Just yesterday afternoon I had a long lunchtime discussion with a wonderful friend and fellow optimist at the yoga studio. We stormed off on tangents involving world religions and conflicts following news updates about the current situations in Tibet, Ukraine and Palestine. Hours later the news came in about the loss of nearly 300 passengers on a flight from Amsterdam. The Malaysian Airlines plane was sadly hit by a missile and fell to Earth in Ukraine 40km from the Russian border where conflict continues.
The hardest hitting news of all was that a great number of those passengers were heading to the 2014 AIDS conference in Melbourne. I am not at all placing a higher value on anyone’s life I must make that clear. Every single person who lost their life yesterday should be appreciated equally as a human being. As too should innocent bystanders caught up in conflicts. The news just hit me harder on a personal level having worked for HIV charities and knowing how tirelessly these people work in this industry and keep up hopes of one day beating this virus. Usually I’m able to keep my shit together, but today I just lost it and started bawling, it really got to me so much that I blubbed in front of a tram full of strangers.
Never in all my world travels have I boarded a plane and feared being shot down by a ground to air missile. It is utterly shocking to believe that we live in a world so advanced yet catastrophes like this can still take place amidst the confusion of fighting with one another.
I have always remained a hopeless optimist about our topsy turvy world. Yesterday I retained my optimism after discussing the loss of innocent civilian lives in worldwide conflicts. Hoping that one day there would be an end to battles that have ravaged for centuries. The state of our war torn planet has always deeply saddened and perplexed me. The need for hatred towards others based on land disputes or opposing religious views is utterly senseless. The news splashed across the internet and newspapers today actually made me sob on a tram, in public, in front of a number of confused commuting onlookers. My fading optimism got the better of me and I felt hopeless about the state of emergency we’re all living in. Just because you may live in a clean, peaceful developed nation and you don’t see the struggles directly in front of your eyes, doesn’t mean that we’re not all living this together. Our whole planet is shared and we’re all affected by the atrocities, its just a question of what we choose to absorb or deflect.
After crying in front of a tram full of confused Swiss passengers, the sense of guilt then took over me. I’ve always vowed that whatever struggles you face in your life are your won, they are contextual to your own sense of reality. So why was I letting myself be more affected by the loss of 298 lives than the countless other losses around the world? The #firstworldproblem phenomenon seems shallow and incomparable to the suffering in developing nations but we all experience the world differently. Our levels of suffering seem vastly different when compared to one another but when measured on a personal level it all seems justified. Despite this I still feel guilty about hurting more about the tragic loss of lives of some AIDS researchers flying out to a conference than the civilian death toll in Gaza, Ukraine or anywhere else based on my own personal connections. It made me question the values I place on lives around the world, and the conclusion I found is that every life is worth the same. Everyone is battling in their own way and trying to get by.
I am also deeply saddened that people are afraid of speaking their mind. The heavily free speaking and influential Rihanna had a good lashing from her publicists over her #freepalestine Tweet in order to not upset Israeli fans. What kind of message does this send out to followers who are already too scared to speak the truth about such conflicts.
Today is a very sad day, and its a real struggle for me to retain my continued belief that all humans, despite their selfish interests, truly care for one another and hold the ability to impact the planet in a positive way. I plead desperately for some peace in our world and that my optimism will soon be restored, because thanks to the awful news updates from around the world recently it has taken some huge beatings.
I sincerely hope that one day people in the future will be able to look back and laugh at our generation’s foolishness. My belief that this will happen in my own lifetime is very small, but I remain hopeful. For now I will try to become a realist with a glimmer of hope for a more peaceful planet.