Saturday, February 7, 2009

Angry Peacemaker

I don't know why I am calling myself peacemaker here because my actions aren't directed into actually making peace but that's the best word I could think of. I seek to understand. Knowledge is my gold. But through understanding, perhaps I would see the path to peace, and then act.

I was recently having a debate with Esra'a of Bahrain here on the MidEastYouth website. I can't say that this debate specifically triggered my anger but that along with the various other blogs I added to my 'Blog Roll', many of which I oppose the message, are making me angry. Now you must understand, I am not an emotional person. I rarely feel negative emotions towards others. I can become very happy, but never terribly upset or sad, as long as I can pursue my gold.

I see that many "peace activists", Jew and gentile, are fueled by their emotions, especially anger, to act. To me anger clouds judgment. As Simeon ben Lakish once said, "Anger deprives sage of his wisdom, a prophet of his vision." If you are wondering where I found this quote, it is from an old "Jewish Wisdom" quote book that I recently found in the house. Anger leads to mistrust. Anger and mistrust are exactly what the ultra-rightists feel or think about Arabs. Don't do the same.

In the words of the great American philosopher, Eric Cartman:
One person challenges another, "Do you know how to defeat hate?"

"How?"

"With more hate!"
I'm not defending indifference. That's not what I advocate. It just seems that more emotional anti-Israel styled peace "activists" get, the more demonization and hate arises. I do not hate the Nazis or Hamas. I just see them as characterizing one aspect of humanity - stupidity. I guess I only recently realized how stupid and savage we humans are. It doesn't matter from what culture you come from (except maybe Buddhists but I don't know much about them), we humans are capable of doing the most destructive things.

So what now? How can I relieve my anger? Reading hasbara doesn't help. Reading anti-Israel crap only angers me. I don't like the way Israel is moving forward as recent polls suggest. Perhaps the Israeli elections will surprise me. The Palestinians and Israeli Arabs are only going backwards. Can I still call myself an optimist? Perhaps it's the weather or the tons of furniture I have been moving recently which is keeping me down.
God Himself says, "May my mercy overcome my anger."
Abba Aricha
Maybe I need to repent. Since I am not a believer I don't think that will mean anything to me. I need some constructive criticism. Any takers?

1 comment:

Khaled Hamid said...

I hope the level of 'anger' of the peacemaker dropped a bit over the weekend. I may have never felt like a peacemaker (although deep inside I like to think I may be one), but I still had this anger at times when an online conversation seems more like the conversation between the deaf and the blind.

My 'anger management' technique was usually to take a couple of weeks off the internet (the small thought provoking part of the internet at least). Now, I am a lot less angry since I came to the realization that I am not going to change the mind of the one I am conversing with.

The goal of an online 'conversation' is only to present balancing point of view for the silent majority that read but never write. Some of those may still be on the fence, and your argument may tip the balance one way or the other. To me it is that simple.

I still get angry at the news, but there is no cure for that, at least that I have discovered.

Keep your good and prolific work up. I have read the online conversation you alluded to in your posting, and it was good.