SS#3 – Us Versus Them?

Every day we digest the news, whether it be watching on TV, listening on the radio, browsing on social media, or reading physical newspapers. Every day it’s the same. From deadly conflicts in the likes of Afghanistan and Syria to political movements in the US & UK, the underlying story boils down to one core principle – division through fear.

Many people these days try to avoid the news – apathetic to the world and its struggles because it’s too hard to hear constant depressing news stories of struggle and horror. Those people have found a way to “switch off” from these stories. How? Because those struggling are different, its happening somewhere else and to someone else.

Then there are those people who ingest the news through their desired medium, and feel the sadness and pain of the stories of those suffering. They vow to make a difference and oppose these evil groups – often making pledges to do so. They ultimately do one of two things… 1. go to battle with supporters of the other side or 2. feel strongly about it, but then life gets in the way, and the news feeds refresh, and the cycle continues.

Then there are those people who ingest the news through their desired medium, and feel anger and fear at a perceived attack on them and their way of life. They want to maintain the status quo, or in some cases revert back to a bygone era, and anything that comes close to threatening this will be vociferously opposed.

If we are being honest, all of us will largely fit in to one of the above 3 categories, sometimes moving between them depending on the situation in question.

The Common Theme; Us versus Them.

But why? Why does everything revert back to division?

The answer; power and control. I am sure many of you have heard the phrase “United we stand, divided we fall”. Ironically often used by those in power to inspire a sense of unity on a particular topic that benefits them.

We are divided on a daily basis. By the continent we reside in, the nation we were born in, the region we live in, the colour of our skin, the money in our bank accounts, by religion, food choices and so on.

So when you hear a story of an explosion in Afghanistan, what goes through your mind?

“That’s sad – another bomb in Afghanistan. Poor people“… “The Taliban are bombing their own people“… “How barbaric.”

Now think back to stories of bombings ant attacks in western nations – 9/11 attacks in the US in 2001, London in 2005, Paris in 2015 or Manchester 2017. It was a different feeling, wasn’t it?

We have been conditioned to see the latter group as attacks on us and our way of life, whilst the attacks in Afghanistan are just to be expected. For both the groups behind the attacks, and the governments of our countries, the goal is the same. Widen divisions and capitalise on fear.

Because the more we fear, the more power and control they have. The more we as a society will fall in to line and unite behind them and against outside threats. Look at the rise of Donald Trump, of Nigel Farage, of Boris Johnson, of Marine Le Pen, Matteo Salvini. They all garnered support by inciting division and fear, through polarising every debate – you are either on their side, or their mortal enemy.

In reality each and every attack, no matter where it is in the world, is an attack on humanity, an attack on each and every one of us.

Love Over Fear

What if we actually stand united, celebrating our superficial differences with the core understanding and belief that we are all fundamentally the same?

What if we reject the narrative of Us versus Them? What if we love each and every human being?

If you go back and look at all the phrases in italics in this post again;

“different”… “somewhere else”… “someone else”… “evil groups”… “other side”… “threatening”… “poor people”… “their own people”… “barbaric”… “attacks on us and our way of life”… “against outside threats”... “enemy”.

All of these terms are used to differentiate and divide us. To keep us apart. To maintain power over us. To control us.

F*ck all borders and fuck all boundaries

F*ck all flags and fuck nationalities

Fear begins to vanish when we realise

That countries are just lines

Drawn in the sand with a stick

…Meltdown, by Enter Shikari (written by Rou Reynolds)

I reject the narrative of fear and division. I embrace the notion that we are all one.

I choose love over fear.

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