Monday, 23 November 2015

No Room for Hatred

In Lewis Carroll's book Alice's Adventures Through the Looking Glass, the character of the Red Queen says at one point: "It isn't etiquette to cut any one you've been introduced to" after making a point of introducing Alice to a leg of mutton and immediately having it removed before it can be served.  This scene has been interpreted as a being parody of stiff Victorian manners.

However I've always seen it as a metaphor for not judging people you barely know.  "Don't judge a man until you've walked a mile in his shoes" as the saying goes.  A person's situation is unique to them and is the basis for their behaviour, so if you don't know why they're behaving the way they are, don't criticize.

Those people of ISIL in Syria and Iraq?  We don't truly know exactly why they're doing what they're doing.  We can make educated guesses based on the actions we've seen and the videos they post online that show us the posturing and the executions.  But we can't get into their heads.  What's clear is that they hate us for their own reasons.

A few days ago there was a letter published to the media by Antoine Leiris, whose wife was killed by the terrorists in Paris.  In the letter he says "I will not give you the gift of hating you.  Responding to hatred with anger would be to give in to the same ignorance that has made you what you are ... You lost."

Those strong words are what the world needs to hear.  Hating someone only eats away at you and causes more suffering.  Acts of evil must be met and countered, but using anger and hatred to do so does nobody any good in the long run.

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