Living in Fear – Terrorism and Death

Political and economic turmoil have led to a number of issues with possible reverberations throughout the globe. Apart from this, during the past few years, the percentage of terrorist attacks and unrest in the streets all over Europe has also increased dramatically. Some people have elected to chuck their passport at the bottom of a drawer and resign themselves to never travel outside of their own country again. Others read the news assiduously in order to try and find some pattern or conspiracy theory whereby certain countries are deemed 100% safe from such attacks, during certain months or periods of the year.

I personally refuse to be intimidated.

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Yes, one must obviously take precautions, both in the streets and abroad. In fact, one must be careful not to squander away one’s life, or the life belonging to others, no matter what the context. Every child knows that, and it’s plain survival instinct. That doesn’t mean that we have to stop living. It certainly doesn’t mean that we have to construct a self-imposed cage for us to cower in, beset with fears of all types, instead of being free to live our lives as we choose.

Accidents can take place anywhere and at any time – in the home, while at school, at work, or on a bus. So can episodes of violence we have no control over, or even natural disasters. We could get sick, fall down the stairs, be the victim of an earthquake. Such is the frailty of human life, which, as we all know, is finite. Our days, in a word, are numbered, which is why it’s so important to enjoy and make the most of each and every one of them.

We could, keep ourselves hostage.

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Would it really be worth it? It’s one thing to be cautious, and quite another to let the fear of the unknown transform us into shivering pieces of fluff.

Of course there are bad people in this world, just as there is violence, and you can come across these issues everywhere. The point is not to transform terror into the focal point of your life. Don’t let anyone dictate how you should live, think or feel. Be independent, be self-assured, be happy and friendly with those you meet, travel the globe and enjoy yourself.

This is an abridged version of an article I wrote, which was published on the magazine EVE.COM.MT. For the full article, please go to http://www.eve.com.mt/2016/12/31/why-we-shouldnt-live-in-fear/ 

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Insomnia

redrum

I cannot save you
While the blood rages and the heart moans
I cannot save you
As you look askance at the twisted vines
I cannot save you
Your gaze is too suspicious, your mind is too old

Let go
Of all those moments of rank belittilement
Let go
The gnashing thunder within your veins
Let go
Those tears of madness you are still hiding

You know
They clamor ever hungry for reprisal
You know
Your violent flame is roaring for more
You know
This is the reason why sleep flees

And yet
The pounding surf cannot be silent
And yet
That vortex of hate will not be still
And yet
Your eyes will always spit blood and flame

And that, is why
I cannot save you
Unless you save yourself
And dream

© M_Moonsong

Sacked for a Facebook Status!

Is it fair to be sacked for a status one posts on his personal Facebook account? What if this status hurts someone? What if this person works in local media? Then again, where is freedom of speech? Or is it all just a political game?

Here are the facts:

Last Sunday, many people attended a local charity motor show. During this event, unfortunately, a speeding Porshe (this was part of the show) lost control (let’s not go into why, I’m not a car expert) and ended up injuring 26 people, 5 of whom in a life-threatening critical way. This caused an uproar as many of the families, friends and acquaintances of those injured were obviously concerned. In a small country like ours, cases like this are quite rare, and touch everybody. Everyone was worried, however help was close and the Malta Police Force as well as Health Force, coordinated a manoeuvre which caused the injured people to be cared for quickly. Roads were closed as needed and Maltese media gave updates of the situation as they took place.

Now here’s the issue – one particular person, to be precise, a DJ who works for a radio station belonging to one of the two major political parties in Malta, in his usual satirical way, posted a couple of Facebook statuses about the accident. The statuses were not, as such, particularly violent, they did not accuse anybody or point at anyone, however personally I feel that, so close to the fact and with people still hurt and in danger of their lives – they were superfluous. More than that, they were hurtful to the families of those fighting for their lives, and those who had been at the event and had been frightened, as the huge vehicle speeded up and crashed into the crowd next to them. Satire and sarcasm are all well and good HOWEVER one must also be careful where and when to say certain stuff. When in doubt, better keep silent instead of blabbering to all and sundry.

