A refrain that will no doubt be heard in regards to the Boston Bomber, the cry for vengeance that is often heard. It is understandable but I am not sure how it helps. Just as the cry for vengeance would have been heard after this incident in Afghanistan http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-125820/US-bomb-kills-30-Afghan-wedding.html#ixzz2QaHCuTuD . Happened about the same time but didn’t hit the news. Neither diminishes the horror or wrongness of the other. That is for sure, and our press tells us what we want to hear or what sells papers. And news of collateral damage in Afghanistan does not really rate because it just doesn’t affect us. As one commenter said on facebook about the Afghan bombing, well it is a war zone! Well that is probably the same response the bomber may have in Boston.
Now this is presented by the media as a religious issue, about Islam versus non Islam. There may be some truth in that however when we have a look at that then why is it that Islam can live in harmony in the west with Christianity.
I guess for me we can break it down fairly simply into a battle for resources. This battle is age old and essentially drives all wars whether inter country inter tribe, inter family, what ever. The end result of such wars is always pain and suffering. Now don’t get me wrong here, I am not advocating peace for the sake of peace. Compromises must always be acceptable, and I am grateful for those who went to war and paid the ultimate sacrifice for my freedom and will always treasure that.
I watched a movie about Vietnam with my son earlier this year (or indeed last year) it was called tunnel rats. It featured the men who went down the tunnels of the Vietcong . the final scene was of two people both losing their lives in the same bunker, one Vietcong, one American, my son commented that the point of the film was that no one wins in war. Now I am not that in favour of the death penalty, however that has to be tempered with the knowledge that I have not been really close to someone who has been killed, well actually that is not so true read http://preview.tinyurl.com/Deathupcloseand-personal .
I experienced very mixed emotions in this time, anger some of which was directed at the perpetrators and some which is aimed at the authorities. I cannot comment more because this is sub-judice. However I did not want them dead… nor do I want them to ever be able to commit such a crime again. So I must either accept that it will cost a huge amount of money to incarcerate them or allow for the death penalty.
The thing that I want to comment on really however is that innate feeling of needing to blame someone. Now this may come as a little left field but in the end if I am not a part of the solution then I am part of the problem. Yes I know that despite my messianic tendencies I cannot save the world, in fact on a bad day I sometimes feel that I would be hard put to save myself. All that I want to say is that before I start heaving bricks, I hope to make sure that I am not trowing them at a reflection of myself.
My advice to me myself and I tonight is to do what I can, where I can with what I have got. Every time I reach out in friendship to someone who is different to me I break down barriers, when I tell my students that I brook no racist, sexist, homophobic put downs in my class I stand up for good. When I try to be a good steward of my possessions and live a life of consideration not unbridled consumption then I take responsibility for my attitude towards others who do not have as much as me. And when I am reflective enough to understand that it is only a very small part I play in this world, and that I can only model behaviour and hope, that I walk that which I talk then I am indeed modelling tolerance and respect and am not assuming that I am always right and have all the answers because I am not and I don’t.
So before I tell the US how to run its own justice system I need to make sure to the best of my ability that the country I live in and vote in has its own house in order and it doesn’t, but more on that another time.