Grateful for humanity

In the wake of this week’s shocking attack in Westminster, it could be hard to feel grateful for this terrifying and uncertain world we seem to be living in. 

What I try to hold on to in these horrifying times is how despite the presence of such evil in the world, these people are in no way representative of the human race. The majority of people are not terrorists. The majority of people genuinely want to help, to show love and support and to stand tall in the face of adversity. It’s so important to focus on those who rushed to help the victims, rather than to give any more airtime to whoever the attacker was and whatever his insane motives were.

Watching the video of police yelling at members of the public to run for cover chills me to the bone – it’s extremely close to home – but then I saw MP Tobias Ellwood rushing to help; all the passers-by who dropped everything to try and do something, even if just to hold a hand and try to offer comfort in the face of such atrocity. The huge volume of messages of love displayed on social media for London and it’s people far outweighed the dumb, ill-educated remarks from the wannabe-Trumps (or maybe my brain just removed them from sight; I know they’re all over the place but these keyboard warriors really aren’t worth a single pixel of my phone screen).

And it’s of course not only the big newsworthy events that inspire humanity to show its best side; last week an elderly man had fallen over just near my house – and almost ten people were standing nearby or crouched next to him, most not really knowing what to do or how to help, but all just wanting to do something.

My Mum once told me that as a child, scared of the sound of an ambulance siren, my Grandma had comforted her, telling her that instead of ‘nee-naw, nee-naw, nee-naw’, the ambulance was just saying ‘come-ing , come-ing, come-ing’ as it rushed to the rescue. I always think of that when I see an ambulance. Its not a sound to be afraid of – it means help is on the way (and thank goodness here for our emergency services and NHS staff this week). 

Its so important in times of terror that we look out for each other, that we remember we are not alone. I recently watched an amazing Netflix documentary called The White Helmets (and don’t just take my word for it – it won an Oscar this year). It completely opened my eyes to the heartbreaking situation in Syria and made it very clear why air strikes are not the solution. The men in this programme – unarmed, neutral volunteers – dedicate their lives to being first on the scene following an air strike or explosion, and I defy anyone not to cry at the scene of a tiny month-old baby being found alive under the devastating rubble and gently pulled out to safety by one of the White Helmets. 

One scene from the documentary that really stuck with me was when a man had – having been alerted to the possibility – found out that his brother was not dead after all. Following the news he was no less upset, and said something like ‘it wasn’t my brother, but it was somebody else’s brother. It’s the same thing; we are all brothers’. This wonderful sense of solidarity, of sharing in the pain of others and of feeling each hit at their beloved country so personally is real humanity. I knew it already, but these are just normal people wanting to live normal lives, wanting their own country back. They’re willing to risk their lives on a daily basis to save their brothers and sisters, and never give up hope that they will one day live in peace again. 

To quote Hugh Grant in Love Actually (I’m actually very highbrow; I’m not sure whether you realised): When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge – they were all messages of love. 

We must hold on to this sentiment; we must remember that even in the face of disaster it is in our human nature to help the wounded, to cry with the grieving, to stand in solidarity with our fellow humans; to send love and support when we can do nothing else. Love will always overcome hate. 

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