What we all saw on November 13th in Paris was the result of hatred.
What we start to hear after that day, despite the resolute bravery and hope, is fear.
Hatred by one group, ISIL in this case, lead to individuals to act, resulting in the deaths of 120+ people who had nothing to do with the conflict occurring in Syria and its neighboring countries. But that is what terrorism is, hatred within some that drives them to do something irrational, brutal, and inhuman upon people who want nothing more than to live their lives. To meet up with friends, see a rock band, enjoy the beauty that is Paris.
The hatred by this group stems from the continual bombardment of western ideals, and pop culture into a society that doesn’t want anything to do with it. While many embrace the use of social media and consumerism iconography, others want them, and anyone welcoming such, to be destroyed. They think it deteriorates their own beliefs, corrupts them, and makes them weak in the eyes of their god and religion.
I see a problem with those thoughts, and the example that came to mind was the Amish. There are approximately 300,000 Amish living in Canada and America. The majority of them continue to follow their traditional beliefs, which include a simple, farming society, avoiding most of the distractions of the 20th century. Some how, they have managed to live, and prosper, within countries that are continually overwhelmed by social media, TV, movies, and all the things that those in ISIL say is part of the destruction of their beliefs. I have yet to hear of Amish terrorists attacking average Canadian or American people in the name of their religion. Does that mean Amish people are stronger than those following ISIL? By my simple-minded logic, it would appear so.
That is the problem with any extremist religious group. They are intolerant by design. They hold so strongly to their beliefs that they are unwilling to be flexible, or at the very least, ignore things they don’t agree with. This mentality leads to hatred, which grows to the point that they feel the need to act, forcing their beliefs onto others, through violence and subjugation. Although The Westboro Baptist church and the Church of Scientology have yet to use violence in their doctrine, there is already subjugation, and the promotion of hatred. Who is to say, under the right leadership, that they too could become something more frightful.
Many of wonder what could drive people to murder so many innocent people. The answer is sad, and simple; hatred. The inflexible belief in something, and a need to either turn others to your way of thinking, or to eliminate those that will not agree with you. Until that kind of close-minded, ignorance is abolished, there will always be people hurting and killing others.
During the chaotic aftermath of the events in Paris, one piece of news about one of the attackers seemed to get more play than others. A Syrian passport was discovered near the body of one of the attackers, indicating that he came in through Greece. A post on Facebook commented that Canada was about to let 25,000 Syrian terrorists in, and that the country would feel what France felt.
It is times like these that cowardly, fearful people express the worst in themselves and humanity, from anti-Islamic pictures on Facebook, to drafting “Patriot Acts” to protect them and their “old-school” citizens.
Not to sound redundant, but fear can be a scary thing. It can shake our beliefs, question our choices, and wonder if everything we have stood for is built on poor foundations. It can make us think and say ridiculous, bigoted, racist things. Even when we cover it in humour, that grain of ignorance is planted. Those who are still impressionable and innocent may not understand what is said, but they begin to think that such thoughts are ok, even understandable.Like any good religious zealot, they manipulate, many unknowingly, images and sayings that they claim are not bigoted or racist, but in truth, are. Deep down, fear my make them stand-up for their misguided beliefs, even if a part of them my wonder if they even believe what they are saying.
Fear makes weaklings of us all. No one is immune to fear. We like to believe we are stronger, but no matter what, fear will get a grip on us. How long it holds on to us is another matter. The best way to defeat fear is with an open mind, compassion, and a willingness to listen when even your own judgement tells you not to. If you think I’m mentioning this because I have overcome it? No, I haven’t. I can be just as ignorant at times as anyone else. Fortunately, knowing my failings helps.
It is easier to hate someone and react out of fear, than to accept someone and react out of love. Thankfully, the people of France, and millions of people around the world, have shown that hatred and fear can be fought with love and compassion.
In the end, all you need is love.