In the wake of the terror that has struck at Paris, but will strike elsewhere in an equally senseless manner, I’ve been really struggling with how to go about my life while being inundated by news of horrific realities?
I can’t stop thinking of fearful innocent children and babies, their heartbroken mothers and fathers, and the desperate, confused, sick and elderly all trying to survive in what is amounting to hell on earth.
I can’t stop seeing that photo of a little boy’s body, like a doll’s, prostrate on a beach. I can’t escape the photos in social media and on TV of life rafts bulging with desperate humans, or soldiers in Belgium with automatic weapons who must be wondering about every single person walking towards them and whether they are who they seem.
I was in a shopping mall the other day and I saw a Muslim woman pushing her child in a stroller. I felt sad thinking about what it might feel like to be her. I wondered if she was fearful just to go shopping knowing that even though it’s Canada, there is that ignorant plague who haven’t bothered to educate themselves, and never have. Their reactions always predictable when confronted by any type of difference regardless of its manifestation, whether indigenous, homeless, or immigrant. We all know them.
All of this going on and yet I still have clean sheets. I wash my dishes. I have the luxury of safety in my living room. I eat chocolate. I watch TV. I go about my small little life and feel comforted by familiarity. I enjoy some of the nice things that I have purchased – and grown attached to – on vacations in foreign places. So many people have had that small luxury of attachment ripped from their reality. Or they never experienced it in the first place.
So when I hear Canadians call into radio shows and say, “But we’re just not ready to accept 25,000 refugees,” I want to laugh at them and their wariness in a world that is begging for heroes. Who said anything about being ready? Just like those fleeing, ready or not has become the new reality. Our risk, however, is so much less than the risk refugees lived with ever time they left their homes, when they had homes, before their homes were blown to bits.
And don’t be fooled into thinking that this is just about the newly power hungry. Don’t let recent events lull you into ignoring the West’s role in this, the actions of Superpowers, and who armed who and which side is backing the others and learning a least a little bit about what contributed to how we ended up here in this mess.
If not now, then when? If you’re not willing to have your small little life disturbed just a little, for the sake of others in desperate life and death need, then when? Stop living as if he or she, they, those foreigners, have nothing to do with you because they’re there and you’re here. If you live in Canada, you won the lifestyle lottery through no effort of your own.
What strikes me overwhelmingly in the frenzied din of all those media producers beating every Think Tank for commentators is all the new terminology. There’s that word: caliphate. Whenever I hear that word, I am offended. It’s as if I’ve entered some medieval video game that I never wanted to play in the first place. And then at complete odds with that ideology, we have a term that I just heard today in a different context – pathological hopefulness – which I think is a perfect fit for all those naive enough to think that, in this instance, prayer is going to make a difference.
I don’t want this new ugly knowledge as the warlord of my consciousness. It’s like a strain of bacteria that has mutated and is well on its way to becoming a Super bug.
Suicide belts and caliphates and all that other ridiculous boy toy, war game craziness feels like some James Bond film in which the virtual reality has managed to leap from the screen.
Given all this, I find myself wondering how to integrate what is going on in the world with the peace that is my own reality, the peace I have only ever desired be available to every soul on the planet.
So how are you feeling these days? Do you find yourself asking similar questions? What kind of touchstones are you finding any solace in? I’d really like to know.