My phone has an app attached to our national broadcaster, the ABC (or Australian Broadcasting Corporation), which sounded its familiar ABC breaking news music this morning.
As normal, I looked down to see what was happening, to discover that there had been an explosion at a concert in the UK. We now know that over twenty have died, and close to sixty are injured. Another horrific attack because – at this stage – who knows?
As I scroll down my news feed, I can see articles on the Lindt Cafe siege in Sydney, troubles in the Middle East, warnings about North Korea, and more articles on the ongoing issues in Syria.
It’s a sobering list, full of the atrocities humans perpetrate on each other. Sometimes I just have to ask myself ‘Why?’ I mean, really, ‘Why?’ Why is it that we can’t see the good in each other? Why can’t we tolerate differences? Why do we have to maim and kill and destroy when we don’t agree with each other?
As a child born in the mid sixties, I lived through the cold war. Even as a primary aged child, I remember thinking about nuclear war, which seemed to be a very real threat during that decade (1970s). It was a turbulent time in Northern Ireland, and both the Iron Curtain and the Bamboo Curtain were firmly in place.
Nuclear war was a common theme in movies and books, and the horror of radioactive fallout seemed like a real possibility. It was also the age of realisation about environmental threats, and the concerns around logging and conservation. But then, in 1989, the Berlin Wall came down, and communism was well on the way out. Things seemed to be settling down.
Of course they weren’t really, there were troubles all over the world still, but we hadn’t quite reached the immediacy of having the internet literally at our fingertips, with its ability to inform as events were occurring.
Then, in 1991, the Gulf War began. I remember looking at my husband, horrified. We were both in our twenties then. From then on, two things happened. The internet became a global reality, and terrorism related attacks seemed to escalate.
Of course terrorism has been with us for hundreds of years, not just decades. But with the advent of knowing about things as they happen, worldwide, we have the illusion that there is more of it happening. Of course, it is likely that more of it is happening in places once thought to be immune to it.
As a child and young adult, it never crossed my mind that Australia might be a target. Now, I can easily see that Australia is a target. In fact, pretty well everywhere is a target because so many people disagree with so many other people, and feel that violence against innocents is the answer.
Whether its violence in the context of war, or violence in the context of terrorism, people die. And very often those people are children.
Whatever we think about other people’s motivations, I will never understand why killing children is someone’s solution to their own problems.
How much hate must someone nurture inside themselves, to think that the best way of getting at ‘someone else’ is by killing and injuring children? For all the advancements we’ve made in technology, our social and political advancements seem stalled in the dark ages.
We should weep. We should weep for those whose souls are so dark with hatred that they stoop to killing children. We should weep for the future of humanity.
But, we should also focus on the great good, that we as humans, can do, and somehow, somewhen, hope that this horror will cease.