migrantvoice
Speaking for Ourselves

A Migrant’s experience - Dealing with the peddling of hate

A Migrant’s experience - Dealing with the peddling of hate

Michel

 Migrant Voice -
 Migrant Voice - A Migrant’s experience - Dealing with the peddling of hate

I woke up this morning (23rd May 2017) to the tragic news of the Manchester bombings – 22 dead and 59 injured.

And I prayed:


Dear God,
I believe that you are
But there are those who don’t.
I ask dear lord, that you
Receive the souls of those 
Snatched away from the arms 
Of their loved ones,
Take them into your arms.
I ask that you comfort the hearts 
Of the families and friends, whose 
Lives has been forever changed
By this horrific act of violence.
Dear God, pour your peace 
Into Manchester and this Nation.
Open our eyes to see the value in each other.
Strengthen us to stand together,
Because divided we will not overcome.
Amen

Watching the news there were understandably many reactions – anger, fear, hate and solidarity.  What happens to our society at a time like this is a conscious decision by us all. The path of hate which will perpetuate more violence in our communities.  Or, the path of calm vigilance – holding attackers accountable – not ostracising entire communities.

Which path is your community going to take?

Later in the day as I made my way to the train station, I witnessed a woman who crossed the street because a Muslim man walked over to where she was walking – she was staring at him while she began crossing and looked back to stare at him.  

This reminded me of when, several years ago, having coffee with a friend when a Muslim man, dressed in his traditional wear passed next to our table on his way to the toilet. My friend began to shake, trembling. Worried about her I asked if she was alright, she said: “she was frightened…she asked if I didn’t see the Muslim man who just passed.”

I knew what she meant and my response was “why are you scapegoating people like that?” Now, this is a friend of mine and I respected her reaction but frankly I didn’t understand it.  And I began laughing uncontrollably because I did not understand her reaction and I still don’t, but that’s just me.

I am Christian and I have very close friends who are Muslim, Hindus, Buddhists and non-believers. We differ in our beliefs but choose to embrace each other.

Am I angry about what happened in Manchester?  Yes I am. 

I am angry by the constant peddling of hate.

But I have a choice:  

I refuse to allow myself to be brainwashed into seeing every Muslim person as a terrorist.
I refuse to allow myself to be brainwashed into seeing all black men as knife toting, drug selling, lazy criminals.
I refuse to allow myself to be brainwashed into seeing all white people as haters of migrants and haters of Muslims.
I refuse to allow myself to be brainwashed into seeing all Muslims as haters of everybody who isn’t Muslim.
I am a migrant and I refuse to be brainwashed into seeing all migrants as ‘the problem’.
Given the nature of our world I will remain vigilant – but I refuse to scapegoat – and I stand in unity with those who call for peace.