It’s been a very hard day. Children have been the target of violence once again. There was a horrific bombing in Manchester, a place I know well, and so much grief as lives were shattered.
How to respond to the lone killer? What to do? How to stop this violence? Part of me was feeling the futitility of looking for needles in a haystack. Another part of me was connecting to the incoming wave of energy to increase the positive flow. I know that in my shock, disbelief and grief it would be easy to say that whoever killed the children was the worst kind of human. I would hope that if I had the power to launch missiles I would refuse. Because there are so many back stories to this tragedy. This is a massive failure of love. Lives lost because of division, hate and justifications of morally reprehensible actions.
What do I mean? As I processed the events in Manchester I thought about all of the children who are on the planet right now. Across the world children suffer on a daily basis whilst the adults around them wage war in one another. Sometimes a war of words. Often a war of economics. Certainly a war of violent bombing and sudden death. Even a war of sexual abuse. I feel we have ignored these wars in our own communities to our cost. The person radicalised to make this attack, whatever their religion, birthplace, culture, was manipulated by a victim psychology. When I refuse to listen to the stories of others I am part of that victimisation. If I refuse to address the inequality and hate others suffer I am part of that victimisation.
Hate is such an easy emotion to share. Based in fear, all sorts of fears, hate can be dished out to anyone and everyone who I mark out as different. Hate creates the backdrop against which someone drives themselves to kill.
Every bomber was a child once. It might be simplistic to say that but it’s true. I don’t believe that children are born evil. I believe that our experiences and the people who surround us shape our futures. There are always choices. But if you have been in the middle of a war zone for so long that it has become normal your choices might be very different than those of a child who has been safe. A war zone doesn’t have to be actual bombs and bullets. Words can create a war zone inside a child’s head. Adults preaching them and us, blaming certain sections of the community or remembering the injustices of many years gone by. These are hooks to hang hate on.
So alongside the people who were killed and injured yesterday evening, and the many events before that, I also want to place all of those children who have died. It is perhaps my greatest grief. That we do so little for so many defenceless, vulnerable future adults. They are our future. The seeds of last night were sown a long time ago. And until we start to accept that we will continue to experience violence as the last resort of the oppressed. This is nothing as simple as saying the violence belongs to one group, one faith system, one country or one gang. That all we have to do is eradicate that group, faith, country, gang. The very act of blitzing one group will create more martyrs to new causes.
What about the children then? How can I ever bring an end to the cycle of viloelnce? Something must change.
What I feel has to change is our response. It’s time to listen to the stories of all those who feel dispossessed, alienated and victimised. Compassion and love have to enter into this process. I believe we have to face our liking for division. It gives us something to blame when life goes badly. Then I know we have to put aside our focus on differences and start to acknowledge our sameness. The hardest part will be finding love. Strong, powerful love that says ‘not in my name’. The kind of love that refuses to strike back indescriminately at everyone and everything. A love that reminds us that we too can overcome hatred. Because we love ourselves enough to see that it’s the only way forward.
I know it’s also time to respect and cherish each and every child in the world. To offer children our protection, support and encouragement. I’m the adult who is responsible for creating a better, safer world for the children in it. It’s important that I remember that so I can do everything possible to challenge hate. Words aren’t enough. I have to put into action my promise to the children being born. It’s time for all of us to end their suffering. To stand as grown ups and demand change so that children’s rights are respected. To ensure that our elected representatives are working to put our children first. Respect for the basic rights of children must become our first call. These children are the future. With love and hope they can end the hate. But we have to do it first.
There are families grieving all over world today. There are parents who are holding their children a little bit closer. Tragedies unite us. Surely it’s time to be united in love for all children before the next tragedy has a chance to strike.
Day 547 of my blogging challenge