One of my most special childhood memories was when I would fall asleep in the car after a long car journey and my dad would carry me into the house and put me to bed.
Sometimes I would pretend to be asleep. I loved that feeling of happiness and safety created by his strong arms carrying me up the stairs, the familiar smell of his aftershave and the blanket of security such a simple act of parenting afforded me.
But for even us privileged people of the western world, who sit in our ivory towers moaning about our first world problems, today feels like no one and nowhere is safe anymore.
In spite of the numerous advancements in science and technology over the past few decades, it feels as though progress has sadly augmented our vulnerability in the face of terrorism.
Just me, or does it feel to you as though the world has suddenly gone mad?
From random high school shootings and racist attacks in the US, an increase in suicide rates worldwide, kidnappings, mass genocide and rape – where did the good news go?
Is it just because we have immediate access to the news and its daily atrocities that we feel more exposed, or did such heinous acts in the name of politics and religion always go on?
Sadly, you only have to look back to the battles in Europe before the World wars, Hitler and Germany, The American Civil War and the war between Palestine and Israel to know that they did. The fact that most of the world remained immune to the genocide of Europe’s Jewish population until close to the end of the war proves it.
Innocent bystanders have always been the pawns of political and religious idealism but you’d think that progress would have taught us that war and violence solve nothing and that communication is a better way. And when the innocent are enjoying a simple night out, to be savagely targeted by cowards, without any means of protection to defend themselves, it feels all the more shameful and inhumane.
That is the work of butchers.
What has caused this decrease in the value of human life, and increase in the entitlement of extremists to push their personal idealism on others via physical force, rather than through the modern channels of communication and democracy.
No-one is safe anymore.
I lived in France for three years in my twenties and I would never have considered any deep-seated threat lurking there, or felt afraid that religion and politics – social groups that are supposed to hold and bring people together and create communities – could kill.
Not that historically anything has really changed – the innocent have long been persecuted by power-hungry dictators or small factions of self-serving murderers. Worse still, we know that our instant access to world news most likely propels the perpetrators to kill in the most public of places, to attract news coverage. As seen during the siege in Sydney, when the media had to be reminded to stop filming their minute-by-minute account of the events to protect the people still in danger.
Which leaves us in a conundrum. We cannot live in fear. We cannot let the terrorists win. We need to bring about awareness of terrorism and it’s small-minded idealism without sensationalizing or propagating it so that innocent people – that include the majority of Muslims and refugees, feel safe again.
Our thoughts are with you, Paris.