I'm not sorry if the language in this post offends. I cannot get past a (probably primitive) need to use it. I know it's wrong and anti-social, and yet releasing the pressure cooker valve of crude and vulgar language will help me come to terms with it. So, here goes.
An acquaintance turned to me today and, totally out of the blue, said this (I'm paraphrasing a little):
"Today's a special day for them, they commit atrocities on it."
There was no preamble, nothing I'd said that would indicate how receptive I'd be to the statement.
"Eh?", I replied, then headed to Google, partially to block out thoughts of axes and sweeping majestically across the Steppe, laying waste to…
It turns out today marks the beginning of Ramadan. So I told him so. "You mean Ramadan."
Doubling down is usual, and he didn't disappoint this time. Well actually he did:
"No, no, sometime soon there's a special day where they commit atrocities, it's part of their religion."
"No it isn't. No it is not," I had to reply before shutting the conversation off.
Should I have asked him for proof?
Should I have attempted to educate him?
For fuck's sake, we're not living in The Dark Ages; we're not living in a time during which, if we didn't understand something, it automatically had to be excluded from the community, or maimed, or killed. Or made the subject of a decades-long feud. Or a bleedin' Crusade! Now we are living in a time of information overload, of that there can be no doubt, but it's so bloody easy to use Google to check, that even a child could do it. But I guess the twat who so casually opened the conversation with religious intolerance (he's also a racist) has lost a child's ability to wonder about things, and would rather remain ignorant.
For some perspective, a headline on my favourite web site:
"24 Coptic Christians killed in Minya, Egypt in what authorities are calling the largest attack on the community since last month". It's now at least 28 deaths and, added to the 44 from just last month, adds a teeny tiny sense of perspective.
But for a real sense of perspective, there's this site:
The word 'stark' doesn't even come close to my thoughts on the disparity between this week's Manchester death toll and what's going on in Syria and all the other conflict-torn countries.
We really do not know how lucky we are.