I am Australian, and no matter how much I tried to avoid the sensationalism of the news of ‘the siege’ yesterday, well it hit me.
Disbelief at first, then the sensation which I have since identified as anxiety.
1. The fearful realisation that the city I live in, part of my world, is not immune to violence of this nature. The rational part of me says, ‘wait a sec, it’s a lone man in a cafe’. It’s not a ‘terrorists attack’, is it? What constitutes a ‘terrorists attack’ anyway? I have no idea but I can not fathom it is decided upon religious lines only. Nevertheless, naive or otherwise, bad things happen. The question is how do I (or how do we) respond?
2. The dreaded certainty of the media circus that would ensue, making the feeling of ‘unsafe’ worse. The notion of ‘one man in a cafe’ was quickly dismissed in the media for more ‘attractive’ words like terrorism, Muslim, siege etc.. And through it all, I could not dismiss the sense perhaps this is being ‘talked up’. My anxiety surrounds the almost certainty that ‘hate’ would somehow flow. True enough, calls were heard for tighter migration, deportation of certain migrants, derision for the rule of law, accusations of ‘wrong-doing’ by those within ‘law & order’…the list goes on.
3. The frustration, anger and sadness that once again I am confronted with the ugliness of humanity. Not just of a person for whatever reasons choosing to take the life of another human being, but also the thoughtless, ill-considered and hateful comments thrown around during and post-incident. I will not repeat them here. I guess if I could I would hide under a very big rock because I prefer not to expend energy on negativity, to bring attention to things not worthy of attention such as this ugliness. I also know I live in this world and sometimes, I am called to add my voice. So here it is.
4. The heavy sense of loss and sadness for the lives affected by this incident, and the loss of love and innocence perhaps.
THEN out of sombre mood, this appears on Twitter.
This comforts me.
This inspires me.
This, I hope, overrides the many ‘shockjock’ comments on the radio and the fear-mongering appearing in the media.
This is compassion.
This is loving kindness.
This reinforces my trust in humanity.
When someone warns you that your compassion may not be reciprocated, that is fear.
When someone tells you that you are naive for choosing to believe in the goodness of others, that is fear.
When someone makes you choose between ‘them’ or ‘us’, that is fear.
When someone ridicules your kindness as stupidity or ignorance, that is fear.
When someone treats your loving actions with suspicion and doubts, that is fear.
Our compassion and kindness must never be dependent on reciprocity, they are given freely and with love.
So, Fear or Love? What do you choose?
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