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Author: David Hogan

From all of us at Scoop, our thoughts and prayers go out to the Muslim community and all those affected by the shooting in Christ Church.

I worked as founder and publisher at Scoop for 19 years and produced hundreds of editions and tens of thousands of stories. One of my favourites was Believe what you like, an interview with seven local religious leaders talking about community and inclusion. We regularly ran features on the different cultures and religions of WA, such as the Afghan and Jewish communities.  They were intended to promote understanding and tolerance. The message is more important now than ever.

In an age when it is all too easy to get used to the latest school shooting, bombing and other outrages, the events in New Zealand were truly disturbing. The pictures of so many beautiful families, men, women and little kids taken from a single close-knit community is devastating beyond words.

There will always be seemingly ‘normal’ young men and women desperate for purpose and belonging and meaning in life, ready to be turned to the all-too-easy path of hate; to unite with an equally misguided team of haters in a crusade against race or religion or mis-guided cause of some kind. Hate is the easiest thing in the world and always finds friends. And hate tends to be a long-road, a one-way journey, from which it is hard to return.

So, now more than ever, we need to unite against the extremists and individuals that encourage and facilitate actions of malice. As they say, ‘Bad things only happen when good people stand by and do nothing’. Every one of us can make a difference, speaking up when we hear extremist views, being proactive, reaching out to those who are least like us, letting them know we are cool with that.

But in fighting the good fight, it is important we also avoid rage and hate. We need to be wary of these events preventing the very thing that fosters peace and understanding between our various communities. We need to engage, we need to debate, we need to talk about, celebrate, understand, to even make fun of (the operative word being ‘fun’) and laugh about our differences without fear of judgement and offense being taken when no offense is intended.

We need to maintain our humour and our tolerance. We need to avoid the very thing these events are designed to achieve, which is to fuel anger, to stop the conversation, to polarise and fracture our communities. Good humour delivered in good faith is critical. Humour has a magical way of cutting through hate and breaking down barriers. We can take this seriously without being serious all the time!

And let’s not get too down on ourselves. I am extraordinarily proud of being Australian and of the wide range of skin colours, ethnicities, religions and gender-types we represent. We must remember that for every lunatic, there are 10,000 really beautiful people being kind and generous and loving every single day of their lives. Let’s remember to appreciate and thank them all.

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