As was reported in the Huntington Post, on July 31, following the murder of a Catholic priest by two French teens claiming allegiance to ISIS, Muslims throughout France and Italy attended Catholic Mass in a powerful display of unity. Outside the church where the priest was killed, Muslims held a banner saying, “Love for all. Hate for none.”
I find it interesting and a bit disturbing that the acts of violence are far more widely and prominently reported in the media than these impressive demonstrations of solidarity. To my mind, the real story of our times is not the hatred and violence, but the ever-increasing displays of unity and compassion. But you’d never know it from the so-called news reported in the mainstream media.
It’s important that we pay attention to these unifying acts of solidarity, because wherever we place our focus of attention is what gets reinforced. This is as true on the group and international level as it is on the personal level.
If we want more peace, unity, tolerance, and cooperation in the world, we must place our attention on these attributes consistently and regularly, both in our own personal lives, as well as in the world arena. We can help reinforce these positive trends by thinking, emoting, and acting accordingly. Hate and fear never get abolished with more hate and fear. They lose their power when we place our energy and our attention elsewhere, on more loving, compassionate, and peaceful ways of thinking and being.
As Mahatma Ghandi said, we need to “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Whenever some loud shouting voice in the media tries to temp you to brand others as evil, remember that the violence in the world isn’t happening because some human beings are inherently evil. It happens because some human beings are in deep pain and confused (and therefore easily manipulated into acting destructively) about how to create real change in the world.
We must understand that we don’t defeat violence and terrorism by hating those who commit them, but by instead standing firm with conviction in the power of love, understanding, and tolerance. It’s not just some idealistic platitude: in practical, pragmatic, down-t0-earth terms, Love truly does Trump Hate!