I’m aware that I’m not some prolific writer, but I felt a pull to write about the recent attacks in Paris.
I can be a true product of my generation, apathetic and unaffected. It’s not because I have no heart, it’s because there is too much to feel for in this world. I am so overwhelmed by all the cruelty, hate, and blind judgement. My heart can’t feel for it all.
When I do feel affected by an event, though, it stands out. For me, the attacks in Paris are more frightening than 9/11. Don’t get me wrong, both events were terrible and horrific. I just can’t shake the manner of how the attacks were executed in France. Both were sudden, alarming, sneaky attacks on innocent civilians. In 9/11 we’ve got planes flying into buildings, mass confusion abound, but for the most part the targets were government buildings and/or statuses of capitalism.
In Paris, a rock concert was attacked and a cafe. These are places of joy for regular people. People who are complex and have good and bad sides just like everyone else in this world. Most of them have no control over their government’s armies and political warfare. We vote for politicians, yes, but I still feel we have no control over what politicians do. I feel every government in this world is corrupt and we the people have no real power. This is why I’m apathetic.
It’s also why I love George Orwell’s 1984 and the quote “If there is any hope, it lies in the proles.”
If you are unfamiliar with 1984, it’s about a dystopian future where the government is constantly watching you and there’s a designated hate week for any enemies of the “party”. Pure, utter blind hatred for a group the government tells its people to hate.The protagonist Winston sees the flaws of his government but feels powerless to do anything about it. He constantly looks around him and thinks, if anything were to change the common people, the proles, would have to band together and rise up.
Unfortunately, like Winston I see the potential to change our governments, but I also have no energy to do anything about it. I’m not rallying the proles up to fight against the cruelty of this world. I’m not protesting. All I’ve got is this mediocre blog and a decent laptop.
All I can say, whether I have any wisdom in my recently turned 31 year old body is that we can’t let these attacks scare us. We have to keep on living and enjoying life. We have to remember there is good and bad in every region, country, religion, society, group, workforce, etc, etc, etc. This is not a problem of a “religion”. It’s a problem with blind ideology. Blaming a religion for these attacks would be like blaming all Christians for the hate mongering of The Westboro Baptist Church.
We cannot be afraid to travel, to meet people, to exchange our thoughts, feelings, and values. If we reach out to others, there’s the possibility of changing the hateful actions of those who blindly follow destruction.
When you look at groups that engage in hateful behavior what is the common thread? They all try to keep ‘others’ out. They congregate around those who are familiar and have identical ideologies and beliefs. Once the grumbling crowd gets big enough it becomes a roar that turns into constant hate weeks.
This is the true danger. We cannot shut ourselves out from those who are different. Find your ‘tribe’, your people, yes, but don’t attack others.
Hold onto your beliefs as long as you see fit and as long as it’s not harming others. Seek to understand, to be understood and maybe, just maybe we can all get along.