Sunday, 5 September 2010

day 26: fear

just a quick post today. today's topic is about those who live in fear. i've covered the issue in various ways, for example for those living in a war zone, or living in fear in their own home, or afraid to practice their religion, or fear from loss of privacy. but i think there are some aspects of fear that i'd like to highlight.

fears can be internal or external. there are those who live in constant fear from a stalker - say an ex-partner or some other person who has decided to make it their life's mission to make another personal miserable. there are those who live in fear of harassment, made more easy via txt, email & facebook. they might fear organised harassment such as from groups like neo-nazis, the KKK or various militias that make it their job to intimidate minorities. they may have to fear their own government, and there are too many around the world who use abuse & torture as a tactic to silence opposition.

then there are fears that are internal, caused by various phobias that can be debilitating. fear of leaving your home, fear of having to interact with strangers. i have a fear of heights that isn't major, just makes me pause and take a breath before i can go down a flight of stairs. i know that there are activities that i'm going to miss because of this - abseiling, rock climbing, bungy jumping and sky diving. but that doesn't seem to be much of a loss! how much more difficult it must be for those whose fears prevent them from participating in every day activities.

sometimes even the fear of humiliation will stop us from doing or saying the right thing. the need for approval from our peers is a pretty strong one after all.

fear is also a tactic used in democratic states, to distract populations from issues that directly effect them. so we see politicians using fear of immigrants and fear of jobs being taken from locals as a way to direct attention away from economic and structural issues. fear of terrorism is used to chip away at civil liberties. fear is a powerful political tool, and combined with hatred, is incredibly difficult to counteract.

even within a more personal sphere, fear can be a way to limit our movements and choices. many women live with the constant fear of sexual violence, which will limit the type of jobs they will do, the places they will go and the times they will be able to be out of their homes. fears for our children will often limit their activities in ways that are hardly healthy.

i'm thankful that i live a life mostly free from fear. i think we all have some level of fear of something constantly with us. but if we can make our decisions based on more positive things, i think we'll make better decisions.

if you're looking for a cause to support in this area, there is the phobic trust. i'd also recommend neighbourhood support, to increase safety in local communities.

for those who live with fear in their lives, and find that fear hampers their ability to achieve their dreams, my thoughts and prayers are with you.

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