I am too tired and depressed this week to write creatively so I will just write what is on my mind like a diary entry.
The Boston bombings have plagued my thoughts. I try to understand why the two young Chechnayan men became so radicalized they decided to bomb the Marathon with rudimentary devices easily downloaded by anyone on the Internet.
I am struggling to understand hatred.
I am also feeling guilty because as many are pointing out, especially on social media sites; bombings, murder, rape and torture are ho-hum, day-to-day events in large swathes of the Middle East, Africa and many other places around the world.
Am I so upset because the victims are western and look like me? If so, that makes me an asshole. And then I start to hate myself which makes me think about the nature of hatred.
As I think, I forgive myself to some extent for the guilt because I was even more horrified by the gang rape in India of a 23-year-old woman on a bus in New Delhi. She was not a western male like me and yet the hatred in that crime still makes me shiver. She was anally raped with a rusted metal bar and essentially disemboweled, dying from her injuries days later in a Singaporean hospital.
Why? Apparently because she was wearing revealing western clothing with a male companion. And this angered me deeply. However, women in, for example, DR Congo are routinely raped in just as barbaric circumstances but we neither hear much about it or close our eyes when we do.
Why are we so sensitized to certain hate crimes and anaesthetized when it comes to others?
Why are our own thoughts so radicalized in one instance but not in another?
Why do we execute innocent people? Why do we not accept gay marriage? Why are we relentlessly destroying our environment when it is our children who will have to live with our legacy of hatred?
All of this turns my thoughts to God and religion.
Is there some kind of God? I’m inclined to believe there is. An astonishing number of the greatest thinkers and scientists in human history became believers through their remarkable discoveries in nature. Why, then, do we feed off of one another in an escalating cycle of horrific violence and hatred?
I can only conclude that we are simply frightened. We fear the unknown. And what is more unknown than death and what comes after? So, while we are alive – we are frightened. We herd with those who are familiar to us, join religious groups that we can understand and go to war when the psychological constructs we build around ourselves become threatened from without or within.
Fear, it seems, is the first step on the path to hatred. Well, perhaps insecurity comes before fear, but in the end hate becomes an all–consuming force. Hitler is an iconic example. All he wanted as a young man in Vienna was to be an artist. Once he realized that the best he could do was paint trashy postcards, he became frightened. He translated his fear into hatred of Jews, socialists, homosexuals, the mentally ill and, by pure luck for him, he transformed from a failed artist into a sadistic killing machine that re-painted world history in blood. And his millions of devoted followers were swept up in his frenzy of hatred – people who, had they not been so frightened, had no interest in harming a hair on anyone’s head.
But, saying that, I come back to thinking about God. Most religions say, one way or another, that we are all “God’s children” and love is salvation. Is a man who rips out a young woman’s intestines one of God’s children?
Am I wrong to hate him for doing that?
I do not know.
And I am frightened.