Our country is under attack. However, we’re not under siege from a crazed fanatic who has claimed the lives of five innocent British people in Westminster. The enemy is closer to home than you can ever imagine and you know them.
Less than 24 hours after the incident, whilst a nation mourns its fallen, somewhere the next victim is being lined up. The attacker waits for the opportune moment, attaches a carefully crafted caption.. pulls back the trigger and click.. a post is shared.
A single photo begins to circulate online of a woman adorned in headscarf, clutching a phone at one of the Westminster attack scenes. Like a war cry, the onlookers, outraged at the caption, arrive in their troves and the inevitable comments commence: “shame on you - you insensitive bitch!”
As a society we spend our lives in constant judgement of one another. The internet and social media have become the colosseums of our generation. Some days I wonder if we’ve managed to progress since Medieval times – the only being we cry “witch” from the safety of our keypads.
However, it might surprise you to know that I don’t live in fear of an imminent terrorist attack. Be it bullets, bombs or words, I have accepted that while there are weapons in the world there are weapons to wound people. I believe that when your cards are dealt, your time is up. It’s out of our hands. But it’s not all doom and gloom - there are some things we are in complete control of!
We are in complete control of the way we see the world and how we treat the people living in it. We only see the tip of the iceberg - I am more intrigued about what I can’t see.
I have trained my eyes to see people as icebergs. Everybody is fighting their own battle.
It took just one person to start that snowball rolling that day – just one. Imagine if their caption said something nice, something kind, something liberating - something to unite rather than divide. Perhaps we should be careful about the context in which we use the word terrorist.
The truth is we are all dictators. We dictate how people read our pictures, through a series of choice hashtags, crafty camera angles and pretty scenery. Add your filter, remove all the blemishes that make us who and what we are – and away we go! In 196 countries and the 7 billon people in the world – we are all but one.
Maybe rather than focussing on when our time could be up, we should focus on how make the most of the time we have left. Maybe we should measure the life in our days, not the days of our lives. Maybe we shouldn’t measure our success by the number of likes, shares and comments but by the way we’ve treated those around us and what we’ve left behind.
After all – at very best we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg.