My heart is heavy today. The hearts of the western world are heavy today. When someone walks into a space primarily filled with children, with an improvised explosive device and sets it off, that is not an act of war, it is a statement. It forces us to examine how we allow our children to interact with the world, how we allow the freedom to grow when we fear that at any time they can be taken from us. That is the statement terrorists want to make – be afraid, because no matter what you do or where you go, or your religious or political affiliation, we could be there. The name associated to such situations – terrorist attack – has the word terror built right into it. Terrorist attack is also a two part statement – first, there is the initial attack, the loss of life, the heartbreak; secondly, there is the terror, the fear, the suspicion. We see images on our screens of the perpetrator, and begin to feel wary of people who look like that person, then it spreads and we feel wary of all people not in our immediate circle. This fear allows us to begin to do the unthinkable – we begin to believe that we need to bring our own bombs to them, we need to send bombs to hurt them, and their children, and we are righteously angry because they killed our babies, our mothers, our cousins, our fathers. But then those whom we retaliate against, retaliate against us. And so it goes.
I am angry. I am heartbroken. I want justice. But I do not want other children to die, to make up for these children who were so wrongly murdered. They deserve love, and memories. A child loves unconditionally, they see the good in people, they smile, they laugh, and they make friends with other kids, without even knowing their names. They ought to be remembered though acts of love, and peaceful resolution to the conflicts brewing the world over.
I pray that the people who killed these children in Manchester last night are brought to justice. I pray that ISIS is dismantled, and I pray for peace. The 14th Dalai Lama, Nobel Peace Prize Winner, and the representation of the Buddhist philosophy of peace, was driven from Tibet when China invaded, and continues to offer peaceful solutions to end this conflict. He is quoted as having said “peace is not just the absence of violence, but rather the manifestation of human compassion”, and to that end, I wish for us to find peace.
It is not enough to use bombs to stop bombs. It is not enough to be just as hateful as the man who walked into a building filled with innocent people and set off a suicide bomb. When we fight hate with hate, more innocents will be killed and more and more and more. It is time for those in power to create real solutions to the international tensions that are causing us to hurt each other. It is time for us, the citizens of the world, to demand peaceful resolution to these conflicts. It is time for us all to stop hiding behind whatever religious book we follow, and see that at the heart of each of these texts, the core values are love, peace and acceptance. It is time for us to accept that leaders who have no interest in peace are not the leaders that we should have in a post-nuclear world.
Please let us find in our hearts the ability to solve these crises, and heal our world because we do not want evil to win. We need peace. So remember Manchester. Remember the faces of the victims, and let’s honour them, by not adding more faces to the list of the dead.
“Hate has caused a lot of problems in this world, but it has not solved one yet” ~ Maya Angelou