Heather Sylvawood, Amazon Author
The news from Pakistan is horrifying – 140 plus dead, many more injured, and most of them school children. All killed in the name of ‘honour’ or ‘religion’.
Like many of you, my heart was overcome with sorrow and my mind by disbelief. I felt angry that ‘someone’ wasn’t able to stop them. What was the Pakistan Government doing about the Taliban? Why don’t the World Forces track them down and kill them?
That’s when I realised how I was being swept up in the wave of grief and anger that always arises when senseless killings are carried out. I realised I was contributing to the hatred that spawns groups like the Taliban and allows them to recruit zealous supporters.
How Intolerance Breeds Extremists
The Taliban can only exist in a climate of ‘difference’ or intolerance – of ‘have and have not’ or ‘you’ve got what belongs to me’. When extreme organisations attract people prepared to give their lives in support of their cause the organisation cannot control the lengths to which these men are prepared to go in cruelty.
The activists of the Taliban were someone’s precious baby boy, someone’s adored toddler … then the hatred seeped in. Somewhere in their family of birth those Taliban men (and women) learned to hate. They learned to hate because they saw injustice and became tired of trying peaceful means to be heard. They wanted to belong to something strong and effective and brutal in order to ‘pay back’ the people they saw as not listening/taking away their power.
I can’t stop the Taliban; I doubt even the Pakistan Army will be able to wipe them out. And I suspect, just as all wars end in negotiations around a table, somewhere someone will grow weary of the conflict, will rein in the extremist factions of the organisation and start talking.
So why does my anger contribute to the hate?
How does personal anger keep the conflict going?
Unless I quiet my heart and mind and think of others with love, unless I act in a way that does not tolerate hatred or anger, I am no different.
Unless I stop myself from looking at other people’s DIFFERENCES and judging them, I am no better. Okay, I am highly unlikely to take up a gun and kill someone randomly, but then I do not feel deprived or unheard. I simply live in a different part of the world with a different history.
All of us have been affected by a war, whichever side our ancestors fought on. Every side believed they had ‘right on their side’ when they went into the conflict – the other side was to be despised or hated because they didn’t believe in our version of the TRUTH.
I will try not to let their actions breed violence in my heart
I believe, as the quantum physicists are discovering, that the energy I give out affects people around me – you may not. I believe that attitudes of intolerance, superiority and hatred worn like a mantle to protect me do nothing of the sort – they put me at risk. Instead, I am trying (as are many others) to find a way of looking at all people with love and compassion. That doesn’t mean I condone what these members of the Taliban, or any other warring faction, has done; it does mean I will try not to let their actions breed violence in my heart.
If we look at the differences between us they can engender fear. If we look at our mutual needs they are all the same:
- Caring family relationships
And education about our similarities so that the next generation of children do not feel disaffected enough to join a militant group.
Heather Sylvawood, Amazon Author