I recently read an excellent post by Jeff Gregory about hate. I tend to defend the underdog and speak out about things I feel are wrong. A lot of people think that means I hate A or B, but it's not that simple. I do hate injustice and cruelty, but I can still pity the person doing the "act of evil" because so often it is the broken who then go on to break others. As you Jeff says in his post - hate isn't the answer. We need to find more ways to say "no, I don't want this" without making it a word used while carrying weapons and torches. This planet has seen far too many tragedies based on the hate of mass hysteria.
I've come up against this a lot with the recent fear/hate between political parties and against specific religions. Personally, I don't follow either Left or Right in politics (I'm Green first )and I see religions as the ways humanity experience and love creation/creator. I really don't think God cares how we express that love, only that we love. I don't think there is a single Way to God; each path is unique to each person. but sadly, there are two religions that have a history of using extreme force in order to convert others to a single "way": Christianity and Islam.
I have had to defend the rights of my Muslim friends a lot recently, which has led to some people thinking I'm anti-Christianity. Not so! I am depressed and afraid of the levels of hate in BOTH radical versions of these two religions. Yet neither religion was created by a man proposing using cruelty and fear to convert followers...
So how did it all go so wrong and how can we ensure it does not continue into our future?
It has to begin with letting go of hate and that means facing our fears, because most of the time hate is the way we protect ourselves from things we fear. We fear the different and unknown and we fear things that have hurt us in the past or that we worry will hurt us in the future. Fear is a primal instinct of survival, but it has limitations. It drains your energy and strips away your ability to think clearly. This is why so many brainwashing techniques use tiredness and fear, because you lose all ability to think for yourself. You become a puppet.
And the only way you can ever battle fear is through Love - the type of love that walks with tolerance, understanding and compassion.
Thank you, Jeff, for reminding me of that simple fact. It's so easy to lose sight of what really matters when you're frustrated and scared for the future. I'd like to repay you with a video by a favourite group of mine who say it beautifully in this song.
This year, two friends sadly decided to unfriend me on Facebook. The problem is that my friends
are extremely varied. I have blog friends, internet friends, old school friends and assorted relatives all rolling about with fans of my books and poems. They span every race, religion (including atheists), sexual orientation and political party. Whilst I like all of them, we don't always see eye to eye.
The two friends I lost were deeply offended by the facts I'm (friend #1) not a vegan and
(friend #2) I'm not feminist enough. Written that way it sounds absurd, but it still makes me
sad. The vegan in particular was a dear friend. I had no problem with
her world view and dietary choices. I just wish she'd shown mine the same
respect. I'm still proud of my vegan friend for standing up for her beliefs that our world could be kinder to animals. I was proud of the fact my feminist friend stood up for equality until she turned it into "man-bashing." When I told her to stop being rude to men, she left.
Your Way, My Way or the highway... it shouldn't have to come to that.
The fact each and every one of us has something we hold important
shouldn't become a reason to walk out on our friends or begin to hate each other.
And that's the really ironic part - most of the people I know who are likely to argue with me on Facebook or elsewhere are those who want the world to be a better place. People who don't care never argue. It's only those who care deeply that fight with each other, because their concern becomes a passion and too often that passion becomes "The Way". Looking at all my friends and family I can say honestly that there is no single Way: there are hundreds. All of them worthy and all of them geared to improving the planet or humankind.
you imagine how powerful we'd all be if we supported each other as we
each followed our own Way instead of trying to force everyone onto our
chosen path? And all it takes is respecting our differences and taking a
little time to find out what we have in common. I know my life is so much better for having friends who are vastly different from me. I would never want to only have friends just like me, how boring would that be!
Last week was the anniversary of a friend's death and next month will be one year since I lost another dear friend, both to cancer.
I get a lot of Facebook memes and emails asking us all to remember those who have died of cancer, but I'd much rather remember how they lived. I'm not saying we don't need to help fund cancer research and stay fighting, but it feels to me as if this starts to turn the people I knew into statistics. Yes, I have friends and family who all died due to cancer, but I would much rather remember them for how they LIVED than how they died.
They are more than statistics on a graph calculating types of cancer. Same goes for those people we lose to accidents, wars and other illnesses. Every one of us has lost someone we love, one way or another.
So next time you get one of those Facebook memes or email things asking you to share because this is they way your loved one died...
please don't tell me how your loved one died, tell me how they LIVED.
Tell me what their favourite colour was or how they made you laugh. Tell me what they stood for, their greatest achievements and even their moments of failure. Because the way to keep your loved ones alive in your heart is to rejoice in the LIVING you shared together - not in holding on to their dying.
This is something our world needs to find other ways to deal with. We turn our grief into anger to give us energy to fight our way out of grief or fear, but in doing so... we then turn the anger on others who we hurt (or make fear us) and thus the cycle continues.
It's a month before Blog for Peace, so I'm setting the mood with an old song that has been haunting me lately.
"Work For Peace" by Gil Scott-Heron
Americans no longer fight to keep their shores safe,
Just to keep the jobs going in the arms-making workplace.
Then they pretend to be gripped by some sort of political reflex,
But all they're doing is paying dues to the Military Industrial Complex.
The Military and the Monetary,
get together whenever they think its necessary,
They turn our brothers and sisters into mercenaries,
they are turning the planet into a cemetery.
The Military and the Monetary,
use the media as intermediaries,
they are determined to keep the citizens secondary,
they make so many decisions that are arbitrary.
The only thing wrong with Peace,
is that you can't make no money from it.
The Military and the Monetary,
they get together whenever they think its necessary,
they've turned our brothers and sisters into mercenaries,
they are turning the planet, into a cemetery.
Got to work for Peace,
Peace ain't coming this way.
We should not allow ourselves to be mislead,
by talk of entering a time of Peace,
Peace is not the absence of war,
it is the absence of the rules of war and the threats of war and the preparation for war.
So this is a song about tomorrow and about how tomorrow can be better.
If we all,
"Each one reach one, Each one try to teach one".
Nobody can do everything,
but everybody can do something,
everyone must play a part,
everyone got to go to work, Work for Peace.