So the world has gone nuts… but it will be okay… I promise…

So the world has gone bat-shit crazy. Dunno if you’ve noticed? It feels like we are precariously balanced on a knife edge, suspended upside down by our ankles dangling above a gaping void of hate, intolerance and stupidity. 

It’s coming from all angles. 
Brexit – leave – remain. Trigger. Don’t trigger. Lies on the side of a bus. 

Trump – women – men – race – Muslims – Mexicans – small hands – oompah loompah – quiffy. 

Protests.

Syria – chemicals weapons – refugees – migrants. 

Protests.

Iran, Iraq, Russia, China… 

Paris – Quebec – Turkey 

LGBT. Religion. Equality.

Protests. 

Food banks – benefit caps – NHS Privatisation.

Closer to home: Local Authority Cuts and ridiculous council schemes.

Post-truth – alt facts.
Did I miss anything?
We are currently bombarded with information from all angles. Thoughts, ideas, news, truth, lies, politics, hate, love. And it all meshes together in a hallucinogenic haze of distorted reality.

It’s like we’ve suppressed everything for so long it’s all erupting into one giant cataclysm of chaos.

Britain is divided. Parliament is divided. Friends and families are divided. The wealth divide grows ever bigger. Equality is divided. 

There no longer seems to be a middle ground. Just opposing forces of extremes. 
But this has to be a positive thing. The issues that divide us are firmly out in the open – practically smacking us in the face everywhere we look. It presents the perfect opportunity to understand the things that not only divide us but also unite us. Look at why. How can we fix it? How can we try and view things from other people’s perspectives as abhorrent as some of those perspectives may be?

We need to get back to the essence of what it is that makes us who we are. The one thing that unites us all. The fact that we’re all human. 

Nelson Mandela said: 

“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

And I think that’s at the core of the problem. We’re so attached to labels, hierarchies, law governed by out-dated religious belief that we’ve forgotten the fundamentals of what it is to be human.

Before we were indoctrinated by society we listened more to our instincts. We didn’t judge people by something that was written down about them, we judged them by who they were and what they did. Rather than what society tells us we should think.

Real emotional feeling. Something that comes from deep within, the essence of being human. Something primordial that has always existed but we have somehow forgotten how to listen to and forgotten how to trust.

We need to get back to understanding those emotions and those deep feelings. And erase some of the negative labels that we’ve learnt to associate to things because our social upbringing or the media says that it’s so.

Same-Sex relationships. People struggle with this – they really do. And they struggle because society has an undercurrent that says it’s not okay brought about from years of prejudice and hate. But they forget the key thing. And that is love. Love isn’t bound by the same rules and regulations that we try and place upon the world. It’s a deep, powerful emotion. It doesn’t understand how we as a society try to control it. It transcends rules and boundaries. It works outside the realms of logic and what we can possibly even begin to comprehend. Love is powerful. Love just is. Love is. 

Once you begin to understand that then you see things differently. It no longer matters about male-female, male-male, female-female. It just becomes as simple as a feeling between two people. Two humans. It’s actually incredibly uncomplicated when you strip away the stigma and noise that surrounds it. Get back to the basics. Love just is.

It’s the same with race & equality. A key word is equality. We’re all human. We’re all beautifully unique but yet there’s that one common element that ties us all together. We’re human. We’re all people. We should treat other as humans and not as objects. 

The media have a massive part to play in this. Particularly around terrorism and refugees. We need to humanise people more. Stop banding around religious titles and creating hate and fear from labels. It’s unhelpful. And damaging. And fuels the problem. Next time you see the term Islamic extremist challenge whoever said it. We need to start calling it out when we see this sort of gross misrepresentation. By all means call them terrorists but don’t make it about people who happen to be of a certain religious belief of a certain skin colour. If a white person commits an act of terrorism then call them a terrorist. Not a murderer. We need to remove these soiled terms and replace them with more truthful statements that are a truer representation of what they are.

