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Saturday, August 01, 2015

The Mentality of Hate


Palestinians urging revenge for infant killed by militant Jews

Hate destroys.

We know this. It makes all emotion destructive. Anger in hatred is destructive. It in turn leads to destructive action.

Destructive action destroys. It doesn't solve anything. It doesn't provide lasting justice. It takes momentous steps away from any chance of a peaceful resolution.

Again, we know this. And yet still we do it. For the momentary high our rage can give us. Because sometimes the "justice" metred out seems instantaneous. Or possibly for all our civility, we are no better creatures for controlling the destructive forces that lie within us than any other living creature on the planet.

Yet this awareness we have of our existence, which we share with only a few terrestrial species, is no block to the forces inside that push us to destroy.

However, not all rage is the same. There is the calculated pent-up cold rage of a madman: It burns with a long fuse, fueled by extremist ideology.

You see that fuse in Yishai Schlissel, an ultra-Orthodox Jew, who stabbed six people at the Gay Pride parade in Jerusalem. You see it in the people who carry out "price-tag" attacks: The name given to certain types of attack by militant Jewish settlers and their supporters against civilian Palestinians in the West Bank and Israel.

Then there is the rage of outrage. The wildfire that ignites from a spark, normally in retaliation to the destructive actions of a rage hardened cold. It's a snowball that won't melt. It just rumbles on, growing bigger the more people get caught up in it.

You see that in the fury of Palestinians that grew after an infant settler was burned alive in a price-tag arson attack.

Many of us will see that rage as justifiable, and it is, as long as we don't bring hatred into it. Hate turns the rage destructive. It burns away everything in its path, including the initial higher ground we stand on. It erodes dignity. It brings only more death. More destructive anger. More hate.

This is what those with long burning destructive forces want, a world on fire to melt their hardened rage, and make it come alive. These are sick people who can only feel alive when they destroy or cause mayhem.

This mentality of hate is not restricted to one area of the world. They come from all colours and creeds. And yet because we are all walking on the razor edge of rage, these few can easily topple the peaceful majority to their low level.

What we need to do is be able to vent our rage without anger. Peaceful and silent protest is more powerful against destruction. I always remember the "standing man" protests over Gezi Park saying more about police violence to me than the violent response of demonstrators. So, too, the peaceful Palestinian settlers in the little village of Susiya, trying hard to hold on to their homes.

But if we pit hate with hate, then hatred blurs rage. Soon it's no longer justifiable - even if it was in the first place. But peace and silent consideration allows for dignity, and respect for the dead, too. It also allows for space to allow those in authority to do their jobs. More importantly it provides a buffer zone from hate, and the destructive forces it awakens.

The saying "An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind", attributed to Mahatma Gandhi, is apt. Hatred blinds. Blind rage, blind anger: These destroy in moments what takes so long to build.

But it's also a great waste of our humanity. We are all individual human letters, writing with the same alphabet of the soul. Why should we allow just four of those letters to dictate who we are?

Read more: Gezi Protests | My Say >>

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