Tuesday, 14 August 2012

We are all one people

I have always been a lover, not a fighter.

I've watched the world turn, cried at the pictures on the news, felt the helpless pain in my heart.

I was a child when the Balkans exploded. I begged my mother to let me watch the news with her at night, because I wanted to see, I wanted to understand.

I forced myself to watch, to listen, to read. I spent hours screaming inside my head "WHY?? HOW?? THIS IS NOT RIGHT! THOSE BODIES ARE PEOPLE TOO!!"

My heart was born during those years. This heart that breaks in two at the prejudice and hate flooding this globe, faster than any rising sea.

I know I am one of the lucky ones. My experience of war comes to me via a television screen. The internet tells me of poverty. Famines are self imposed in order to fit into a dress in a week. 

I know I've said some stupid shit in my life too. No doubt I've been discriminatory and hypocritical. Definitely I'm naive and idealistic.

And despite life and all it's materialistic, self indulgent trappings, I still have the pain in my heart.

You know when you were a child and you shared a bag of Minties with your friends, and you spent the next twenty minutes tearing your Minty wrapper into a thin strip, making a tiny ribbon, fibre by precious fibre? 

My heart is the Minty wrapper of my life. Tearing slowly, oh so slowly, and when I come up against something I can't change, or yet another ostrich person with their head stuck in the sand the feeling is so agonisingly acute it hurts to breathe.

An explosion of memes and shared pictures on Facebook in the last few weeks has torn my heart anew. Like the moments of frightening excitement when you turned the corner of your wrapper and hoped to anything you believed in that it wouldn't break. And you held your breath.

How can clever, wonderful people be so bloody stupid? 

When did we stop caring, and start clutching hate and fear as if our lives depended on it?

This is my plea to to all of those who go through life with their blinkers on.

We are all one people.

We are all human beings.

We have one world, one beautiful, unique globe on which we live. 

We all have a heart. We love, we cry, we laugh.

A smile is a smile the world over.

When you reach out to hold another's hand it doesn't matter what colour it is. It doesn't matter if it's across the fence, across generations, or across the world. 

Those people arriving on our shores? Their hearts are broken. They need a hand to hold.

A child who dies because you didn't want your tax dollar to buy them food, they have a mother too. Just like you. 

A wise woman called Zoey heard my rage. Her words hit the nerve at the bottom of my pain. 

"I know if Australia was suddenly wartorn I'd want to be able to go to another country and ask for asylum."

I would too.

If I was being abused and exploited I wouldn't be deciding to accept help based on which continent it was coming from.

Just as we shouldn't be arguing about who to help and who to ignore. 

Pull your fat heads out of the sand and get out on the streets and help those elderly Australians who are "going without their medicine" that you're always bleating about. You know, the ones you think are worth more than another human being fleeing from atrocities you couldn't possibly fathom.

And when you finally open your eyes, you should go visit two wonderful women:

Cate Bolt and Eden Riley

I want to be just like them when I grow up.

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