Updated: Oct 23, 2019
I don't want to talk about the attack on the Mosque in Christchurch, well I do, but not in the way that we have. I want to change the rhetoric. I want us to change the rhetoric.
Yes, it's atrocious. Yes, the cold-bloodedness is harrowing. Yes, the tragedy that befell the victims' families, the communities, the country, and the global family as a whole is heartbreaking. Let's though, for a moment, focus on the good.
See, I have an issue with media and conversations, in general. Often what happens is the media is looking for the most provocative and evocative story; and what's the best way of engaging their readers? Fear. Cultivating a fear based belief because that sells news. And then we get stuck in our fear and we start sharing our fear with others through what we say, like, "can you believe what happened? Isn't it sad? The world isn't safe anymore. Everything is changing. It wasn't like this when I was young." I know these conversations well because I hear them all the time and I don't like them. They perpetuate the belief that we are unsafe, that other people are unsafe and that everyone is out to get someone else.
I am not saying that we should not talk about our feelings around such events, admitting that these things make us feel scared, and mortal is so very important. What I do not feel is helpful is getting stuck in the storytelling. Continually cycling back to the "in the good old days" lines. I heard it today:
Shop assistant: Can you believe what happened? The world is changing. No one has any respect anymore...
What she actually meant was, I feel unsafe, I feel scared, these things make me feel vulnerable and I am upset for the people that were hurt.
Instead of focusing on feelings we express ourselves through tut-tutting and oh woe is the state of the world. In my mind - not helpful.
As for "the world is changing" - yes, it is! It has to because nothing stays the same, else it dies - we, though, have a choice in what we do with that change.
In circumstances like these we can continue to buy into the fear mongering put about by the media and our sense of insecurity and coming face to face with brutality OR we can choose to change the story and focus on the good things that have come out of such tragedy. Things like: The purely graceful and compassionate way that the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, has approached this and the families of those lost. The man in Manchester who stood outside a Mosque with a placard that read, "You are my friends. I will keep watch while you pray."
The students that performed a Haka in honour of those lost and their families.
The students that held a candlelight vigil in honour of those lost.
The hundreds of people who turned out in prayer for the families, victims and injured.
The hundreds of international Instagram and Facebook posts created and shared globally using #westandwithnewzealand.
The candlelight vigils and prayers WORLDWIDE.
So much light for such a dark event. We don't need to talk about the incident. We don't need to talk about the gunman, the video, the details at all! Yes, we need to talk about the root causes such as hatred, fear, racism, xenophobia, white supremacy but not in the context of the actions taken. Talk about them as things we need to call out, to change, and overcome. Let's not give anymore power to the fear and the actions of those that would scare us. We have to remember that where our attention goes, energy flows aka what we focus on we enhance. If we are focusing on being scared and being unsafe, guess what? That is exactly the world we will continue to attract!
So let's change the dialogue. Let's focus on the world we want to create rather than the one we want to fear.