Hello Curious Friend. Welcome to my book about Hate. The number tells you where you are in the sequence. I look forward to your comments.
Help Who? (Continued)
Our immediate reaction to this reality is to aid the apparently innocent victims. But they may not be as innocent as the world perceives them. Now let’s turn our attention to the Taliban massacre of 130 innocent children in their elementary school. The first thing that strikes you is that these men are murderous, barbaric monsters.
But consider their motives for a moment. To them, those children and that school represented an ungodly, blasphemous way of life. And as radical Muslims, they believe god demands vengeance and violence against such transgressions.
Here’s something else to consider. The children of any one of those zealots might have been killed by drone aircraft. Thus, grief-stricken and believing the Koran demands revenge, any one of them could have incited his fellow Taliban followers to reject reason and civility for passion and action. For these Taliban likely see themselves as original victims, as martyrs fighting original hate on its own terms.
Do we need more examples? I pray not, for it is indeed painful to put myself inside the minds of such obviously deranged beings.
Yet to understand hate and root it out, we can’t limit our empathy and understanding to the apparent victims. Considering both sides of a hateful conflict is the only chance we have of effective action against hate.
And it is here that the crux of our problem arises. Since we do not know exactly whom to help, what should we do? Now that we’re considering both sides of a hateful conflict, we see that the apparent victims may not be so innocent after all.
Now consider the human tendency to view the world as an “us versus them” proposition. If “our” side is perceived to have been wronged, we feel justified in retaliating against those we believed wronged us.
But it’s clear that vengeance perpetuates hate. It reinforces the root cause of hate, and thus obscures it from view.
Perhaps you may think we could simply restrict our interventions to those who we feel are neutral or ambivalent, such as a religious order, or doctors without borders (medicins sans frontiers) the Red Cross, Red Crescent, or some other charitable organization.
But what if religion is at the root of a particular hateful conflict? And are these good-hearted doctors helping save the lives of people who later turn around and exact hateful revenge? How do we know our charitable dollars are used effectively and in the best way?
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow provincial “outside agitator” idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.”
Rev Dr. MLK Response to an open letter by fellow clergyman criticizing his participation in civil rights demonstrations – 16 April 1963.
The reality is we simply, and painfully, do not know and can never know. Our side, the other side, those caught in the middle, the children, the mothers, even those wholly unaffected perhaps…who’s to say which side is right? They all have parts in this passion play, whose star attraction is hate.
To some extent, all of these individual parities deserve attention. Whom we should attend to first, and how, are subjects we will address in the last sections of this book. Up to now, my purpose has been to show you that determining who’s responsible for acts of hate is not as easy to sort out as you may have thought. In order to properly deal with this critical issue, we must have a more solid definition of hate itself. And that is where the next part of this book leads.
To be continued …