Fear

Fear is the most destructive of human emotions, in my opinion. It can be fear on a purely personal level or fear held by the masses and played on by politicians and the media for their own ends. This fear of the masses can lead to radical behaviours, the rise to power of people such as Trump and in my country Pauline Hansen, and the average nice person feeling anger and hatred towards certain sectors within our society.

With my young nephews staying I can see the effect that constant broadcasting of horrific world events has on them. It has become obvious to me that children are no longer free to be children. Luckily my nephews seem to know that individuals are people just like themselves with the same needs and desires, pains and hurts. I guess that is helped by them living in Geneva where they have first hand contact with many nationalities and are close to the agencies that are trying to minimise the differences in health care between countries, advance human rights and world peace. Despite this – they are still scared.

It is because people are afraid that they latch on to those that have radical ideas that violate the conventions of human rights, advocating fences being built to keep people out, mandatory detention and many more. I believe however that these radical ideas just create more fear in the societies they are aimed at and create a huge disparity between people. What must it be like being a Moslem in a world that hates you. What must it be like to be a Christian yet have a name like Ahmed, Hussein. Is it any wonder that children growing up in families that are not radical islam see atrocities to other moslems and also have to deal with hatred towards themselves. Is it any wonder that some will turn to radicalism as they become the oppressed.

I think out media have a lot to answer for. I know that many will disagree with me but I believe that people’s tragedy sells papers, especially terrorism so every incident that occurs is depicted as an act of terrorism. Take the siege in the Lindt café. A sole person with a known history of violence and mental health problems. The maniac in Nice. Also a man with known mental health issues. By reporting these incidences as acts of terrorism rather than the actions of sick madmen we are feeding the fear in western civilisation and making ISIS and other organisations appear more terrifying than they are. These organisations attract the weak minorities and those that are sick because because it allows them to latch on. Being part of a gang can make them feel as though they are part of something. That they are not alone. That they are not just thugs and outcasts in society. Although I believe in freedom of the Press I also  believe that the Press should be responsible in their reporting. Yes, these incidents should be reported but not over-reported. They should not focus on the radical groups. I feel that the media is serving the radicals  by adding to the fear of the people.

The politicians are the same. It suits them to wind up their constituents fear. In my lifetime in Australia I have seen this tactic from our pollies time and time again.
Sadly it often hinges on racism, religion and political beliefs . We’ve had the yellow peril, reds under the bed, boat people and now refugees.

I came across Waleed Aly’s youtube and it spoke to me and I needed to share it.

 

I know that many will have different view points but ask yourself if you are speaking from fear. I too am afraid but I don’t see our current methods working. I see a world degenerating into a world which makes me more afraid.

I have been saying for a long time now – I would like to have a debate on what kind of world we want to live in. Britain has started that debate with Brexit. In the States and elsewhere Black Lives do matter. Perhaps gun control is a place to start. With fewer people armed perhaps the police would not be so frightened. Again it is fear that makes them hit the trigger quickly.

We have to work out ways of lessening our fear and it would seem to me that holding out hands in friendship would be a good place to start.

 

About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. Commenced a masters by research in 2014.
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19 Responses to Fear

  1. You’ve made many excellent points. Fear and ignorance are at the root of many shootings especially in America. Old ingrained racist stereotypes are hard to uproot despite the Civil Rights Movements of the 1960s. People are more than a skin color and race should not denote worth or value but unfortunately in the U.S.A. it does. Sad. Also the United States urgently needs uniform gun control as well as better training for police officers. Thanks for writing this blog post. God Bless.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It seems as though forward steps were made and then suddenly we have gone backwards on so many fronts. I hope that gun control is closer to happening in the States. We did it here and have seen a definite drop in gun related deaths. When I saw the you tube clip I knew I had to say something. It spoke to how I have been feeling and I think we have to address fear and see each of us for who we are – another human being with the same needs as each other. I really don’t know how to go about doing it but keeping quiet is not going to have any effect.

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  2. You are brave to set out your beliefs so directly. Like you, we have to start taking a more analytical, dispassionate view of world events, if we are to explore and understand them. Good for you, Irene!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post. Thank you. Thanks too for the Waleed Aly clip – hadn’t seen the whole thing before. I agree with you about the press, but I think we’re a lot better off than some countries – and that politicians have even more to answer for! Their cynical and immoral use of fear to win votes makes me ill. (Tony Abbott is still bleating ‘Islam’ whenever he can.)
    I think greed and entitlement are big players at the moment as well. When you see people flocking to someone like Trump, you have to wonder whether kindness, consideration and compassion are now considered weaknesses, and Hitler a poster boy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Helen. I saw the clip and just had to post. I agree we are a lot better off than some countries and the politicians love all this fear mongering. If it hadn’t been for the baby overboard and twin towers I doubt that we would have retained the government of the day. And Tony Abbott should be ashamed.
      I wait with baited breath to see how the American people view Trump. I’m hoping they don’t see Hitler as a poster boy.

