What’s blogging?

[bombing ISIS] will probably… lead to a vast number of people being killed or displaced, albeit in places that people like me don’t particularly care about

I think that a part of blogging is about loneliness.  This is usually written the other way round: blogging is about making connections.  It’s easy to see why it’s usually written the other way around.  The other way around it doesn’t sound like disconnected, isolated people trying to link to other disconnected, isolated people.  It also fails to mention flippant outrage and hate as a form of reaching out.

When I sit here doing this thing called blogging I think of an imaginary audience that I’m talking to.  One that I imagine I get along with.  I imagine we might be sitting around at 2am with some wine while I ramble on about some nonsense.  It feels good because in that imaginary scenario I imagine myself saying what I have written and therefore sound quite clever rather than when I actually have to say things and I just say stupid stuff, or get cross, or sulk.

I got an email back from a student I teach.  I sent a few emails to Muslim students I teach yesterday.

I had to cancel a few of my plans this coming week because I’m scared to catch the bus alone, I’m not so much scared for myself as I am scared for the entirety of my religion, especially those who live in France and UK who have to deal with consequences of something they had nothing to do with. It’s times like these that I’m more than grateful for living in a country like NZ. I’ll definitely be more vigilant when I’m by myself.

Sadly I teach quite a few students who are from refugee families from the Middle East and East Africa.  It’s a nice idea that we in New Zealand are not connected to places like Syria but we are.  I have two Syrian students in one of my current Year 10 classes.

This year it has been about Islam for me as a teacher.  More than once this year I’ve asked students if their families are ok in Syria, Palestine, Iraq and Yemen.  More than once this year I’ve tried, and largely failed, to help students who are wrestling with parental expectations about how girls should and shouldn’t behave, while all around those girls “normal” NZ liberal life carries on with all its temptations.  I’ve felt sympathy for both the girls and their parents.  Then there are those in these communities who harbour mental illness thanks to years of dislocation, and the vulnerabilities that this can lead to.  When people say that the Muslim community should speak up I think they might forget how troubled, and isolated and fractured they might feel.  Even the strongest of them might not feel safe on the bus.

I suppose it is hard to care if you don’t know anyone from any of the countries impacted, or if you have run out of the capacity to empathise, or if you are “just telling it like it is”.  If people continue to shrug their shoulders no kind of pressure to halt this mutual terror campaign will be exerted.

Which, of course, it won’t, for the quote at the top of this post perfectly captures our zeitgeist.

I have been blogging since 2006.  It’s been fun on the whole.  Sometimes it’s made me feel less lonely.  Sometimes more.  When I started blogging I wrote about my mother’s record collection.  Neither Eleanor nor Rosamund had been born, and we lived in a cottage near out current house.  That will be ten years ago soon enough.  When I said I was stopping this last time a lot of people reached out to me, and said some nice things.  I appreciate it, and I’m sorry for wrapping this up again, but this time it’s for real.

The world doesn’t need bloggers.

 

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