Re-posted From: http://KindCommunication.org/2015/11/16/paris-2/
I have nothing profound to say. I simply wish to say: let’s grieve, and let’s have empathy.
Tragedies have occurred and continue to occur around us. There are the events in Paris. There are the events in Beirut. Both deserve to be grieved. And so let’s grieve. Grieving isn’t just tears, it is also the expression of anger, confusion, doubt, uncertainty. It is the expression of all our pain as we witness tragedy. We must grieve in order to heal. And so let’s grieve.
And we need to grieve with responsibility. While the organization ISIS may be to blame, Muslims & Islam are not. While justice needed, bombing campaigns that result in hundreds of innocent civilians being killed are not needed.
If we allow our grief to turn into violence against the “other” then we are only perpetuating the cycle that caused the attack in Paris. Why did Paris happen? The answer is quite simple: particular individuals turned their grief into hatred and violence. It is that simple, we don’t need complex socio-political explanations.
These men, without of course knowing them personally, were grieving many things. I am sure there were personal hurts they were grieving of which we know nothing about. But we do know that those who support ISIS are in grief about Western imperialism, they are grieving losses of traditional values, they are grieving persecution and oppression. And then they turned that grief into hatred and violence. Out of their pain, they made “Paris” (the West) the “bad guy”. Out of their pain, they made violence and inflicting pain on others the only answer. Out of their pain, they struck their sisters and brothers.
So let us grieve. Yes, we need to grieve and we deserve to grieve. We can be sad and angry. We can be shocked and in despair. We can be outraged. But let us not turn out pain into violence against our brothers and sisters. If in our pain we lash out at “them”, then we continue the cycle of violence and hatred. There is only one thing that can stop this cycle of violence and hatred:
Love isn’t a warm and fuzzy feeling. Love is compassion. Love is empathy. Love is looking at the “stranger”, the “other”, and putting ourselves in their shoes. Love is grieving without punishing innocent people. Love is giving ourselves time to heal, and then listening with compassion to understand how we can support these other hurting brothers and sisters to heal as well. Love is putting down my right to justice, and picking up the baton of mercy.
So let us love ourselves and love our communities by allowing ourselves and our communities to grieve. And let us love our enemies, those who have caused this pain. Let us try to understand what pain they are grieving and what we can do to help them heal that pain. Let us love those innocent people who now are being persecuted, killed, and pushed out to the margins because they share some accidental qualities with those who attacked Beirut & Paris this past weekend.
So let’s grieve together. And let’s love together.
KindCommunication.org is a project by a close friend of Wiki World Order, Alex Leach. WWO fully supports the study, practice, and teaching of non-violent communication as one of the core solutions which already exists.