We’re witnessing some tough times for humanity, don’t you think? But is it a time to learn from history and redefine our future as we did in the past, or?
There were some inner doubts about writing this introduction. I wondered should it be with positive note and motivation that would call for action, or something full of compassion for the ones that suffered because of somebody’s hate.
There is no justification for recent attacks as there is not a religion that equals terrorism and hate with values. From what I saw, people became more united than ever. Charlie Hebdo was the beginning and the same happened with Paris and Brussels, where after the attack people went on the streets for days and days. People who spread love, hope and positivism when all seemed gone. They showed no fear. Famous picture of this unity was the PEACE symbol with Eiffel Tower and the attitude of piing on terrorism with Manneken Pis. Later, it was the same with Orlando, where after the attack people started supporting LGBTQI+ community more than ever before. Prove of this fact was having a 100m long line in front of the hospital for people to donate blood and to help the ones in need. And the examples can go on and on. Latest attack, was the one at the Airport in Turkey, people again got to share the love and unity, but this time it was more silent. It was a time that a regime defines opinions, but people still raise above the occasion. On the one hand, I think we have never witnessed so much evil and hate, but on the other so much love and unity.
Not to forget about Brexit. A strong example where old people neglected the opinion of the young ones. Whereas it seemed that authorities didn’t clarified to their citizens - what does exiting EU actually means? Where during and after this referendum people boosted their nationalistic attitude and started spreading hate to their fellow citizens. Is this the Europe we are working for and are these European values we cherish?
So, where is our role in this whole story? The role of youth organizations, young activists and volunteers.
I would say it’s very simple. The task raising today, as it was always, is to continue working on your aims, objectives and dreams. Continue supporting organizations that work for making our societies better, which work on topics of youth, LGBTQI+, minorities or refugees and discriminated groups or the ones promoting peace and understanding. As people or within your work, try to fill up your everyday life, activities, events or workshops with actions that could tackle xenophobia. Equally important is to tackle islamophobia, as it is important to understand that no actions of people can define a whole group. Remind young people that they should not be scared of their neighbours, just because their religion is Islam.
As we develop and move on, it is important to colour our lives again with diversity, tolerance and understanding. It took us thousands of years to develop and claim our rights and freedoms. That leads to responsibility. A responsibility to keep working to make peoples’ lives better, for the families, ancestors, friends and those people who lost their lives for us to have a better life and a brighter future. As them, so do we need to realize that our differences are the ones that unite us, because we can build a world where it can be suitable for all. The times are hard, but in these times we unite and we become better as nothing is granted and we need to step on the ground and hold on united for something we believe, for the change we want, for our future.