A Hand in Friendship

Peace

I think most of us feel we are good people. We go about our lives and we try to do what we feel is the right thing. We feel for those who have been hurt. We feel moral outrage at those who have wronged others. But for the most part we just go along with our lives, doing our daily chores, seeing our friends, shopping, going to work. Very ordinary.

And then sometimes something extra ordinary happens. Occasionally it is good. Sometimes it is bad. All too often it is horrid. It may not affect us directly, but we still feel it. We are caught up. We feel sad. We feel mad. We are shocked and repulsed. Sympathy and compassion come up. Hatred and anger come up.

Acts of terror are designed to do more than just cause fear. They are designed to do more than terrorize. There is intention. Sometimes it is a warning. Sometimes it is revenge. Often the intention is more subtle. Often the psychological reasons are far beyond the simple ones the media often reports.

Here is the kneejerk reaction many have to the latest round of terror. They want to stop all refugees from entering their country even though there is huge amounts of suffering, even though of the hundreds of thousands of refugees running from terror there is only one who is suspected of carrying out terror, though that is in doubt. Others want to send our military into Syria. They want boots on the ground to avenge the deaths (see this article for why this might be a bad idea). And then there are those that blame Muslims in general.

All of these reactions play directly into the hands of the terrorists. This is exactly what they want.

I am not in a place where I can talk about military solutions. I see expert after expert saying it is a bad idea while I see many politicians and media personalities pushing for it. So no, I will not talk of that here. This is not a place to speak of violence.  I know something needs to be done, but those decisions will not be made by you or me.

You see, I want to talk about what you and I can do. We are not going to go over to Syria and fight. In fact, we are going to feel all of those emotions but then go back to our daily lives.

But we do know that the world has changed. And we want to help.

I think the best thing we can do as individuals is try to stop the circle of hatred.

Have you noticed that almost all post-9-11 terrorists are home gown? Although we are doing a better job of stopping international terrorists, there are many more home-grown threats. Have you ever wondered why someone would raise up arms against their own country? Why they would kill innocent citizens in their home cities and states?

Have you ever seen an anti-Muslim post on Facebook? I doubt if there have been more than a dozen days since I started using Facebook almost ten years ago that I haven’t seen at least one anti-Muslim post. Yes, I have some Facebook “friends” who are full of hate. Funny thing, though, is that they don’t understand that they are full of hate. They see themselves as good people, just like we do.  They think they are full of “Christian love” and put up those posts because from their point of view it is true. They only hear about and see acts of evil.

Why do they only see the evil and never the good? Partially it is because of the media. There are some news channels that have a very, very strong anti-Muslim agenda. I do not know why. But I have turned on these channels only watch person after person rant about how all Muslims are a threat to our way of life, that every one of them wants to destroy America.

Imagine that you are a child in a Muslim family and see all of this hate aimed at you. Imagine if you see a lot of barriers placed in your way. How would you feel?

The fact is, many Muslims do feel marginalized and rejected by Western society. They feel discriminated against.

They feel they are hated.

These are the people the terrorist organizations target with their propaganda. These are the people that can become radicalized and in some instances can then become the home grown terrorists.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. As we go about our daily lives we can reach out our hands to them. When we see rejection we need to show acceptance. When we see hatred aimed at them we can show love. When we hear blanket statements being said, We shouldn’t just shake our heads and walk away.  If there is a fire of hatred, please do not add fuel!

The thing is, when you reach out your hand, don’t do it to try to break the chain that can lead to radicalization. You need to do it because these are humans. They are thinking, feeling people.  They are our brothers and sisters.

Of course, as we go about our lives we typically don’t see the problems. We don’t notice the disenfranchised and the marginalized. We don’t see them or think about them. Why should we?

We should because they are our fellow travelers on this journey called life. We are all in it together.

I think most of us feel we are good people. We go about our lives every day. We feel for those that see being hurt. But do we see the others, the marginalized, that are hurt indirectly? Perhaps to be really good people we should recognize that there are other victims than those they show on TV. Perhaps to be truly good people we should go beyond refraining from doing bad and try to actively do good. I am not naïve enough to think we can end all atrocities and all violence by just smiling at people we meet in the street and turning the other cheek. No, we can’t. But we’ll certainly get a lot farther than if we do nothing or, worse, actively participate in hurting others.  Hate only breeds hate.

So please help end the circle of hatred.  Please try to see the beauty in the world and its people.  We, the every day people, need to to make a difference.  Our little efforts may come to nothing, but let’s do an experiment on the Butterfly Effect and try to send our smiles and friendly hands to the whole world.

This is a bit of a continuation of my Saturday post. There will most likely be more coming your way. This was also influenced by a post on the blog “This is only a test”.

Something DOES need to be done about IS.  Those responsible DO need to be brought to justice.  Let’s just not punish the wrong people!

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12 thoughts on “A Hand in Friendship

  1. Pingback: If We Were Having Coffee – 11/21/2015 | Trent's World (the Blog)

  2. prior2001

    I enjoyed your thoughts here T – and did you make that peace sign drawing?
    Anyhow – I heard that they are now calling this group DASH to help split it away from the Islam faith because so many say these terrorists are twisting the Koran and well – Christians do this too – they pull out verses and twist them to their context – like the Christians that blow up abortion clinics and kill the doctors- really? And so your point about not fueling the hate and being more mindful of so many responses – well said – and the news channels that have that erroneous bias make me sick! Anyhow – this is so layered and I find peace I. Knowing that God has it covered and this is not our true home – but each day is still a gift and thank goodness his presence is still here – and you know – was thinking that if the French prez was not at the soccer game that night – well the bombers might have gotten in the stadium and thousands could have died – I think that was there plan – and while more than 100 young victims is horrid – they were going for this ands and it got thwarted somewhat –

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      I drew the peace sign last year when an Indian and a Pakistani shared the Nobel Peace Prize – that’s why a lot of colors are similar to their two flags. I agree about the extremists in any religion. With Christians, how can someone read Jesus’ words and think it’s OK to kill someone in cold blood? And then some of the politicians – Trump seems to be taking pages out of Hitler’s playbook on this. We do need to stop them, but I hope the cool heads prevail and we do it in a way that doesn’t inflame the hate.

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      1. prior2001

        Well when I saw the peace sign – it reminded me of student’s in the past – and usually anyone that makes those inside lines that straight has a nice math side -so I am not surprised it is yours –

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  3. sonyaliraphotography

    Everyone’s mad and upset I get that BUT do not blame all muslims. That would be the same as blaming all of us for all the wrong things that go on here everyday. I have not been on facebook in a good while but from what I am hearing it has gotten pretty bad recently on there with all the hate postings. Great Post Trent.

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      It would be like if we had blamed all white Christians for the Oklahoma City bombing, or even right wing Christians. On my Facebook there is a small handful that is very, very vocal anti-Muslim. Then maybe a quarter of my “friends”that thinks we need to put boots on the ground. There are aout a third of my FB “friends” that feel about how I do, with some even farther towards the peace side. The rest reacted to Friday’s events with horror but moved on.

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        1. trentpmcd Post author

          Sometimes I agree we can’t be totally isolated, but not sticking our nose in… Unfortunately we are still playing worlds policeman, which we’ve been doing since the end of WW II.

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