I saw a message on Social Media from one of our Turkish friends, asking people not to judge the entire country by this and cease visiting. The small town we visit relies on tourists and is full of wonderful people. They are peaceful, kind and warm individuals who welcome you and always have a smile and a conversation ready. They are not ISIS, they are Muslims; they do not promote terror, but peace; their only agenda is making a living for themselves and their families; they do not condemn, they embrace.
Whilst there I saw young children working in restaurants to try and learn a trade; I saw people walking around in blistering heat carrying huge loads of bread on their head to sell; I saw people digging through bins for bottles and other unwanted objects they could recycle to earn a very small amount of money for; I saw people open market stalls and shops at 8am and not close until after midnight. What I didn't see was hostility, animosity or any trace of hatred.
Last week we saw a horrific attack in Nice which killed 84 people and seriously injured many more. This should have been a day of celebration for French people, but now on every anniversary it will be remembered for something very different, something which will now be mourned and not celebrated. Families were torn apart, some children were killed, others were orphaned. There was no discrimination, this was a calculated and very deliberate attack designed to illicit a response and hurt as many people as possible. Whilst 84 people lost their lives, millions of people will have been affected either directly or indirectly and it isn't just French people.
We have already seen racial tension increasing recently and I fear this is going to further exacerbate things. Those who already have a racial agenda will have another reason (in their minds) to perpetuate hatred. I have friends who are Muslim and have just returned from a Muslim country and the people I have spoken to deplore these actions as much as anybody. It hurts them because they know each time this happens, people do not see ISIS, they instead just see Islam. We have only one race, and that is the human race. We should be galvanised by the fight against disease and natural disasters, not divided by the fight against race and religion.
Let us mourn those who have died and focus our efforts on identifying solutions not people to blame.
Thanks for reading and stay safe friends