The Oxford University Press claimed that last year the word “toxic” best captured the tone of our daily lives.
A huge factor in that toxicity was a combination of racism and a rampant anti-immigration sentiment — be it Brexit, the White House, or the growing Three Percent movement in our own country.
What struck me in the horrific events in Christchurch was the tragic irony of the UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination happening within the same week.
Even more disturbing is the increasing incidence of these terrorist attacks targeting places of sanctuary, peace, and worship… Al Qaeda/ISIS blowing up mosques in Iraq, the Quebec City mosque shooting two years ago, and fatal shootings in Christian churches, Sikh temples and Jewish synagogue in the U.S. — where many of the victims are people of colour, seniors, and kids attending Sunday school!
So, in the aftermath of Christchurch, what to do? Perhaps pay more attention to the hateful potential of social media; work harder on narrowing income disparity which drives some to extreme tribalism and uneducated desperation; keep the pressure up on banning high-powered military-type assault weapons; and support investigative and well-researched newspaper journalism.
And should we be hopeful? Yes, absolutely! I believe that the basic reason natural selection allowed human beings to survive is that successful genetics lead to valuing friendships, to co-operation, to learning and teaching, to caring for others .. because — ultimately — our very existence depends on “others”.