It seems like a daily routine now, that there is something in the news about what the militants in the Middle East have done to further their ambitions for blood-lust and carnage. I don’t even know which official title to use when referring to them, it seems the international community is divided on this, and that’s not to mention all the various offshoots and splinter groups. They just don’t get it: there is not enough pain or violence they can inflict on others to cover the emptiness in their own souls. They are unfulfilled, they are hurting, and they have allowed these things to become central to their existence. Like someone who has recently gotten hooked on drugs, their first impulse is to drag others into their chaos, so they will feel more secure about what they have themselves fallen into. It is not possible to take spirit from others, through pain, death or any other means: they may try to take and take, they will not be able to hold onto anything that might make them whole again.
I recently spoke with a Muslim man from Serbia about this, and his sentiments echoed my own thoughts on the matter: this is strictly about blood-lust and power, nothing more. Killing fellow Muslims with reckless abandon does little to justify a claim that this is a war about religion or even a war against Western influence. This is about hatred – it is the true name of the only god these unfortunate souls are following. Where I did not see eye-to-eye with this man was with his assessment that the only way to deal with these people was to round them up and kill them off. Trying to answer hatred with hatred is not practical in any way, as only hatred wins in such an arrangement. I think it would be better to fairly try, convict, and sentence all involved to a lifetime of labor and service to communities around the world. No parole, no loopholes. Committing crimes against humanity deserves a sentence of mandatory service to humanity. It’ll never happen, but it’s my thought on how to deal with these people, just the same.
When hatred takes and takes, the solution is to offer it only what it cannot sustain itself with. Address the problems that potential recruits to these organizations are having. Treat them like human beings now, before they relinquish their humanity in exchange for a handful of hatred. Stem the flow by helping people in these regions to find more constructive ways to feel productive and connected to their communities. If that means pulling out of the region politically and commercially, then why not explore this option? It’s obvious that oil has been a major reason for exerting all possible influence; but our technology is quickly reaching a point where dependency on this resource can dwindle, and our environmental concerns are only adding to the urgency of this process. With less Western money to act as a temptation, perhaps more of the political leaders from this region will feel less inclined toward corrupt or ineffective leadership. The people of the Middle East and other regions certainly know which way is West: they can certainly find their way to us if they need or want to; otherwise, why not let them determine their own path?
Another thought: hatred doesn’t just exist in the Middle East. Hatred is blind, it cares little for skin color, for religious or political affiliation, or geography. Hatred is alive and growing in the West. People are being treated as less-than-human by neighbors and public officials alike. The scale isn’t the same, not yet; but would it not be wise to address the problems we are having now before that changes?