That being said, there was an uproar. This person was lynched, sent hate messages, and blatantly shredded to pieces by everybody. And that was ‘fine’, since, let’s face it, he made a mistake.

Then he was sacked.

And I’m still not sure why. The reason would seem pretty straight forward, but is it? Here are some issues which should be taken into account:

  1. The Political Aspect – keep in mind that in Malta, almost everything has a political aspect. Or, let us say that many people give a political aspect to everything. Be that as it may, in this case the DJ in question worked at the major radio station held by a specific political party. Since in Malta most people can’t seem to differentiate between a private individual and his opinions, and a political party and it’s opinions, equating the opinions of one to the other, many people seemed ready and happy to point fingers and say that since this guy was deriding hurt people, his party was insensitive. Which is why his political party, in a bid to disassociate itself from the guy, promptly sacked him – maintaining that they were shocked at his behavior and lack of values and that they themselves thought nothing of the kind since they were good Christians and people and respected other people’s sorrow… yada yada yada So, in other words, he was sacked because of politics… or was he?
  2. The Media Aspect – one must remember that it is quite one thing to say something as an individual, and another to say something as a member of the media. The guy in question has, it is known, a kind of ‘image’ as a sarcastic and sharp critic of society, therefore I assume he wanted to shock and attention-seek, which is why he posted said statuses. This was a mistake. Particularly so close to the event. If he had, perhaps, waited a couple of months and slowly introduced the idea, coupling it to the lack of security at the event, that would have been one thing. However, when one works in the media industry one must be doubly and triply aware of how one places words, since that person would be not just speaking for himself, but representing his radio station too.

slide13. The Freedom of Speech Aspect – And here we have it – here is the crux of the argument – WHERE OH WHERE IS FREEDOM OF SPEECH? Yes this guy was an insensitive ass. He spoke without thinking about an issue which is very delicate and deserves respect. BUT isn’t that what Freedom of Speech is all about? Don’t people have the right to say and write what they think? Keep in mind that Malta is a country where censoring movies and theater productions is the order of the day, not to mention lyrics within popular events like the Gozo Carnival (I remember when around five years ago, a number of songs were scratched out from the programme because of the lyrics), as well as Carnival costumes. So, it seems that as a country we still have yet to define that elusive line between freedom of speech and, well, shall I call it dictatorship? Censorship? Or respect? Hmm. In this case, where is one to draw that line?

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Again, I do not condone what he said in any way and that is not the issue I am writing about.

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Point is, was this guy sacked because of politics, because of media-related reasons, or just because his opinion and mode of expression was not a ‘conventional’ one and one shared by others? And by the way, these were just Facebook statuses posted on his personal space for Pete’s sake – why all the fuss?

Last Night, I was Abused. And it was Terrible.

It is terrifying, having your personal space violated. Feeling so helpless and powerless. Unable to do anything.

What’s worse, is knowing that you can be violated and abused again and again. Suddenly and without your consent.

This is what happened to me yesterday, and what, I am afraid, will happen again.

It was 11.30pm and I was reading in bed. My bedside table glowed over the page, as with the main character of my epic fantasy novel, I journeyed through a wasteland learning about love and magic. I was at peace. I was comfortable and felt loved and protected. My boyfriend was asleep next to me, snoring softly. His body heat a dear reminder of his boyish laugh and strong presence. I was happy.

Then, suddenly, everything was corrupted.

I saw something dark fluttering at the corner of my vision. At first I thought nothing of it, being engrossed in my book. The fluttering came again, and I faintly thought that a moth must have gotten in. Half a minute later, I chanced to look down… and I froze in terror.

It was an overwhelmingly large and violently red cockroach.

Hideous in its smug predatorial harvesting, it scurried towards my semi-naked cleavage, which was exposed over the bedsheets. I was petrified. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t talk. I couldn’t scream.

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I must have made some small sound of fear however, because the cadaverous monster backtracked a bit, falling down to my stomach. With a low voice, chilling in its urgency, I called my boyfriend, waking him up. He jumped panicked, thinking there was a burglar or intruder who had gotten into the house.

