How Should We Be Remembered in History?

Over the last three months, I have been watching a lot of BBC World News and CNN, they’re the only English channels we get at the moment. It’s safe to say I know more about Donald Trump, the European Union and the refugee crisis than the things that are going on in my home country. I don’t see it as something negative, just a new perspective. I recognise how differently the news is covered on this side of the world, and how countries here are trying to deal with the things that are important to them.

This post comes as a pent up response to the war in Syria and the refugee crisis, triggered by the bill passed last evening to make Denmark unappealing to people fleeing from war.

I sympathise with the immigrants; it makes me very sad that they are what politicians would call collateral damage. This poem by Warsan Shire shared on social media was shared after the Paris attacks. It was shared to show the difference in how the media differentiated between Paris and Beirut- both struck by terror at the time:

Warsan Shire- Atlas

The world is hurting everywhere. Humanity, at least from all my growing up, meant that we attempt to understand each other and lend a hand to one another. What’s happening today is the opposite- there is so much fear and hate against one set of people because of a few radicals, allowing everyone to be irrational enough look after their own interests, enough to allow families to drown every single day trying to get away from war and violence for a life of safety and peace.

I refuse to believe that the United States of America- supposedly the most powerful nation in the world cannot come up with a strategy and implementation plan to stop this atrocity. Besides, it was their interference that caused the whole thing. What kind of gain occurs from displacing and ill-treating millions of people? Why isn’t the elitist part of the Middle East not taking responsibility to rehabilitate their neighbours? Surely it’s easier for Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman, Qatar among others to open their gates, saving their neighbours from crossing several borders to the other side in dangerous weather conditions!

Worse, the most economically stable nations in western Europe can’t accommodate the victims of this war. These are people who didn’t want a war in the first place and have fled their homes for no fault of their own. This is not officially a world war, but it sure feels like it.  A friend was narrating an incident about how a child’s balloon burst turned heads in a park. We mustn’t allow this politics of fear to cloud our minds. It doesn’t show that we have learnt anything from the centuries of war and violence since the beginning of our existence. The difference is that the means have become more dreadful.

I am not holier than you. I am afraid, just like you. It happened a week after the Paris attacks. I was afraid on a train where a Syrian refugee carried a bag and was constantly checking the aisles, all the time looking anxious. At first I didn’t know why. It made me fear him and what he might do. But what happened in the end was, he didn’t have a ticket or any documents and he was told to get off at the next station. I was scared, but I was angry and ashamed at myself for thinking the worst of him. I am ashamed, still. This is what they want, groups like the IS. We mustn’t give in. I also know that it’s easier said than done, so I include myself in saying we need to be better.

We pride ourselves as the highest species because of our brain. What happens to that when we turn on each other? When a tiger can befriend a goat and keep it safe, surely we can be kinder to each other.

Islamophobia has become a word! An actual word! And last night a member of parliament from Denmark used Donald Trump’s ban on Muslims to justify his own point of view! This is the same presidential candidate who turned away a Muslim woman and a Sikh man who came to his rallies in peace. This is the same person who says the most obnoxious things that insult every other minority group to be seen and ridiculed in the media. It was funny at first, now it is dangerous. There are people who actually want to vote for him! I cannot even describe how much that alarms me.

We are losing the ability to think rationally. Yes, the world can be a cruel place but that doesn’t we see only the worst in everyone, and certainly not in the ones that need help. These prejudices and this hatred stem from a few and are exaggerated by the media. News is also a form of entertainment- at least mainstream news is. It’s time for the silent majority to speak up, in spite of the backlashes.

How will this time be remembered (if we survive that long) in history?

Thankfully, it isn’t all hopeless. I am proud to live in a country whose leader understands, beyond criticism to do the right thing. The Cologne attacks are not a backlash of the good that she has done. They are an example of the few people taking advantage- like rotten apples in the stack, that need removing. It doesn’t mean we throw away all the apples!

There are ways around this crisis if solutions are really being looked for by Presidents and Prime Ministers. It is possible to get past the double standards, if the dirty politics are kept aside.

Is this really how democracy works? Wasn’t it supposed to be of, by and for the people? Which people was Lincoln referring to?

This video made by Kurzgesagt meaning “in a nutshell”, a company based in Munich explain how there are no excuses to close borders.

 

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