The bloody madness in Baghdad and the violence of
Israel's response to the calculated provocation of Hezbullah, Hamas and other
resistance groups in the Gaza strip and Lebanon can only accelerate the
continuing cycle of violence that characterize the Middle East. Many ascribe this plague to the interference
But underneath it all I think there is something else — something that has to do with the culture of the
For a part of the world that has seen the rise and fall or succession of one civilization or dynasty after another, this persistence of what still amounts to stone age morality of "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth" amounts to a sure recipe for disaster, especially in the nuclear age. But even in an era of ubiquitous small arms, improvised rockets and roadside bombs, it remains a zero-sum game. Everyone loses in the end.
It was only with this background that I came back home
with a new appreciation of the revolutionary breakthrough in morality that the
teachings of Jesus might mean for the world. But it was also tempered with a sadness over
Certainly there has to be a better way. Jesus and those who would follow him in "turning the other cheek" have been ridiculed as idealists. But as any psychologist can tell you, bearing patiently the outrage expressed by others is the necessary first step towards calming any tense situation. Only then can grievances or past wrongs be intelligently addressed. Fighting fire with fire ends up consuming everything within reach. So while retribution may seem like the only thing that is "fair", it only fuels a recycling of violence in which both sides end up equally ruined or dead.
Retaliat.mss (545 words) 06-07-18.html