Today I feel sick, for the man who was killed yesterday, his family and friends, and the entire human race. We live in a world where there seems to be a culture developing that Violence is some sort of action used to justify ones beliefs. Where in reaction to these crimes people feel as if it is there right to cast a sweeping generalisation against a race or religion as a result of the acts of the few, not the many.
Yes, the men guilty of the murder yesterday appear to have been Muslim extremists, but the definition of extremist is:
|A person who holds extreme or fanatical political or religious views, esp. one who resorts to or advocates extreme action|
Note: ‘A person’. Not ‘all people’
Let’s face it, yes there are groups and there are many, from different religions, races and walks of life, but even if someone instructed those men to do what they did yesterday under some misguided belief that it would get the ‘right’ sort of attention for their cause, two individuals had within them the capacity to commit a heinous crime. It isn’t their religion that makes them do it, sure it’s a factor, their belief in it is obviously deep-rooted and allows them to use it as a reason for committing crimes against humanity, but it isn’t what tells them to do it. There are quotes all over the internet today from members of the muslim community denouncing the actions of these two men yesterday, it isn’t whats written in their bible, it isn’t what they are taught, it’s the action of a few, affecting the lives of many, on both sides of this. Those men did not commit the murder because their entire faith believes in what they do, they did it because they believe in it. They didn’t do it because of where they were born, or the colour of their skin and for every person who has made that assumption, aligned themselves with that sort of bigotry and declared their own misguided beliefs, they should know that makes them not too dissimilar to the perpetrators of these crimes.
Growing up as I did, Irish and Catholic in the UK, I can tell you that it doesn’t feel good when someone asks your last name to make an assumption about you, as a child in school we had a student teacher and upon hearing her Belfast accent I was delighted there was someone else from where I was from, first thing she asked little old nine-year old me? What was my surname, she was sizing me up, she needed to know which side my loyalties lay and I can tell you, they very definitely lay on the My Little Pony side as opposed to the Barbie on, I was always sure of that. My friends used to get upset when I said I was going home for the summer ‘but you’ll get blown up’ they’d say and I’d laugh, because I knew I would be fine, the army men at the check points always checked under our car with mirrors and smiled at me through the window (have always been a slut for a man in uniform)
So how did that affect me? Did I decide to become a freedom fighter for Ireland? Did I hate British Soldiers? Did I shout abuse at my english friends at school for the persecution that happened so long ago that we aren’t taught it in schools here in the UK? Nope. Because my parents brought me up properly, Catholicism didn’t play too great a role in my life, no confession or communion for me, course as I got older and heard about the troubles I learnt more and yes, I am angry at the people responsible for violence that took relatives and people my family knew away from them. But I wont be going out on a rampage, my religion, my place of birth and the colour of my skin have yet to make me a raving extremist and I don’t think it’s coming any time soon either. Surely I’m living proof that the sweeping statements about a race are ridiculous, I’m not stupid nor an alcoholic but it doesn’t make me any less Irish than Paddy and Mick in those jokes people think it’s ok to tell every Irish person they meet (and it is, they’re funny, just go easy)
For me the bottom line is this, yesterday, two human beings, ok let’s be more specific, two Male Homosapiens, chose to take the life of another Male Homosapien, because they decided that it is in some way defendable if you quote a bible, a god that many don’t even believe exists (some people don’t believe in any god of any religion) those two men were wrong.
No matter which way you swing it, there is no right on this earth for one man to decide to take the life of another. Just as I have no right to judge your beliefs and you have no right to judge mine.