Once again my news feed is full of terrible things. Horrors and terrors hard to imagine. And I wonder anew if our world is at a tipping point. Then I remember, we have been here before.
I have friends in the UK. I imagine a lot of people in Australia do. It’s harder to imagine going to a tween concert and it ending in deliberate tragedy. Harder to imagine someone setting out to kill themsleves and bringing as many down with them as they could. We watch, on the other side of the world, in shock and sadness. Some will call hypocrisy. Will say that we have no heart when it comes to lives lost in other regions. But I don’t think it’s that. It’s the proximity. It’s the relatability. There is the fact that so many of us have friends and family in the UK. The thought that it could easily happen here, if it can happen there. I wrote about this after the Paris attack.
The climate shifts a little. We worry anew. Like we do every time these things happen. For a few days, weeks even, we are shocked out of complacency and far away threats feel nearer. September 11 changed the world forever, but not as deeply as I feared at the time. In the days and weeks following those awful scenes burned into our collective mind I expected the world to go to war. I remember being unable to sleep for worry. We had planned to go to Egypt in the month following those attacks. The trip was cancelled. In the end, we could have gone. The world continued to spin and for those not directly touched by the tragedy, very little changed. Our lives did not drastically alter.
People committing heinous crimes and using their God as a justification is not new. Unholy acts being cast as holy actions is something we have seen for centuries. From the crusades to the KKK to the persecution of Jews to Daesh, those committing atrocities have often done so under the guise of servanthood to a higher power. Even in the way that the Catholic Church has disgracefully acted in the wake of child abuse, you can see it. This idea that the actions of men (and it is mostly men) are between themselves and their God and everything (and everyone) else is meaningless collateral.
Nothing about this is new. Apart from the media saturation and the speed at which news travels. But the stains on humanity have always been there.
To be honest, I am not so worried about a terrorist attack. I am much more concerned about the glacial reaction of the world’s large corporations and governments to climate change. I think that’s the bigger issue of our time.
As for worrying that the world has changed, yet again for the worse, due to the attacks on the UK, perhaps the question we need to ask is “Why hasn’t the world changed?” Why do people keep pretending that their God sanctions them to murder?
How do you deal with the news when it is filled with such horror?