Showing posts with label terrorism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label terrorism. Show all posts

3 March 2018

Thoughts and Prayers

Part One

I have been trying and failing to write this post for months.  But I have found it impossible.  For someone who has thoughts on everything and usually writes about them, why can I not put my words on to the screen now?

Which brings me to my first question.  At a time when there so much going on in the world, when did we go onto this auto pilot, merry go round from hell of "thoughts and prayers".  Has social media desensitized us to tragedy?

I remember joining Twitter in the beginning of 2010.  I remember being mocked at the time for joining a site that talked about "what you were having for breakfast".  I joined because I heard there was a great Formula One community on there and I wanted to check it out.

Twitter will always mean a lot to me because it introduced me to that great community.  In time it introduced me to the blogging community and to start my blog in earnest.  It enabled my words.  It encouraged them.  It introduced me to new ideas, new perspectives, causes and campaigns that I have never contemplated before.  It enriched my view on the world and what was happening in it, it educated me and opened me up to new ideas.  My journey into confidence started on Twitter.

My interest in politics started as a result of reading articles and the thoughts of people on Twitter.  It checked my privilege.  It showed me what others face in their lives every day; just for being how they are, for what colour their skin was, who they loved and what they believed.

Fast forward to 2018 and Twitter, and the world, is a different place.

ISIS, bombings, refugees, suicide bombers, school shootings, people being shot and killed by police just because they were black, the rise of Donald Trump and the far right.  Katie Hopkins calling refugees who die in the sea while trying to escape as "cockroaches".  We live now in a place where incels think they should be allocated women and celebrate mass shootings.  Where neo Nazis march the streets screaming "white power" and run down people where they stand.

We live in a time where death threats and hate speech is common place and any objection to them is called "taking away free speech".   We live in a time where an MP can receive 600 rape threats in one night. 

A place where Donald Trump can label anything he doesn't like as #fakenews which his followers lap up and escalate.  Where actual fake news stories can lead to a man shooting up a pizzeria because he was told that it was a pedophile ring.

A time when family members of the Manchester bombing victims are trolled and accused of faking their sibling's death.  Where conspiracy theories run rife about the shootings at Sandy Hook and Las Vegas.  Where children who have survived a school shooting are being accused of being crisis actors.

Something seems to happen every damn day and with each new tragedy, the desensitization seems to escalate.  A tragedy happens, we post about thoughts and prayers and wonder, blindly, how this could happen whilst simultaneously, subconsciously, waiting for the next thing to happen. Then the cycle begins again.

How did we get to a place where the right wing media, politicians and gun lovers are attacking and ridiculing children, who have survived a horrendous school shooting, for making a stand for gun control.  Where instead of fire drills, children practice what to do if a school shooting happens.

I don't recognise this place; yet it is the world we are living in.  We bounce from one tragedy to another, without some seemingly understanding the implications, the scale and the seriousness.  We say "thoughts and prayers" without registering anything.

Is this what we are now?  Have I articulated this how I want?  I'm not sure.

What I do know is that there is still good in the world.  Voices that will not be drowned out.  People helping people.  People rising up, standing up and saying "No".

Talk about this comes in Part 2 of this blog.

25 May 2017

You Will Not Defeat Us

On Monday night I was playing around on Twitter and then suddenly, my heart dropped.  A potential explosion at the Manchester Arena.

I followed the story for about an hour.  At that point, there was no real information coming out. Trying to piece together conspiracy theories, people saying that it was just a speaker that exploded, others saying that nothing had happened at all.

By 11.30pm all I knew was that something had definately happened, but not what.  I woke at 7.30am to hear the worst news imaginable.  A terrorist had detonated a nail bomb, killing, maiming and injuring dozens of people.  Children. 

I cried as I watched Olivia Campbell's mother on the television pleading for news of her daughter.  I sobbed when I heard of her death.  Every story I read makes me cry.  I think of the wounded in hospital, with terrifyingly bad injuries and wonder how their families are getting through it.

But why am I telling you this?  You know what happened.  You have felt and are feeling exactly the same feelings. We have all been glued to the news, to Twitter and people's stories about what happened for the past two days.  I won't talk further about what that man did.  It was monstrous. How you can specifically target children and their parents and subject them to what happened is something I can and will never fathom.

What I want to talk about today is how this country comes together in the worst of times.  We become the best of ourselves in times of adversity and conflict.

Police and ambulance crews dashing to scene, without regard for their own lives or whether any more explosions could happen.  Every level of staff member from receptionists to surgeons upon hearing the news running to their hospitals to help.  To save people.  Taxi drivers turning their meters off to ferry anyone home who needed it.  Droves of people offering their homes, food, and blood.  Anything that they could do to help.

When we are divided we are weaker.  Be it politics, referendums or people trying to drive us apart.  When we are strong is when it matters.  The Olympics.  The clean up campaign arranged on Twitter after the London riots.  Now.  

CharleyHasted on Twitter sums us up pretty well.

British Stages of response to a terrorist attack:
-Mocking terrorists

I found in delight the #BritishThreatLevels hashtag on Twitter today.  When I saw it initially, my heart again sank.  I knew that the threat level had been changed to critical.  My heart rose when I saw hundreds of people, and gaining by the hour, saying that they were not afraid of terrorists.

We are afraid of tea running out, of people on the bus actually talking to us; someone who doesn't fancy "a cheeky Nandos"; 1 centimeter of snow; the incorrect use of their, there, and they're.  We are not afraid of you.

So terrorists, listen to us.  You will NEVER defeat us.  You will NEVER knock us down because we will ALWAYS get back up.  Even when the EDL turned up in Manchester today, they were thwarted by Mancunians who would not dealt with their hatred.  Not today.  Not ever.  

You will NEVER turn us against each other because at its heart, this country is one.  Name one other country who has, two days after an attack, fought against terror with talk of tea and sarcasm.  

We are STRONG. You are COWARDS. We stand together with every country that you have attacked, whether the media bother to mention them or not.

I sometimes wonder why we are called Great Britain.  Today I remembered.