As a species we are drawn to violence. Violence in the Roman Empire became art, glorified and hailed. It became bread and circuses. Two thousand years later and it is still bread and circuses. I am appalled but drawn to violence, I have written stories on violence and I have tried to understand it. We are set by default to a violent state, fight or flee. 11 years ago I switched on my television to see an act of violence broadcast worldwide. I and billions of people worldwide saw the twin towers in New York fall. It became bread and circuses. This was not the first act of violence in our species history but it was an act that was caught, poured over and repackaged into a media war. The coverage of these events and subsequent news coverage was more disturbing. It never took into account the truth of this event. That people didn’t just die in this attack (an attack is an emotive word that was used day in, day out after 9/11), that’s Americans died in this attack but that those people were sons, daughters, husbands, wives, fathers, mothers. They were family and when they died, a part of all us died with them. As we watched, as we sat in front of our televisions we died and we allowed our world to become a darker place. The image of the west died. It didn’t die with the towers falling but with the war and violence that came after. Democracy showed that when it was cornered, it became violent. This is not the first time that this has happened and it won’t be the last but I hope on this day of remembrance that we stop to consider all the dead, everyone of them, billions upon billions who have died at the hands of violence, be that war, starvation or just plain ignorance. If we turn our backs on this, if we turn our backs on each other, then this is how we will cease as a species, through ignorance, through hatred, through lack of faith. I am not a religious man, but I have faith, faith in my fellow man and woman that we can do better, be better and make a world where we don’t have to tolerate each other because we have accepted each other. A place where we don’t live in the shadows, where there is no need for media hype, lies and bread and circuses. We cannot judge, we cannot make ourselves judge, we cannot say that one way is better than the other unless we are all working towards a common goal. We must learn what faith is once more, and celebrate each voice that has been lost and learn from what we have done and continue to do.
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“a world where we don’t have to tolerate each other because we have accepted each other.”
Great words, I hope so too.
Fantastic piece Andrew!