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December 27, 2006

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HATE IS THE TRUE ENEMY
It is not Muslims I fear. I have had many Muslim friends, and the aphorism, “Lucky is the man who has an Arab for a friend” is poignantly true. No one is more affectionate, sacrificing, or thankful. I have also had the pleasure of friendship of several equally wonderful Iranians (who are Persians, not Arabs). Hate is our true enemy. Lately, the Middle East is seen as a nexus of hate, but hate comes from everywhere, it’s a universal, boring and unoriginal human emotion. Every group on earth has been victimized, but hate is a choice. Those who hate, clinging to it as an addiction, passing it on to their children, cherishing it inside themselves, using it as the centerpiece of their lives, are finally left with nothing. It is a waste of time and energy, like other addictions. If you give up your brain to it, reason is pushed aside by constant anger, paranoia, righteous indignation, dreams of revenge, and self-justification. Thoughts and words are obsessively repeated again and again, day after day, with nothing to show for it, no progress, no change, just like other addictions. People do not just have hate – hate also has them.

Democracy has always been under attack, and the attackers have always been full of hate. Fascists, Communists, Islamists, to name a few... No one has a right to spread and incite hate, to teach hate in schools, holy places, religious meetings, street demonstrations, or even community picnics. I offer you a demonstration: go into your room, alone, and spend the rest of your life hating Israel, or the Sunni, or oxygen. When you die, we will put on your epitaph: “he/she hated”. A wasted life.

LAWRENCE OF ARABIA: "Sherif Ali: So long as the Arabs fight tribe against tribe, so long will they be a little people; a silly people; greedy, barbarous, and cruel, as you are." Lawrence of Arabia risked his life for the Arabs, and was key in their liberation from the Ottomans. He knew they were not "easy to sell", but he seemed to hate it when Arabs would only stick up for the tribe, but never for freedom, or peace. Yes, everyone loves to live in freedom and peace, but people who do not continually struggle for democracy do not keep either for very long.

Many people in the ME want to wallow in hate, but they don’t want to pay for it. Hate is not free, it’s very expensive, like all addictions. Hate is a stepping-stone to war, and others know that when you begin to spout hate, encourage it, teach it, and justify it, they feel that conflict is imminent, and they feel threatened. They react, and take measures to confront you, and if they are simple, they react with their own hate. Meaningless conflict follows, where people die, but hate does not, and war follows war. I give you the Middle East, for more than 5000 years.

One thing for sure: many leaders in the ME want democracy DEAD in Lebanon, Israel, Iraq, and Afghanistan because democracy IS VERY THREATENING to them personally. Democracy consists of : (1) The people are governed by representatives who are elected by fair and frequent elections, with the President and Prime minister also elected, (2) Written laws which can be changed by elected representatives, (3) A final “Basic Law” (Constitution), on which all other laws are based, and it usually has a “Bill of Rights”, describing the essential rights and freedoms of all citizens, (4) Judges who ensure that the laws are applied fairly, and these judges are appointed or elected, and no politician can fire them, (5) A separation of Religion and Politics, so that neither can interfere with each other. Hizbulla, Hamas, Syria, Iran, and the Taliban are against all five. They see solutions in murdering their enemies.

Many ME commentators suggest we let Lebanon, Palestine, or Iraq “just fight it out”, but this is callous, uncaring, and hate perpetuating, leading only to more meaningless death. Left unchecked, hate culture almost always eventually focuses on innocents. We can confront hate: accept it from no one, point it out when you see it, disagree with it, refuse to listen, refuse to apologize, fire them, jail them, sue them, vote against them, demonstrate against them, and forgive them. Insist, at all times, on the Golden Rule. Otherwise, democracies will eventually win, but we will have to watch more decades of boring, meaningless death. When hate leads to the slaughter of innocents, will we each say, “As a citizen, I did everything I could to avoid this?”

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