantra these days, but surely it’s time to do something different? Let’s unite, let’s put the haters out of business, let’s all be brothers (and sisters) equally. Let’s [collectively] do The Right Thing. Who’s with me?