Thursday, March 24, 2016

A Letter To The World

If you take a look at the world today, you certainly would not be alone in wanting to tear out your hair in despair. In North Africa and the Middle East, millions of refugees are fleeing their homes in fear of terrorist groups in their country, risking their lives in flimsy boats to take them across the Mediterranean in search of a better life. As a result, Europe is at breaking point trying to cope with the huge flow of people. But that’s not all. In Russia, Vladimir Putin seems intent on playing mind games with the rest of world, there is a drought crippling East Africa, and across the pond in the United States there is the very real possibility of Donald Trump becoming President. 

It seems like the world has never had so many problems in living memory. 

Ripples Foundation has seen first hand the impact that problems such as terrorism has had on communities. We deliver projects in Northern Nigeria in areas that are living in fear of attacks from Boko Haram. We work with doctors from theses areas who volunteer on our Medical MOT events and on our other projects in the area who have shared with us their experience of living in these environments. Dr Maryam Nasir shared her story with us back in December. Whilst Ripples Foundation is aware of these problems in Nigeria and beyond, many Americans and Europeans are not.

Whenever a terrorist attack in Europe happens, many people from countries in Africa question why such an outpouring of love and support is not shown for them when similar or worse attacks happen in Kenya, Egypt, Nigeria, Turkey and many more places. The answer is unfortunately that most of the time Europeans simply do not hear about them. An attack in Brussels prompts rolling news, headlines in all major newspapers and thousands of Twitter and Facebook posts showing solidarity with the country. An attack in Nigeria is unlikely to even make it into a UK newspaper. This creates a divide between those suffering many attacks in less developed countries and those living in Europe and America who receive global attention whenever a rare attack happens there.
This divide is exactly what terrorists want. They want the world to be against each other as it gives them the perfect opportunity to spread their poisonous warped ideology. We have far too many other important problems to solve without us killing each other in arguments about religion or governmental policies. Just imagine a world without war and think about what we could be doing instead. The billions of dollars that are invested into the military could be spent on finding a cure for cancer, developing solutions to world hunger, developing our towns and cities and so much more.

We must not forget about atrocities being committed in other parts of the world. America and Europe must stand together with Africa and Asia and support each other. The media must be prepared to report on and condemn all acts of terrorism, not just those committed on their own shores. We must stand together as the world, not just as our country or continent. That is the only way our message can be heard by those who wish to terrorise us.

We know that the best way to live is to treat others with respect, regardless of race, gender, sexuality or religion. If we let people intimidate us to change our behaviour, in a sense we are letting them win. The only way to defeat terror is to not bow down to the fear that it creates. One example that calls to mind is the day after the London bombings in 2005 where less than 24 hours after a bomb blast tore apart a busy bus, people were at the bus stop waiting for it again. In Britain it is called the blitz spirit, but all it really means is to stand strong and try not to let anything affect you.

So in today’s crazy world, we here at Ripples Foundation urge you to support each other, lead lives based on love not fear, and look for the little things in life that make you proud to be human. For instance after this week’s attacks in Belgium and after those in Paris last year, thousands of people lined the streets to donate blood to those injured. Millions of people across the world are working tirelessly to end world problems, such as solutions to hunger, illness and climate change. 

Hope is there if you choose to see it.

Alysha Bennett Web Developer

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