I know that I am not alone in being aghast at some of the scenes that have emerged on television over the last few days. People who started off protesting about a dreadful incident in America now seem to have lost their reason and are behaving in a nihilistic way. Social media is awash with hate and vengeance, with people lashing out and demanding the destruction of anything they choose to take against. There have even been people calling for Gandhi’s statue to be torn down, claiming that he was a racist. Where will all this madness end? I find it even more disturbing that academics and the media seem intent on whipping things up into a frenzy without regard to consequences. We should all grieve at racial injustices, yet I have seen no protests for those poor migrants treated as slaves in Libya or marches in support of the Uighurs in China or protesting against killing, persecuting minorities in many parts of the world? There are multiple injustices in this world that warrant attention, but are routinely ignored, why is that? Whose agenda is being driven? Surely, all lives matter. If we follow the logic of somewhere will things lead with all this tearing down of statues, is Rome to be dismantled because it was built by slaves, must we rid the world of the pyramids of Egypt because they were built by slaves? People of the past were of their time. They often held views that we find offensive, no doubt people centuries from now will look upon us with similar distaste. We need a kinder, more responsible, and more tolerant world, not one filled with those who seem to thrive on hate.
We all have the right to express our opinion as it is well protected and respected in many developed societies. I strongly believe that everyone`s individual views should be respected and should not be threatened. However, it is particularly important for us to understand that there is a clear distinction between what we say and how we say, our conduct, not the content. Our conduct should be with the line of societal moral, rules and parameters. If our freedom of expression or activities causes serious disorder, violence and goes against societal values, creates disharmony this will be seen as misuse of freedom, unlawful in which case our freedom of expression can be challenged and restricted by the authorities. We all have the right to protest. However, if we enjoy the essence of human rights, we must also take the responsibilities for human wrongs. This is when we get the moral justice. Free debate, good actions, convincing arguments are important to counter hatred, prejudices, and inequality in the society.
But recent episodes of events in both sides of the Atlantic are the great reminder of our moral and societal obligation. Whatever happened to social distancing? Those who claim to care about BAME (Black Asian and Minority Ethnic) communities suffering from COVID-19 are now out behaviour thorough irresponsibly, potentially endangering lives. What we are witnessing is not legitimate peaceful protest, it is verging on anarchy. Unsavoury elements are seeking to exploit legitimate hurt and direct it at others. All races, religions and cultures at some time have fallen short. No one ethnicity is born any more racist than another and yet some people, including some academics are peddling a dangerous and poisonous narrative that sews division, mistrust, and fear. This lynch-mob mentality must stop. I was appalled to see that in London statues of Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill were attached and defaced, do these people know nothing? Even the Cenotaph, that sacred monument to the fallen was attached, an act that was little short of treason. What has been happening is truly scary and deeply disturbing.
There are dreadful things happening across the world, and not only in America. We could all do with finding out what is happening elsewhere, that is not in the media and educating ourselves and then trying to find a constructive way to do something positive about it. We can make a difference, let us make it a positive one. We need respect, understanding and love. At this time, I would ask where is the love?