The belief we are above hellish circumstances until hate detonates a hairs-width from our sanctity is insulting and inane. Suddenly we are outraged and hold tight to the perception we have a right to be.

Paris,
I love you in a dream, having never walked your streets. But why are you the tipping point and the latest outrage? Why do I feel guilty about all that has transpired? A deep dive into my subconscious reveals I am selfish, pensive, unsure. I don’t know what to do… People proclaim to be a citizen of France, a temporary state certainly, as they tap into the power of joining a love force, maybe sensing protection comes from such a union of millions, billions? Or maybe it engenders the ideology we are doing something…while we continue to do absolutely nothing.

Personally, I have had it. With myself, with all of us and our crocodile tears. When we cannot imagine the terror, when we are empathetic, thinking it is good enough to proclaim how we feel, and then turn our waterworks off after a flicker of a moment. So we can slink back to our lives while announcing this is the way to beat them: live with a fervent joy reaching only the outer perimeters of what matters to us. Forget everyone else. Or worse, lump in every Muslim person as a culprit. Believe each are no different than a pit bull, ingrained with the ancestors of a thousand years compelling them to slay. Crocodile tears, an impressive snapshot.

Xenophobia – fear of strangers, people from another country, and today, fear of Muslims; today, fear of those who do not etch official, acceptable religious tenets into their hearts. Judgment for those who kill and imagined consequences, a blind eye turned toward our own indiscretions and the inability to want to go deeper as we grip and grip and grip what we know to be the ultimate truth. The facts we tell ourselves: I am not involved and therefore, I am not guilty. My heart is fearful of change, of differences, and I am ashamed to say it, to acknowledge an occurrence so ugly. So I hide it. I make my level of discomfort topple even civil rights.

As a friend posted, Beirut used to be the Paris of the Middle East, but we run away from the crumbling, shell-shocked buildings present-day, we avert our gaze to what is uncomfortable and what creeps close. We want to be right while we want it all to change, and that is why it will never cease…unless we begin the quest of looking inward. Unless we embrace the responsibility of ourselves, our limited views on humanity and our need to recede into shadow when we battle shame and terror.

I am guilty, too. I preach and espouse peace and love and charity and blah-de-blah, blah, blah. But what are we doing? No more going to war. No more spilling blood to condemn the spilling of blood. No more murdering people like curs. Let’s not do that anymore. We are writing about it, screaming in social media, yet taking zero action to understand why?

Where
the change happens is inside. Each of us.

When
we welcome different people to the table.

It is ludicrous if you think of it. To look beyond the loving heart to deem another soul fit or unfit. That we are so different on the inside, that we are all not culpable of inaction, vengeance, racism, classism, corruption. So it breeds because we are sick of the fight, of educating people Satanists are peaceable, African American people do not all belong to gangs, gay people were somehow abused as children and they hope to perpetuate their “disease” upon the world. Our very hatred, unease and tacit advocacy is the reason we have conjured a culture of segregation. And it has migrated everywhere. You are not acceptable unless you are a carbon version of me. You are worthy of judgment and penalty because I have made myself higher than my God, ingesting cafeteria religion as habit. Your country is a shit hole anyway and not worth saving, your people are dying despite minimal efforts so I brush my hands off and I go back to comfort, predictability and the luxury of
life you will never be able to imagine. You are needy and so I decide when you get help.

I decide if I want to help you.

This.

Is the root.

And
we stand by, too because the problem is so vast surely it can’t belong to any one of us. Instead, we do nothing about it even as it makes our hearts hurt. Never realizing we each carry a piece. Indelible. Immovable. Embedded in our very being.

Guilty.

People like us. In our country. Who look like us, when terror encroaches our comfort zone; the outrage follows and we expect to be rewarded for our newfound heroism, when instead we pay a disservice to humanity with our shallow wishes and short -lived declarations of unity. Why are we not ashamed to expose our bleeding hearts while doing little else? Why are these gestures seen as acts to be praised and not criticized? Here I am, right on time, to lend my voice to this outrage, while taking no action to make a lasting impact.

We out ourselves as caring only for certain things.

Never knowing we are the key to the solution. All of us.

In the form of acceptance when our belief systems are questioned.

In the form of recognizing ego when we unknowingly brace at a person of a different color or race walking next to us.

In the form of finally believing we do not know the tears of a generation as onlookers and that we are not entitled to cry them.

When we do not ignore each person’s pain as different. But learn misery is a snowflake.

When we are told others deserve pain, retribution, forceful hands even though they are a child, and we rebuke this police dogma.

In the form of refusing to embrace this is the year everyone is offended, while delivering validation even in our dense confusion. It is not for us to understand a fellow human’s pain; it is not for our ego’s longing for clarity–that doesn’t matter–it is to love.

Love is our only job.

When one life matters more than another’s, and when we cannot discuss without singularity a sole incident, we feed hate.

A child smashed into the floor of a school room means we care less about a gay man murdered in his home, means we care less about a dog dragged behind a truck, about mass killings.

But

Our hearts have the capability of dividing and rejoining. To mourn as one, to center on an individual wound begging for salve.

When we live in a hierarchical society of who deserves the most attention, the most sorrow and pain.

When we breed people and support people, even ourselves, who believe themselves as superior due to a particular religious belief. And when those same people condemn others. Not for killing. Not for sacrifices. Not for maiming, not for bullying. For merely existing as a unique individual, for having the gall to be different than others. For affecting sheep dog instead of sheep.

It is not to accept or approve of these cowardly attacks, but to examine them for the truth inside. The corruption, the day-to-day hell that drives people to desperation to turn into a killing lamb in the name of their own salvation. Have you felt such desperation that your life became nothing? Have you grappled with such desperation that you turned your body into a vessel? Killing to kill off killers is a chain only growing. An epidemic.

It is not to condone lunacy and murder, but to ask what created lunacy and murder, and did we help to sponsor the circumstances by machine-gunning and bombing innocent civilians and even pure children, blank as a slate, unfamiliar with the machinations to despise on sight? What have we done to exclude, to levy agony against others? What gives us any right to retribution? What gives us any right to decide the legitimacy of another’s pain? That we allow casualties as natural fallout?

It is to look deeper beyond the symptoms of this raging affliction called hate. We take away the guns and the killing continues. We exclude people from our country, we level assumptions and the killings continue. We judge and the killings continue. We murder as payback, for glee, to show the world they are not allowed to kill and the killings continue. To show the world we have won, to brag of our victory and the killings continue.

Scoff if you want, but what has changed in centuries-old wars? What legitimate tactic has resulted in peace? And we are surprised to witness hate breed hate. Believing we are above hellish circumstances, until the hate detonates a hairs-width from our sanctity. So suddenly we are outraged and hold tight to the perception we have a right to be.

Ask yourself, do we?

Instead of begging the question, what can I do? Let’s try: what did we do, and how can we change it?

Hate never wins. Even when the last breath in existence is drawn, love will always win. And that is what the haters, the destroyers, the black-hearts of this world don’t get…when a person who loves and radiates love dies, they die with love. You never extinguish the love. It goes on, flowing into trees, roots, rivers and plains. Into anything living and hungry for it. Love never leaves. It cannot expire, it cannot mirror a dark soul. The very makeup of love renders it impossible to migrate to hate. To all the lovers, extend your arms and keep fighting. We will overcome. We already have. But to stop more violence and
killing the answer is empathy.

Maybe the next time a terror attack occurs, and it will, we can all swap our Facebook profile pics to an image of a hemorrhaging world.

__

Original article appeared at The Good Men ProjectReprinted with permission.

 

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