This past weekend was the Easter long weekend, and yesterday was Easter Sunday. WAIT before you click away, this post doesn’t have anything to do with that… i’m just telling you what day it is…
This post is gonna be about some simple observations I’ve made over the last week or so, to be specific, it’s about the amount of hatred I’ve seen over social media lately… it really sickens me and its quite saddening. But one thing made me happy, it’ll be last like every “happy ending” at the end.
This past week has seen a few “famous” people or “celebrities” pass away. Comedian Garry Shandling, soccer great Johan Cruyff, A Tribe Called Quest’s Phife Dawg, and Toronto’s former mayor Rob Ford just to name a few. That may not seem like a lot, but considering it was all in the same week…well…it is.. One from a heart attack, the other due to kidney failure believed to be from complications due with his Diabetes. The last two were Cancer, a disease you don’t wish upon anyone. I wish nobody ever has to witness what that f**king disease does to somebody.
Upon the passing of each person, social media was – as always – a buzz, people offering their condolences and sending their love. I didn’t know much about Garry Shandling to be honest, and that’s not a knock on him at all, from what I’ve seen over the past week, the guy did a lot of great work. The passing of Johan Cruyff effected me even though I was never old enough to witness his brilliance live on TV. My Father was a big fan of The Flying Dutchman. In the 1978 World Cup final, Cruyff left a lasting impression on him, “he was a gentleman on the field” he would always say.
When Phife Dawg passed, people went to twitter posting lyrics of his and condolences, he was one of the fathers of Hip Hop, and if you disagree or dislike a lot of what A Tribe Called Quest did then…well…I dunno… maybe give it another listen. With Phife Dawg spitting lyrics like “Your whole appearance is a lie and it could never be true. And if you really loved yourself, then you would try and be you.” , “Cause if you aint yourself, you end up by yourself” and being quoted saying he’s all about the fans. A lot of people, even those i didn’t expect offered their condolences.
What really bothered me this week was what I noticed after the passing of Rob Ford. I – like many – didn’t agree with his antics or his so called “private life” which for some reason was never really private. I used to be upset because I thought he was giving my city a bad name, globally. Drawing negative attention with the fact that he was the crack smoking mayor. To be honest, I don’t really know much about his politics or what he did that was bad or good. From what I’ve heard, everything he did was for the “little guy” which from my point of view is probably a good thing. I hated the fact he would never be a part of Toronto’s Pride Parade, because I thought he should be there to show support for the LGBT community in Toronto…and the whole hittin’ that crack pipe probably wasn’t the coolest thing he could’ve done. But I respected that he was still “the peoples mayor” and that’s one of the reasons that so many people in the city loved him. However, even though he would miss the Pride parade because of family weekend at the cottage each year…I think he should have made the effort to be there.
Now getting to what bothered me about it all…
Upon his passing, or even before, Twitter in Toronto was trending #RobFord, and some of the things people were posting was just sickening. I guess it really is easy to show hate with the strength of two thumbs on a phone, or sitting behind a computer screen. Saying things like “karma is a bitch now isn’t it Rob”? or people laughing about it in general. It told me that even though we see Toronto as this city which welcomes everybody, we really hold in our hatred, and holding in something like hatred, instead of trying to get rid of it, is one of the most venomous things people can do. Whether it’s after someone passes away or even online bullying, it’s really so stupid and small to say these things. People are watching and reading, family could be reading, and like I said earlier, I hope nobody has to witness a loved one battling cancer. That ALONE is one of the most gut wrenching experiences an individual can ever witness, it’s heart breaking..Anybody passing away is heart breaking, and then to send the family more hatred and venom is sickening. Be humans, we are all human, send love and not hate. Theres no good that can come of it.
Now for my somewhat happy ending….
Like I mentioned, this past weekend was Easter long weekend, and yesterday was Easter Sunday. I’m catholic but only because I was baptized. My family was never the super religious type, so with not much planned on Easter Sunday, I decided to go to Downtown Toronto for the day. The plan was to hit up the Eaton Centre and walk around the surrounding area.
With the tragic events of Brussels this past week too, there always seem to be a rise in Islamophobia. It always bothers me when I see this because I can’t believe todays society can just label a people who believe a certain religion all the same. I’ve known many muslims throughout my life and they are amongst some of the most caring and loving individuals I’ve been lucky enough to meet. Which brings me back to how easy it is to hate and send hatred on social media. Even on my own Facebook feed, people with the ignorance of saying things like “go back to your country” or calling Islam a “death cult” when there’s so many other injustices happening around the world, in countries where Islam is not the main religion. In countries where Catholicism is the main religion, but not one person labels all Catholics. I get it its not so simple , there’s so many different arguments, but to those I say open your mind, and your hearts, not everyone is the same.
Maybe my views are the way they are because even though I was born here, my parents and I grew up as “the first immigrant” family on my street when I was kid. I lived through some of the stereotypes and subtle dislike people had of this new family that just moved in. It was shitty but we were eventually accepted, and maybe I see the hatred now and wish people could maybe be how we were in the past.
This weekend walking around Yonge & Dundas square, I saw a few people offering booklets with information about Islam, and people could come up and ask questions. The objective was to educate people on what the religion is, so that possibly people could see that when something tragic happens in the world from some crazy radical, people of Muslim faith hate it just as much, they aren’t about violence and hate, they are as much about love as their neighbour.
I was happy to see people walking up smiling and carrying a conversation with these people. Our city really is a beautiful place with a lot of beautiful people populating it and making it what it is. Just as it takes less energy to smile than it does to frown, it takes less energy to hug someone in your arms, than it does to push them away.
Next to these people offering the booklets was someone holding a Donald Trump sign…needless to say, nobody gave a shit about him…so that was pretty cool. Almost as if he wasn’t there.