Confronting people on the content and essence of their character is audacious.
It is an unwelcome and unpopular thing to do. I'm completely okay with that, I'm not here to be liked, to be popular, to fit the mould or conform to majority standards. I am here to deserve my place in the world. I am here to make a difference, to make my ancestors lighting the sky proud, to educate my daughter on the importance and supremacy of love and kindness above all else.
Am I a sweet and compliant person that is all about rainbows and pixie dust? No, not even close. But I love fiercely and I believe wholeheartedly in the right of all to be equal, to have the same opportunities, to have a place to rest their heads safely every night.
The truth is, on a daily basis, I see words and actions that defy belief. Here we are in 2015 and I STILL see characterisation of minorities and vulnerable people with disdain by those who are fortunate; STILL see vilification of entire racial or religious groups; STILL see people banding together in hatred for the most ignorant and abhorrent reasons.
We have people who are condemning people of the Muslim faith as archaic and patriarchal and yet, our very Anglo-Christian government denies the existence of scientifically proven climate change, we have an Anglo-Christian government telling us abortions are wrong and women ought not have the right over her own body, we have an Anglo-Christian government telling us abortions cause cancer and they are justified in cutting Medicare, raising educational costs and taxation because people will soon be living until they are 150.
There is a prevailing sense that the Anglo-Christian ideals are supreme, are preferable to other religions and anyone not willing to assimilate to that way of being and thinking is unpatriotic or an extremist.
We have, as a human race, a dark and horrifying history. All races and religions have perpetrated violence, including but not limited to:
- An estimated 3 million people of the Muslim faith murdered in the Christian crusades;
- An estimated 17 million deaths during the holocaust;
- An estimated 150 million deaths in world wars 1 and 2;
- Immeasurable deaths of Indigenous people during colonial expansion;
- Millions upon millions dead as a result of many genocides.
We have persecuted and perpetuated violence and murder against our fellow man for the sake of religion, race, politics, land and economic factors. We hold remembrances, memorials, we write in history books and we attempt to portray ourselves as enlightened. But what have we really learnt? To my mind, nothing!
There are people that key into social media and think it is acceptable to make bigoted comments under the guise of being "entitled to an opinion." Yes, all are entitled to opinions but you have a duty to educate yourself before forming a view. A friend of a friend making a racist comment does not justify your racist views. A white supremacist lunatic quoting nonsensical facts to state that 'Muslims are taking over the world' does not justify your ignorance.
You are born fortunate enough to have access to an education that a great many people in the world do not have, you have a duty to use it. Learn, enlighten yourself, challenge yourself. Intelligence is not simply being able to do a mathematical equation, it is about critical analysis and thought process. Live in the grey and learn more about yourself and the world we live in.
Learn that the people who are desperate enough to board a boat with the promise of a land that will not persecute them for being simply who they are, are not 'illegal.' Claiming asylum is not illegal, it is a human right. These people are vulnerable, are in danger and do not have access to wifi to know what 'Centrelink' they can 'screw out of the government when they get here' - they simply want to live another day, another week, see their children reach adulthood, see their children eat a meal, live another day without fearing execution for who they love or what they believe. To deny a basic level of living to the vulnerable illustrates the very essence of your character, it illustrates your greed and selfishness, but most of all your sheer stupidity for failing to learn the truth.
Learn that there are people in the world that are struggling to feed their children, they are not bad parents but are living in famine. They are the product of a man made disaster. Famine is not natural, it is man made and it is political. We have the means to eradicate hunger, we have the means to eradicate a considerable amount of diseases, we have the means to educate every boy and girl in the world - so why don't we? I think you know the answer to that already, whether you are still in denial or not.
Learn that although there are extremist individuals of the Muslim faith, this is not indicative of the religion, anymore than the Ku Klux Klan is indicative of Christianity. Learn that all the clichés you may read or, even worse, write about yourself are not true. Each individual in this world is born into a set of circumstances that they have to grapple with. Each person has their own set of challenges to deal with and overcome whether you are born black, white, privileged or poor.
All people suffer in some way, but it is how we love through it and help each other through it that will ultimately define our presence on this planet.
When you go home and cook a dinner for your family, look at the plates, look at the food - appreciate it, for you are fortunate. There are countless people who will be eating less or nothing at all. Countless people who didn't eat all day, or yesterday either. There are people that are on the run, being persecuted, exhausted and yet, they cannot stop to eat for fear that their attackers will catch up to them.
When you hear someone talking about 'illegal immigrants,' take a moment to think about how you would handle being born in a country where you could be executed simply for loving who you love or being of the faith that you are or being the race that you are. Imagine that you made a promise to your parents who were murdered by the powers that be that you would do whatever it took to search for a better life. Imagine if that choice lead you to an opportunity to come to a country with drinking water, without abhorrent violence and ritual killings, to claim asylum and be protected. Imagine, if you learned that the choice to board that boat would have you labelled a criminal when you have always been law abiding, imagine if you had to fathom that the citizens of the country you thought would protect you as a fellow human being, consider you sub-human and don't want to protect you.
When you hear someone denigrating Indigenous Australians, take a moment to think about how you would feel if your home, religion, culture and entire identity was ripped from under you. Imagine witnessing massacres of your family. Imagine having your children stolen and never seeing them again. Imagine witnessing your children being murdered. Imagine then, being told to get over it. Imagine having to numb your pain somehow to get day to day and then being told you are scum for the means in which you numb your pain.
This is not about guilt, guilt does not solve any problems.
This is about understanding, knowledge, education, compassion and most of all - LOVE.
That is what will change the world. Love. Love always has been the answer but we are distracted by economics and politics.
Love is what is needed to fuel change.
I urge you when you see someone hungry, help them. Buy a sandwich and a juice, offer a kind word - it may be the only gentle voice they hear. I urge you to ferociously love this person by railing against the institutions that have lead to this person's hunger and demand that change be effected.
I urge you when you hear racial or religious intolerance to love the vulnerable who cannot speak for themselves. Love them fiercely by speaking against such intolerance. Don't accept these discussions, challenge them.
I urge you to be brave and open your own mind, learn about the issues, have conversations with people that have lived it and learn from them.
Don't be a party to hate being the prevailing emotion of humanity, be a part of the betterment of the world with love.