We live in a Beautiful World….Hello, from my Soapbox.

They say community starts at home and I know for a fact this is true. My little family and I, make every effort to take care of each other and we extend that care as far as we can, every chance we get.

My daughter is 7, but she is well aware of the harsh realities of this world. I want to shield her, but I don’t want her blind to her position of privilege. We are very lucky and we must always remember that. The truth is, there are people without homes, without food, without medical care, without rights. My corner of the globe is a place, where slow internet and traffic jams are pretty good problems to have.

I have been watching The Project lately and the rest of the globe isn’t faring so well – news can be a disheartening source of information. The world is just teeming with bad news. Bombs, disease, guns and Trumps – all uniting to keep us afraid.

Bad news spreads like wild fire – an easy topic of conversation – we want someone to blame for the things that we don’t understand. Buzz words like terrorism, extremism, radicalism – they have become part of our vernacular. The uninformed pair these, with words like refugees and Muslims, and before you know it, the wariness of the ‘other’ is in everything we do.

We are told to be vigilant, to be cautious, to pay attention to our fellow man. If we see unusual behaviour, report it! People watch, rather than see – looking with suspicious eyes, for terrorism around every corner – the bogeyman of our generation.

We are told by people who know better, that the world is different now – that the safety we once took for granted, is gone, never to return – I imagine that the survivors of World War 2 (or any war, for that matter) might have something to say about that.

For as long as there have been humans, there has been conflict – people behaving appallingly, endangering the lives of others. We have always had things to fear – just not as many ways to hear about them.

Social media, regular media – the endless news cycle has us sharing and rehashing. We are not only hearing the news, we are telling the news – engaging in a dangerous game of Chinese Whispers, with catastrophic results – a community divided.

As I gear up for my big trip to Europe next year, it is easy to wonder if it’s wise to take my loved ones outside of our little bubble. The faces of the London attacks and the Manchester bombings, still fresh in our minds. I replace these faces with those of my friends and family, and just like that, I never want to leave my house again! I don’t want to be targeted for living life….

So, what’s the alternative to living life?

The answer is unimaginable!

fullsizeoutput_1afeI refuse to give into the fear – I will not allow it to cloak my world in darkness. I will not stop myself from venturing out, and seeing the beauty that is all around us. I have faith, that for every terrible act of terrorism, there are multiple acts of kindness, waiting for a moment in the sun.

Perspective is a powerful tool, but rarely one employed by the wider population. I went digging around the internet, because I wanted a little perspective before I got on my very tiny soapbox. How is this for perspective….

In 2010, 13,000 people died due to terrorism – 13,000 innocent people, taken away from their loved ones, without warning. It sounds like a lot and anything more than 0, is an absolute tragedy.

There are other statistics from around that same time, that are also worth considering….

In 2009, 3.5 million children died from hunger and in 2011, 2.8 million people died from obesity! There are 7 billion people on this planet and somehow, the only thing that seems to be at the forefront of concern, is terrorism.

I get it – it’s scary to think about the senseless nature of these acts – the randomness of it all – the fear is valid, but we cannot let it rule us.

Last week, I watched the One Love Manchester concert, and like so many, I was moved to tears by the sheer brilliance of it all. 75,000 people came together, despite their fears and shouted for all to hear, “We will not be afraid to love!” People of all walks of life, stood as one, defiant against the hate-filled acts of a minority.

And that is what they are – they are an isolated group of misguided bullies. Fear is their weapon and we cannot arm them. They are monsters, but they are few and we cannot let them win. If we stand strong and acknowledge that our community is global, not just confined to our home, our suburb, or our nation, then we are taking away their power and arming ourselves with love and unity.

What could be more beautiful than that?

Melissa Longo



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