Refugees and migrants is another one. Stop calling them swarms. Or making them out to be bad people when you know nothing about them. They are human. They are people. And like all people they all have both good and bad within them. We sit on a throne of privilege. Where our biggest worry is whether we can get a wifi connection or like a photo of someone’s dinner on social media. We don’t have bombs exploding around us. We don’t have to watch family members blown to pieces in front of our eyes. We don’t have to pay thousands of pounds to board an overcrowded ship and risk everything to leave a place we love and people we know in fear of our lives. We are lucky. 

I guess all I’m trying to say is next time you find yourself judging someone else because of a preconceived notion – whether that be from social upbringing or because of floods of negativity from the media. Stop. Look passed the labels. Reconnect with what is human. And seriously weigh up what you actually, truthfully, 100% know to be true. To be fact.

The world is changing. And it may get much worse before it gets better. But now more than ever we can really make a difference and begin challenging each other to change positively with it. To question those who believe different things to us. To understand different view points. To help others understand ours. 

We have a unique opportunity to make a real change on a person by person basis. We definitely cannot rely on politicians or the media to do it for us. Trump is quickly becoming the British Governments seedy wet dream, the perfect smoke screen and distraction that makes them look less crazy and their ideas more normal. And as we get more and more distracted by things elsewhere we lose sight of what is happening on our own doorsteps.

  

Go back to basics. Remember what it is to be human. To be unique. To be beautiful and wonderful. Lead with love. Deny hate. And be the change that you want to see in the world.
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The Lonely Refugee (work in progress)

I’m not entirely sure if this is a poem or spoken word or a song. It’s a work in progress at the moment whatever it is.

It’s about refugees and being displaced from your home.

Words and music by Luke John Emmett.

   

  

Lyrics:

Running away from all they know

Each new day a new war zone

Piles of rubble, pools of blood

Death is raining from above.

Streets of terror, human debris

What remains of family?

Nothing left of the place they called home.

  

  

Chorus:

Searching for a place to call home

Travelling down the roads unknown

Hoping that the world will begin to see.

There is nothing different between you and me

Just another lonely refugee.

  

  
Home is more than bricks and mortar

As they make their way across the water

Young Aylan lying dead on the beach

Shipwrecked signs of humanity

Leaving all they know behind

History and piece of mind

Struggling for the right to be free.

  

CHORUS

   
A whole life, condensed to a rucksack

Give them the strength, they need to get back

Keep on going, down that lonely road,

Never knowing what the future holds

Will they make it, to sanctuary

Or will they be drowned on the ferry?

Put on show for the whole world to see.

   

CHORUS:

  
Just another lonely refugee

Just another lonely refugee.

  

  

  

PHOTOGRAPH BY ANDREW MCCONNELL / PANOS

The dehumanizing media – Immigration, Cecil the Lion and reactions

I’ve sat back and watched several news stories unfolding over the last few weeks and I’ve watched with interest and shock at the responses to them and the way in which people are being manipulated by sensational headlines with very little, if any, basis in any sort of real factual evidence.

After flicking through Facebook and seeing a few rants, a few potentially racist posts and lots of pictures of dead hunted animals I decided it was time to put some of my thoughts down.

The Immigrant Situation In Calais

On the whole the reporting of this whole situation has been badly executed and flawed on many levels. The situation isn’t really any worse than it’s been for a while but yet the media have blown it up into a massive headline which is causing panic and fear to spread irrationally. Yes there is a camp at Calais with approximately 3000 people “living” in it. Living in terrible conditions but making the best of what they have, as living in a camp on the border of Calais is actually in many cases safer than living in their homelands where they have journeyed from. Many of the people living there are fleeing from violence, oppression or civil war.

Let’s look at the facts. The media claim that 1000 people were trying to storm the channel tunnel and get to Britain. Actually it was more like 200 people and 1000 ATTEMPTS to storm the tunnel. They are very different things.

