This week we awoke to the devastating news that dozens of young people, many of whom were only of school age, were hurt or killed in a barbaric and callous act of terrorism in Manchester. Such an act is incomprehensible and to think that some of these young people would have been of the age of our Junior and Senior School students brings the pain and disbelief to life. As a College, we offer our thoughts and prayers to the many people affected by this tragedy.
It is important to remember that the individuals who are responsible for this barbaric behaviour, who claim to act in support of their religion, are misguided and delusional. The question of why they undertake and plan such horror is a question we all ask ourselves. The horror and evil that lies behind such a question is simply too incomprehensible for us to understand.
As a society, we must take responsibility for the development of our young people. Clearly this is easier said than done, but we must as a society take the responsibility for this, and be strong enough to hold all people who act to hurt others fully accountable for their actions.
I am certainly no expert in understanding the psychology of such individuals, nevertheless I believe that the positive and deep engagement to a broader cross section of community, and the development of genuine positive and harmonious values, would go a long way to develop the necessary morals and beliefs that would prevent such barbaric thoughts from ever being considered.
Life is a precious and special gift. Knowing another person and being able to share in another’s life is a special gift. Loving and being loved are special gifts too. We need genuine love in our communities, care for one and all, a greater acceptance of all people (not mere tolerance but acceptance) and a connectivity and understanding between all people.
It was Siddhartha Gautama, commonly referred to as Buddha who said, “It is a man's own mind, not his enemy or foe, that lures him to evil ways.” While we may never be able to understand the warped sense of righteousness possessed by such evil ways, nor be able to stop such acts ourselves, we can work to spread love, generosity, kindness to all, and the strongest resolve to never be intimidated or be ruled by fear.
Mahatma Gandhi offered us a wisdom for such times, “You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean, if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.” In such a vein, have faith in humanity and serve humanity by doing all you can to spread love, harmony, unity, goodwill and friendship. These gifts exist in our community and with the generosity of all, can spread beyond our gates.
May we all have the strength to not give up on humanity but rather do all we can to strengthen our resolve and connection to all others, thereby re-affirming our humanity and giving rise to humanity in others.