Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Come together, not apart

A 22-year-old suicide bomber is not some different-to-us category of evil person we can’t understand or do anything about.

He is likely isolated, struggling with big questions and looking for answers, disaffected with society. In other words, he is no different from many of our young people.

Instead of coming under the influence of terrorists, he might have been found by the local drug dealer, and spiralled into self-destruction. Or a local gang, and knifed a kid at a bus stop.

Or he might have been found by a sports coach, an inspiring teacher, or a sympathetic employer. He might have been found by a preacher of love, a local political party, or grass-roots community. By a neighbour who smiled and said hello.

It is easy to worry about who is influencing young people.

It is better to be an influence for hope and a future.

To seek to understand actions that seem inexplicable to us is not necessarily to condone them, but to insist on showing compassion, which, I believe, is the only way we guard our humanity.

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