On Wednesday morning as I got ready for work, I sat down to drink my coffee and scroll through my Facebook feed. This is my morning ritual every week day before I put my makeup on. My Facebook “Memories” popped up and I was promptly reminded that it was one year ago that Belgium received a terror attack. It was a day that I will always remember and is particularly close to my heart because I am the result of a Belgian immigrant. My grandfather came to England with his mother and siblings in 1930 to escape The Great Depression. Thanks to immigration, I am here. I took a moment to remember that sad day from 12 months ago, and then I went to work. That afternoon whilst sat at my desk, a news alert appeared on my phone and it was at that moment I learnt of a terrorist attack on my own country. I followed the story online as it unfolded before my very eyes. I felt numb.
And then the tirade of comments and hatred from the closet xenophobics came. People I used to enjoy conversing and spending time with. I respect that it is possible to remain friends with someone and share a different opinion to them, but with the comments I’ve seen from those people, I’m not sure that personally I can remain friends with them. I don’t deal well with confrontation anyway and it only gives me flashbacks. But I do love a good, well structured debate and hearing why someone has those particular views. That isn’t what I was getting here though. Venom and hate poured all over social media. One that particularly got to me was a “friend” who posted this to their Facebook:
“Where’s all of the usual left wing bullshit about Islam being a religion of peace? Feel free to unfriend me if this offends you. After you have clicked unfriend, go and bury your head in the sand with all of the other snowflakes.”
I’ve since learnt what calling someone a “snowflake” means.
(slang, pejorative) Someone who believes they are as unique and special as a snowflake; someone hypersensitive to insult or offense, especially a young person with politically correct sensibilities
The Collins dictionary refers to it as:
“The young adults of the 2010s, viewed as being less resilient and more prone to offence than previous generation.”
I wouldn’t say that I’m hypersensitive at all, but if standing up for people from all walks of life makes me a fucking snowflake, then so be it.
I will not tolerate someone spouting racial and xenophobic abuse behind the safety of a computer screen. Hell, I wouldn’t accept it if someone was stood in front me saying it. The hatred in this country is unreal at the moment and I will not sit by and let people get away with it unchallenged. What we need right now is to focus on the incredible job that our security and health services did when things went down that Wednesday afternoon. We need to focus on the good in the world, because it’s too easy to let the evil take over. There are bad people in ALL walks of life and ALL religions. Religion is not the issue here, extremism is.
I will leave you with one of the greatest speeches of all time from Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator. It makes every hair on the back of my neck stand to attention and gives me waves of shivers. The words spoken here were true in the 1940s when the film was released, and it saddens me that they are still relevant today. Let love win. For once.
I’m sorry but I don’t want to be an Emperor, that’s not my business.
I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone.
I should like to help everyone if possible, Jew, gentile, black man, white.
We all want to help one another, human beings are like that.
We want to live by each other’s happiness, not by each other’s misery.
We don’t want to hate and despise one another.
In this world there is room for everyone and the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone.
The way of life can be free and beautiful.
But we have lost the way.
With love, Darling Soul x
In memory of those lives that were lost in the attacks on Westminster – 22nd March 2017