More than 50 days ago, over 200 school girls were kidnapped from their beds in the middle of the night in Chibok, Nigeria. They were taken from their school, their futures dictated by the Muslim extremist group Boko Haram. They are still missing. Their story is not an isolated incident. Religious and political extremism are creating divisions around the world.
The question is, are we progressing or regressing? Have we allowed our ethnic, religious and national differences be magnified? Have we allowed our personal biases to stunt our empathy? Have we allowed ourselves to become numb to the emotions and values of others?
I think there is hope, and lies in each of us. Nelson Mandela once said, “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
On June 4th, Global Peace Foundation Malaysia joined others to stand in solidarity with families in Nigeria for a #BringBackOurGirls rally. The somber event united individuals from Japan, Tanzania, Nigeria, Malaysia, Zimbabwe and Madagascar. They gathered to stand up against crimes against humanity committed around the world, and focus on the values that make us One Family under God. I think the demonstrated that rather than allowing hate to drive the world a part, people can come together as family.
Tinashe Kitchen wrote a poem after the event titled The Only Salvation. He expressed that while the darker parts of our human nature make us hurt one another, our ability to love and empathize can bring us together. We might be callused, but our intrinsic link can reignite our compassion. In these raw emotions we can see that we are connected as one family. In these moments of solidarity, we find hope.
Here is an excerpt of his poem:
It is grief that makes us the same,
And it is within that grief that we must stand together.
The challenges of this world are powerless against our unity.
Grief’s omnipresence will dwindle in magnitude.
And in its place, fortified by our solidarity,
Grief’s ubiquity will know its place.
The only cure, the only salvation.
There is hope because we were created to love, to live. And we should tell those who work so hard to divide us that we will not allow violence to become a social norm.
~M.C.I is a blogger for Global Peace Foundation