The world has hit tough times. Every day we wake up to a tragedy somewhere in the world. But in all honesty, the world has been like this for a long time. We have beared witness to global tragedy for years, even decades and yet now, everyone has an opinion on it. I know that many of you are angry and many of you are upset and that is understandable, given the current climate. However, there are some things that I don’t understand and that’s what this letter is about.
Let me start with Facebook. Facebook is one of our most popular forms of social media and it is a great way to keep up with your friend’s lives and stay in touch with those we care about overseas. It is also a fantastic platform to have a post go viral as something can be shared across the global in a mattter of hours. The thing is, these memes you share about IS or Islamic Extremism do nothing to help fix the world. You shared a picture of toilet paper photoshopped to display the IS flag- I hate to break it to you but no matter how much that post is shared, it’s not going to stop IS. They aren’t going to see that and go: “That’s how Westerners see us? Well we better stop what we’re doing!” The truth is, they probably aren’t going to see it and if they ever did, it would most likely reaffirm their beliefs that Westerners have no respect for them or the culture they think they represent. On a similar note, do not use this hatred you have developed towards these extremists to make light-hearted jokes at the expense of completely random groups. A friend of mine recently shared the following post:
In a country where we have the power to lobby our government for change, a liberty that many in this world are bereft of, this is what we choose to do. Now, I am not generalising anyone but there are those among us that think that this is the best way to express themselves. Some of you may find this funny and, while I respect your choice to choose your own humour, I just ask why is this funny? So next time you see a similar post on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram, instead of spreading the hatred, find out how to contact your local MP and make your voice heard. Do you think we should increase bombing raids against IS? Do you think we should do more for community policing to reduce racial and religious tension? Don’t shout angrily into the void of the internet, express your concerns and opinions to the person you elected to Parliament so that they could represent you.
And this brings me onto a very similar point. IS is probably the biggest threat to the West at this point in time, either them or Russia. However, fear of potenial terrorist attacks are no excuse to turn on the innocent Muslims just trying to live their life. America, I love you very much but the frontrunner candidate for one of your two major political parties is in favour of putting all Muslims on a database, just for being Muslim. Since the attacks in Paris last Friday, mosques and Muslims across the US and Canada have come under increasing threat just because the people who boast about their success in Paris claim to be of the same religion as the family across the street from you. I hate to beat a dead horse but the actions of one group do not speak for an entire religion or else Christianity would be perceived via the actions of the Westboro Baptist, the KKK and Britian First. To end this segment, I would actually like to share a passage from the Quran: “He who kills a soul unjustly, it is as though he has killed all the souls of mankind”. Muslims do not condone violence and murder, Islamic State do.
One last thing. While many many people posted ‘Pray for Paris’ which soon became ‘Pray for every single country affected by something on Friday’, maybe we need to reconsider how express ourselves. No, I am not talking about the ‘pray’ apsect, I am talking about where we are praying for. When a Russian airliner was brought down by a suspected bomb two weeks ago, did anyone pray for Russia? Yesterday there was a hostage crisis in Mali but Facebook didn’t give me the option to put the Mali flag over my profile picture. We love to voice our solidarity for those in suffering but we like do it selectively. So instead of praying for the world, why don’t we accept the fact that the world is in dire straits and do something about it?
I started this blog by saying that the world has hit tough times. After over 700 words, that is still true. I don’t intend to convert anyone to my way of thinking but I hope you will take this away- we can make a difference in this world but only if we act rationally and stand as a united front. These events that we bear witness should shock us but they should not corrupt us. I would like to end today with some words from an unusual source for a blog about what we’re doing as a society, Yoda. Take some time to think about what I’ve said today and enjoy your weekend,
“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”