Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Poison Fruits of Hatred

Today’s world appears awash in hatred. From lone-wolf shooters to suicide bombers, the results of hatred fill our newspaper headlines and television news broadcasts. Hatred takes many forms, and all of them are evil: racial hatred, religious hatred, tribal hatred, regional hatred, class hatred, and, of course, personal hatred.

Religious hatred fuels many of the conflicts in the world. The Moslem world is split between Sunnis and Shia, and these groups have been in conflict since the Dark Ages. The fall of Haddam Hussein in Iraq let loose a torrent of bloodletting between the branches of Islam that continues to this day. Mass suicide bombings and the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which practices “Shia cleansing” by massacring “enemy” forces, goes on daily. Women are frequently kidnapped into sexual slavery.  No end to this conflict is in sight.

Racial hatred still haunts the world, and not only in the American South. Much racial hatred harks back to the concept of “white supremacy” that pervaded Europe and the Americas during previous centuries. Less evolved civilizations and their inhabitants were deemed to be “inferior.” Lopsided military victories by the better- armed Europeans reinforced that view. And when Spanish priests seeking to save Native Americans from extinction began preaching that African’s black skins were a punishment from God that marked their ancestors’ evilness, generations became doomed to chattel slavery. The concept of world racial equality only began to receive acceptance in the last half of the Twentieth Century. Racial hatred still pervades many parts of this planet.  Racial hatred is a two-edged sword. Any race hating any other race(s) is racial hatred. Any race or nationality that feels itself superior to any other is, by definition, racist.

Hatred for people of Jewish extraction is a combination of religious and racial hatred. During the Middle Ages, Jews were condemned as “Christ killers” by the European churches. During the Crusades, large massacres of Jewish populations occurred all over Europe. These attitudes continued into the Twentieth Century. Anti-Semitists began to decry the “undue influence” of Jews on European history. But it remained for the Nazis of Germany to dub the Jews a “race” that needed to be exterminated. The Holocaust was the result. Creation of the State of Israel in Palestine was the United Nations’ attempt to compensate Jewish survivors for the atrocities they had suffered. Many Arabs viewed the event as the reestablishment of the crusaders’ Outremer kingdom. The attempt by surrounding Arab nations to snuff out Israel in its infancy led to the first of a series of wars that solidified a lasting hatred between the parties.

History is replete with other “holocausts” around the world. Many consider the subjugation of Native Americans by European settlers and their descendants to qualify in this category. The massacre of Armenians during World War One and the inter-tribal warfare in Rwanda clearly meet the standard. Massacres in the wars in the former Yugoslavia, the so-called “ethnic cleansing,” are another example.

Hatred on a personal level results in much of the violence in the world. Many cultures include the concept of vendettas, warfare between families over some wrong or perceived slight done to one of the parties. The cartoonist for Doonesbury captured the absurdity of some vendettas during the Iraq war. A mixed American/Iraqi team is about to go on a raid. The American tells the Iraqi that they must capture the target of the raid alive. The Iraqi replies that he must kill the target because of a family feud. One of the target’s kinsmen had killed one of the Iraqi’s family. The American asked when the killing occurred. The Iraqi replied, “in the Fourteenth Century.”

Hatred is corrosive to the human spirit. No good can ever come of it. Hatred makes a person bitter, paranoid, and spiteful. It consumes valuable mental energy that is better focused on bettering the human condition. It can also destroy the holder as well as the target. Author Jack Higgins likes to quote the old European proverb, “Before beginning a journey of revenge, it is necessary to dig TWO graves.” That sums up the fruits of hatred concisely.

I don’t have enough time left in my life to waste it on hatred. Humans all need to stop hating each other!

Domestic terrorists have a high-placed mole in the Pentagon! During the turmoil of the late 1960s, former student radicals organized and established the Phoenix Guards Brigade (PGB). In 1975, the mole electrifies the PGB high command with details of weaknesses in the storage of Navy nuclear weapons. The terrorists immediately start preparations for a commando raid to steal some of the warheads.
Snowflakes in July has exciting aerial combat scenes, assassinations, bombings, high-stakes commando operations, and thrilling romance. Read Chapter 1 of Snowflakes in July, releasing soon!

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