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  4. TanGental says:

    ‘If it bleeds, it leads’. Isn’t that the cliche of the press? The clip you posted is very thought provoking and so difficult to implement, because the visceral response is as he describes – fear based and we revert to hardwired defences. In the UK the Brexit votes showed a split between young and old, metropolitan v rural. Those with more hope less cynicism voted to stay; those who had little experience of immigration and a varied population voted to leave. That’s the way the vote was characterized with a degree of truth but all that does is continue and exacerbate divisions. The press pick over the impact but in reality there’s a sense we are moving on. That for me, sad though I am by the vote result, is the positive. We had a vote, we voted and we abide by the result. Sure there will be voices trying to undermine it but they serve no purpose. All they do is seek to blame not seek to understand why and try and address that.

    Liked by 2 people

    • That is certainly the way the press operates here. I love the sentiment expressed in the clip but agree that implementation would be very difficult. I am not religious at all but I cannot help remembering (my Father was a minister) that in Matthew (I think) it was advocated “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you, and persecute you”. Perhaps this was good advice and we should pay heed.
      With the Brexit – I have a real sense that you are moving on also. I get the sense that there is a sense of hope for the future and it could be good. I was interested in your analysis (a little different to mine but I am not there) and look forward to seeing how it goes.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. FEAR has been on my mind a lot too. It’s so obviously driving relations here in the States – and no ‘perhaps’ about it – gun control is absolutely where we should start. And we’ve started – I’ve been inspired by my State leaders and Joe Lewis – the fight for sanity. Our lives depend on winning it. Thanks for this!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Fear — Reflections and Nightmares- Irene A Waters (writer and memoirist) – Welcome to the World of Ekasringa Avatar!

  7. Norah says:

    Thanks for sharing the video, Irene. I missed it when it went to air. I think he makes a very important and impassioned plea.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. You make many good points, Irene, but I’m not sure I agree with you on all. I don’t believe that those who fear are those who terrorize. You’ve suggested several times what it is I think is the real problem.

    I’m one of the most fearful people you’ll ever meet, and you’ll encounter some of what frightens me in my post on July 25. I’m afraid of the dark and won’t walk at night. I’m afraid of all bugs and spiders and snakes and all but the tiniest of lizards. I’m so afraid of bears that when I camped at Yosemite in a campground near civilization with dozens of Boy Scouts and their adult leaders, I sat up on my sleeping bag the entire night, afraid to sleep for fear a bear would wander into the campground and attack a child. I’m afraid to tell strangers very much about myself, I’m afraid of phone calls at night and the ones that don’t show any identify. None of my fears make me react violently against other people. I know my fears are usually irrational, the result of a terrible childhood and unresolved issues.

    I believe that what builds a terrorist is hatred. Self-hatred to begin with, and then hatred that extends to everything and everyone else in the world. The kind of hatred that blinds and deafens and desensitizes. The kind of hatred that brands people as “other” and therefore undeserving.

    Holding out our hands in friendship is a good place to start, but I know that for people wallowing in hatred, other people have held out friendly hands, have opened hearts and doors and been sympathetic and tried to help. That’s what makes this cult of terror so difficult – these are people who have had chances and chose to refute everything.

    I don’t have answers, just my own fears. But it isn’t hatred. And I’m not violent.

    There is much to think about here. Thank you for posting a challenging topic for discussion.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for this wonderful comment Sharon. Personal fear I understand and can relate to some of yours myself. I have never been in bear country but I’m sure that I would have my share of nerves. My big personal fear is being in a car on a narrow road close to the edge that has a drop. Bends on the road just make me worse.
      I agree with you re the terrorists. I think they are driven by a misinterpretation of religious texts but underlying that is an immense hatred. It is hard for us to have a full understanding of what motivates those in the middle East as I think they are living in a world such as we lived in the middle ages and are reacting as our mediaeval forebears would have to various stimulii. It is a matter of the ancient meeting the modern and the two worlds are so far removed from each other that neither knows how to live or act appropriately. For these tribal societies I think the only answer is a dictator that can hold the tribes together and hopefully a benevolent one. In order to do this they obviously have to be strong men and I think it is a pity that we got rid of Saddam as at least the people generally lived in peace with all the religions allowed to practice. I know he was cruel but what is happening now is worse.
      What worries me however is that our fear of these terrorists (and I have to admit I’m fearful although I feel reasonably safe here) are causing us to lose our own humanity. People are advocating to intern all muslims, build walls to keep out the Mexicans, stop all immigration. If you are black you are at risk. The extreme right is gaining a foothold and I can’t see this as being good for the world. I see that these reactions lead to home grown terrorists, again angry at how they and their people have been treated. I also see a lot of mentally ill people and out and out thugs latching on as this gives them the right to be aggressive.
      I don’t have any answers either. But hands of friendship, seeing people as individuals rather than as mass groups seems to sit better with me than reacting with anger and violence.
      In reality we are probably totally helpless but unless we discuss it there is little chance for change.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Charli Mills says:

    Fear is being manipulated in the US by those irresponsible politicians who understand how to agitate it. The fear that leads to hate and violence is the kind that we should all be fearful of! We have such complex issues coming out against a backdrop of a divisive presidential candidate race. We definitely need more responsible media reporting. What ever happened to the values of journalism?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree. Journalism is not what it used to be and in my opinion should be – unbiassed reporting of the facts. It seems that all journalism these days is opinion pieces which makes it really difficult to come to your own conclusions. Even those that seem unbiassed often influence by the biassed language they use.

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