Why are these people (and let’s remember that that’s what they are, people) so desperate to come to Britain? Well many of them don’t actually want to come to Britain. Many of them have come from different parts of Africa. Some come from Dafur where there was a mass genocide which we all conveniently chose to ignore and got very little coverage in the media. Some from the Sudan, others from Afghanistan and a large percentage from Syria. They are all real people, who have real stories and real reasons for doing what they’re doing. Reasons that we can’t possibly even begin to understand or comprehend. Let’s face it even those living in poverty in the UK are relatively safe. We sometimes forget actually how lucky we are to live here in safety with basic needs provided for. Now I’m not saying that all of them are coming here for the right reasons but how can we justify tarnishing them all with the same judgemental brush? We know nothing about any of them. Perhaps that is why it is easier to jump on the discriminatory band wagon and call for the shutters to be pulled down and tightly fastened and to keep all of them out? By dehumanizing them we don’t have to take any responsibility for what happens to them and our consciences are clear. Politicians are not helping the matter at all – David Cameron referring to them as “swarming migrants” only helps to dehumanize them and make it seem like a plague or disease that is spreading and taking over. They are human beings! They have as much right to live as you or I and it makes me angry to see how the general public are being manipulated to see them as things. It’s very clever but not fair or useful to anyone. David Cameron’s answer… more fences and more dogs. This doesn’t solve the problem it just conveniently pens the people in like sheep ready for the slaughter. It’s an absolutely ridiculous situation being made worse rather than better by our own government.

We have always had a policy of helping out genuine refugees in Britain. From Jews escaping persecution from the Nazi’s or to people fleeing from Communist Russia. I, for one, don’t feel comfortable with a complete closed-door policy and I can’t see how we can judge everybody in the same way.

It also angers me that politicians are putting the blame for the state of the country on illegal immigrants and still avoiding the much bigger issues being caused by their own austerity measures which are wreaking havoc on their own citizens and happening on their own doorsteps but yet they choose to conveniently turn a blind eye (again not helped by over-sensationalism by the media).

Cecil The Lion

Another story that has taken over Facebook and the media and caused an outcry over the last couple of weeks. Finally people are standing up and saying that hunting for “fun” is a bad thing. Shock horror! But why has this story captured the imaginations more than the hundreds of others before it. Simple. We have humanised Cecil. Unlike the faceless migrants I mention above Cecil has a name, he has a back story and we know something about him. In fact we know more about him and his life than we do about any of the 3000 migrants who probably have very harrowing and disturbing stories to tell. It also helps that he looks cuddly. We like cuddly things. So the international community is in uproar, David Cameron has rather hypocritically come out and said that he will give £200,000 to the international community to help educate them about the illegal trade of rhino bones etc. Okay I’m probably being over-sarcastic – it’s actually a positive step forward and I don’t condone the killing of any animal. But… how can David Cameron have the backbone to stand up and say that it’s a terrible thing that Cecil has been killed on the one hand and then still try to push forward with repealing the fox-hunting act on the other? It’s beyond a joke and words completely escape me. The two things are not any different at all in my opinion. How you kill the animal makes no difference – you are still killing it.

My solution… let’s give all the foxes names. We’ll create little back stories about their lives in their dens and humanize them. Perhaps then the next time a bunch of white toffs hunt the poor things down with packs of ravenous dogs we’ll hear the same sort of outcry about them. I can see the headlines now: “Poor Freddie the Fox Mauled To Death By Ravenous Politicians”… Yeah I don’t believe it will happen either but we live in hope.

The sad thing about these stories and others such as the Lord Sewel coke scandal is that thanks to the skewed media coverage more people give a shit about a dead lion, a drugged up Lord and the fear of invasion by illegal immigrants than they do about the civil war in the Ukraine, the unrest in the middle east or the increasing number of people getting shot or murdered in America. More people now know the name of Cecil the lion than they do of Sandra Bland, Samuel Dubose or any of the nine people killed in the Charleston church shooting. (If you haven’t heard of them do a quick Google on them now and you may be shocked at how little coverage they have received in comparison). How can that be right or just?

Never take anything you read at face value. Question everything. And don’t be taken in by malicious headlines which only seek to cause unrest and spread misinformation. Start thinking for yourselves and find out about a few of the issues going on that really matter. Look through all of the bullshit and begin questioning the sensationalism that is thrust upon you daily from the many media outlets. Start making your own mind up based on facts and research and not shoddy, paper-selling journalism.