20 April 2012

A hope for a brighter future for all

For me the world changed on September the 11th 2001. We all watched the events on TV unfold in front of our eyes. I subsequently heard that my Gran who at the time lived alone in a warden controlled bungalow near to my mum, had watch the events in New York alone. When my mum went up to see if she was ok she found her in tears and unable to comprehend what she had witnessed with her own eyes. The world she knew was a different place, falling apart and it had obviously been a traumatic day for her.

That also affected me greatly, the idea of my Gran being so upset, and this played on my mind. As the days and months unfolded after 911, we were subjected to the unfolding repercussions in the media ; the assembling of a coalition of allies (including the British) embarked on what became the ‘War on Terror’ plans unfolded to invade Afghanistan. We were being encouraged to get behind George Bush and his hard line rhetoric against an Islamic terrorists and nations who formed an ‘access of Evil’, “If you’re not with us, you’re against us” became a slogan which to me seemed to attempt to identify an enemy which could be punished or attacked in a military sense.

I was angry because I was being encouraged to take sides and the policies to me were bourn out of mistrust and a sense of injustice by those who saw the west as the baddies (or the infidels). Any acts of aggression in return or attempts to deliver a military blow to the fundamentalists could be seen as retribution and attempts to hit back with more violence and more terror and this to me was a downward spiral which would lead to fuelling the flames of hatred in the world rather that improving things?

It would have been all too easy to feel dispair and helpless about what was unfolding in the world. I as just a minnow felt helpless in a world which seemed stunned, angry, intolerant of others and bent on retribution. Only it dawned on me, through much contemplation (call it prayer if you like?) that the term “War on Terror” could actually be taken literally!

Taking Action

‘War on Terror’ had to be just that. A ‘War’ on ‘Terror’ its self. ie I was going to wage a ‘war’ on the act of praying on people’s ‘fears & anxieties’. So I turned my attention to my community and realised that if I couldn’t change things on a global scale then it was up to likeminded individuals to fight a real ‘War on Terror’ at home, locally and ‘Hope’ that attitudes based on looking out for one another in our communities would be allowed to permeate on a global scale? A big Hope.

So the first thing I embarked on was to join and assist in the running of a local ‘Amnesty international’ action group at my local church. We organised a concert of Hope to raise awareness of injustice in the world.

A decade later, I work as an activities organiser with adults with ‘Learning Disabilities’ and I also work as a Learning Support Assistant at the local school. I’m still dedicated, when its appropriate, to spreading a message of hope in the world even if its just a class discussion or conversation with a student or colleague. I’m now enjoy passing my expertise in graphic design to inspire ‘Hope’ in the younger generation and to believe in themselves and I take every opportunity to convince the next generation that there is a better way which involves avoiding conflict and hatred.

© Tony Morrell – April 2012

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