Monday, September 17, 2001

to clarify

I've calmed down a little over the past few days and I want to write a little bit more about a topic I touched on a few days ago.

I still think that some kind of military action is necessary...but only for the purposes of protecting innocent people and making sure that those responsible for this can't do it ever again to anybody else. I have seen and heard so much talk about revenge that I am almost sickened. (I'm not quite there yet, however, because I can understand that a lot of people are still very, very angry.) I actually saw a religious leader (I don't remember from which religion) on television today, say that revenge is justified...that vengeance is the right thing to do.

No, no, no, no, no.

Vengeance belongs to God. It is not our place to decide who should receive what punishment. We must act out of a sense of protection and prevention, not out of a sense of anger. Jesus himself forgave the people who crucified him, because they did not know what they were doing. And while it is quite a stretch for me to even think this, let alone believe it (which I am trying to)...these people honestly believed that we, as Americans, all deserve to die. They honestly believe that we are sent by the devil; they believe that our military personnel are the soldiers of the devil; they believe that our civilians are evil. Which in no way excuses the thoughtless taking of thousands of human lives. However, the attitude that the terrorists hold, the attitude that brought this attack about, is the attitude that evil must be punished. These people believed that we had wronged them, and they took vengeance. That is why I am disturbed so deeply when Americans call out for revenge; they are displaying an attitude that, at its root, has much in common with the evil that we want to be rid of.

Those who have studied martial arts (or watched a lot of Bruce Lee movies) know that it never does anyone any good to strike out of anger. When you must strike (and indeed, I believe we must), it is imperative that you do it with a clear head.

I've been searching for a quote that clearly states the message I have been trying to convey, and surprisingly, it didn't come from the Bible or Zen teachings; it comes from a Will Smith song:

"Throughout your life people will make you mad,
Disrespect you and treat you bad.
Let God deal with the things they do
'Cause hate in your heart will consume you, too."

(The original post that this one refers to, I chose not to transfer over to these archives because it was just too rambling and angry. But the basic message of this one still rings true, I think. I also feel compelled to mention that this was originally written LONG before we sent troops into Iraq. -3/29/07)

No comments: