Knotty Musings

Ideas, philosophies, and evil plots to take over the world through love hatched here.

I Am Enough

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.

There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people
won't feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,

we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically
liberates others." ~ Marianne Williamson

Remove the Nots

Remove the Nots

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Will Hate Change Us?

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out -- because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out -- because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out -- because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me -- and there was no one left to speak for me.

Source: Attributed to Pastor Martin Niemoller, as stated in Franklin H. Littell's forward to Exile in the Fatherland, Martin Niemoller's Letters from Moabit Prison, edited by Hubert G. Locke (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdman's Publishing Company, 1986), p. viii.

As you know, the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC was the site of senseless violence committed by an elderly white supremacist filled with decades of hate. How tragically ironic that an organization with the mission of combating genocide and providing witness to the horrors of what hate can do would be the scene of hatred acted upon. Officer Stephen Tyrone Johns lost his life while protecting others.

My husband and I have been to the Holocaust Museum. It defies description. The evidence of the loss of life and the realities of what hate can do are so palpable. The rail car in which Jews of all ages, backgrounds, and social stature were transported to a final, horrible end physically sickened me; I could go no further. It is such a quiet museum, as though the respect for the dead squelches the desire to speak. The artifacts speak: of dreams ended, lives broken, wealth forever lost, families impacted, good deeds done by those who stood to lose everything for helping the "unclean ones".

When I was young, I read a lot and on those occasions that I ran out of books in my own collection to read, I would raid my grandfather's stash. My grandfather read things like Eric Von Daniken, Louis L'Amour, Zane Grey, and a great deal of history books. In my wanderings, I happened across a book pressed into the deep recesses of the bookcase as though it were trying to find a place to hide. The cover showed large ovens and bodies. Mystified, I sat down and looked through the photos in that book and read the captions trying to grasp what this book was all about.

My grandfather discovered me reading the book and crying onto its pages. I asked him, "What was this?" He explained to me that sometimes in this world people dislike others simply because they're different. In this case a man, Adolf Hitler, decided that the Jewish people were so different that they must be destroyed. Six million had to be destroyed. "Do you know how big six million is?" he asked. I shook my head no. He explained to me that if I were to take 6 million pennies and place them in the room they would overflow and spill out into the hallway.

It was a powerful concept for a 9 year old to grasp. I asked why, if the world knew the killing was occurring, didn't the world stop it sooner. He told me a great number of things that still stick with me today. He told me to never stand by complacently when wrongs are being done, to fight for those who cannot fight for themselves, to be a voice, and to be the lone voice if need be.

He also punctuated his points with the quotes found here, for which I have provided sources.

Where books are burned, in the end people will be burned.
Source: Heinrich Heine (1797-1856), German Jewish poet, from Almansor: A Tragedy, [1823].

"All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing." -
-- Edmund Burke

Love and Hate. Both words have four letters. Both words inspire strong emotional, physical and even physiological responses. Yet the actions based upon such emotion are vastly different. There are those who would argue that hate is born of ignorance. Yet many who perpetrate evil born of hate are highly intelligent, respected in
their fields, and seemingly docile.

The thought that has struck me is that in each generation, the Holocaust will claim yet another soul. Each time a white supremacist takes a life the Holocaust gains another victim. Each time Mahmoud Ahmadinejad vows to wipe Israel off the map, or rape, genocide or genital mutilation occur in any part of the world against a particular race or gender, the precepts of the Holocaust prevail.

How do we as a society combat hate? We pass laws, practice political correctness, run educational programs, use surveillance of our citizens, and a myriad of other means most of us probably are not even aware of. Those measures have had a limited amount of success. What about love? Do we truly love our neighbors as ourselves? Do we make a difference with a kindness performed? Can we change perceptions of a group by doing kindnesses? Will love prevent every nut job from carrying out the evil that lurks in his or her heart? After all, "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The weed of crime bears bitter fruit. The Shadow knows ... "~Frank Readick Jr.

Maybe. Maybe not. But it sure beats the alternative.

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