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Fighting back against hatred

I was going to write about challenges closer to home. But then Christchurch happened. Breaking news of carnage, of families destroyed, communities shaken to their core by terrorist atrocity. Ramming home the cold hard reality that where evil is allowed to linger, lives are at risk. Such tragedies can bring out the worst in us. However tempting, we cannot lower our standards. At all costs we must preserve our composure, our empathy, and our compassion.

I say WE because who else is going to do it? Preoccupied at the highest levels, our country is, to put it politely, rudderless. A worrying standard of debate. A strategic vacuum. Narrow agendas undermining informed, inclusive governance. Popular appeal trumping greater goods. Nasty, empirically dangerous behaviours uncorked. All manner of -phobia and -ism moving, like clockwork, from the margins, to the mainstream. Fears and insecurities preyed upon. Reactions more compelling than truths. Social or otherwise, a media-enabled right wing, with politicians and pundits alike amping up those further right still.

As history demonstrates, once the gates open, those horses bolt far and wide. It’s all on the same intolerant curve. All part of normalised toxic opinion. All part of letting loose the false belief that this kind of conduct is acceptable, where it patently is not. The time for putting ration and logic back at the heart of discourse is long overdue. And, in dark times such as these, we must make and redouble all efforts in pursuit of unity, equality, and justice.

Written by Cllr Muhammed Butt