A week after the attack on the French Charlie Hebdo I woke up to find a movement beginning and spreading across my social media and the blogosphere: 1000 Voices Speak For Compassion.
I have been watching the news every night, feeling helpless, and then I read about this campain,which started small only the other day, aiming hopefully for 1000 participants; now growing.
On February 20th the movement hopes to post as one on blogs everywhere, all over the world. I thought…hey, this is something I could do. I can write about compassion.
It may not seem like it, in a world so big, but even a movement such as this one can be a powerful tool. It feels good to band together, in any way possible, to say something and speak about the good we want to spread. This, in a world where so much hatred and ignorance seems to spread like wildfire every single day.
I know issues like censorship and freedom of speech and of the press are hot button issues in the world today. Again, apparently I can’t seem to just choose a side and stick with it.
Should cartoons such as the ones in this case even be created, if it is at all disrespectful? Should freedom of speech, no matter who it insults, be what’s most important? Should we think before we act?
I am writing this because I have the freedom to do so. I may not be writing anything particularly inflammatory or I might. It all would depend on who you’d ask I suppose. I don’t take this freedom for granted. As a writer, I know the power of the “pen” or, in my case and as is so often the case these days, the keyboard.
There has been great support for the Paris newspaper that was attacked. Last weekend there was a march in France for Charlie Hebdo. News media outlets all across the world have come out condemning the attack and I agree it was a seriously cowardly act.
Now, I know about writing and words and how the written word is clearly powerful.
“Sticks and stones will break your bones, but words will never hurt you.”
This is bunk!
As for these cartoons:
I have enjoyed art as a child, but I can no longer see it. I have not seen these cartoons at the centre of this story.
I know there is not enough sense of humour around the world and different cultures take offence to things, widespread degrees of sensitivity.
I don’t know and can’t really speak on the issue. I don’t know what the need was, so strong of satire and freedom of the press.
Perhaps I wish every culture of the world could be on the same level to understand why one is so offended by something the other does.
I wanted to participate in 1000 Speak (which is now the official hashtag) because I believe compassion and understanding of others is the key.
Also in the news lately, at home here in my own country of Canada is another very disturbing story that has been on my mind.
It’s the issue of the lack of respect for females in our culture and in youth, on college campuses and it’s something I fear nobody, not students or grown adults who should know better, takes seriously enough.
It’s been in the news, for weeks it seems, but maybe it takes precisely the news media to make a dent in the problem.
It took place at the dentistry school, at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
A group of male students was caught posting horrible things on Facebook about female classmates. Such nonchalant discussion about drugging and hate sex are probably more common than I want to believe. I really do not know what makes anyone, at any age, think that is okay to think, let alone say about another human being.
Red tape. Channels. What is the appropriate way to deal with this and why has it been handled the way it has to this point?
It seems like this story has been going on for a while and just today I heard on the news that the cops finally received the information they requested to aid in their investigation. What would take the school administration this long? Were they dragging their feet?
Surely they have daughters, sisters, wives, and mothers. What is this pervasiveness in our society to downplay something so important?
I don’t know that writing can have any effect on these moral questions and serious events whatsoever. Perhaps, the extra news coverage on the problem at Dalhousie is just the thing, public pressure, to bring about just the necessary punishment for those involved.
As for the deeper questions of freedom of speech and expression I don’t know what will happen. France is in the spotlight right now, but it’s just the latest in a never-ending parade of headlines. Why can’t we all just get along? Ha!
I don’t always articulate my feelings so well here, but I wanted to jot down these two examples as I announce my intention of being one of those bloggers who plans to write about compassion on February 20th. I want to speak up along with others who intend on speaking.
There’s a lot being discussed back and forth over my social media today about how to best get the message across. I can’t promise I will keep up with all the social media avenues of awareness for this thing, but I can do what I do best: I can share my own unique perspective, on my blog, for the sort of compassionate world I never lose hope of waking up to find one day.
As I said in an interview I did on a blog just yesterday, I wish I could shake the world into seeing reason. I will continue to set my own small example of what it means to find compassion for all human beings and empathy for what they might be feeling or what has brought them to where they are today.
I will be one of thousands and that’s a start.