Tag Archives: terrorism

Sick of it all

Schermafbeelding 2016-03-27 om 23.15.06

Belgium has been rocked by extreme violence last week, with the brutal bomb blasts in the airport and metro of Brussels, killing and wounding so many people.

After following the news that day in what felt like a haze, making sure all my friends living and working in Brussels were safe, I knew things in Belgium will never be the same again. From now on there will be a before… and an after…
I won’t let fear stop me from taking another flight at Brussels airport and when visiting friends or places in town, I will still take the metro. But in the back of your mind, a thought will always, ever so slightly cross your mind…
Will I be safe…

And then today… Another heinous suicide attack in Lahore, Pakistan, killing at least 69 people, wounding hundreds.. mostly women and children. Targeted specifically on this day, Easter, against the Christian Minority of Lahore.
Another attack in a countless number of them that Pakistan has known over the years, where we don’t really hear world leaders speaking up.

Again religion being misused by extremists, to kill human beings who are enjoying an evening out in the park with their families, friends hanging out, generally people having a good time, not hurting anyone. Gone…

I’ve come to know many Christian families in Pakistan and photographed for a while in a Christian community in Islamabad a few years ago. And what I always try to do in all my work is show the person in my photographs. A humanity, shared humanity, so we don’t focus on our differences, but on what we have in common. Rich or poor, black or white, Muslim, Christian or Atheist, in the first place we are human being who want the same things in life.

Why?  How can they kill in the name of anything really? On the basis of another God you worship? Another color of ones skin? Another language you speak? What makes them decide they have the right to choose that another life, another human being is not worth living and you can just kill them off? Just like that…

I’m just so sick of it all…

 

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Diversity is a reality

Three years ago, while working on Us/Them, my project on Muslim women and the veil in Belgium, I took this picture below of the election campaign of extreme-right political party Vlaams Belang.
(It still creeps me out that this type of advertisement polarizing and stigmatizing is possible at all.)

© Wendy Marijnissen - Extreme right political party Vlaams Belang started their campaign for the local elections with a poster of a woman in bikini wearing a burqa. The slogan read 'Freedom or Islam? Dare to choose', presenting Islam as the biggest threat to Flemish society. Aartselaar, Belgium, 2012

Extreme right political party Vlaams Belang started their campaign for the local elections with a poster of a woman in bikini wearing a burqa. The slogan read ‘Freedom or Islam? Dare to choose’, presenting Islam as the biggest threat to Flemish society. Aartselaar, Belgium, 2012  © Wendy Marijnissen

Today, I’m reminded once more of how relevant my project US/Them is…

I’m reading an article in the newspaper about how aggression against Muslims is on the rise after the sparked fear following the killings in the offices of Charlie Hebdou in Paris, the incident in Verviers and the Belgian army guarding ‘strategic places’ in the streets of my city Antwerp.

Muslim people are being harassed for being Muslim. They get remarks or are called terrorists because they wear a headscarf or jellaba…

© Wendy Marijnissen

© Wendy Marijnissen

© Wendy Marijnissen

© Wendy Marijnissen

In this climate of fear and hate, an anti-Muslim movement Pegida Vlaanderen has arisen and is trying it’s best to create even more fear and distance between people.

Yet they seem to forget that diversity is already and always will be a reality and something everyone needs to accept. Instead of polarizing somebody because they wear different clothes or have different religious believes, we should put more effort into ways of learning from each other and making sure everyone has chances to participate and feel included in our society.

It shouldn’t be ‘Us versus Them, but ‘together’. WE all are ONE

© Wendy Marijnissen

© Wendy Marijnissen

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