What the f*$k happened in Tunisia? Why on earth would anyone think that this heinous act would somehow do the world a favour, or bring the deranged individual closer to ‘paradise’? Atrocities like these do only one thing: create hate and fear. I have only read one account in a newspaper of this horrific act, and that was more than enough; it made me feel sick and brought tears to my eyes.
Islamic extremists get a LOT of media coverage, leading us to believe that they are everywhere; that all Muslims share their their extreme views. I know for a fact that this isn’t true. My best friend on my MA was Muslim and we had great times together. She was (is) tolerant and open-minded but kept her faith, fasting during the long British summer days of Ramadan while still making the effort to see me. We used to go out together, sometimes dancing in bars. She didn’t drink alcohol, while I had a modest amount. “My religion is between my god and me” she once told me. To be honest, I don’t even think of her as Muslim; maybe because she doesn’t wear hijab, maybe because she was open to my culture. If my friend is a Muslim and sees her faith as a personal relationship between herself and her god, then why are there so many extremists out there? What do they want?
I am not a fan of organised religion. I grew up Catholic but I am not any more. Imposing your religious beliefs onto a young mind can cause lasting damage, even if it is done for the ‘right’ reasons. In my view, there is no god, there is no Heaven, nor Hell. Hell is where we are right now, with people shooting and bombing each other for having differing opinions on the correct way to live one’s life. The best way is with love, tolerance and kindness, not hatred and division. What makes the massacre in Tunisia even worse is that the people who commit these heinous acts do so in the name of a god whose existence has yet to be proved. Of course, proving the existence of a god would automatically refute the nature of faith; but that is a philosophical debate for someone else to ponder.
I believe that we all come from the same place, from the same male AND FEMALE energies that run through every creature on our beautiful, abused planet. I think that when we die, we literally go back into the earth, air and water. I do think that yes, maybe we have got a spirit: an energy that was not a physical part of our being; that has to go somewhere. In my mind this explains why sometimes we can still ‘feel’ our loved ones close by, even when they have passed on. So maybe my views are a contradictory mixture of science and paganism, but they are harmless. I do not impose these views on others, and I am certainly not going intimidate or kill anyone who lives a different life to me.
Some things in this world are inherently wrong and need to be stamped out: forced child marriage; female genital mutilation; torture; the destruction of our planet, to name just a few. Sun-bathing on a beach does not warrant the massacre that happened in Tunisia last week. At times like this, I am glad that I have a good friend who is Muslim, even though she lives far away in another country. Our friendship is living proof that people with wildly different spiritual beliefs can exist happily together.