Saturday, 25 May 2013

Stronger for our differences, not weaker.

In last night's post I ended by saying that I wanted to comment about the serious events that had occurred over the last few days. 

On Thursday Army drummer Lee Rigby was brutally murdered in the street in Woolwich by two men. It appears that they first hit him with their car, and then hacked up with a machete. This on a street next to a school in the afternoon. 

After the attack the two murderers stayed at the scene whilst the police arrived, encouraging witnesses to take pictures and to video them. 

When the police arrived, the two men charged them, and were shot in the legs. They have been taken to hospital. 

There have since been two other arrests linked to the murderer. 

Can any of us imagine how can Lee Rigby's family feel right now ? To have the barbaric murder of their loved one plastered so thoroughly across the media. Potentially to have seen the images of him being attacked before any identification had been made. 

The media frenzy included TV channels broadcasting one of the murders, issuing warnings to people at the scene, and 'justifying' his actions, standing there saying all these inflammatory things, with his hands obviously bloodied from the attack. 

Personally, I don't understand why it was necessary to give the mouthpiece of national media to such people. That's not censorship, that's sensitivity. To show images of Lee Rigby, murdered at the scene. Do people need to see such things ? I can't believe that they do. 

As perhaps anyone could have anticipated, the social media sites went into overdrive. A sudden flood of national pride, support for the armed forces became very quickly mixed in with practically racist paranoia. The quickly reacting, slow on thinking seemed to have access to keyboards. 

How quickly people leapt to conclusions that the country is under attack, or that laws should be changed to deal with people like the murderers. 

I was struck by the observation that terrorism works not by the size of the attack or action, but by spreading the fear that such an action could happen again, and that if could effect more people. Creating terror, doesn't mean killing or hurting lots and lots of people. 

By reacting in the way some people and organisations have, they are actually helping the terrorists' aims. Spreading more fear and hate. 

Our society is not perfect, there are many injustices that occur. People disagree, but this is normal in a democracy. What we have may not be the best thing, but it is the best option of all those available. People that react by baying for blood, and that the police or security services are given more powers to intercept or to detain are also helping the terrorists, by deconstructing the society, the democracy and the liberties and freedoms that make it what it is. 

Surely the fact that people from other cultures or parts of the world are afraid enough of the freedoms in our society that they want to attack it tells you more about their insecurities and how much in envy of our way of life they are. For them to act this way, they themselves must be frightened. Fear leads to hate, hate leads to anger.... and so the streets are covered with blood of an innocent. 

Another observation to the reaction of these terrible events was that an elderly muslim gentleman was also hacked to death a couple of weeks ago by a white man. This received no coverage at all. I do not understand how one person's life, no matter who or where they are is worth less, or worthy of less recognition than another. 

I've commented upon what I perceive as the negative elements in the reactions to the heinous murder of Lee Rigby. I should also remark that I have been warmed by the rational and balanced response by most of my friends, and I am sure most other people too. Theirs was a response of support, unification, defiance and resilience. That such actions will not divide us. We are British, and we remain standing shoulder to shoulder. We will carry on, we will not let the actions of those that seek to destroy us to succeed. 

Our differences do not make us weaker, they make us stronger. Regardless of our creed, colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation, political disposition (please forgive me if I have left any out) we are stronger together than anything else.  

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