May 26, 2019

Letters: Fear and Violence

To The Editor:

Here we go again. The Middle East is a powder keg and four of our patriots have been viciously killed. Now the violence has spread to Northern Africa. The Obama foreign policy is not working; it is meek, weak, hide-and-seek. We should have known that candidate Obama was flying high on out-of-control-narcissism when he claimed that the day he was inaugurated Muslim hostility would ease. This kind of hatred and violence is too deeply rooted to be ameliorated by one man who sees his presidency as the time when the “rise of oceans begin to slow and the planet begins to heal.” What kind of leadership is this?

The human community has suffered from bloodshed in the name of religion since antiquity. The conquest of more than two thirds of the Christian world by Muslims and the bloody retaliatory crusades that responded centuries later, the Spanish Inquisition, Auschwitz, Treblinka, the slaughter of Jews by their Christian neighbors and “friends” in the polish town of Jedwabne, ethnic cleansing in the Balkans, hatred between Pakistan and India, the Muslim jihad against Christians in Indonesia, the horrific and savage “holy war” launched by fundamentalist Muslims on September eleven, the slaughter of Christians in Pakistan, and the murder and mayhem now in the middle East are but a few examples of the havoc reaped because of humanity’s basic insecurity and fear that cuts deep into the heart of the human community.

As I see it, our intolerance towards each other is an out-picturing of a deep sense of fear and abandonment that exists in the psyche of the human community. We have been cast into the world to fend for ourselves and to grapple with loss and end of life issues. What other species is unconsciously, if not consciously, riveted to loss and death? We know that we and our loved ones are going to die, yet we have no idea how death will come, when it will come, or who, if anyone, has the right answers as to what happens after death. This is the cruel fate of humanity.

And for most of us, the need to believe that our loved ones and we exist after death in some rarified form, or another, is the strongest and most urgent force within us. Whether it is psychic, cosmic, or biological, our belief in immortality is more basic than our need for sex and nourishment.

Fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately, we have created, been given, or inherited over two thousand religions to help allay our fears about “end things.” Essentially, religion has been based on disassociating the idea of death and ceasing to exist. Virtually all religions promise some form of afterlife-with death as an end of temporal life and the beginning of something else.

While it is true that millions of humans profess to have no religious yearnings or concerns about their fate after death, for most of us, whether we are willing to admit it or not, the thought of not having the “right” answers as to what happens to us after death is untenable. As a result, life has become a battleground of intolerance and hatred.

It seems almost diabolic that the religious teachings that ostensibly provide us with our symbols, our values, our purpose and our comfort are so often the fuel that ignites violence and hatred between humans who look and think differently. Throughout our history we have witnessed the use of sacred texts- perverted, interpolated, misunderstood and misrepresented to justify savage cruelty by extremists from many faiths.

Most of humanity wants to rid our planet of the cruelty that we continue to inflict upon each other. However, looking for love in all the wrong places is naïve at best. At this time in human history, Islamic extremist have Americans squarely in their cross hairs. Obsequiousness will not heal this deeply rooted hatred.

Did this administration learn anything from September 11?  It was the timidity and perceived weakness of America during the Clinton administration that allowed Global Terror Inc. to implode on Ground Zero at the beginning of the Bush administration.

American foreign policy must be hardened to protect us here and around the world. Perhaps, instead of sending the bust of Sir Winston Churchill back to English diplomats, Obama should have put the bust on his desk in the Oval Office as a reminder of strong leadership. “Victory at all cost, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory there is no survival.”

Sincerely,

Alison Nichols,
Essex, CT

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