Over the weekend I read comments on social media and news sites, I felt disappointed and sick.
"You can't help but hate them all", "why don't they just go back to where they came from?", "thank god none of them live near me"
The anger and frustration that rises up in me when I read that kind of garbage is almost overwhelming. I feel so relieved and blessed that we're living where we are at the moment. I'm glad that my kids have friends of all colours and religions. That they get to understand that people are just people, no matter what god they pray to or what holidays they celebrate. That just because their friend's mother may wear a scarf over her hair or an abaya over her clothes doesn't mean they can't play together or that they should be afraid of each other. They're friends, they look after each other, they make each other laugh, they care for each other. People are people. We don't need to be scared of each other.
Tomorrow I will have coffee with other mums from our school, there will be Christian, Muslim and Hindi mums. All chattering about their kids. Supporting each other, sharing their concerns and helping each other out. There will be a lot of laughter. There will be more similarities than differences.
There are monsters everywhere, one culture or religion doesn't have ownership on that. One group, such as ISIS, doesn't represent a whole religion. Hate and fear can bread fast. Make sure that hate isn't bred in you. If you don't understand something or feel fearful or threatened by it, don't hide behind it, go and seek it out and try to understand it. Stop reacting. Put yourself in someone else's shoes. What does it feel like to be them? They probably want the same things in life that you do.
I could write pages on my politics and my concerns about my country going to war, yet again, to vanquish yet another evil. But I won't. I just hope that you, the individual thinks about these things and, most importanly, reads about them. And don't read about them in the Murdoch media, but search out people who know about this stuff, have lived in the region and know the region. Get different views and ideas from what this leader or that leader is telling you. Come up with your own feelings and thoughts.
The most sane thing I've heard a MP say in the past few days has come from Malcolm Turnbull:
"What do the terrorists want us to do? They want to get the community to demonise the whole Australian Muslim community. Those people who want to attack Muslims in general, attack Islam in general, are doing the terrorists' work. Because the strategy of the terrorists is to enrage the broader community [to attack Muslims] which will cause the Muslims to join the extremists . . . We must recognise that the vast bulk of Muslims here are good, patriotic Australians, and we must get our arms around them, because they are our best allies in the fight against extremism."