We often tells ourselves that it’s a waste to live one’s life in fear. And it’s true. It’s such a waste to feel that any moment may be our last because what sort of living is that? Perhaps a better approach would be to enjoy what is given and savor it for all it’s worth, so that when the time comes you can go forth bravely, feeling like you did all that you could.
But sometimes you are not granted this wish. You leave this world with such terror and pain and very much alone. Last week two British tourists were brutally murdered in Koh Tao, a popular island destination in Thailand. They were probably doing all the same things that we did when we were 24 years old, having some drinks and feeling like the time and place could not be more perfect. David Miller and Hannah Witheridge’s lives ended that night, which they thought would like be any other night, and it ended so violently. And it impacts me because I feel for their families, their friends and all those who will miss them the most. They make me see so many others I met in my travels and they make me see myself.
Here’s the thing. You could be walking down the street at home and be hit by a car. You do not need to be abroad to be in danger and robbed at gunpoint. I love Thailand, I love the people and I love the place. One cannot and should not fear what is to come because I think it would be missing the point. There is also the case of Tomoko Kawashita, whose life ended at a Buddhist temple at 9 o’clock in the morning. How could anyone ever predict there would be danger in visiting a religious site at the height of Loy Kratong, which is a major celebration each year in Southeast asia? In the daylight?
It is only respectful and vigilant to remember that violence against women is possible at anytime. There is a reason why Stieg Larsson’s “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” was originally named “Men who hate women.” Because it is this hatred against our body, towards our mind, towards our very existence that gets us subjugated and brutalized. It’s not just us they hate, they hate themselves. So for these young victims and all victims of violence I truly hope that you are at peace. And for all women traveling alone please take care.