The terrorist attack in Manchester was the most horrific of attacks on the youngest members of society.
Chat shows in the UK have run interviews with mothers and children asking if they are too scared to go to concerts, sporting events or Disneyland for fear of terrorists.
If we read the news and the news only we become locked in this cycle of bad news and stereotypes. That is not the fault of the news, it is not their responsibility to tell us every detail, good or bad, in every country around the world.
If students, and indeed and other groups in society, travel and meet people of different views and beliefs we can begin to break down these barriers in our society.
It is up to people to show the terrorists that fear will not stop travel and understanding and it is also up to people to show their fellow citizens that resorting to hatred brand-all rhetoric is not helpful either.
We are in a position to travel, we are in a position to vote, we are in a position to learn new languages and try new foods. It seems irresponsible to base our opinions of world affairs on what is written in any newspaper when we have all of this at our disposal.
These two issues may seem separate but they are not. For simplicity, a narrative of ‘The West’ vs ‘Terrorists’ has evolved. Nobody wants terrorism and those responsible should be brought to justice.
We must not be deterred from expanding our knowledge of other peoples, cultures and beliefs. We must make an effort to enjoy the good in life without fear.
I have heard people say they would never travel to France as “It’s too dangerous” “There isn’t enough police on the streets” etc from people who have never been to France.
I have heard people shocked that the Army are on the streets of Britain but when I tell them it is the same in Paris and Rome they don’t already know that because the news never said so.
The world is far bigger than what can be shown on any television station or indeed all television stations. The world is far larger than what can be covered on the internet but it is no longer too large to visit.
Do it for selfish reasons, break down the barriers you have inherited by osmosis from your news station and boast about what you know about Italian food or Judaism from your trips to Italy or Israel. If each person who can do this does and we all talk about it we will begin to get a far more realistic version of reality than the news can show.