Walk in their shoes

“.. before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.” Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

“Is everything okay over there?” said my son, calling from half a world away. “Yes… fine…” I replied, moments before madness hit London Bridge. Britain, like so many countries recently, reeled once again as violence destroyed lives and peace. That attack followed hard on the heels of Manchester and Westminster, and would precede a lethal attack on Finsbury Mosque.

“My daughter and granddaughter were there,” said our Companion, speaking of the Manchester bombings that killed children as young as eight years old, as we struggled to come to terms with yet another explosion of hatred and inhumanity.

Britain is far from being unique in this. Globally, over eight hundred terrorist attacks have been listed this year alone. Every one of them the product of hatred, prejudice and intolerance.

People, ordinary people, are attacked… acid is thrown, bombs detonated, bullets sprayed, vehicles rammed… and for what? Because they have a different skintone, nationality, history or belief. There are around seven billion human beings on this earth… the only planet in the entire universe that is home to our species. To put that in perspective, there are around a hundred billion stars in the Milky Way alone. Surely the fact that such a small planet can produce such a diverse species should be cause for celebration, not hatred and murder?

Like so many others, I have watched from the relative safety of my home, feeling helpless to do anything practical or ameliorate a shocking situation. Many of us will have imagined what it must feel like to walk in the shoes of the victims of terror or those of their grieving families, all the while knowing that we could never truly imagine how that feels.

With no TV, I keep abreast of events through social media and online news, watching too as the abyss of division widens between anger and care. Many shout immediately for retribution and vengeance, using violence to incite more violence. Others quietly open their homes and hearts to help those affected by the attacks. Still others attempt to be a voice of reason and are, more often than not, themselves the victims of verbal vitriol.

I am not certain that reason can be heard when feelings run so high. When something so shocking jolts us awake, we each react according to our own perceptions, within the limits of our own character and experience and with a conviction that may be deaf to opposing views. When we hear them at all, it is often only to deny them. And while some wrangle and spit vituperation across the airwaves, families wait in fear for news of loved ones who will never come home.

I have never understood what those who sow terror seek to gain. I can cite the official reasoning, but it makes no sense to my heart. The only reason that I can see is to divide those who would oppose them, undermining the very solidarity that can oppose them… and, having read some of the divisive comments and toxic rhetoric that surfaces every time such attacks occur, I have to ask if such comments mean that they are being allowed to succeed in their goal.

Fear breeds hatred, and while we condemn the acts of violence and terror themselves, allowing ourselves to succumb to hatred in our turn only perpetuates that dark, destructive flame.

As individuals, we each have a choice in how we face each day and each new challenge. We are responsible for what we think, say and do. “‘They’ said so” is neither excuse nor defence when it comes to our own conscience… that is one area of our lives where we can and must face the truth of our own hearts and take what we find there out into the world. It is not enough to sit in judgement, behind closed doors, nor is it enough to condemn those who perpetrate terror or sit on the fence, either in uncaring arrogance or in frightened silence.

We each have a choice and the responsibility to act, living out our lives in full knowledge and recognition of who we are and what we do. History has shown the folly of turning a blind eye or hoping someone else will change the world. Each of us has it in our power to change the world for the better, right now, no matter how small we feel in face of global events. We may be powerless in face of the powerful, we may feel helpless in face of tragedy, but we can each of us stand within our own conscience and say, I will not be ruled by hate.

Related image

Shoes…Auschwitz

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She has written a number of books, both alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at scvincent.com and on Twitter @SCVincent Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email: findme@scvincent.com
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66 Responses to Walk in their shoes

  1. Being fanatical is a huge problem. A terrible and tragic thing.

    Like

  2. jenanita01 says:

    Our world is fast becoming a very sad place…

    Like

  3. Mary Smith says:

    Very well said, Sue. I believe there are still more of the people who open their homes and their hearts to help than there are those who hate and incite further acts of terror.

    Like

  4. You speak my thoughts Sue.

    Like

  5. KL Caley says:

    Reblogged this on New2Writing and commented:
    I will not be ruled by hate! “Here Here” – Great Post Sue!

    Like

  6. ellenbest24 says:

    The footwear torn from toes about to dance,
    Slippers pulled from feet about to sleep.
    The piles of shoes that made me cry
    For the innocence who weren’t born to die.
    At the gates of Auschwitz/Birkenau ‘Arbeit mact frei’
    Translates to … work set’s you free.
    Another lie from terrorists,
    enemies of you and me
    Lessons unlearned
    as hate
    continues
    To be.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. An important post for our troubled times, and a most powerful photo reminder. Thanks, Sue.

    Like

  8. I can never understand such hate and violence against others. Thankfully, there is stil l a lot of good in the world where people have pulled together to help and comfort those that have suffered terrribly.
    As you say Sue, we all have a choice and are accountable to ourselves. x

    Liked by 1 person

  9. bobcabkings says:

    Reblogged this on cabbagesandkings524 and commented:
    Sue Vincent reflects on recent events.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Chuck says:

    BRAVO SUE—I believe that this bigotry and hatred is nothing new. In the history of civilized man, it periodically raised it’s ugly head. When the honest, good and loving people get tired of tolerating the minority who spews such hate, they have in the past raised up against it. It appears the evil has raised its head again, and it’s time for LOVE to rise up and conquer and defeat it. Thank you Sue for a beautiful post. I too will be reposting on my site. HUGS

    Like

  11. Pingback: Walk in their shoes | Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo – Getting to Know Chuck Jackson

  12. A sobering post, Sue. I’ve seen many different reactions to the hate-filled words and actions that are happening across the globe, and my own thoughts and feelings waver from day to day. One thing is for certain – adding more vitriol to the conversation doesn’t improve anything. You’re right that we each need to own our thoughts, feelings, and behavior, and make wise choices. If all we do is broaden the circles of care and compassion in our own communities we will make strides in the right direction,

    Liked by 1 person

  13. paulandruss says:

    I can only echo Diana above, a sobering post Sue… Bigotry and hatred makes no sense especially as 2nd hand emotions . You are absolutely right, people need to take responsibility for themselves instead of putting their faith in others claiming to speak on behalf of a higher power and you are right again, the answer is to ‘broaden our circles of care and compassion’

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I don’t know why I’m not seeing the reblog button, Miss Sue, but for now I’ve at least shared these wise words to Facebook.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Seems I need to make a comment in order to get the reblog button, which I just did. And so I did. ::::Cheshire cat grin::::: My human has asked me to say thank you for a great post…the photo is such a sad but necessary reminder of what fear can do…has done.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. joliesattic says:

    Wonderful post. I have been to Dachau when I was young, but similar feeling of sadness and helplessness. As today, when things occur that are unjustifiable, you know that on the grand scale, you can do nothing. The only thing you can change is how you respond and how you will contribute personally toward that change. One thing that impressed me most about Dachau, is the seldom mentioned list of people of all faiths and walks of life that did take their stand and died for it.

    Like

  17. THANK YOU, SUE! YOU HAVE EXPRESSED MY SENTIMENTS SO ELOQUENTLY! I ONLY WISH YOUR POST COULD BE ON THE FRONT PAGE OF EVERY NEWSPAPER IN EVERY LANGUAGE AROUND THIS WORLD. PEACE AND LOVE.

    Mike Phelps

    Liked by 1 person

  18. dgkaye says:

    Powerful post Sue and a timely one too. ❤

    Like

  19. macjam47 says:

    Reblogged this on BOOK CHAT and commented:
    Sue, thank you for so eloquently putting into writing what so many of us feel and are at a loss to find adequate words to express. I do not understand the violence, the hatred, the apparent need to instill terror into the heart and soul of good people. Walk in their shoes…

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I agree with your post, Sue, and, all the comments posted here. I too feel the same.

    “An old Cherokee told his grandson, “My son, there’s a battle between two wolves inside us all. One is Evil. It is anger, jealousy, greed, resentment, inferiority, lies & ego. The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy & truth. “The boy thought about this & asked, ‘Which wolf wins?'” The old Cherokee replied, “The one you feed”.

    I also think the leaders of every nation are feeding the wrong wolf. I hope and pray they all realize it before it’s too late.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Norah says:

    Great post, Sue. I will not be ruled by hate.

    Like

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