Tears Are Not Wrapped in Flags and Slogans

When the windows shake in their frames and you try to figure out how close the explosion was, how likely it is that your friends or your family might have been near there or actually there.

When you hear shots being fired and the echoes are deafening and you can’t help but think of the last time you were in that exact place and of the people who are in that exact place right now. Or the people who are running away from it. Or the people who can’t run anywhere at all.

When a world full of armchair philosophers sit at a comfortable distance and debate these people killing those people and the merits of their reasoning and governments hide behind money and spew soundbites to the press while counting their weapons again.

When you tell yourself over and over that it’s going to be alright because so far, for you, it has been. Whatever alright even means. And you are still alive because you’re lucky. And you are still alive but other people aren’t and you don’t know how to feel so you learn to feel nothing and even after you finally get away, there are walls you’ve built that will never come down.

When it happens somewhere else, somewhere you aren’t, and finally you cry and your tears are not wrapped in flags and slogans because they are raw and aching and they burn your face and you are still alive because this time you are here, not there.

When your accent no longer marks you as a threat because the world has someone else to fear now but those people are no more a threat than you ever were. It was not you, it was never you and it’s not them either but you don’t know what to say because at least the colour of your skin has never painted a target on your back.

When your heart breaks for the people in shock, picking up the pieces and trying desperately to hold them together because life is supposed to go on, except for the lives that can’t because they aren’t lives any more.

We are supposed to be Not Afraid. I am fucking terrified.

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