Friday, 15 July 2016

The two sides of silence

When you become a parent, the first thing you give up (along with sleep) is silence. The house is always noisy, be it with cries, long negotiations about bed time, fights breaking, or the toys you wish you didn't buy (Hello, Hulkbuster !). In short, there is always something going on.

But yesterday, my husband travelled to France with the kids where they will stay for 3 whole weeks before we join them in August. I came back home after work and got in our empty and silent apartment. I just took time to enjoy the moment and didn't even put the TV on. Instead, I just soaked up in the silence. For the first time in at least a year, I slowed down. I took time to do nothing and just relax. I even enjoyed a bath in peace and without fear of the kids turning the light off from the outside.

My parental instinct, however, was still intact. For a split second I even thought my kids were still around when I heard children crying and noises in the corridor. Then I rang them to see how they were getting on. Kids are great at making their parents feel guilty. My youngest kept saying he was missing me and how he couldn't wait to see me. The oldest didn't want to speak to me at all. I know they're going to have a good time so I don't worry too much.

After a well deserved evening of peace and quiet, I checked Facebook one last time before going to bed. And unfortunately, the silence that ensued had a totally different meaning. I quickly checked the different news websites, not believing that once again, France had been struck by a terror attack. I had no words. I'm still gobsmacked, and disgusted, and just tired of all this shit.

I am fundamentally a utopist. I wish we'd live in a world where hate wouldn't exist and all cultures and religions would cohabit peacefully. I'm a dreamer, I know. I also know I'm naive to think things could change. Things are not going to change. It's  only going to get worse. People turning on each other, immigrants will become scapegoats and pay for the actions of nutjobs and scumbags. Governments will pretend they do everything in their power to destroy terrorists when in fact the geopolitical situation is a lot more complicated than that. And who pays again? Innocent people.

We don't know the motives of this crazy guy who decided to have a wild drive and kill almost a hundred people in Nice. However, the different medias have been very prolific in showing tasteless interviews of survivors who lost loved ones, asking witnesses stupid questions like "did you hear people scream?", "Did you see people die?"...

Is this the sort of world we're going to live in now? A world where we'll have to watch every step we take in case something like that happen again? A world where every bit of life and death is shown as "entertainment"? Obviously, we are guilty as well. If people weren't watching, or instantly sharing everything they're experiencing, there wouldn't be such expectations and results.

I don't want to bring up my kids in this world. I want them to be tolerant and understanding. I want them to think by themselves, try to understand different sides of a situation, to be empathetic, yet realistic.

My utopist side is taking over I know...But after last night, there's one thing I'm know. I'm glad I live in Ireland. It's not perfect, it has its flaws, but I feel safer here. I cannot even start to imagine what it's like to be in France at the moment. All I can think of is a country being torn apart and divided, not united, despite what the Internet is trying to tell me...