Let me apologise up front for my rather gratuitous use of "colourful" language later in this post.
As a result of a necessary service to the car I found myself rediscovering Brisbane's public transport system on Friday. I chose to take the train back to town. I'm not sure why I love the train so much. It probably has something to do with not having grown up near a train line so that the only times I ever got to board one as a child was to take some great adventure to the Ekka or out to see the relatives. So it was with a light heart I sat and waited for the next arrival.
Then something happened that caught me off guard. Two young men of Arabic descent came down and sat in the next chair away from me. What surprised me was my reaction. Immediately I started watching them suspiciously, checking to see the size of their backpacks, trying to notice anything that may uncover some hidden and deadly agenda.
I couldn't believe what I was doing and yet I couldn't stop myself. I could see that these were two average, normal young men on their way home from University. They were obviously engaged in a lively discussion, in English, and yet I could hear a voice in the back of my mind telling me "that's exactly what they WANT you to think!"
We were at Milton station before was was happening really hit me, and so it is that I wish to say these words.
To the false prophets of an Islam that never was, the crawling slime that belittles the lives of the followers of a proud and noble religion, I say this to you.
Fuck you for sowing discord and hatred in a world that was struggling to come together.
Fuck you for making me think this way.
Fuck you for causing me to think "these dark-skinned people are a threat because of their religion."
Worse, fuck you for making me think "but the dark-skinned people I know are not a threat because they are Christians."
Your actions have created an environment were I pre-judge people based on the colour of their skin, the shape of their face or the clothes that they wear, unless it's filtered through an understanding of a religious faith I no longer even aspire to. For that I am deeply ashamed.
And so I say thank you. Because in creating this uncertainty you have caused me to look long and hard at myself and my actions. You have made me realise that fighting terrorism starts by fighting racial prejudice on a personal level. I cannot be a brother to other people until I stop seeing them as foreign and different and realise that my ignorance makes me weak. By sowing hatred and fear you have also created an environment for examination and introspection. And it's only through tearing down my own barriers of fear and mistrust that I can do my part to fight you and the lies you stand for.