Monday, 22 September 2014

Them and Us! #ethnicity #religion #disease

Right now, the world is a bit of a  mess. There is the huge threat to world stability and peace with the tinder box of the Middle East in the throes of a Holy War. We have Russia wielding its might against the Ukraine - 'It is only a little country.' I hear you say, but let me remind you of the whereabouts of the beginning of World War 1. Africa can only be described as a proverbial mess. We have flexing of the muscles of the giants of SE Asia, and we have the United States and its coalition partners trying to be the peace makers and brokers when others, who have much more at stake, refuse to stand up and be counted.
The very evolution of the world and its environs has meant the development of different races of different colour, different beliefs, different lifestyles, different languages. These differences are not exclusive to different continents but are abundant, even within countries, as man formed into tribes for survival. This very fight for survival has meant that man has fought man since the beginning of time. It is simply the magnitude of the battle, the ferocity of the fight and the loss of morals that makes today's battle such a despicable one. We have lost our way as a society. We are supposed to care for our fellow man, and yet, we remain silent when bad things happen. Is this because we have become so self absorbed that we cannot see past the next selfie? Is it because we do not want to stand up and be counted for fear that no-one will support us? (This does happen friends - all the time!) All too often there are those who make the bullets but, are not prepared to fire them, or take the consequences of their actions. Is it self preservation that makes us shy away from doing the tough stuff?

How easy is it with social media to feel we are doing our bit without actually doing anything. We simply hashtag the latest issue, feel righteous, then move on and not give a second thought to the actual plight of those involved. A classic example of this is #saveourgirls. Whatever became of this movement - too hard, too old?? I can remember at the time talking to others about these poor, unfortunate girls and saying that if they were not released, I hoped they had all been lined up and shot. It was greeted by stunned silence! However, I went on to explain that there is a fate worse than death, and these girls were likely to meet it. They will be raped, tortured, sold into slavery and a misery that few of us can imagine. To them death would be merciful, and welcome, but we have moved on to the next hashtag #icebucketchallenge, so our conscience is clear (apparently)!

In Africa, we have the ultimate enemy of Ebola, as it heeds no borders, no religion, no tribal ethnicity. We all thought this outbreak would be like others, where it hung around for a while, killed off a few, and retreated back to the rainforest. However, while the world (until recently) stood by and waited, this virus spread like the plague in the Middle Ages. Lack of hygiene, lack of will, corrupt governments, ignorance, and complacency from the West has let this crisis escalate till it is no longer just their problem (which we would happily ignore forever). Without Bill Gates the world would have waited forever, then screamed blue murder when it arrived on our doorstep. Oh sorry, that is different, as it is now 'us' and not just 'them'!

We have a very strong 'them and us' mentality today. All the way from religion, civil rights, health issues, and everything in between to whether or not daycare is good for kids. There is no 'them' and 'us' with sickness.It strikes indiscriminately! Yes, the battle may be different depending upon your circumstance, but it makes us face our mortality and realize that no one of us is any better or worse than another. It is how we play the game of life that will make a difference when our time has come. We will be able to say we lived a life well lived and done our very best for ourselves and others.

It is time those within religions stood up and be counted against their own who perpetrate evil. Stand up publicly and stand beside the country that has become their home, accept their customs and say enough is enough. We are firstly citizens and secondly a religion. It is time for us to become one community. The world is no longer a conglomeration of isolated tribes that occasionally happen to bump into each other. We live next door to each other, we travel through each others borders constantly. We need to respect each others beliefs, and way of life, while embracing the community as a whole. Through standing up for others - be it those less fortunate, the ill and infirm, religious and sectarian minorities, women, children - we can make the world a better place.

So drag yourself away from your cell phone. Be not afraid to actually take a stand a little more strongly than #selfiewithoutmakeup. Have a look at those Kurdish women who have taken up arms to fight evil. They are real women with real issues and real courage. Instead of 'Them' and 'Us' let us try to become 'One'. We will not succeed in one day, and we do not have to do the quantum leap on the first day! But, by actually standing up for what is right and the rights of others, we and the world will prosper.

Maybe,just maybe, out of this mess a real Spring will rise!


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