I’ve been listening to John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ over the past few days. Written during the Cold War, Lennon’s message is as pertinent now as it was 45 years ago. The senseless acts of terror in Paris last Friday night are tragic and horrifying, but not altogether new. The pattern of terrorism and retaliation has been repeating itself, over and over again since September 11th. But the cycle of murder and brutality has been spinning around for much longer.

Just a few days before the attacks in Paris, we remembered those who died in the world wars. Although the situations are very different, there are some basic correlations linking modern horror and the dark days of the Europe during the 1940s. Our way of life is threatened by flawed ideologies, and there is vast immigration of people trying to escape persecution and oppression.

So what’s the point of me bringing this up? If we’re doomed to repeat the same mistakes and these problems are so all-encompassing, how can we affect change on a micro level? We’re only ever in charge of is ourselves, and we can fight terror by living with fearless compassion. It’s important that the Muslim community is not demonised for a tiny minority. To do so is the equivalent of blaming all Christians for the crimes of the Ku Klux Klan. It’s also vital that the destitute refugees are not charged for the acts of terror, after all many of them are fleeing from the oppression inflicted by the hands of extremists.

Historically, in times of mass fear society becomes vulnerable to bigotry and hatred. We need a scapegoat for the hardships and loss which is beyond our control. It’s time to break the cycle, even if it’s only in the way we treat our neighbours, our co-workers and the people we come into contact with every day. To ignore the threat of terror is foolish and pointless; we need to draw together in unity as a response to hatred.

Of course, this is only my opinion, and what the hell do I know? But it seems to me that if we’re continually wracked with anxiety and distrust for our fellow human being, the terrorists have won. It may seem obvious and naive, fighting hate with hate achieves nothing. We can honour those who died in the attacks by living well, with kindness and understanding.

Feature image from fabweb.org

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