When I heard about the Terrorist attacks in Brussells this morning I was in two minds about whether or not to do any blogging at all today. My mood could best be summed up by the song "My Guitar Lies Bleeding In My Arms" by Bon Jovi - with particular reference to the lyrics "I can't write a love song the way I feel today - I can't sing no song of hope - I've got nothing to say - Life is feeling kind of strange".
The I remembered a conversation I had with someone yesterday on the topic of inequality - that gave me the jolt I needed to write this blog post.
I have read a lot of opinions on Belgium in the past few days. Most of these appear to focus on the different layers of Government and the different languages spoken. In fact, one article I read tried to imply it was a "failed state" because of the differences.
(It kind of strikes me as a little ironic that the country which cannot decide which language to have as its main language for Government - out of Flemish and Walloon-French is one of the seats of Government for the European Union with their vast variety of languages.)
However, "terrorism" comes in many different forms - not just physical weapons and firepower. People being under threat of losing their jobs, access to Social Security, etc, or people being threatened and bullied for being "different" in whichever way from the normal "standards" society leads us to expect.
I know this is probably going to sound like something which is easy for me to say but I will say it anyway - we need to be more willing to accept the differences which exist between people (and even countries and religions). We need to have conversations which may make us feel uncomfortable so we can learn how best to support people who have differing beliefs and abilities from us.
Most of all - we need to help give them the power to stand up for what they want - even when it is the exact opposite of what we would like them to want for themselves.
Too many countries have been ruined by "The West" attempting to impose our version of Democracy on them - without taking into account any historical facts, existing tribal loyalties, etc.
To be perfectly honest - we haven't done a brilliant job of integrating people in the UK. I am not just talking about the fact that there appear to be "enclaves" even in so-called "multi-cultural" cities like Leicester where you find large groups of one nationality, either.
There are so many barriers to be broken down it is difficult to know where to start. Gender equality, racial, religious, disability discrimination, the gap between the wealthy and the poor, etc.
Before we can beat those who wish to cause us physical damage and disunity we need to work on repairing the invisible damage caused by the inequality in our society. It would also help if we could stop exporting inequality to other countries in our race to "democratise" the rest of the world against their wishes.
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