I will not be terrorised

From a weekend in Paris in October 2010.

Findings words today seems impossible, if not entirely futile. Attempting to understand the insanity of yesterday’s events is proving less possible.

As my husband and I learned what was happening last night after a carefree evening in good company, we wondered if this was the new world order. Was this the new normal, where daily we go about our business knowing that another terror attack is likely, yet remain clueless as to where, by whom and against whom such attacks would occur? The scale of events in Beirut and Paris doesn’t pale in comparison to 9/11, yet the unpredictability rekindles the terrifying realities we all experienced that day. The seeming randomness once again leaves us wondering, ‘is our safe, peaceful life about to transform forever’?

But, that’s the point, no? To leave us so terrified that we fight through our support of another war in the guise of retaliation and justice against ‘people’ from no country at all, or huddle behind closed doors and barricaded borders fearing encounters with a nameless, faceless but ideologically foreign ‘enemy’.

As much as I do not understand what drives anyone to such lengths to commit acts of terrorism, I also do not and cannot support an equally oppressive and violent reaction to it.

I will no be terrorised. I will not refrain from travel or random encounters with strangers. I will not refrain from sympathising or empathising with those different from me. I will not live in fear of the unknown nor look at strangers as enemies, real or imagined.

At a time when it seems hate and darkness creep ever further across the social and cultural landscapes when we most need to practice compassion and understanding, Dr King’s words from Strength to Love run repeatedly through my mind:

Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction. So when Jesus says “Love your enemies,” he is setting forth a profound and ultimately inescapable admonition. Have we not come to such an impasse in the modern world that we must love our enemies–or else? The chain reaction of evil–hate begetting hate, wars producing wars–must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.

I will not be terrorised. I will not hate. And, I will not lose hope that we may all find a peaceful way through the darkness.