The world seem so polarized now, it’s like a battle where people are confused between what’s good and what’s evil – yes, I use these terms even though I know the reality is more nuanced than that – and how I hear people speak nowadays I’m reminded of darker times, when some people are less of value. I thought people in my beautiful country of Sweden would never let me down, but maybe I was wrong.
I don’t think I’m speaking from out of a shielded, dark room somewhere. I was a humanitarian aid worker for many years. I was in Peshawar, Pakistan, when the infamous school massacre happened. I was in Syria when the Banyas massacre took place. I used to work in a women’s shelter where I met victims of sexual trafficking. I’ve once worked with elderly Jewish people in Sweden who survived the Holocaust. I’ve heard of all sorts of horrible things people do to one another when their disconnected from their feelings of empathy. Still I’m so bothered by what I hear sometimes, intolerant and insensitive things that people say. And what have come to bother me more is when people that I believed had decent values and were educated and aware (this doesn’t necessarily go together), don’t stick with them.
It’s so easy to claim you’re humanitarian, a someone who believes in equality, but some people cannot stick with this when they’re confronted with ignorant people. As if ignorant people holds some sort of power over less ignorant ones. What’s in their power? Well, here’s something I have to tell you: when people don’t stick to their core values, it breaks my heart.
I deal with this on a regular basis. The society as I experience it, my own little corner of the society, has become so much more openly aggressive towards people with a lower status in the society, the different ones, the ones who don’t belong to the majority, than what I was used to. I’m gotten so used to it that I deal with it the same way I do when a relationship ends. I lock the door, stay in all night and crack open a whine bottle to numb the feelings of betrayal and despair. I give calls to my sisters and friends who put up with listening.
It breaks my heart if I see you listen to an intolerant, slightly racist comment, and you nod as if you agree when I know you don’t.
It breaks my heart when you happily go out and party with girls who just dropped negative things about immigrants, or minorities, or both, when you qualify for both of these categories and you pretend you don’t care.
It breaks my heart when you so much want to make friends that whatever these friends will say, you keep quiet and hang out with them.
It breaks my heart when you defend your loved one who keep saying intolerant things just because he’s your loved one, even though I know you deep inside don’t agree; when love and the dependency that follows takes over sanity.
Today is such a day again. I feel betrayed by my society, that I thought was better, was truthful, would never let me go. I lock the door and switch the lights off. Reach for a glass in the cupboard, keeping the wine bottle near. It’s going to be a long night.
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