Give Peace A Chance!
A few days ago, when the world was remembering Nelson Mandela, I was looking for a quote from Madiba to post as my Facebook status. I chose “”People must learn to hate and if they can learn to hate they can be taught to love for love comes more naturally to the human heart than the opposite.” Mandela believed that it was much more natural to love than it was to hate..yet, today, the world is hellbent on proving the opposite.
We hate sweepingly, unconditionally and with absolute conviction. We search for differences. Differences in race, religion, traditions, abilities, physical features, tangible and intangible, real and imagined are all fuel for our spite. What we cannot understand becomes cause for suspicion and needs to be either corrected or eliminated.
A little boy who worked for my sister-in-law came to the house a day after Shi’as were brutally massacred in the streets of Quetta. Seeing my sister-in-law in tears he wanted to know what was wrong. When my sister-in-law related the tragedy to him, he consolingly told her not to worry as his madrassa teachers had told him that Shi’as were kafir and were supposed to be killed. Needless to say that my sister-in-law dealt with this in the most effective manner (which included a conversation with the boy’s father.) But who will correct the tragedy of children being taught the gospel of hate in an institution where they should have been enlightened by the religion of peace.
Hatred comes so easily to us. It flows along our channels and engulfs our reasoning, our logic. We detest the sinners more than we detest the sins and hold entire nations accountable for the decisions of a few. If a person follows a sect of Islam that is different from ours we accept the burden of being judge, jury and executioners. If Zionists butcher hundreds, we declare our abhorrence of the entire Jewish population. If a world power makes a decision that we deem unacceptable we denounce the entire nation.
What is this hubris? How does one feel so uniquely poised among the people of the world that they find the narrative space to condemn indiscriminately? Shouldn’t prejudices within the heart be weighed, measured and questioned before being disseminated or acted upon? In a world where information flows all around us, and answers to most questions are a keystroke away, we must make it our directive to investigate every statement before we decide to announce it to the world.
I want to believe that Mandela is right. Love, rather that hatred, is our default state of being. We are just a little waylaid, a tiny bit astray. I believe that us, as individuals, as citizens of the world, have more attributes that make us the same than those that make us different. Question everything that makes us hate and embrace all that makes us love. On this shared planet, we can soothe a frenzied world by erasing one prejudice at a time.