Love is the Only Weapon We'll Ever Have Against Hate
[This is a personal piece I wrote after days of emotional exhaustion following the terror attacks in Paris and Beirut. It is not intended as a political statement. It is my truth, from my heart.]
I'm not a politician, or a diplomat, or a general. I'm not well studied in history or international relations. Though I would gladly die to defend my family, I can't imagine a situation where my knowledge and my conviction are so deep that I could take lives based on the fear of a future threat. I was raised without formal religion, and I've never understood the need for books and rituals to teach compassion and fairness. I've never seen myself as part of any group, nation, class, or culture to the extent that it would override my empathy for those outside. For all these reasons and countless more, I have no political or military solutions to offer in response to the massacres in Paris, Beirut, and Tunisia or the bombing of a hospital in Afghanistan, or the ongoing atrocities in Iraq, Syria, Nigeria, and elsewhere around the world.
Yet for all the complexities of diplomacy, economics, religion, and culture that I do not understand, I do understand that violence will never be the answer to hate. There is fear and pain at the heart of every act of aggression, just as there is fear and pain at the heart of all hate and intolerance. We cannot stand in opposition to hate with violence; we cannot bomb hate, nor can we starve it with economic sanctions. When we kill, be it by brutal acts of force or polite acts of business and politics, we bring more fear and pain into our world; we sow the seeds of ever more hate. Every death is that of a child, a parent, a sibling, a lover, or a friend.
Only love and compassion can overcome hate; transform the fear and pain that give it life by caring for those in need, comforting those who are suffering. My only answer to the horror that hate inflicts on this world is to love, and embody this love through my actions. To see myself and those I love in the eyes of every enemy my pain and fear teach me to hate. To love fiercely and relentlessly, without reason or exception.