(This one might be a bit more soppy than usual)
In the wake of such horrific events this past week and the bombardment of arguments all over social media I felt like saying something.
I would love to write a long opinionated piece on all that has emerged this week, how I feel about what happened, how I feel about how people feel about what happened, the racism, the arguments, the borders closing, but I honestly don’t have the words. Scrolling through social media has highlighted some very extreme responses to me as well as some stories from truly remarkable people. So I’ll keep the participation in that brief before I actually get to the point I want to make today.
Social media is the most powerful tool this generation has to truly make a difference. You can reach the world with the click of a button and that is both a good and bad thing. If changing a profile picture to the French flag offends you because there isn’t one for Lebanon or Turkey then that’s okay. I don’t doubt that the West needs to start looking out for more than just the lives of people in the West and it is the responsibility of the media to ensure that the world is equally as aware of everything that is happening in the world. Especially with regards to Isis. Of course the media controls all so I don’t find it especially astounding that I had to google the events in Beirut as opposed to have them flash up on my phone like Paris did. But anything that works to pay respect to all those innocent lives that were lost, all the families and friends that are now suffering is never going to be perceived as a bad thing to me. Social media is the best of places to spread your respect. I’ve noticed a lot of my friends have changed them and I don’t think it’s unreasonable because Paris, for most of my network, is too close to home to not to be extremely terrifying and it is a city where I have a lot of family and friends. That’s all I have to say on that.
With regards to the incredibly racist comments I have read on some articles, blaming Muslims, closing borders etc etc, I have only to say it is cowardly and narrow minded. It is always easier to find a scapegoat when terrible things happen but there is nobody to blame but Isis, (and I could also quite happily add a spiel about the government’s participation in this here but I will refrain), and these kind of xenophobic arguments are precisely the reaction that they will desire. It is important, more so than ever, that ‘we’ be an all inclusive term, regardless of race or religion.
Saying that, in spite of these terrible events and some of the hideous comments to come from it, I have been overwhelmingly warmed by the amount of love and courage that there really is in the world. I’ve read the stories of survivors and their experiences and there were no words of hate between them. Strangers helped and consoled strangers. People put their lives on the line to save their neighbours. There are some terrible terrible people in the world but they are always dwarfed by the good.
What struck me is that in people’s last moments, they only think of the people they love, and tell them that they love them.
Moving to Hong Kong has definitely given me some perspective on a few things, one is how grateful I am to have been brought up by such an incredible family and two is how little I might have said that in the past. My Dad is honestly one of my best friends and my hero. My mum is an angel. I mean, she just sent a box of Yorkshire tea to Hong Kong, love doesn’t get more real than that. My brother is not so bad either. I definitely will miss racing him around France and Switzerland on skis next year. I will tell people if I miss them, I always have, but I rarely mention much more than that. Since coming to Hong Kong I’ve definitely just started being more honest about how I feel about people because, combined with the terrible news in Paris and Lebanon and all over the rest of the world, it has dawned on me that there will inevitably be a day when you can’t say how much you love people anymore. I don’t want to live with regrets, I’m very much driven by the refusal to be on my deathbed wishing I’d been here or done that, hence why I’m living half way around the world. Saying the way you feel about people is equally as important.