They say that bombing for peace is like fucking for virginity.
And they are right. It is about as useful as a pen without ink.
I am as scared as you and I am as helpless as you. I sit on the tube with my eyes flitting frantically from side to side, wondering if that man over there – rummaging around in the bottom of his rucksack – is going to be the death of me. I wonder on a daily basis if my friends are going to make it into work okay. I wonder whether those suits in the city will be safe behind their desks and I dread turning on the news each night to find yet another explosion, massacre or declaration of war.
However fearful or angry I feel however, I refuse to turn to violence in times such as these.
Over the course of my lifetime, I have bore witness to three, horrific acts of terror against the western world: 9/11, 7/7 and now 11/13. I should, as a result, wish to seek revenge with bombs and violence, but I don’t. Of course, I have felt fear – feel fear – on a daily basis; terrorism has become a part of my daily life since I was twelve years old. Of course I am angry, hardened and paranoid as a result of these sporadic attacks, but in order for them to lose, I must stay positive. This is something I find easy to do because the truth is: I am fed up. I am fed up of being scared. Fed up of seeing blood stained streets, guns, torture, murder and fear. I am sick of sitting here, watching history repeating itself, of hearing inhumane requests to ‘close the borders!’ and ‘batten down the hatches!’ I am sick of humans turning this beautiful world that we live in, into a playground for death and destruction, so I simply refuse to indulge in it.
Many of you will accuse me of turning a blind eye to the events of the last few years and lots of you will accuse me of being ignorant, just because I am still smiling. But I’m not ignorant, I am simply just exhausted from fear and the disappointment of using violence to defeat violence that I have no other choice but to keep loving, marching and fighting for peace because if I don’t, what else do I have? There is no front line. There are no soldiers. Just reckless human beings with a desire to kill innocent people. And there is absolutely nothing I can do about it, except for spread the need for love and project visions of a peaceful world as far and as wide as possible.
I have sourced great comfort from the displays of love and support that have saturated social media over the last few days because it is a sign that we, as a world, are united, resilient and strong. It reminds me that there is more good than evil in the world, no matter what the headlines say. So don’t criticise those who display their affections on social media. We all feel sad, fearful, and most importantly, a little helpless, so it is right to do whatever it is that makes us feel like we are making a difference, because by doing just that, we probably are. So if you wish to drape your Facebook profile picture in a faded Tricolore then, please, do just that. If you want to share Charlie Hebdo’s front page on your Instagram, go ahead. March. Write. Talk. Basically, do whatever you can to stand united, stay positive and promote visions of a peaceful world.
What I am trying to say is that instead of feeling hatred, anger or wishing for revenge, keep the messages of love and unity flowing because it just serves as a reminder that that our gang – of tolerance and peace – is thankfully a lot bigger than theirs, which is built on an unsteady foundation of misery, ignorance and hatred. And I’ve got so much time for that.
So, for the people of Paris and across the world who have lost loved ones, who are in pain or living in fear: I want you to know that London loves you and that we are here for you.
Keep smiling and stay strong. It really is the only answer.