As you know, this blog is written by women all over the world, to learn about each other’s lifestyles, beliefs, cultures, religion, way of life and even our food habits.
Whilst it’s easy for us to feel like our world is continually becoming more open minded, accepting and enlightened to our differences, that’s not really the case. The news shows an increase in hate crimes. Now I think it’s fair to say that those who commit these crimes don’t read our blog.
I don’t know how but we need to find a way of reaching outside. Reaching outside of our bubbles without prejudice or judgement, reaching outside of our world to those who feel ready to hurt another for who they are.
In her post this week Dilara wrote about the incredibly moving words of Nabra Hassanen’s father as he spoke of forgiveness and leaving the judgement up to God.
How could we have reached her killer before it got to this? Judging him as a fanatic wouldn’t have helped much. Calling him a racist would only have excluded him more. People who feel excluded from society can “other” another group – target them for their differences.
We need to be conscious of the rhetoric we use. The killers, these terrorists are people, not robots. People can change. Extremists can be integrated back into society – before they commit extremist acts. We need to believe that people can change. If people can’t change then what hope is there? If they can’t change were they just born like this? Or did they change to become this way? If they became this hateful is it so impossible that they could change to become accepting of others? What are we working for? If they are racists and terrorists who will never change what should we do? Kill them all because there’s no hope for them anyway?? Where does that leave us?
So when you come across someone who is using racist language or “othering” a group of people, ask them about it. Yes, they are different to you. Don’t judge them or condemn them at first – just listen. When people feel listened to and taken seriously they feel included, they feel part of society. They don’t feel irrelevant, they don’t feel like an outcast – really cast out for their views but to them those who they hold the views about are casting them out.
But to be honest, I don’t come across these people so often in my life. I suppose those people don’t come across people like me, and the women I write with, either. I don’t know how to reach these people. There needs to be more research, more known about who these people are who are committing acts of terror. Something tells me all of them felt excluded at one point in their lives, as we all have. So many of us have our village – our support network. What would we do without it? What do others do without a support network? Those who feel lonely and excluded: they are vulnerable. Who do they turn to? It’s hard to love when you are alone. It’s easier to hate alone.
Related to this topic: If you haven’t yet, please read The Wave by Todd Strasser. There’s a film too – but as always the book is better! https://www.amazon.com/dp/0440993717/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_dp_T1_4NOszb4ETN788
I’m not going to give the book too much of an introduction. You’ll thank me later.
Dilara, I stand with you. I shall love.