Thursday, September 13, 2012

Peace & Harmony vs Reality

I'm in India as part of a Peace & Harmony conference in honor of the 150th anniversary of Swami Vivekananda's birth. His Holiness the Dalai Lama and I both spoke to the gathering of over 1500 (as well as dozens of others, but really who can remember?). Being in India promoting peace to the already peaceful people assembled, I was out of touch with the news. Today I managed to get Internet access and learned of the killings of the Americans in Lybia, and the wicked anti-Muslim film defaming the Prophet (PUH).

What is the point of a conference on Peace & Harmony when such evil is going on under our noses? At the very least we should have issued a statement about the film and the killings and the recent desecration of the Latrun Monastery by Israeli settler movement extremists. We should have marched or done something. Maybe no one knew. I didn't.

From what I am reading the film was made by a Coptic Christian posing as an Israeli Jew. This compounds the evil. The man is a coward, an Islamophobe, and a Jew hater. He must have known that his movie would inflame Muslims, and by claiming to be a Jew and an Israeli, he knowingly sought to aim that anger at Jews.

I was honored to have been invited to this amazing gathering in Delhi, but I am chagrined that we played while the world burned. Again.


Erick Reynolds said...

There are two player positions in the game of offending. The one who “gives” offense and the one who “takes” offense. To progress towards a world of “peace and harmony” we each must strive to play neither position. Avoid “giving” offense either maliciously or accidently through ignorance. It is, also, in our power to avoid “taking” offense. The “taking” is more in our control than the “giving” by simply forgiving, “for they know not what they do.” Many take offense because they want to be offended, as it drives their malicious purpose (a purpose which has nothing to do with peace and harmony).

Tiffany at Patheya said...

I'm sorry.

Charles Kinnaird said...

There must be some good in that while others were promoting hatred and violence, you were promoting peace and good will. Thanks also to Eric for offering your wisdom of the two sides of offense. We can surely dose a few flames by refusing to pick up the banner of offense.

andrea perez said...

? I'm not sure we understand what they are supposed to do when they are offended? Is forgiving unforgivable to them? Are there things that are just too important to them that we can't see or understand? Where do we draw the line and decide what we are calling personal freedom or right to expression just isn't translating that way. Maybe it isn't peace or freedom they are asking for but respect? I'll never know because they don't talk, they kill. Maybe they just have been too hurt to put up with us anymore? I don't know the answer. But the Arab Spring just frightens me. Maybe, just sometimes, people actually mean what they are chanting. And we, just expect them to behave the way we think is right. Maybe, us Americans, are getting a little taste of what it must mean to be an Israeli and that scares the hell out of me.

Erick Reynolds said...

It is a normal survival instinct to fear what we don't understand. The news media drops events into our living room in sound bites and sensational images to entertain us more than to inform us. The boring stories of Christians, Jews, and Muslims working together for centuries are not “news worthy”. The “Arab Spring” is a change in power towards democracy and democracy is a messy process. For modern media, the messier the better for ratings sake. After the American Revolution, there was not sudden nation bliss. Americans fought through power struggles, tax rebellions, riots, vigilante and reprisal killings and home burnings and vicious debates on the nature and structure of the future government. The political violence continues to pop up over social change issues.

There are violent fanatics in all religions. Muslims appear to be more violent in this time because they are centered in a part of the world where the gap between the “haves” and the “have nots” or the powerful and the powerless are great. Religious commonality becomes synonymous with commonality of social predicament or misfortune. Oppressive Middle-East governments kept a status quo that the people increasingly resented. Americans have enjoyed and actively preserved the status quo to maintain a balance of power in the cold war against “communism”. Americans are now resented by the people for using their countries with little regard for the citizens. But nothing is permanent. Our World Wars II enemies became allies.

Do not surrender to fear. It is the very thing that feeds the attackers of freedom and empowers purveyors of authoritarian power as “protection” against “evil enemies”.

Ama-la in Miami--Rev. Linnea Pearson, Ph.D. said...

Rami, As we know, "The theater of life has a script of its own" & all we can do is to be present at the current moment and respond to it appropriately. That you and H.H. did while at Vivekananada's birthday celebration & it was good you did! There will be time for more response to the unfolding dramas in the Middle East and here. "Namaste!" Your long-ago colleague from Miami,
Ama-la Linnea. O & "La Shana Tovah!"