In Australia, there are the beginnings of a movement toward promoting peace and forgiveness, through empathy and understanding on social media.
The media, as we all know, constitutes a large part of how we view what is happening in the world. While we may all have our opinions despite the spin that any given media network or company may put on an event, occurrence or idea, the media has the power to ultimately unite us or tear us apart through popular and influential rhetoric. What Waleed Aly is doing is engaging the media in an opportunity to highlight the need for forgiveness, and make it popular in order to achieve peace, and to be constructive in our run-ins with xenophobia. This notion is not just confined to fear mongering against immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers in Australia, but also throughout the world.
Waleed Aly, a presenter on one of the Australian current affairs news programs, The Project, has highlighted an important point: those who are xenophobic are not evil people. They are afraid, and are voicing their fears in extreme ways in the hopes of combating the extreme events we are all watching unfold through the media. It is easy to lay blame on an entire race, religion, or even region of the world when the media is portraying it as immediately associated with a terrorist, extremist faction.
It’s happened to other ethnicities in the past and is now happening to Muslims. However, the innocent Muslims throughout the world who have nothing to do with the reasons we are fearful are also fearful for their lives, and their rights, not only from the extremists the rest of the world fears, but also from the xenophobic hatred the rest of the world shows them. This cultural misunderstanding causes divides within multicultural societies such as the ones incited by the Brexit campaign, Trump, and Pauline Hanson’s vilifying of immigrants and migrants.
Aly is calling for understanding of racial hatred and bigotry; treating those who are racist and hateful with kindness and tolerance instead of fighting fire with fire. He acknowledges that once something is viral, through touching millions of people, it influences the zeitgeist of our general globalized society. So, instead of engaging in argument, we should all try to diffuse it and inspire friendlier, more tolerant, and more peaceful relations with one another.
While critics have said he is pushing for oppressed minorities to simply accept and forgive the bigotry of the white and privileged, treating them kindly in the face of their abuse without fighting back, he has in fact called for everyone who sees the importance of peace and reconciliation to act on it, and to create understanding. He was not aiming his argument simply at oppressed minorities, but to everyone who cares to promote a more peaceful, tolerant and friendly society. The hope is, that through “radical generosity in the face of [their] hostility, even when it hurts”, stereotypes can be proven wrong, barriers can be broken down, and slowly but surely multicultural relations can be improved.
So lets #sendforgivenessviral.
To view the video in question, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05Rn_5AqlrE