Every month I try to post an entry on Bloggers for Peace. It is an interesting challenge, and certainly has produced some fantastic reading for me as I consume the outpourings of other contributors. I want to thank Kozo for this idea, because I think it has been a fantastic exercise, and one I hope will continue beyond December. But in November we are ramping up and facing an even tougher gauntlet:
Well, I think any of you who have been with me a while will know that this particular writer has her own challenges and frustrations in this area. Your EBL displays only too human an outburst when provoked. I try to rise above it, I really do, but it just doesn’t happen very often.
But to call these people enemies… To think of the queue jumpers and crazy drivers and tabloid journalists and royal family sychophants and yes, even paedophiles and mass murderers and abusers of the vulnerable as enemies feels like a tall order. It has been to my amazement that actually I really do feel like loving the sinner while hating the sin, albeit in my very own, EBL-esque way.
Don’t get me wrong: most of them need locking up for the good of society. Such as the ones who risk my and Sigoth’s lives as they hurtle past us on a blind bend because they just have to be the car in front, regardless of speed limit, driving conditions or visibility, or the drunken lorry driver who crashed across the central reservation of the M1 and killed my friend, her husband and two small girls.
And don’t get me started on the notable deliberate evil-doers, such as Joseph Kony, Kim Jong-Il, Than Shwe, and so on – I’m not even starting on the list of consensually agreed “bad guys” from the 20th century or earlier. Frankly, their mothers are ashamed of them and they all need to sit in their rooms for a long time to think about what they have done, While they are there the rest of us need to make sure those doors are secured so they do not come out again to do more and worse.
Let’s not forget the inexplicably anonymous folk either. For the terrible things done on a personal level to friends and acquaintances, it is better for them to comment, but I want to be here for you if you need me.
So all in all, I can see a whole shed load of bad, but I just can’t get to the enemy part. I see danger because of their actions, and I believe we need to respond, without sentimentality, to it. Tough love means making people confront the consequences of their actions. If they ever do, it may destroy them; if they do not, then they must remain apart, unfit to join the bulk of humanity, which for all its petty flaws can pretty much agree on what is beyond the pale, when you get right down to it. If these villains really can’t get there, then they are damaged or sick and need to be mended. In my opinion violent criminals are by definition insane and should be placed in Broadmoor until either they are treated successfully for their ailment or until they die; either they can be fixed, in which case we rejoice, or they can’t in which case they are contained. Whichever.
Then we come to politicians who provoke mean-spiritedness and stigmatisation and several –isms. They need a sharp talking to, and I’m the one for it, let me tell you. People who follow their lazy ideology need some bringing up to speed on treating others as they would like to be treated. Journalists of the same water are included in this category, for the sake of completeness. Honestly, the effect of their rabid headline son the likes of my poor old mother is frankly in contravention of the Geneva Convention on Human Rights (in this case to live without fear).
But enemies… not so much.
I admit to being surprised at myself. I can rant for England about people who think wrong thoughts (in my opinion) or do stupid / bad / hurtful things. You will know EBL has Opinions and may venture to enlighten you on occasions.
The shock of it came a couple of days after I started thinking about this challenge, when I finally realised who the True Enemy was, the one person I despise and loathe above all else, whom I never forgive for their mistakes or cut any slack or excuse. It was a painful moment to understand I did have an enemy. It was me.
You see, my dears, I really don’t like me very much. I may not be alone in this, but nevertheless, this week I realised I actually like myself less than those people I have just listed for you. At first I disliked myself more for being so stupid as to think that. I am reasonably certain I have done somewhat less harm in the world than they. But still they evoke less visceral reaction that when I think of my own mistakes. I blame myself for everything. And I wonder why I suffer depression! How stupid of me! (See what I mean?)
Well now, that clever Kozo has made me confront my unreasonable behaviour, and I need to think more about this, in the quiet of my own head. Enemies are exhausting. All that hating helps neither of us. I can’t try to be better if all I get is kicks and sneers. I can’t expect myself to improve if I keep demonising and demeaning me.
“You, yourself, as much as anybody else in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” Buddha
So while I go away and lie down in a darkened room, I suggest you read what others have written more memorably and poignantly in response to Kozo’s challenge. It’s going to be quite a ride!