My blog is mainly focused on my volunteering experiences in Honduras but after a couple of events recently in the UK I really felt a need to post about these events- and also vent my frustration. So, I got back 2 days ago from 7 days on a paradise Island and within the days I have been back in Honduras I have seen on the news stories about a girl hitting a cyclist with her car and boasting about it, and tragically today a solider being attacked in the middle of the day in London. It quickly emerged after the attack on the solider that the two perpetrators are extremists and were exclaiming ‘Allah Akbar’ as they apparently hacked the solider to death. And of course Facebook was filled with people saying ‘I hate fucking Muslims’, ‘shoot all the Muslims’ etc.
These views are just so shockingly out of line and it makes my blood boil. I just can’t believe that people from a country like the UK, where education is supposed to be among the best in the world, are even capable of actually believing such rubbish. The news has recently been full of the court cases of Stuart Hazell (who pleaded guilty to murdering 12 year old Tia Sharpe) and Mark Bridger (who denies killing 5 year old April Jones but the evidence looks pretty solid against him). But you don’t see people crying out about how all white men should be kicked out of the country in case they might be murdering pedophiles. There have been two recent court cases over sex gangs raping young girls – one was a group of Asian men, one was a group of white men – which do you think got a lot more media attention? And even in the case of religion, it is no secret that the Catholic church has repeatedly been discovered to commit and cover up the abuse of young boys – but you don’t have people demanding that every single Catholic must a pedophile and kicked out of the country. Because that is clearly a ridiculous generalisation. Do these people commenting on Facebook, Twitter, the Daily Mail and wherever else really honestly believe that every single Muslim person would love to kill others? Really?! No – extremists are called extremists for a reason. Islam, like all other religions is against any violence – but extremists twist what they believe in order to justify terrorists actions. After the Boston marathon attack, I read an article by a women saying she was praying that the attackers wouldn’t turn out to be Muslims because she was sick of her Muslim friends being vilified for acts that shocked and upset them as well.
It makes me so angry to see all of these comments and views – especially now that they are so publicly expressed and this can do nothing but spread these ignorant views. But then I realised it is not really these people’s fault that they are so ignorant to the fact that not all Muslims are extremists and want to blow people up. I realised that is the fault of the education system in the UK. We have Religious Education (R.E) classes through all of secondary school, or at least when I was at school – that is five years of teaching about religion. And yet too many people leave school with the narrow minded view that one act of violence by two people represents an entire religion. Surely 5 years of teaching about religion should be able to help students distinguish between the extremists and the ‘regular’ Muslims who just have a faith like Christians, Buddhists, Jews etc. Something really needs to be done to teach people this distinction before innocent Muslims are victimised and parties like UKIP and BNP get too much control. It will be a huge effort to change the mindsets of so many people, especially as views such as this are passed down from generation to generation, but it is something that desperately needs doing.
And as for the girl who boasted about committing a hit and run – where are her morals?! I honestly do not know what is happening in the UK anymore… we have so much to be thankful for and yet people are oblivious to how much we have. I saw some graffiti on my way to work yesterday – ‘we have rights’ and ‘education – it’s not a privilege, it’s a right’. People in Honduras struggle to gain proper education and are passionate about gaining it; we have the education in the UK, we’re just not using it right. Seeing pictures of the attack today, it looked like a front page from one of the Honduran newspapers. The UK needs to confront these social issues now, before the situation gets much worse.
My thoughts are with the solider who lost his life today and his poor family, and also all those who had to witness such a cruel attack.
As people who read my blog reglarly will know, I sometimes go off in a rant about things in Honduras because a lot of stuff that I see here and what I know about this country seem to make no sense and it can be quite frustrating. I’m afraid this post will be another rant, except not about Honduras today… about people from the Western world – yes that means you the US, UK, Europe. Obviously not everyone is basically stupid but some people are… particularly people who read the Daily Mail and choose to comment on things that they know nothing about.
