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At times when atrocities happen as they are regrettably at this time in France it’s infinitely easier to hate “them” (those others) and to feel a mistrust of the religion or community as a whole from which the perpetrators derive.  A natural human response to a heinous act of senseless barbarism justified by a myopic and narrow minded fringe group who have a desire for religious totalitarianism.

It should be remembered that all groups religious or otherwise are made up of a broad church of attitudes, personality types and the spectrum will range from those that predominantly hate to those that hold love up as their dominant trait and guiding light. Most of us travel the middle road between hating a little bit on occasions and loving a lot. That’s more representative of being human I guess and the extremes are not.

Let me develop this a bit further by relating a very quick story:

To set my mind state and context I can say that I have a six year old daughter whom I love without reserve.

Now I often go to London and travel on the underground. This one day I was standing on the platform waiting for the next underground train to arrive when a Muslim lady and her young daughter arrived beside me. The little girl looked to be about the same age as my own daughter. As we waited quietly on the platform the train could be heard arriving from a distance and the noise that it generated increased as it got nearer. Now the little girl looked up at her burka clad mother and said “Mummy I’m scared”. Just a few short words with such boundless meaning. At that point her mothers eyes caught mine and I gently smiled with some knowledge and understanding of the young girls words. At that moment our worlds were one and the same. I saw into her mind and she in turn seemed to know my thoughts so completely. This woman from the “others” her daughter and I shared a fleeting moment of recognition in the universality of the human condition. This moment of great insight reminded me that we are so very much alike. We have our loves, hates, wants and fears. We are ‘one’ separated by our own life experiences and the thought filters that we apply.

We are all part of the human family only separated by our conditioned minds developed over many years of lazy thinking.

As is happening in France and all over the world we are united in our common interest in freedom of speech, human compassion and tolerance. It’s at times like these when atrocities happen that our tolerance will be tested to the extreme. I urge all to focus on what binds us together and that’s our universal humanity.

For all those that are living in fear and are subject to intolerance I can see some glimmer of hope in the way the world pulls together at such times.

We are all part of a single human family first and foremost. We all get scared, we all have mums, we all hate to some extent but mostly we all love and pull together.

Long live tolerance and Liberty.