Fear Is Slowly Destroying The Fabric of Society
According to an article by Jenny Russel in the Guardian UK in 2009, by 1999 the proportion of British adults trusting each other had halved over 40 years, from 56% to 29%. As Jenny quite rightly stated, “that is a horrifying trend”. What concerns me most is the likely percentage in today’s post 9/11 and ISIS infected world. I shudder to think of the likely-hood of a single digit percentage.
The notion of love, kindness and a community spirit is something that is very dear to me, so I will do my best to keep my emotions in check.
Be-it a young Muslim woman wearing a niqab walking into your train, a gentleman with a thick beard sitting opposite you, a Caucasian skinhead sitting beside you, a black man walking towards you on a narrow street, or someone innocently smiling at or greeting another person’s child, almost everything is viewed with suspicion these days. And in some cases, quite right too. After-all there are too many atrocities in today’s world, ranging from suicide bombers, machete wielding maniacs, pedophiles, armed robberies, racially motivated attacks, and all manner of atrocious acts in the name of religion to justify a free-for-all, happy-go-lucky society.
But just how far are we willing to go in order to feel ‘safe’?
Are we prepared to sacrifice our liberty?
Is the eradication of the community spirit a necessary sacrifice for our security?
Whilst waiting to collect a new TV at Argos yesterday, a young girl of maybe twelve /thirteen months old (can’t have been much older as it was fairly obvious she had only recently started walking) literally fell flat on her face as she ambled towards her mother. What happened next is a sad testament of today’s world. You know what toddlers are like when they fall – they usually look up to assess the reaction of the adults around them before deciding how to respond to their fall from grace, so to speak. If the adults look horrified, they (toddlers) naturally take a cue to bawl their eyes out. If, however the response isn’t one of shock and horror, but a loving and sympathetic ‘oops! sorry love, let’s get up and go again’, they (toddlers) generally don’t make much of a fuss.
So, the toddler falls flat on her face, mum’s too busy to notice, and everyone around her just stares (at her) – not a single person was willing to help her up. And the reason was fairly obvious – a fear of being seen as some kind of weirdo or child molester. But I love kids, and as such couldn’t help myself – even it meant the possibility of getting a ticking-off from her mum. I walked over to the her, held out my hand, helped her up, and walked her over to her mother, who thankfully was very grateful.
Can anyone really fault the others for doing nothing?? Our world today is one in which a show of kindness to strangers (especially children) is often frowned upon, as a result of the seemingly endless cases of abuse we read or hear about on the news.
But my question is this – should we allow a fear of how we may be perceived or how others might react to prevent us from being kind and loving to people we don’t know?
I genuinely believe most people are inherently good and kind. But unfortunately, our experiences – what we we’ve seen, heard about, and personally experienced – have eroded our natural inclination to love, tolerate, interact, share, and unite.
These days, love and unity resurface only after a tragedy has occurred – post 9/11, 7/05 etc etc. And in those moments, we not only unite in grief and love, but tell ourselves and each other that we will not be broken; that the terrorists will not break our unity, solidarity and way of life.
But dare I say it, I sense our unity, love, solidarity and way of life is eroded that little bit more with the occurrence of each atrocity. After-all, would you say you’re as free with your neighbor or people you don’t know as you were fifteen /twenty years ago?
I asked some of my good friends the following question;
What do you think is the ultimate goal of terrorist organisations like Isis?
Below are their answers;
‘’To create fear and destruction’’
‘’Political tools designed to create chaos in the name of religion. Most of them created by western powers’’
‘’Terror! If a western country was no longer the hegemony, they will still find something to terrorize people about’’
‘’To spread fear’’
‘’To bring about an ideal type of Islamic society. In-fact most Islamic terrorist groups state this very explicitly, even if in reality their aims or the aim of their leaders may not be that religious: Chris’’
‘’Money, I think. Destabilise proper government, and fill the vacuum created with your own rules. Then profit from it. So, in a nutshell money and power. Same things all men want’’
‘’Ummmm retaliation I think. For what the West has done to them: anger’’
‘’I believe the ultimate scheme for terrorists across the board is fear – spread fear across the world. Using fear to manipulate people. It’s slowly dripped into our system every single day. They need adversaries to fight against so that they can keep manipulating the man on the street – I.e. get different races to be suspicious of and bias against each other’’
‘’Their ultimate aim is to change the world to the elite’s final goal of a new world order. It’s a tool. Terrorism brings fear and destruction. When you subject someone to fear, it has the power to change the course of someone’s life according to the perpetrator’s will. Because people are scared they are giving in to ideals and policies that are directly opposed to their freedom’’
‘’I used to think it was about Islamisation. but looking at the wanton damage they cause, I genuinely don’t think they have any other cause than to gain power over people through fear.’’
Judging from the above answers, it seems most of us are in agreement that the ultimate aim of terrorists organisations is to cause fear, panic, and terror both within nations and in the heart and mind of every individual.
Apologies for having to ask this question, but I fear it is one we can no longer ignore.
Bearing in mind the above answers, which mainly allude to subjecting us all to a life of fear and suspicion (yes, of one another), then could it be possible that the terrorists are actually winning? After-all surely our way of life, or at the very least the way of life we desire – one of unity, freedom of speech, freedom of movement, freedom to be ourselves, solidarity, kindness, and love disappeared long ago!?
The foremost duty of any government is to keep its citizens safe; and for me, there are few governments that do this as effectively and as proudly as the British (government).
However, Brexit (and Trump’s America for that matter), is a prime example of what fear, suspicion and anger can lead to – a return to the dark old days of racial bias, racial tensions, segregation, isolationism, and a victimisation of citizens of certain countries and religions.
So, what’s the solution?
How do we return to being a more united, free, and loving society?
Do we even want to return to it?
Assuming we do at least want our children to live in a freer and happier environment, the answer lies in this particular question;
How much of our liberty are we willing to sacrifice for the sake of security?
And by liberty, I mean two things – 1. Consenting to policies and regulations that not only infringe our rights, but stealthily take away our freedom to speak and move freely. And 2. The freedom to be our natural loving, kind, and tolerant selves.
The policies and regulations issue is a minefield, and hence not something I’m willing to delve into at 3am. I will do so at a later date, but not now – not in the middle of the night. So kindly permit me to focus on what is within our (you and I) control for the time being.
We need to make a decision.
Will we continue to stereo-type certain races, religions, and types of individuals because of what we’ve seen or heard on the news?
Or will we accept that bad things can happen, and refuse to allow them to deter us from being kind to one another?
Unfortunately bad things will always happen. Indeed, they’ve been happening for centuries. The only difference today is that information technology enables us to hear about them (no matter where or how they occur) within a matter of seconds / minutes – which leads me to my final point.
Don’t allow the media to manipulate you with fear and suspicion. It’s what they (the media) do; and they’re extremely good at it! Rather, be true to who you are, and make your own decisions. Don’t allow the bias, suspicions, and hatefulness of others to prevent you from being good to others.
The alternative is to continue down a somewhat dark and perilous path of fear, isolation, suspicion, and hatred – resulting in a fairly fatal victory for both the terrorist organisations and sinister governments with hidden agendas.