A friend from Loughborough sent me this article today – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2316843/Horrific-collection-photos-grim-reality-life-San-Pedro-Sula-Honduras.html
to show me how the UK is protraying the country I am living in. Don’t read it if you have a weak stomach; apparently the Daily Mail sees fit to copy the Honduran newspapers and show photos of dead bodies, people in pain and family members in mourning. Nice. I know the situation in SPS (San Pedro Sula) is bad – I happen to live 6 hours from there unlike the Daily Mail writers – but I’ve quickly learnt in Honduras that you can’t always rely on statistics. The article displays A LOT of pictures of injured people and dead bodies alongside statistics like ‘83.4per cent of homicides are by firearms’, ‘San Pedro Sula recorded 1,218 homicides in 2012 (a rate of 3.3 murders a day)’ and ‘149 civilians killed by police in the last two years’. I’m not saying that I would walk around SPS, or Tegus, without being cautious and I definitely wouldn’t walk around at night but you have to take these numbers in context, which the Daily Mail fails to do. I had a quick search on google ‘how many people are killed by knives each year in the uk´ and straight away had results like 130,000 knife attacks a year (Daily Mail of course), a knife attack every 4 minutes, 6 killed a week and 3500 murders a year from knives. If you read this and didn’t know which country it refered to, I’m pretty sure you would say you wouldn’t want to go there and you’d be imagining somewhere very far from the UK. But I for one feel pretty safe when I’m in the UK, including London which is where the majority of knife attacks happen. And I’ve never had one of my friends who live in London say they are worried about crime – which is one of the questions I’m asked often when talking about my life in Tegus. The Daily Mail has a tendency to dramatise things and pick out all of the worst statistics (and pictures) and present the horror that people face as though it is entertainment.
But it is not the Daily Mail that I am really angry at, it’s the people who choose to comment on these kind of articles. Not everyone, some people just mention their sympathy for those who are victims or say it makes them realise how lucky they are to have been born in a western country (which they are!!!). A couple of people even commented that it was hard to read but we need to know more about what is going on in the world that isn’t usually published (I love you!). But others feel the need to display their selfishness, stupidity and ignorance for all to see, here are a few of my favourites and why they’re so stupid:
“America – heed this warning… your 60% death rate by guns may soon match this !!” – of course, it’s not an issue that Honduras faces this every day, but we should be worried about its nearby RICH neighbour. Of course.
“Looks like just another day in Tower Hamlets.” – that’s just dumb.
“Its their problem, nothing we can do about it.” – I’m sure if you had had the bad luck to be born in a country like Honduras you would hope others would say this about you… I think not.
“IT’s all over South America and they are slowly bringing it over to Europe, as our lax emigration laws allow them to” – When was the last time you met a South American in Europe? I know I haven’t met many. Recently, I’ve been trying to help a friend from Honduras look at volunteering in the UK for one year – he’s educated and not a law breaker, don’t worry everyone! – but it is literally impossible. He is visiting the US soon for 2 weeks and even has to get a VISA for that, which he might not get, simply for the fact that he has the bad luck of having a Honduran passport.
“and I thought Birmingham was bad.” – you have no idea how lucky you are.
“and yet they keep breeding” – I wish I could sit with you for 10 minutes to tell you how disgusting your comment is. If you bothered to learn anything about what you’re commenting on you would know that the Catholic church in Honduras prevents sexual education in school, has made abortion illegal (even in cases of rape) and pretty much says that the use of condoms and other contraceptives is illegal.
Ok, so I sound angry right? It’s because I am! I just hate how ignorant we are in Western nations to the problems that developing countries are facing – I don’t think we realise how little people from developing nations have. As I talked about in my last blog, if your country was in the middle of a war and your family encouraged you to go to a rich country where you would have a chance at surviving and possibly even getting a well paid job, are you really saying there is no way you would go? And when you got to this foreign country, with no money, food or place to sleep, and you had one friend and they told you they were part of a gang and the gang would look after you and give you everything you needed, are you 100% sure you would say no? Of course I’m not saying every gang member got drawn into crime like this, but many did and that is why Honduras has the problem it does. The majority of its people are innocent and just want to get by in life – they don’t have the luxuries of cars, holidays or even nice houses with nice furniture. Many of the houses in Tegus are basically sheds. The people I have met in Honduras are some of the friendliest people I have met and by presenting it in the way it does, the Daily Mail is alienating these people from those who can possibly help them. It’s not all just about money, just raising awareness (and being aware yourself) can help and stop the ignorance about the developing world. So please, when you see articles like this don’t believe everything you read and – as we were taught in my masters – ask questions so you can understand more.
Rant over. Thanks for reading.