This evening after I picked up the girls from childcare, we headed to our local park by the river to participate in a Light the Dark vigil in our town to show that our community welcomes refugees. It was spontaneously organised by a colleague of mine and about 80 people turned up less than 24 hours after the word got around. Not a lot, but not a little either.
I have to confess that I didn’t really know much about the Syrian crisis before now, and if I’m honest, I’m still getting my head around it but for me at the end of the day, life is life and I’m becoming more and more disheartened by the way that humans are treating their fellow humans beings.
I had seen many of the blurred pictures of the poor little Aylan Kurdi, the three year old Syrian boy who drowned just over a week ago, popping up all over my facebook feed, but it wasn’t until a few days after it happened that I saw the unblurred hots of his lifeless little body lying face down on the beach. My heart broke and the tears fell. As a mother of a three year old, it really hit home to me how tragic this situation is. Even now, when the media are trying to unravel the story, claiming that the Kurdi family weren’t directly impacted by the war in Syria, I still am confronted by the fact that regardless of the fact that their immediate circumstance may not have been as dire as first thought at the end of the day this poor little boy is is someone’s baby. He his a human being that paid the ultimate sacrifice.
This past two weeks has seen some of the saddest visions of scared and uncertain communities, and more closer to home my screens have been filled with murders, deaths and tragedies of children, including one in my own community. I was originally planning to rant about how poorly our inadequate Government, and quite frankly our even more inadequate Prime Minister has been handling the Syrian situation and our response to it, but I realise that what I’m actually feeling right now is bigger than how we treat refugees. It’s actually about how we treat people, treat our fellow human, full stop.
And it’s everywhere that we look. In the news, on the internet, even within our social networks and interest groups. It’s becoming the norm for people to treat people poorly. And also for people to accept it. Social media is often the worst with keyboard warriors at the ready to strike down anyone with a different world view. At least once a day I begin to write a response on a forum post or a Facebook page calling people on their wrong and often contradictory behaviour – they disagree with something ‘bad’ that someone has done by responding with bullying and nastiness. Eh? It makes no sense to me. Yesterday I saw an example in amongst a pro v anti vaccination debate. One woman spoke of her differing opinions and was crucified. Yep, clearly people disagreed but rather than attempt any kind of respectful response or debate, people just started hurling the abuse. The majority of people (and let’s be honest, it’s mainly women), did not know this woman and she was called everything from stupid and an idiot to people threatening her, saying that she’s an unfit parent and that the department should take her kids away.
Really??? Despite her different viewpoint (which was the opposite to mine), I highly doubt she is an unfit mother. We as parents have the right to choose what we think and believe is best for our children. I’m sure this woman, as misguided as it might be, believes she is doing the right thing. But because she spoke out, she was promptly put back in the place by the collective. And so I started writing a response calling out some of the nastiest bullies’ comments and then I deleted it, exhausted at the thought of dealing with the responses.
And I find myself doing it more and more of late. In nearly everything I see, I’m starting to ask myself the question of whether or not the ridicule and judgement is necessary. Surely I’m not the only one tired of it? Tired of the judgements and the competition, the vitriol and the one-upmanship . Tired of seeing death and destruction and hatred and politicking about who should help who, or not help who and why. It’s negativity overload!
Maybe it’s just because I’ve had a lot on my plate of late, or maybe I’ve just reached my threshold and am simply feeling very disheartened with the world. I think it’s sad and embarrassing that we can’t just realise and accept that we’re all just people doing the best that we can. And in the particular case of the gathering tonight, just remembering that we are so bloody lucky to live in Australia that the least we could do is share some of that luck and love and prosperity with those who need it most, even though most of us would not even have any frame of reference for understanding how horrible their lives might be.
But, I suspect short of disconnecting myself of all i-devices completely and removing myself from society, I’m not going to rid myself of any of it, am I? But what I can do is choose to participate in and make an effort to support those who are also trying to do good in this world. And try and instil a sense of acceptance and empathy in my daughters.
Is it just me or have you felt a little discontent in how people are treating others around them? What do you do to contribute to the good of the world, rather than get sucked in by the negativity?