It was worse. It was a rapist.

One definition of a rapist is someone who exerts power over you, in order to violate you against your will. That is how it felt. The hideous creature had invaded my personal space, had actually THE CHEEK to crawl on my skin, while I wasn’t even asleep!!! Who knew where it had come from? Who knew what else had or COULD happen during the night?! Had cockroaches been crawling and smearing their squinty legs all over my body while I had been asleep night after night?

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Feeling my partner shift in the bed, the being crawled down the bedsheet to the floor. I sprung out on the other side of the bed while my bf went after it, yet it disappeared. I was in a panic, hyperventilating and crying. We searched for the terrible beast but could not find it. I knew I couldn’t fall asleep in that bed again, not if we did not find it, and hardly after, since I knew I was not safe there.

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We shifted furniture and bags. We banged on the headboard and the wall. Finally, after 20 minutes, it crawled out.

My love, my dearest one, my soul mate, killed the vile thing. Squashed it under his foot like so much jell-o. Yet it was not enough.

For hours, I lay in terror. Imagining every itch was another disgusting thing squirreling its way towards me. Alternately banging on the headboard and scanning the room, trying to see if there was a blot, a patch of darker blackness, creeping towards me in the night.

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In the morning, I sprinkled cockroach powder everywhere. I do not know what I will find when I get home today, but I hope it’s a cemetery – a horrifying space full of decaying bloated bodies, thin curling legs pawing futilely at the air.

I hope they all die

No One

I admit, at first not existing was kind of hard to get used to. 

No one saw me as I crossed the street. No one nodded to me as I passed the store. No dog barked at me while I wandered around the windy park. No one smiled faintly as I stopped to grin at a comic poster. No one even noticed when my skirt blew up so high that my underwear showed.

I guess that’s when I started tackling non-existence as a comodity, rather than a curse.

I didn’t need to get up early. Didn’t need to brush my hair, put on any make up, or even wear decent clothes. No one saw me anyway. I just wasn’t there.

I didn’t need to be polite to the person waiting before me for the bus. Hell, I didn’t even need to stay in the queue. Or pay the bus fare. 

No one scowled at me because I had left the window open. No one muttered because I had forgotten to bring the ketchup on the table. No one told me I was not good enough, when I didn’t know where they had left their car keys the day before. No one pawed at me while wiggling smelly body parts, as I tried to watch a movie. No one even tried to bite and hurt me, because of some ‘remark’ they did not like.

No one belittled me or berated me ‘jokingly’ because I didn’t read their minds and know what they wanted beforehand. No one ‘forgot’ to mention my name or that I even existed when talking to their friends, when in fact I did. Now, I truly was not there, so it didn’t bother me not to be mentioned. There is no one to mention.

I have gotten used to not existing now. I do not even feel bad about it. It is a relief really.

Existing is so much harder.

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Kierkegaard’s Theory about Bullying and Online Trolling!!

In 1847, Danish writer and philosopher Soren Kierkegaard wrote ‘Showing that they don’t care about me, or caring that I should know they don’t care about me, still denotes dependence… They show me respect precisely by showing me that they don’t respect me.’ This was true in the 19th century, and it is still true now. Human nature, as such has not changed. People bully someone they do not understand, or someone they unconsciously feel inferior to, in order to try and increase their own perception of themselves.

This comes through in a very interesting article I read here – http://www.brainpickings.org/2014/10/13/kierkegaard-diary-bullying-trolling-haters/

Some time ago, I too published an article on Internet Trolling and Online Bullying – which can be found here – http://www.eve.com.mt/2014/12/23/internet-trolls-mentally-unbalanced-or-just-plain-bullies/

I hadn’t yet read the article on Kirkegaard when I wrote my own – in fact I just read it this evening, yet I feel that the two taken together make perfect sense. In my article I mention psychologist John Suler on the concept of ‘Online Disinhibition’, that is that feeling of freedom from social norms some people feel when they are writing or criticising something online – in simple words, they think that their comments cannot be traced back to them since they are relatively ‘faceless’, and so they express things they would not say in real life. You could actually say that they are COWARDS.

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